Racing795 had a special weekend in Roth,Germany in July when 7 club members took home precious Iron-man medals in this grueling event which features a 3800m swim, 180km cycle and 42km run. To add to this, temperatures hovered in the mid 30 degrees making an already massive challenge even harder. Our athletes had been training specifically for this event for the past 6 months – 12 months with upwards of 20 hours a week and 12-15 hours been the norm. 6am starts and 2 sessions a day where a regular feature of each person’s training schedule while balancing family life and work commitments.
Dena Hogan, Joy Furlong and Louise Nolan were out first in the blazing heat and with all three good swimmers the real challenge would come later on the bike and run. Dena had a fantastic bike section completing the course in under 6 hours but severe dehydration struck during the run and she did fantastically well to complete the course in 11 hours 59 minutes. Joy put all her marathon experience into play and came home in a great 14 hours 11 minutes. But the time of the day belonged to Louise Nolan who came home in a fantastic 12 hours 52 minutes, well ahead of her own predicted time. Frank Burke, Fintan Redmond, Mike Ryan and Ross Moorehead set out approx. 45 minutes after the ladies and they had to call on all their experience and reserves on a brutally hot day. Ross was first home for the club in an impressive 11 hours 37 minutes closely followed by Fintan in 11 hours 49 minutes. Mike Ryan came home in 12 hours 35 minutes with an excellent 4.10 marathon run. Frank Burke, who had a hamstring injury coming into the event, had to battle every inch of the way and showed unbelievable resolve to come home in 13 hours 51 minutes. Each of the 7 displayed a brilliant determination to finish despite the blazing heat which is a real credit to them.
Each would like to thank their friends, clubmates in 795 and other clubs and particularly their families for all the support both on the weekend itself but also over the previous 6 months. With Bill Barry already completing an Iron-man in Australia earlier in the year that makes 8 Iron-man medals this from a club of less than 50! Each of these now Iron-man holders came into Triathlon from various backgrounds and abilities such as running or cycling but none came with all 3 skillsets.
More pictures https://plus.google.com/photos/10729405 … banner=pwa
Race report below from Frank Burke
“The Trot in Roth
Nine club members signed up for Roth thanks to Fintan obtaining codes from the organisers. These codes ensured we all got signed up for the event before it opened to all on the web. When Roth did open, it sold out in 8 minutes! I wonder had the Ironman talk last year, anything to do with this?!
Training started in earnest on January 18th armed with a plan from PJ -226 sessions of varying lengths – one for every Km to be covered on July 20th.Life became a routine of swimming, running, biking and physio (Paul Kelly’s elbow was an extension of my glutes for six months!) A lot of the bike sessions were gruelling in the rain and cold (no coffee stops!) – I remember one day in particular where we couldn’t feel our hands or feet on reaching Enniscorthy having come from Kiltealy and we still had to head home via Gorey and Carnew through a heavy mist – no coffee stops! Every Thursday, Ross Jim and I would hit the roads of Wexford and Carlow – no coffee stops. On one of these spins – Jim broke the news that he wasnt goin to Roth – then there was eight! Training progressed and lead to the Charlie Chaplin Sunday spins – where PJ, Mike Ross and I met up and headed off with 10m gaps between each on 90, 110, 130, 160km spins on the TT bikes – “all picture and no sound” – thee most unsociable cycles you were ever on. We then had “The Election bike spins” – another way of passing the time – commenting on all the election posters as we went thro counties Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Laois. “Jaysus you could play handball of that lads forehead” etc. etc..
We then decided it would be a good idea to do some warm weather training to get away from the misery on the bike in Ireland. PJ organised the trip and off we went to Portugal. On the first day of training, PJ came off the bike – everyone on the road that day knew but no one said “He’s out for Roth”…..then there was seven!
May and June were tough months as the no of sessions stayed the same but the duration increased massively. One session ran into the next as you were either getting ready beforehand or washing gear after, packing bags, emptying bags, drying gear,making energy bars (and swapping recipes!!). Varing the diet on the bike became a major topic of conversation – sweet stuff on the long bikes was a killer and you came back with no gra for dinner. Bodels ham sandwiches came to mind along with a suggestion from Fintan that cheese was good for the palate. These were tried and definitely helped . Pool sessions were replaced by openwater swimming. I never did as little sea swimming as this year. Bagnalstown was a regular haunt for the river swims on Thurs and Sat eve’s with a stop off in Aldi for the aul bottle of red wine – purely medicinal of course (antioxidants to kill the germs)!
At one stage we were covering half ironmen distances 3 weekends in a row and didn’t take much notice. A torn hamstring in June was bad timing (I’d like to say it was doing hill repeats- would sound more impressive than the daddies race at the school sports day!) I wondered if the number was reduced to six but lots of rehab, cryotherapy, ice baths helped to get me to the start line. Paul Kelly played a stormer!
Finally prep for the race began- bikes to Dublin for Shipmybike- Ross had spent alot of time and effort designing and printing Racing795 labels for our bikes and bags. Mike and I were soo impressed, but then he put a lot of prep into this event. He scoured Done Deal for a Tri Bike – regaled about the bike he was goin to buy while on the Sat morn bike spins and then….got PJ’s flight, PJ’s accomodation, Barry’s bike, Niall O’M’s jocks, Jim F’s socks and a bag in Mr Price. He did book the car and it was a pile of sh1t! – lots of gear grinding!
An early start, a flight to the airport (Ross drove) and another to Munich, and finally in Greding (great hotel-thanks to PJ) Over lunch it transpired that the bold Ross got an A in German while in college …. he then asked for the English menu! Our pre-race swim was like swimming in a lukewarm bath! Never made the race briefing- after dropping off the bikes in transition it took us too long to get out of the field where we parked. The organisers should give the national ploughing championships a ring on how to get people out of a field – german efficiency and all that…
Race morning was a 5am breakie. Got to the bridge in Hilpostein and got a first view of the transition and at 5.45am, the enormity of the whole event hit me square. Imagine looking down on croke park from the top stand and the whole field full of bikes and people. A quick good luck with Fintan and saw off Mike and Ross at 7.30. I was last to go. Wetsuit on at 7.30 and the sweat ran down my face – while in the shade!
Swam up to front for a bit of boxing, the canon went off just as I got there – happy days – what timing. Swim was enjoyable especially when my cap slipped off. I let it go an coolness on me aul bald head was heaven. No box given or taken. Out in sub 1.5hrs – v happy for this muck savage. T1 was good bar forgetting to put sun cream on legs (unshaven btw!!)
Now for the leg I was looking forward to – good road surfaces and warm air. I should fly this. Nutrition and hydration plan well practiced! That’s where it all went wrong. Heartrate of 115bpm was my plan for the bike and used it every time in last 6 mths. Hr strap didn’t work on the day, so abandoned the watch watching and went on feel. Hit Heindeck and a little hill out of town, left hammer felt weak… Dropped to small ring on every hill after that. Occasionally checked speed and couldn’t’ understand why I was soo slow as felt I was pushing it on an knew I had to leave something for the run. Ate all I was supposed to eat and drank 8.5litres of iso/water during the bike. My feet an head were cooking badly an after 60k I felt terrible. I reckoned if I got over the first loop I’d improve psychologically. Not the case. Second loop was even hotter. I’d freewheel down descents and try to lift my feet towards uppers of bike shoes to see if I could generate any air underneath to cool them. Watched with envy, other cyclists at aid stations pouring water through their vented bike helmets. I couldn’t with my aerohelmet (no vents- big mistake). Shoes were good road shoes and would have been better off with my cheap tri shoes – loads of vents, but I went with gear I was training in! School boy errors in hindsight – but then hindsight is the only exact science!
Going up Greding hill for second time, Paula ran alongside me and told her “ twould be a minor miracle if I finish” – not defeatist but a very very realistic assessment even with a half fried brain. After that climb, you hit a long stretch with a cross wind, tried to open up a little more. Back of right leg kicked off – f###! More stretching antics while still cycling.
With 20km to go I knew I was in real bother when a local (heading to the shop on an mtb) passed me on the outside of a bend going uphill and me on the tribars. I hadn’t realised I was going so slow…It was then I had a chat with myself. It was along the lines of “forget about a time and get this thing done”
BTW – there was a great gang of Racing795 support crew on Greding Hill and while I might n’t have shown it, they really gave us a lift going up that hill. Thanks to all of you – ye were brillant and other triathletes from Ireland got a great boost for ye also.
Never got off the bike for the 6.5hrs and as I watched lots getting off at top of aid stations an lying in shade on side of road, I reckoned if I did get off I might not want to or be able to get back on. Averaged 27.6km for bike according to my garmin – pitiful considering i was doing this at 32km average for the same distance albeit in 12-15 degress in Ireland.
Into T2 and sat on a bench in a tent which was probably very hot yet it felt pleasantly cool with the helmet discarded. Was fearful of how my soles would be on removing shoes. I promised myself id try the run an see how it would go.
Off on the run eventually – i wonder is their a prize for the longest transition . Passed among others a black guy with a Sheffield tri suit (he was walking) in first two km. Remarked to myself,” jaysus a black serious looking athlete is feeling the pinch – this must be hard!” Noticing this particular triathlete had major significance later!! Reckoned that my pace would be dictated by one thing – the energy levels I could muster to run as i felt so bad after getting of the bike, so my naivety pre race about 5.30 vs 5 45 per km made me laugh inwardly! Run plan was made up on the spot 1km in once I realised I could run at about 6.30/km – run for 1 hr but walk between every aid station and eat and drink something. Treat would be a five min walk at the end of the hour. This worked for first hour – jaysus only 8k done, 34k to go. Was going through an aid station at 12 or 13k and here I spot the same Sheffield triathlete walking again. He had obviously passed me at some stage and was in trouble again. Threw him a few words of encouragement and he ran along with me. This was to prove sooo important….
Hit 15k an cramp set in on left calf. Tried to stretch and left shin cramped. On shifting weight to other foot, the same happened to this one. PJ arrived out of nowhere and I could tell by his face he thought I was done. He was at me to run but the cramp was agony. I finally got walking while my Sheffield friend waited and encouraged along with PJ. Btw his name was Dave Campbell (9 ironmen completed – some in 9 hrs). He gave me a magnesium salt tablet which I finally managed to swallow with a gel an took another at an aid station. Cramp eventually dissipated and got back running again but every km was soo long. The run route was a tramps heartbreak with several long stretches along a canal with gravel and tour cyclists weaving in and out between runners.
Walk a bit, run a bit, eat a bit, drink a bit. It was a battle of wits at this stage. Dave and myself had a great chat all the way. You’re now thinking , if he was able to talk then he wasn’t working hard enough! The hr wasn’t v high I think but legs after the heat exhaustion on bike couldn’t do what the mind wanted them to do. The chat with Dave kept our minds off the km numbers and the time. Rain eventually came down which was like an aul gentle massage but I was already soaking wet from sweat an sponges of water over my head, garden hoses provided by German locals etc.If the sun hadn’t gone down and the rain arrived I can honestly say I would have dnf’d…I met a blind guy being lead around, a guy with a blade for a foot and a double amputee during my race all when I was at a low ebb and again, you reframe “jaysus what am I complaining about – man up!”
Ironically from 35k on, I would like to think I helped Dave get home as his leg cramped a lot and while I wanted to run on – we walked a good bit. I now was anxiously watching the clock as wanted to get under the 15 hr cut off, but I could n’t leave this guy who got me through the previous 20k! A bit of coaxing and cajoling an on we went. Met pj at 36 k and Bernie and Kate shortly after. They waited in the dark on the side of a bank having stood there for hours cheering on the whole crew earlier, to see me home – thanks girls, it was really appreciated at that stage!
Finished under the 15 hrs and the highlight was the last 30 seconds running down the chute with Conor and Luke. Into a tent that resembled the set from MASH – lots of triathletes on the horizontal with drips beside them. Muttered to doctor ” I drank loads” – he informed me that I could not physically be able to take in enough fluid in those conditions with the skin type I had. ” yah, we have a lot of Irish in this aid tent today”. Two bags of saline solution later they let me go. Thanks to PJ, Ross and Mike for sorting the bikes in the black dark in the middle of the countryside! Only found out from PJ at1am that I was 13hrs 51mins and not 14hrs 51min; twas a great surprise!
I felt my training kicked in on Monday rather than Sunday as I couldnt get over how good I am since the race. I was walkin like John Wayne (to rob a phrase from a funny text i got from Louise on Monday) but that was expected and pain is always only temporary. Was up Monday morning at 8 for breakfast and stayed going until early hours Monday night. Monday was 19 degrees an cloudy- perfect day for a race…. The day before was 15 degrees higher! There were Turkisk lads at our hotel and we spoke to them on Monday at breakfast – they suffered in the heat so what hope has a whest of Ireland lad got.
Total time based on Garmin watch was 384 hours since Jan 18th to race day. But this does not factor in prep and travel time to and from these sessions!
946km of running
4463km of biking (turbo sessions distances not included in this figure)
170km of swimming
While I know this is a ridiculously long report – it was six months of training and a near 14 hour event and I have always learned from others in the club via the forum and hope that some of the above will help someone some day. Well done to the other 6 ironmen club members – it was fantastic that we all completed it.
Louise, IMO your achievement was outstanding considering your biking base and I know you won’t mind me saying that. When Lou joined the Tues morn swims she was a major help to me as she was just a little bit better than me so I had something to chase every Tues morn – that changed rapidly this year as her swimming got stronger and stronger. Joy – I always knew you would do it as your marathon experience meant your mental resolve was already proven. I would recommend anyone to look at the video clip on the Roth website of Joy getting out of the water…it says it all about her state of mind – fantastic. Dena and Fintan – it was always a case of how fast you two would do the IM – you two have taken up the mantel from Don with your constant improvement and commitment to triathlon and by taking on a coach to bring you to the next level. Dena your determination is unquestionable considering how deep you had to dig on the run to finish. Fintan completed a great race considering he did some extra distance on the bike course – leave you to tell that one Fint! Mike decided that the bike was not quite tough enough so he left on his back break and pushed through 180 k in 34 degrees of a hilly course, got off and then did a 4 hour 10 minutes marathon and he the other side of 50 – awesome! And then there is the enigma that is Ross (aka Horse Whisperer). “Jaysus me knees” – “jaysus i’m not feelin the love today” – “mightn’t stay with ye for long today but shur we’ll see how long the knees hold up”. These are just a selection of excuses Mike and I heard from him on our training spins! We’d check on him to see if he’s okay and then once he’d get a smell of home – off he’d go leaving everyone in his wake. Well I knew he’d swim and bike well but didnt know how he’d go on the run – would he blow up early? He nailed the race and put in a great time and beat the lot of us!
Thanks to PJ for putting his efforts post injury into coaching Mike Ross and myself – not bad on the cv eh – having trained a sub 12, 13 and 14 hour Ironman at first attempt and for his support to all of us on the day in Roth. Thanks also to the Racing795 families who were extremely vocal along the route. In fairness the German people also gave savage support throughout the race.
Thanks to the people like Shaughs, John Dempsey, Yvonne, Bill Barry and others who I believe kept everyone up to date via Facebook on the splits of the seven of us and all the club members past and present for their interest in all of us and how our training was going, the text messages and phonecalls while in Germany and thanks to the three other ironmen – Peter, James and Jim who paved the way for all these adventures!
We all have alot of coulda, woulda, shoulda and while they are all pertinent in some way, the bottom line is we all dealt with difficult conditions and circumstances, and still finished!. The time we got is the time we deserved on the day because IMO an ironman is an eating drinking packing competition with a bit of activity throwin in for good measure.
Dempsey – match that for length “
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