• Latest Posts

  • Monthly Archive

  • Meta

Ultimate Burren MTB Challenge.

Early start yesterday morning with Keith Carr as we drove to Ballyvaughan in Co.Clare to complete in the Ultimate Burren 79k MTB Challenge. It rained for first hour or so . We actually got to cycle thru some of The Famous Aillwee Caves and on leaving them we were met with Sunshine. Which we had till the finish. We got to ride across the Burren landscape too . Highly recommend a visit to this area and I hope this event becomes an annual thing.


“Galway Girl”…Elaine’s half Marathon..

Just read back over what I’ve written below ….it’s a bit long…oooops …but I have left loads out…lucky readers :lol: Also reads a bit like I have done something a more than a half IM…like the mad ones from 795 who have done the full thing [Joy, Louise, Mike, PJ, Frank and the rest…RESPECT]. I know for sure now that ye are stone MAD but brilliant [and I did suspect before]. I hope I never get that IM notion :o


Joy [my accidental mentor ;) ] sent me a text on the Saturday night and told me that I had nothing to fear – she was right of course. When I thought about it I didn’t really know what I was afraid of [maybe just failure!]. After 2 days of blind fear I calmed down, ate 3 fried egg sandwiches and was fast asleep by 11pm. I woke up to the sound of the rain on the campervan roof at 5.40 am, also swaying in the wind slightly…normally very soothing when we are out in the van, but when I realised what day it was I just broke out in a cold sweat!! What was I bloody thinking signing up for this?! It was a west of Ireland summers day – cold and wet and windy. I could see white bits out in the sea and was surrounded by ‘real’ athletes…outta my depth here! But I never really considering not starting. Kevin just kept pointing me in the right direction until I was eventually ready to go. I was hard set to get words out…I even cried for about 5 seconds. I made my way down to the start…when I got there the Ironmen competitors were already starting to come out of the water [they went it about 6am], the atmosphere was electric…and better still they were all alive and smiling, I was reassured! I calmed down completely and started to enjoy the atmosphere and was looking forward to getting into the water…


My wave was last, out at about 8.10 am…with all the female half IMs, 600 men gone out in the waves previous [they needed the head start I suppose]. We swam out to the starting buoy from the beach, fixed my goggles, looked up and couldn’t see a flippin’ thing…took the goggles off, still nothing! I had a brief moment then where I thought I was going mad and probably shouldn’t be in the water at all…I might get out…but we’d be bored then for the rest of the day, so I stayed in [and it was warmer]. There was a bit of a haze on the surface and a bit of a roll. There was ALOT of chatter and alot of nerves. We eventually figured out between the 170 of us where the first buoy was and decided we’d just go for that and hope for the best. We were off. I had decided just to break it down into smaller parts… just get to the first buoy, then the next one and the next one…bumpy on the way out but by the time I passed the last buoy and saw the exit I couldn’t believe it was over. I felt like I could have done another lap…I absolutely loved it…it was very empowering! Kevin was there on the way out, I could see he was very emotional [I must have wrecked his head in the previous few days!]…don’t tell him I told you that. Then from the swim exit there was a 700m run up to the changing tent and bike transition.


The atmosphere in the changing tent was brilliant, high pitched cackling anyone might think we were at the finish line, the relief was just huge. It was a good start and delighted with my time – 37 minutes. I’m always confused in transition and couldn’t think straight, lost my bike for a minute like I ALWAYS do. Finally on the bike, up the hill and away. Before I started training for this [20 weeks previously], my longest cycle was 60km, so I had never tested myself in a race environment, wasn’t really sure what I could do…thought I would aim for 25 km/hr, but might struggle to maintain that for 90km. But I felt like I was flying, I was comfortable and happy all the way to 80km and was averaging over 29 km/hr. The time was just ticking by and I kept myself going by trying to maintain the pace and passing people out as much as I could. I talked to a lot of people on the way round, the weather was awful – but I was warm and happy and just kept the legs turning as fast as I could…until that last 10km. Oh my God, I knew the moment would come where I’d have to start digging…this was it…the longest 10k of my life up the hill from Oranmore and straight into the wind. I kept noticing the distance signs to Galway and thought ‘you have to be kidding me…8 more km??’. At one point I saw a sign for a yoga centre and I decided ‘that’s what I’ll do next, just do yoga, I could be happy just doing yoga’. Finally got to town…Hoorayy!!! I was off the bike after 3hr 15m, delighted – I thought I’d be on the bike for the best part of 4 hours.


Handed over the bike to a marshall and told her to put it on e-bay. I was sooo relieved to be off the bike, there were so many punctures along the way and the roads were wet, I was just glad to make it that far without incident. I knew then that I had it in the bag…I was safe and uninjured and all I had to do was run, one step at a time for 21km and I was done. The run was 5km out the Salthill prom [against the wind] then back to town and once more after that. It was completely flat but still torturous, I knew it would be…I just tried to break it down again…just get to the turning point…then back to town then just do it all once more and I’ll be home! My hip got really sore [something new!] from about half way and made me limp a bit. Again I talked to lots of people on the way around, congratulated everyone I passed, I thought we were all mighty :P Supporting me along the way was a friend from Wexford Tri [who I had roared at all the way round the Olympic course the day before], my cousin and Kevin. Each time I heard one of them shouting for me I would choke up and hyperventilate a bit and had to try really hard not to pass out. The pace felt really slow but everyone was slow, people just dragging themselves around, I saw a lot of pain in peoples paces. I knew if I just kept running even at that pace that I could make 2 hours and I did – 1h 57m. Finally I got to turn in for the finish. Couldn’t believe it was over, I was an emotional and physical wreck, massive sense of achievement and relief. Final finish time 6h 02mins [I was going to be happy with anything under 6h 30]. Went straight for my free pint which turned out to be non-alcoholic :( we made up for it later :D


What a weekend, I was genuinely inspired. There were all ages, all shapes and sizes along the way, a man with one leg, a man with one arm [different man!] and I saw a woman in her seventies on the the full IM course. There was a lot of hugging of strangers that weekend! I knew how lucky I was to be out there and I relished every minute. I know I’m preaching to the converted here, but the buzz just comes from getting outside the comfort zone…when you get there you just feel SO alive. I am writing this 4 days after the event and I still can’t stop smiling and thinking about the days events. We are now on the boat to France for a little break, yipee! After that it’s Yoga for me ;-)



Romancing the Schull….with Ciara Bowe.

Re: Fastnet Sprint Tri

Unread postby cibowe » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:59 pm

Frank you must have read my mind!!! No pressure from Calamity Jane, but you have inspired me (Eimear) to finally write a race report ;)

So I decided to enter the triathlon in Schull a few months back, mainly as I quite liked the idea of myself and himself (or my other half as Brian refers to him) sneaking off to west cork for a night!! Schull could not have been prettier when we arrived on Friday evening. We parked the car and booked into the Schull Harbour Hotel for the night (really nice small hotel in the village, with a pool and only a ten minute walk from the transition area). I later learned there are holiday homes to rent, right beside transition. Once I had settled in,( himself went for a run up a mountain!!!) we went to register in the Sailing Centre, took a quick look around, familiarised myself with the layout and took a trip in the car to have a look at the bike route, there is a steep hill out of the village, so yes Frank, I will remember to have the bike in the correct gear! The village was buzzing with the anticipation of the triathlon for the next day, I felt more in holiday mode than triathlon mode, it was magic.

ci bow
Nice relaxed morning, cycled down to transition. The transition area is in the Schull Community College just beside the sailing centre. (imagine the kids have sailing on their curriculum there) I set everything up ,racked the bike and I walked back to the hotel room to change, thinking, how wonderful it is, to be able to wander back to the hotel. Made it back for the race briefing and my last challenge whenever I am at a tri on my own, I have to scout which poor person I am going to ask to zip me into the wet suit..Nice gentleman beside me kindly obliged and off we went to get ready for the swim. The 750 m swim is a triangular route swimming around three buoys in the harbour, the entry and exit for the swim are at the same slipway. The conditions were perfect, warm, sun shining, water a balmy 17 degrees and everyone in great form. I’m in the second wave, so I watch with trepidation at the pink hats swimming toward the first buoy, this is the part where I am most nervous, but there is no messing around and we are off 5 mins later. Swim went well,I really enjoyed it, (training with Liam has boosted my confidence) hardly a kick or an elbow and it wasn’t too messy on the corners, sighting went ok, except I couldn’t locate the second buoy for a while and followed the crowd, hoping for the best, this time it worked out fine, I got back on track, warmed up a lot more (I know, the water was warm but i’m a cold creature and it takes a while!!!), and I got into a nice rhythm,I got out of the water in 14.15 feeling good and I run up to transition. Nice cheer from the hubby, all smiles.

This was my first triathlon using proper bike shoes etc so ecstatic when I made it to the line, got on the bike, and clicked in without a hitch (Joy, Elaine,Bernie, Catherine,Eimear you’d have been very proud ), just to get up that hill out of the village in front of me now ! I made it, Sliabh Bhui stood to me women ;) The bike route was an out and back course on narrow country roads, sharp bends and hills. Surprisingly enough for me I felt comfortable for the most part on the bike. We were advised in the briefing to slow down and not to overtake on the descent back into Schull, I had no worries here, as I was going slow, concentrating hard on clicking out, dismounting and not falling off the bike, all to be completed before I reached the dismount line….tricky…I just about got away with it by smiling very sweetly at both stewards :D I stumbled/walked into transition, in one piece, not sure if the shoes will survive though. (note to self, the next time a practice brick session is kindly organised by Dena and Frank I need to practice in the proper gear) I completed the 21 km bike in 46 mins, thought I had done better during the cycle, however on reflection and looking at the splits, it’s the first time in a triathlon where I have not lost tens and tens of places on the bike, so there is hope.

Next up the 5 k run. I’m glad I like running as it’s very disconcerting starting the run when other people are finishing their race! The run is out and back along a narrow country road/lane with some blind bends this time and yes, more hills. Once I got past the 1 k and recovered from the jelly legs, the run went fine. I felt quite hot and bothered initially and I was delighted to pour water over myself at the 2 k water station to cool things down. Feeling better I continued along, for the next while. Near the finish line, himself was encouraging me along, saying its all downhill from here you can sprint now….all fine for him to say that, but its not downhill enough for me to gather up any speed!! Still I finished the run in 22.37, very happy considering the heat, the course and the fact i’m bet :)
I would really recommend this tri to anyone, testing route, friendly atmosphere, well organised, spectacular scenery and venue, the entire village gets involved. Nice medal, water, coffee/tea, muffins and fruit at the end for all competitors, everyone chatting about the race. I enjoy the buzz post race, exhilarated by the fact I have just completed a triathlon, this is infectious. Get a cup of tea for himself, he’s happy too ;)

Finishing time, 1.29, respectable for me, very pleased, yes, still lots to learn and lots to improve upon. But for me that’s part of the enjoyment in it. My transitions, both a good minute behind almost everyone else, so guess what I’ll be practicing for the next few weeks!!!

Special mention to Jarlath, in Westport on the same day, well done to you, it did not feel like you were so far away with the encouraging texts and phone calls. Eimear well done on Blessington, haven’t we come a long way…. Next up is Wicklow in July, can’t wait

Calmity Jane and the Blessington Tri….


Unread postby Eimearbowden » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:14 pm

I’d like to entitle this, my first race report; “Calamity-Jane” :)
eimear b

So while marshalling at the fabulous Tri795 in Carlow a few weeks ago, I met the lovely Willie Purcell from Tri Ireland, who, in between warning me to be firm and “take no crap” from anyone who might be put in the penalty box which I was manning, managed to convince me to sign up to this triathlon. I said yaaaa go for it, have never swam in a lake before, I’ll give it a go. Well I must have picked the day the Loch Ness Monster came to visit Blessington given my luck on Sunday!!!

With no one else from the club competing (Jarlath up the North West and Ciara in the South West- Congrats to both!) I dragged along my friend Lorraine for the day out! (I don’t know will she ever come again after the day we had!) Morning went well, felt I had plenty of time and preparations leaving Gorey all went to plan….car loaded up and we headed for the Wicklow Mountains. It was a cloudy, overcast, humid day. Arrived before nine, registrations for the Sprint Tri were from 8:30 onwards. This was a charity event in aid of Down Syndrome Ireland and wasn’t a national series event, held in Blessington Sailing Club. There was a lovely friendly atmosphere from the minute we set foot in the field- which should have been cut for silage the week before! Registered; got the timing chip, number and swim hat and back to the car to collect the gear. There was tea, coffee and snacks provided before and after the race in the sailing club.


As I do every time I meet any of ye in Bunclody or Kildavin for a spin, I took the bike out of the car and put on the front wheel, clip in front brake thingy and check the brakes….SNAP. AAAaaah, I assured Lorraine that this is not the norm for race prep! Clearly I didn’t have Niall Ó Múirí on hand with his toolkit/expertise (I may have had a wobbly saddle before :) ) and even with the few bits and pieces I had in the bike box I wouldn’t have had the first notion of what to do with them anyway!!!! So we decided I better go check if any nice man would help me out (sorry to be sexist ladies but ya know I was gonna take the opportunity to check out the talent while I was at it). I can’t speak highly enough of the stewards at this event, they were so friendly and helpful from start to finish. I found a lovely steward who didn’t know what was wrong, and so passed me on to another lovely steward, didn’t know either, but thought steward over there should know and thankfully he did!! The Furlongs would obviously have spotted it ages ago…cable had gone on back brake….loosen this and tighten this…”do you have an align key in this saddle bag here?” Me: “amm no, just a tube in there ” and then I get a pat on the back from a lady who said here I’ve an align key and the problem was sorted finally. Lovely lady then informed me she has recently joined the club….Welcome Yvette! I was wrong, I had a clubmate competing!

eimear bowden portlaiois 2016
Right so all set, ready to rack up and put on the wetsuit. Stewards at the entrance to transition were getting great entertainment out of me…they were delighted to see I’d got sorted, checked the helmet, brakes all good and next thing…..”aaah jeez Eimear have you pumped those tyres at all, get a bit more air into them or you’ll be going up hills all day”. So over I went to another lovely steward who was pumping up the tyres of a girl doing her first triathlon and a nervous wreck. ( Meanwhile steward at transition was asking Lorraine if this was my first triathlon and was I always this disorganised?!!! ) As the steward so kindly pumped my tyre, I was chatting to the girl trying to calm her nerves and pass on the tips I’d been given last year….assuring her the buzz at the end would be worth it and that she’ll be addicted in no time. Next thing…BANG…”whoops I’m after blowing out your tyre”. All I could do was laugh….just one of those days eh?! Turns out it wasn’t the tyre that had blown but the pump- got another pump, pumped and ready to go AT LAST!
The most mortifying part of all of this is that I joined Bernie, Joy, Clare, Ciara and Elaine for a spin a Saturday morning recently and couldn’t hack the pace at all, put it down to having not been out in a while and spinning classes just not being the same…now I reckon I may not have had my tyres pumped enough :oops: :oops: :oops:
I somehow managed to find space on the rack and change in time for race-briefing. I said it’ll all be grand, this extra adrenalin will help. Not so much.

The lake was nice and warm actually and it had just started to drizzle as the sprint swim started (Standard distance had gone before us). Most disappointed with the swim which was took me 20 min…(had 14.55 PB last year in KK)…..I suppose its different conditions, different circumstances. I was conscious of my drifting after doing a lot of it in Dunmore East recently but felt I stayed with the pack for the majority of this one. After analysis with Ciara Bowe I reckon I might be sighting too much in the open water and losing time. More practise needed! It was a triangular course, like Dunmore East Hook and By Crook. Yvette was doing the ‘aqua bike’ and clocked 900m and reckons she didn’t drift much either so there’s a possibility the course was longer maybe….. Drizzle was getting heavier….As I took off wetsuit I decided I’d try put the hat and goggles into my sleeve as I’d seen a few do in Carlow (I know, I know never try anything for the first time on raceday…yup sure enough lost the goggles enroute…ara sure for the day that was in it :lol: )
Transitions were nice and quick, brick sessions have helped, thank you Dena and Frank :-)
Off on my newly serviced bike!! Felt good on the bike and then it started bucketing down, it literally felt like hailstones the shower was so heavy. The course is lovely for the first 15km, hill out of transition and then you are onto a main road after another 2km….the final 5km; which Willie had informed us in race briefing would be “nice undulating hills” was pretty testing!! I really pushed it on the bike – in fairness I’d this whole new feeling of totally pumped up wheels… but as a result paid for it in the run. Had an ok-for-me 47min on the bike and a 31 min torturous run. I knew from the beginning of the run that my legs were screaming and it would be a struggle but was glad to finish given my few episodes. And the sun shone for the final 3km of the run! Run course was hilly, lovely scenery though! Strange folks that actually enjoy running hills (Mike, Joy) would love it. Yvette, Lorraine and Tracy at the finish line were super supporters and spurred me on for the final sprint!


Personally it was disappointing 1:41 overall time for my fifth sprint tri. I still had to write a race report though to fill ye in on all the days events! It might encourage anyone considering doing a tri to give it a go, and to be assured no matter what your times or goals, enjoying it is important too.
Overall I have to say its a triathlon I would recommend for first timers or seasoned triathletes, beautiful setting and lovely relaxed atmosphere. Stewards made it, I’m going back next year for the craic with them!

The Limerick Marathon….2016


brian limerick - Copy
Goal number 1 was to try and out Dempsey Dempsey on the race report! But I quickly realised this was only a pipe dream and instead concentrated on breaking the 2 hrs 3mins….

Liam (Ciara’s other half) hatched the plan to run a marathon in 2016. I hadn’t run one since my hurling days 14 years ago so easily convinced. Limerick is approx. 18 weeks from Christmas and given the date in early May we hoped for decent weather. Not too hot and decent light to get the long runs in, people advised that the course is pretty fair with nothing too steep.

liam bowe limerick

We followed Hal Higdon’s Advanced 2 plan which we both felt was excellent – challenging without being mental and topping out at a max. of 55 miles a week. 6 days on and one day off, I generally run 7 days a week so that part was easy but the increase in intensity was new and I think necessary as we both didn’t race much over the 18 weeks. It was easy to follow. It has three 20 mile runs – most of the advice out there says unless you are doing 70-80 miles a week there is little value in going past 20 miles. I would agree with this – the long runs were taking us 2.40 – 2.50 to do – was there much value in adding another 15-20 minutes when we had to do some hard intervals 48 hours later? Staying injury free and getting to the start line were key to us both. We both had a few niggles but got through all the key sessions, Liam had a problem with a hamstring but took a few days off and that did the trick.

dena l

Pj gave me a lend of his cycling jersey which was great to store the food once shoved into the shorts to stop it bouncing up and down. 3 Isogel gels and a packet of Dextrose 95% glucose tablets was the plan and both worked out very well. They had some Isotonic drinks on the course as well. Dosed myself up with some beetroot capsules as well in the days leading up. About a pint of water that morning before the race was plenty, was well hydrated the days before. Porridge 2hrs before and a jam white bread sandwich 1 hr before.
We were staying with a family friend of mine the night before who volunteered to cook us dinner – it turned out to be a big fry up! Liam being a gentleman never said a word and we both moped up 2 sausages, 3 rashers and a couple of black puddings – no problems but not recommended! Liam had brough some sambos and I had some homemade rice pudding and raisins with me and ate these at 10pm. We both had been eating plenty of carbs the days proceeding.

tom hogan dingle

The Race
We parked up at 8.25am 500m from the start line and strolled to the startline – fantastic setup with none of the usual hassle of big marathons and having to be in place a hour before the off. Limerick the city looked great and the people nicer. We met Tom and Dena at the start line and it’s always nice to see another 795 vest. Unbelievably Dena had to pull out of a race the week before after 2 miles – how she managed the 26 miles on a gammy leg is mad – no stopping this woman! A nice gang from SBR and Slaney at the start and off we went at 9am. 11 degrees, overcast and no wind really – perfect! The course is very nice with good variety on it, some rolling hills but nothing killer. I went out with the 3 hour pacer who raced fast down the hills and easy up them. He delivered us to half way in 1.29.55 perfect. In pretty good shape at this stage. Then some some reason right at half way and going up a tough little hill he went into race mode! He finished in 2.58?! I let him go at about 15 miles and decided to run my own race, was starting to feel it now but still felt okay. At mile 21-23 there is a pull, not much if you were fresh but enough to tip the lactae needle in the wrong direction. Hanging on for dear life here and just hoping to get home in under 3.05. The last 3 miles are great(ish!) downhill or flat, life was gone out of the legs at this stage and just trying to hold some sort of decent pace. I though I saw the finish gantry but the cruel f***ks have 4 of them over the last mile or so to just tease you! Home in 3.03 and in absolute bits. Liam came home in a great 3.11 after 2 pee breaks and a stretch and smiling. Really lovely to see Aidan and Rachel at the finish looking up at their Dad and so proud and a very happy looking Ciara. It puts all this running stuff into perspective there and then – it’s not life or death! The 3 were great support along the way. Dena home in a fantastic 3.16 considering she is in full training for the big ultra. Hard luck to Tom who had to pull out at 16 miles while leading with a calf pull.

Limerick is a great race and a good course, couldn’t recommend it enough. Hope to be back next year and maybe have a few more 795ers next year. No temptation to do Dublin at this moment, hard enough to clock a time without crowds and hassle! Thanks to the 795ers for the messages before and after, always feels great to represent the club.

(Report by Brian Shaughs)

dena limrick 16

Ironman Barcelona

Frank Bike1

PJ bike 1

Report by PJ Dunne

The Build Up
Until last Thursday morning I really did think there was an Ironman curse on Frank and myself. With Franks broken arm this year and my collarbone last year it seemed like it wasn’t to be. But last Thursday my alarm clock for the early drive to the airport wasn’t set at all but I still woke up before the time I thought I set it for 2.55am. The luck was with me and was set to stay.
The training started bizarrely on the same date one yr on from when I broke my collarbone. 6 months long during the summer months with lovely weather!
A big thanks to everyone who joined me on any of the training spins especially the open water swimming as I got fed up waiting on Frank!
We had decided that a bit of racing in Ireland was needed to keep training interesting. So 2 HIM races in Tri an mhi and the Lost sheep. Frank didn’t make Tri an Mhi thru his arm. I did and didn’t really like the course ,surface was poor but the lake was lovely. The lost sheep on the other hand was brill. We would definitely do this again. Mike joined us for this interesting road trip ;)
This race really set me up for Barca. It gave me loads of confidence and it was all wind down from there.
The days leading up to the race were spent relaxing sleeping and eating. Weather was fine but the sea was as rough as a bears arse.
As per advice from Jarlath we had our dinner (chicken pasta&tom sauce at 2pm on the Saturday as the first batch of our supporters arrived.
Bikes racked with Frank covering his bike with that many plastic bags, the Catalan economy got a boost. Sat night drew near and bed time. Normally the night before a race I’m nervous but strangely I wasn’t. We both sleep well.

Race Day
Alarm clocks goes at 6.05am. Shower and big bowl of porridge and out the door for the quick walk in the dark down to transition.
Bikes checked and bags resorted for the 10 time. We then grab a very quick swim in the now calmer sea. Waves are still big enough to knock you off your feet but nothing would stop us now. We head back to swim pens and try to find our now increased support crew. Special mention at this stage to Yvonne Lia Cian my sister Louise and her friend Mary and Paula Conor and Luke. Words cant describe how much of a help they were to us both.
Frank and others had warned me of the emotions as you say good bye but I wasn’t expecting the tears that arrived as I said my good byes. Man up you muppet :roll:

The 3.8km swim
We positioned ourselves in the swim pens with us starting with the 1hr 20 group or so we thought. When we started to move Frank ended up in front with the 1hr 15 and me at the back of that group. We hit the water and off we went. It was choppy enough in the first 200m to the first buoy then right turn and a long straight of 1,450m. A yellow buoy at every 500m displaying the distance was a help. It got very choppy again towards the far end of the course where we had a 100m swim out to sea. Left turn and heading for home (1,750m) We both hoped for a bit of draft off somebody but neither of us got one. The bunch was to widely spread out. Frank was getting 1km splits and knew he was going well, I allowed myself one look with about 100m left, 1hr 14mins happy days! I exited the swim “like the pros” running whereas Frank did a somersault but unlike a goal scoring premiership player it was under the water and not meant! Both smiling with great times under our belts.
Frank 1hr 20mins
PJ 1hr 16mins

T 1
I spent a very brief moment in the ladies changing tent before realizing my mistake and ran away scared. I was half way thru my Ambrosia rice when the bold Burke arrived in smiling like a chesire cat. We both lubed up indivually of course and set off to find the bikes among the 2,600.

The 180km Bike
The first and last 3km of the 180km were tricky narrow streets with loads of ramps , roundabouts and drains etc so we both took it handy here. Loads didn’t and lost tubes and bottles along this stretch. Bit early to be losing stuff me thinks. The course is a 2.5 loops and mostly flat. The first and last 15 km of each loop is rolling but the surface is very good. Its pretty boring sea and train line on left and hills and houses on right on way out. At the 40 km turnaround we saw each other with Frank just behind and closing. There was a street party here in Montgat it looked deadly with music and drink. Frank the tank passed me 10km later flying it. Brief chat as we were conscious of the drafting rules. When we got back to Calella and the roundabout the crowds were massive. But it wasn’t hard to pick out our supporters. Shouts of encouragement from all and a thumbs up from both of us. It really gives you a lift. The expected bad patch came for me between 90-120km. The wind had changed direction (forecast) and was in our face again. I dug in and the long bikes in training paid off. Frank didn’t have a bad patch I think. We saw eachother at the Montgat turnaround ( party was over wtf) and the gap was static about 5 min. Another turnaround in Calella and a wave to the fans. Just half a loop left now. On the few rises I got up out of saddle to stretch and give me arse a break. Thinking about the bike now I cant remember what I was thinking about for the 6 hrs. I did remember something Peter C had told me that at 160 km id happily sell the bike for €5. This happened at 100km but at 160km I was fine because it was the road back to Calella with the wind on my back. 40 mins and I could put the bike away for a long while! I had hoped to maintain a 30km avg. So just before t 2 I looked at avg and it was 30.4km great another target hit. 2 down 1 to go. I focused on one discipline at a time so never thought about having to run a marathon after bike. It worked for me.
My nutrition plan ( Thanks to Paula) worked a treat. I had printed what I needed to take and when on the bike and ate and drank everything and more ( 90g carbs an hour). Not to moan but the drafting on the bike by SOME age groupers was unbelievable and the Irish were as bad as any nation. Peletons of 30-60 with technical officials on motorbikes in the middle seemingly doing little or nothing about it. I view this as cheating plain and simple. It was hard to slow as a big group went by but it was not impossible to avoiding drafting out on the main drag. Roundabouts and hills its easy to bunch. But this drafting happens in Ireland too. Mainly because of cash hungry race organizers.A look at boards or uk forums will tell you all you need to know. Rant over. :)
Frank 5hrs 49
PJ 5hrs 55

T 2
T 2 times need explaining. It only includes your run with bike and then run to tent.Time spent in tent changing was included in your run time. Anyway into tent and heres Burke again fu%k cant avoid eachother. We change quickly and as im eating my rice again ( not a good idea with running straight after) Burke comes pounding back in looking for his number belt. Turns out he put it in his run bag and reracked it.I finished my rice and headed out into sun to chase Burke down.

Only 42.2 km of a run left
4 laps of 10.250km along the esplanade starting with a 1.7km run down to finish area. Along this stretch we were both passed by the winner as he covered his last km. Our crew had set up here to start with and I stopped for a moment to say hi. The crowds and music were brilliant with drum bands and djs. Aid stations were every 2.5km and well stocked thru to the end.
At the 7km mark I took my first of 4 planned gels it was also around this stage we hit a turnaround and gave eachother a shout. About 1 min behind. Might sound like a race between us but i was looking forward to a chat having been silent for 7hrs. I know Frank sings the Fields of Athenry to himself on the bike , I suppose its better than his dancing so we should count ourselvies lucky! The far end of the run course was a complete contrast to the finish area. Our supporters moved up this end of the course for our 2nd and 3rd laps which was great. I think it was around 11km when I caught up to Frank. We ran together for a while until i needed a toilet stop. I then set off in chase again. We ran together again until we had enough of each other. One of the best signs I saw on route was from an Irish girl it read something like “hurry up I’ve to get home I think I left the immersion on ” Nutruition for run was 4 gels, water at all aid stations and coke from 20km on. All going well until it was time to take 2 nd gel stomach wasnt great. Cramps ,wind, release and repeat with cramps getting worse each time. With 21 km on clock the second toilet stop was needed. Jaysus portaloos are smelly all over the world. Problem temporally sorted. Lost 2 mins or so and expected Frank to be ahead of me so was looking forward to chat again. But at the next turn point he was behind me with a look of determination on his face. Quick shout and a high 5 and we were on our 3 rd lap. The crew had moved to the far end. Kids playing on the beach the wimmin with a few drinks in them. I stopped and chatted got medical advice re tummy . I felt the postive energy I got out weighed the time lost. Cian gave me a big hug which was what i needed. Tummy felt better shortly after so second gel (26-27km).The previous 10km had been hard. I had the same tummy problems in Tri An Mhi but cant narrow down the exact cause. I had slowed but at least i kept running. A few km after 2 nd gel same problems and 3rd toilet break (5 stops in total over the day). Just keep running to the 32km marker. I said id look at overall time at this point it read 10hrs 40 mins. Great, surely id be able to run 10 km in 80 mins or less and break 12hrs. I pushed hard in the last 10 km and ran steady kms times counting down each one.After most races we feel God maybe i could have run harder. This was the exception for me i gave it all and was completly empty crossing the line. But i had enough energy to smile and celebtarte. I heard the announcer saying “PJ you are an Ironman” and the €540 entry was worth it! :o

I made my way to the food tent via medal and t shirt collection. I knew Frank wouldn’t be long so I sat down just inside the door. But really I could have been in the middle of the Gobi desert for I all knew. I didn’t and Frank was the same after finishing, know whether I wanted to sit stand eat sleep shit vomit and celebrate! I had to find a jacks again (last ref to toilet I promise). We all hooked up outside tent again. Supporters were tired after walking 25km kids and all. We walked back to collect bikes and the short walk to our apartment. Celebrations on hold until the Monday. A big thank you again to all the support crew, you were brilliant all day LONG. You are more deserving off the well done’s.

Frank Run 4hrs 46mins
PJ Run 4hr 26 min

Frank overall 12hrs 13mins 40 sec
PJ overall 11hrs 55mins 54 sec
When making a decision to do an Ironman the whole family has to buy into it. Wife takes on at lot more jobs, big sister has to keep little bro entertained and little brother has to play football on his own a bit more. But we were all happy Sunday night, Cian declaring that Monday was his day and Lia told me she saw 3 super heros ( Wonderwomen Batgirl and me an Ironman) At least in her eyes I’m a hero. Thanks Yvonne for putting up with all the long hours training. Its over now for a while :D

Swim 160 km (56km open water) 62hrs
Bike 4,025km 151hrs
Run 935km 91 hrs

Hope somebody finds this report helpful if thinking of taking on this distance.

I’m sure if I forgot something Frank will be only to willing to add his bit.

Lastly thanks To Frank for joining me as im sure it was the last thing he wanted ( or his family) to sign up for after Roth. Cheers. :)

Continue reading

MTB Challenge 2015 – Results


Robin Seymour at the Racing795 MTB Challenge

Thanks to everyone who took on the Mount Leinster MTB Challenge on Sunday 30th August. A huge diversity of riders took part. Some raced it XC or Enduro-style, or used it as marathon training. Some took it as a personal challenge, and others rode it as a long Sunday spin with their mates.

Robin Seymour, Ireland’s greatest ever off-road cyclist, gave an exhibition of silky XC skills finishing in a blistering 2 hours, 7 minutes! Others worked much harder and put in almost 5 hours hard graft to get to the finish!

It wasn’t officially a race but we recorded times anyway so you can compare. The times are taken from when you finished, and make no distinction between those who rode the long or short route, or those who did less or more of the route. Just factor in any variations yourself.

Finishing times

We’d like to thank…

Coillte, without whose ongoing support there would be no Racing795 MTB events

Minx Design and Hogan Print for the event posters.

The Offroad Commission, in particular Maciej (Max Power) Staroniewicz, for online registration support.

Order of Malta, Wexford Unit for providing ambulance cover.

Pat Kiely (Trials bike rider)

Noel and Avril Deacon for the parking

Wexford County Council for the traffic cones.

Our own marshals, every one a legend!