So, I’ve just arrived in Glendalough, the clouds are looking ominous!!!
I pop my bike into transition and head over to the race breifing – 15 minutes before the start.
It’s so cold – I decide to put on my rain jacket and as I do it starts snowing!!! We line up on the startline and the horn goes off….. I look around to see where I’m to dib in to start my time, I’m panicking and ask a steward, he points me to registration so I run back while everyone else heads off up the spink! I nip back to registration and dib in, I’ve lost a few minutes. I head off and begin the climb up the spink. The first few minutes I’m pushing hard to make up the time I’ve lost, I soon catch-up with the group but I’m soon at walking pace as we’re on the steep path up the spink and it’s only made for single file so I know I’m loosing time. I try to pass where I can but it’s not until I get to the top of the spink that I can really get going, by that stage I’m well down the field. We reach the top of the spink and the whole way up it’s been really tricky underfoot.
On the descent down to the bridge I spot a deer, we both pause before both running in opposite directions! Down to wooden bridge and now I turn towards the lakes and begin descending fast but my lack of downhill running tells as I’m passed by a few competitors. I try to make up time by cutting a corner but this nearly results in me falling over so I decide to avoid that course of action again. I reach the bottom of the descent and begin to pick the pace up, I soon start to reel in the people who have passed me on the descent. I’m moving well coming into the first transition. As I come around the corner before the first transition I go the wrong way – I turn left instead of going straight ahead. No signage…..
I finally get to dib in and move to get my bike, I’m quickly on the bike after taking a quick drink and a gel. I’m off and on the way to Lough Dan, I push hard and I’m in and out of Laragh in no time. I’m soon on the drag up to Lough Dan. There’s a nice sweeping descent into Lough Dan and I enjoy the restpite I get by freewheeling down.
Off the bike and I make the short run to the kayak, “over here, over here” I hear as I get near the lake. I jump in the back of the kayak with God knows who! We move off quickly and we’re making ground on the crews ahead of us. The weather at this stage has completely changed, it’s still cold but the sun has come out:) We get around the kayak course with ease. As we come into the finish of the kayak section I jump out of the kayak and drag the kayak out of the water and up onto grass. I take the life jacket off and say good luck to my kayak partner. I run as fast as I can back to the bike but my feet are soaking!
On the bike and I have another gel and some more fluid. The cycle back up the hill is brutal and the cyle in general up to Djouce is hard going. My legs are beginning to feel it now and my feet are cold from the water at Lough Dan. I get into the Djouce transition and begin the run up to Djouce. The run is scenic and I know some of the route as I’ve mountain biked up here before. But soon we begin the climb to Djouce. At this stage I’m walking. It’s tough on the calfs. I just keep moving one step at a time. I get to the top and the view is stunning. I stop and take it all in before looking behind me to see a few competitors coming up fast. I take off and push hard down the hill. The trail is slippery on the way down so I take my time as now is not the time to fall over and do an injury. After about 15 minutes I’m back on the gravel and nearing transition. I’m praying that there’s no more hills on the bike! I’m also looking at my watch and I’m thinking that it would be great to break 5 hours! But knowing I’ve 26km and a 3km run left to do in just over an hour I know it’s going to be tight.
On the bike I give it everything, I soon begin to pass a few competitors on the road, I’m feeling it. I keep telling myself that I’ll soon be heading downhill…. I reach the turn at Sally’s Gap and begin to head back towards Laragh, I put the pedal down and I’m really moving. It’s not long before I come into Laragh, I can’t believe it. Into the GAA club and I look at the watch, I’ve just under 25 minutes to break the 5 hour mark. I drop the bike off and begin to push on, it’s only 3km! But it’s a hard 3km after a long day cycling,running and kayaking. Fatigue is setting in. My legs are feeling it but I just keep going. I pass the small lake and I know I’m getting close. Soon I see the car park and the turn right – the finishline is in sight. I’m on time to break 5hours. I push on down the home straight and cross the line. It’s 4hrs 55mins by my time sheet. But I clock it closer to 4hrs 52 mins.
So Wicklow Adventure Race is in the bag – it’s dubbed the toughest adventure race in Ireland and it arguably is the toughest. 73km of hard graft. Great race and nice scenic course. I would like to have received a momento though for finishing such a hard course. Maybe the organisers would look at a medal or something for those who complete the course in the future.
Join the next Challenge
Sense the Adventure, Fitheads – Are supporting Kops4kidz, Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Tania McCabe Foundation in May 26th 2012 – Enter now and €7.50 per entrant goes to the charity of your choice!
http://www.moxieadventurechallenge.com/, Brian Keogh from Total Experience gives insight into The Moxie Adventure Challenge – this course has been designed in collaboration with Bruce Duncan top UK Adventure racer.The challenge starts and ends in Tulfarris House on the shores of the Blessington Lakes and includes: 1.5K Kayak, 30K Cycle and 8K Hill run.
http://www.thedayinthegarden.com/ ,includes fun for adults and children, takes place alongside the adventure challenge and as competitors cross the finish line they are rejoined by friends
and family for food and beverages.
soundscape and film created by http://www.tonystledger.com/ for TTV © 2011