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Adventure Racing Training Day

Posted by on 31 October, 2010
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When Sean put out the call for this event I was more than happy to help. Adventure Racing in Ireland has been crying out for this sort of thing and fair play to Sean and the Total Experience lads for putting it on. There was a great turn out of experienced adventure racers there to help out and plenty of new faces which was good to see. There is a hunger for proper Adventure Racing. One lad travelled all the way from Cork this morning!

We all piled into the shed and the tea and sausages were a perfect start to the day. Chris Caufield kicked off proceedings tracing his journey from an idea born in a Naas carpark with his drinking buddy Denis all the way to this years Adventure Racing World Championships in Spain. Chris touched all the bases in his presentation and had some very interesting tips on training and diet. I’ve learned a lot from Chris over the last year and he’s a great source of advice. Today he showed me a coat hanger some teams were using as part of a bike tow system at this years ARWC. Simple idea and very effective. Brian followed up Chris with some good advice on equipment and gear. It was nice to see him skip the trivial stuff and cover items like map boards, different types of bike tow and proper footwear.

Sean was busy in the background making out the teams. The teams were announced at 10:55 and the maps handed out. I think there were 6 or 7 teams in total. I was paired with Cormac Power, Roisin Hickey and Caroline Reid. We were the strong team according to Sean so no pressure Finbar. My new teamates assembled we set about marking up the maps. Cormac identified the the cp locations on the map and Roisin marked them up. I took a back seat and chipped in when it came to pinpointing the exact locations. We then set about our route choice. The kayak was a no brainer so we focused on the foot orienteering. 5 cps that we would need to complete in order. The lads choose their route and I was happy. On to the MBTO and the lads had a route pretty quick. They were getting the hang of it. We assembled our bikes and changed into our kayaking gear. Brian gave the race briefing and straight away we were hit with a change to the race. The foot orienteering could now be done in any order. The lads were all over the maps like a rash and had an alternate route within minutes. Cool! My job would be easy :)

Brian started the race with a blow of his whistle and we were off in the kayaks. It was a pretty short kayak stage and we settled in second or third closely monitoring the leaders. They lead us to all the controls so nav wasn’t an issue. Cormac had the map under control anyways. We came off the water in third or fourth place but I think Andreas’s team had skipped a control. Cormac had to change into bike shoes for the mtb stage but we were through transition pretty fast. On the bikes I got the lads into a train pretty quick and we moved well as a unit. We quickly caught Karen’s team. She had managed to skip the Kayak stage and seemed pretty happy about that :) Obligatory slagging as we passed bye we headed up the Gap Road. A nice climb but we were moving well. Fair play to Roisin she was happy to take push up the hill from myself or Cormac. It was about sticking together and moving as fast as we could. Into the transition we headed for cp2 at the ride track junction, finding it with relative ease. A short trek across open mountain and we hit the track for the summit of Black Hill for cp1. The lads were making good nav decisions by themselves which was great to see. We hit the summit passing Andreas’s team on the way up. Then off down the track to cp3 at the memorial. Caroline was enjoying the downhill and flew off. Cormac was wearing a pair of road runners and the slippery conditions were slowing him down but not too much. We hit the memorial and then we went for cp5. This was our only real error of the day. Instead of heading back up the track we took a bearing and crossed open mountain down to the stream. After a bit of bush whacking we evently got the stream. Roisin’s legs were taking a battering as she only had 3/4 lenght leggings.Quick to improvise she took her arm warmers from bag and used them on her calfs. Good thinking! Up the stream we hit cp5. We lost some time here and Karen and Andreas’s teams had a good laugh at us as we crossed paths again. Eager to make up the lost time we ran to the forrest and picked up the ride to cp4. We punched and got out of there asap running down the fireroad and back to the TA. We had 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the rest of the course. I encouraged the lads to look at possibilities for cutting cps if we were stuck for time. They identified cp9 and cp10 as canditates.We could skip cp9 immediatly and go ahead and complete the rest of the course or get cp9 and cut out cp10 if we needed later in the course. The lads decided to go for cp9 and eveluate the situation later. An excellent choice. We zoomed down the hill to cp9 and were well on our way to cp6 (i think, i wasn’t paying much attention,the lads were in control). cps 7,8 and 10 were all got with relative ease. We were on our way home now and still moving well. Coming down into Lacken we were first team on the road. One final push for Roisin and we all raced hard to the finish where Brian was waiting for us. We completed the MBTO with 30 minutes to spare.

I was really happy with the lads. They wern’t afraid to make decisions fast and stick with them. We made a mistake at cp5 but big deal no one was complaining, they just got on with it. The attitude was brilliant! They weren’t afraid to race fast either. My job was easy I really didn’t have a whole pile to do. I may have asked the odd question to get them thinking about certain things but they focused at all times and in race mode for most of it.

Well done Sean and co for an excellent event. Adventure Racing in Ireland is a small community but events like this will give people a taste and hopefully the community will grow. It would be great to see a few more teams next year at the Beast or Cooley Raid.

The stew was lovely :)

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