1st race back in years, experiences of a humble A4 rider.

Thankfully the Cycling Pursuits Cup started off well, was in with A4s, and as a newbie I got let off half a minute ahead with the over 40’s. The sun came out in Broadford, Co Limerick just in time for the start. My first objective was complete in a matter of minutes – that was to feel fine after first few miles. In fact because I had warmed up well, I was feelin’ great. By the time the rest of the A4s caught up to us, that feeling of being almost carried along with maybe 80 other guys was immense and memorable. So many times I asked myself during the race why I was not doing this the last 15 years, anyway, pointless having regrets now. Having previously raced with Bray Wheelers and Sorrento CC, today I was sporting the Team Siopa Rothar Jersey.

A4s and Over 40s Cycling Pursuits Cup 2011

Im in there somewhere

We got to the climb on lap one and I was in first 15 of bunch which was a good idea as it was a narrow road. Was still at front half way up climb but the climb was in three stages and I had put too much into first two parts and was going backwards a bit on last bit. Should have done that recon! Not to worry, would know better next lap. So a breakaway of about 20 escaped. I remembered that sinking feeling as a 17 year old, watching the wheels ahead get further away while I was there on my own. I didn’t account or the fact that there were maybe 50 or 60 behind me, trying to suck my wheel, so about 4 or 5 of us got a big chase on and rotated for some good work. I went from a fleeting moment of a sinking feeling, to wake up and get back in the ball game. We reeled them back in and all was together again before the climb on lap 2. Adrenalin was coursing thru the veins now. All my training meant not only was I in this race, I was standing up and being counted in my own modest way. Did well on second climb, slightly adrift but knowing the descent well this time helped me and some others regroup with any would be escapees this time. Going up the climb each time was made a little easier by shouts of encouragement from Mike and Jamie from the Siopa Rothar brigade. No doubt Gary who was up with the A2s appreciated this too.

Had family support on the lap aswell, Cathy and Ella were roaring for me on the flat section, driving me on!

The chase is on!

Thats me on the wheel of the lead chaser

I didn’t know it but coming onto climb 3 we were all together, either that or a small few had disappeared off the front…we could see them anyway and they were just ahead before the climb, chased as much as I could at front without sacrificing my race on the climb…this worked well as the climb felt ok. I was maybe 50 yards behind what I percieved as the lead climbers up last bit and was catching them over the brow, had measured my effort well this time but was on my own for the start of the descent. Then, while making progress, I overcooked a sharp right hander, ended up almost at a standstill in 53/14 or 15, just avoiding worst of the ditch. That was my chance to get back on to the front guys gone up in smoke. Anyway, was still in the race, one of the guys I worked hard with all day, from Kanturk Wheeleres offered me his wheel, as he caught me up, we worked our way up through and past a few stragglers off the front, but by now the front was in two groups, first of 9 and then of 8. It finished that way with me and two others coming in after the 8. I misjudged the end, thought finish line was at start line so the two guys with me had their dice by time I was out of saddle, but I reckon I was 20th.

The gauntlet is thrown down!

Dash to the line for lead group

My never ending post mortem the day after revolved around my over eagerness on that right-hander, and maybe if I had forced myself a bit more on the last climb. If so, I would have finished with the second group, and possibly top ten or 12 only… I didn’t and if my uncle had something else he would be my aunt I know, but to know I was that close to the heel of the hunt was great for me. Need to focus my training a bit more now. A few notable differences from Tri: would be nicer to know for sure where I finished. It was hard to know the race situation as there were different colour numbers everywhere…one day licenses included. It felt like racing 18 years ago with no showers, no splits but tea and sambos were great, as was the camaraderie among fellow eager racers. I think that was the best bit, helping to organise a chase that brought us back into the race, so satisfying. So have now come 22nd in a duathlon, and 20th in a bike race. Two dumbass errors have cost me a few places in each race now. Am working on that, as well as more measured training. Got to cut out more chocolate, biscuits etc, and behave everyday knowing it’s the difference between top 10 (hopefully) and top 20 or so. Next stop Clonmel duathlon then Rás Luimní the week after that. Can’t wait!

Finish line in site

End of a good days work

Thanks for reading the thoughts and experiences of a humble A4 bike racer, who had the time of his life at this race! Will report again post Clonmel Duathlon.

Limerick marathon 2010 report

Thats me in blue!

300m to go, Limerick Marathon 2010

Sorry its taken so long to get this report up here! Well, I’m alive to tell the tale. Without any further rabbitting on, I did it in 3 hrs 50 mins, which is all anyone wants to know. For my own piece of mind, and joy of recollection, here is an account of how it happened.

Started off nicely if not slightly too pacy in early miles, between 5 and 10 I was running as planned, but maybe a few mins ahead of myself after an enthusiastic first 5. The conditions were ideal in that it was dry, and cool. By mile 10 it rained for 10 or 15 minutes from memory but body heat was up so it wasnt an issue. But by now I was feeling unbelievable strentgh coursing through my veigns. I knew there was a risk of this happening given that training had gone so well, and I should have known better to control it. Alas I could not. I left my 3 hrs 45 mins marker man behind me and set off to conquer the world an all who stood before me.

That was working fine till around about 19. I must have slowed by then unbeknownst to myself as I didnt realise the marker guy had pased me again! I got back on and stayed with him till 21 but by now despite good food and drink intakes I was walling.

This was a shame as I was hoping the pride of running through my native City streets was going to lift me mentally, which it did, but when your legs are 5 stone each…

I knew anyways that I had banked up a good time up to now and I just had to hang in and do something akin to 10 minute miles between 22 and 25, and then put the hammer fown for 26. And thats just what I did. Seems eay to type it now but it felt like dying a thousand deaths for the guts of an hour. Getting past by the half marathoners seemingly every second was a bit of a distraction, although it did have the effect of creating a bigger buzz at the finish. While 3 hrs 45 was gone, I thought 3 51 was more like my finish time, but the last mile was good and I took a minute off (City pride got the better of me thankfully)!!

Coming up Cecil Street knowing I had 200 maybe 300 mts to go I gritted my teeth and pinned my ears back and went for it, till my right calf threw a wobbler and made me involuntarily go to header an invisible ball. So now I had to slow to a more modest sprint, but crossing the line felt damn good. I dont know which was more welcome….the Mars bar, the banana or the medal! The former have long since been savaged but the medal hangs proudly beside its big brother from Dublin 2005 in office Platform Web!

The last 300 m dash must have turned the energy bars and drink in my stomache as I was not good till about an hour later (i.e., when I got sick!) ‘Never again’ I promised myself and repeatedly re-iterated. But a quick cold bath and a snooze got me going again for a great night out in Limerick. Roll on the Great Limerick Run 2011. I’ll be there.

3 days to go!

Hmm, was going to say I can’t believe its just three days to the Great Limerick Run (Limerick marathon), but really I just want it to happen now! Did 30 mins light running yesterday, and 40 mins day before, but its rest now till Sunday, natural feeling is to want to be active…but I guess come mile 20 on Sunday I’ll be glad I rested.

I am feeling good and think preparation has been good too. Two weeks ago I shared the Nenagh Triathlon with Cathy (she did the swim and me the cycle and run). We came in 100th of 212 which was great given the competitiveness of the field. Chuffed with my cycle (61st) but felt I left some of myself out there on the run (106th). Once this marathon is over I might forego long distance for a while and work on speed for 5 and 10k runs.

Anyways, not afraid to pin my colours to the mast and say that I am aiming to beat 4 hours this time. My plan is 20 miles at 9 mins ea, and then improve per mile thereafter. I’ll take water every 3rd mile en-route, and feed with energy bars on 3, 9, 15 and 18. Hope weather will be good to us, Its been unnaturally good of late but raining slightly today.

Taking on lots of water, pasta, noodles, bananas and fig rolls at the moment. Next time I blog on this I hope I have beaten my target of 4 hrs! Good luck to all the other 6,000 taking part in their respective distances on Sunday. For now its back to the job that pays at platformweb!

Cycling at Nenagh Tri April '10

Limerick Marathon preparation going well

I did my last major long distance run yesterday in preparation for the Great Limerick Run. I ran 20 miles, or 32k if you prefer it that way. Covered it in 2:47 which I was a bit disappointed with. Think I may be suffering a natural dip in form as my cycling and short distance running has not been hectic either last week or so. Previously I had done 30k in 2:31, so a bit of slippage some where but not really too sure where. Perhaps I ought to time my 5k intervals better.

I enjoyed it anyways and it was good to use the run for headspace to think about some new plans and developments happening for me at Platform Web.  It feels good now that the 20 miler out of the way. I’ll do a 16 mile run next week, then 12 etc.

10 days to go to Nenagh Triathlon. Am sharing that one with Cathy who is doing the swim, but I think we both wish we could have applied in time to do it all individually. Oh well, there’ll always be another one!

Tried using energy gels yesterday for first time, not sure about them to be honest. While they may have helped I did not like the taste! and had to carry extra water to dilute them inside me. Will stick to actual energy bars and fluids on the big day methinks.

Over and out for now.

30km run under the belt!

With exactly 5 weeks to go, I posted a 30km run in preparation for the Great Limerick Run – Marathon.

The previous 25km run went well for me so I was in good mental shape starting out. That said between 10 and 20 was hard enough. Perhaps this was due to the fact that I was running a piece of road that was new to me. Anyway, I hit the 20km marker with 1 hr 44 on the clock so I knew I could do the 30 km if I injected a little jist into my pace.

I broke the remaining 10k into 2 X 5k slots thinking that if I managed the first one within myself I could put the hammer down a bit on the last stretch. That’s exactly how it worked out. What was good for me about this was that I knew I could have gone the distance, so with 5 weeks left on the clock, I know I can do it, and now I can focus a bit more on what time I can do it in!

It was also helpful to note that my pace per km was the same as what I achieved for my previuos 25km run, which is 5 mins and 2 seconds per km. I suppose that means I either have more in the tank or that I’m responding well to training…I’ll take either one just now thanks!

Will do some gentle running on turf tonight just to facilitate the recovery and might do a cycle/run combination on Wednesday or Thursday, depending on how I feel. Hope your training is going well too, back to my desk for now!

Very Good Friday Decision!

3 Cheers for Judge Tom O’Donnell on making a special licensing laws exemption for Limerick this Good Friday when Munster play host to Leinster in the Magners League.

Sport is unusaully popular in Limerick, and its stadia have a major impact on the local economy, particularly Thomond Park and particularly in the current climate. At last a decision has gone Limerick’s way. This author has often blogged right here when they have not gone our way, so now it is my duty to report when one does swing in our direction! This is a great decision and further enforcement of the importance of each of Limerick, Munster Rugby and her infamous supporters to one another.

I am cheerig on my wife in an Aquathon competition in Greystones the same day so while I will be away from the Platform Web desk, I wont be downing the pints between 6:00pm and 11:30pm in Limerick as now possible courtesy of the good judge.

So hope all who go along enjoy the match, and now thanks to Judge O’Donnell, you can enjoy Limerick at its best too! Will he ever have to buy a pint in Limerick again?

More from RTE.ie/news here