Sunday, May 24, 2009

A spin with the lads

Sunday 24th May 09

This is Kevin. We discovered today that Kevin has been genetically enhanced. After just 20miles training on his new road bike he decided that it would be a good idea to tackle some of the biggest climbs in Wicklow.

Kevin, Allen and yours truly set of in glorious sunshine to head to the Shay Elliott climb. We would take in the ascent of Sliabh Mann on the way.

The route via Clonmore, Hackettstown and Knockananna is full of hills. This is not too bad on the way out but a little leg sapping on the return.

The ascent from Aughavannagh to the summit at Sliabh Mann is a long drag and pretty steep at the start but it eases out a bit along the way (Thank Jaysus). All three of us made it to the top in one piece, with Allen showing us the way and closing down a rider ahead of us... Way to go Al !!!!!

A decent into Glenmalure and a water break at the pub refreshed us for the attempt on the Shay Elliott. After hearing all the horror stories about these fabled Wicklow climbs I was pleasantly surprised to find that ascent was shorter than I expected and nowhere near as lung bursting as Corrubut Gap.
We stopped briefly at the top for a chat with another rider who was also a user (forgot to get his user name)

Back down to Glenmalure and then the ascent of Sliabh Mann from the other side. The climb from this side was the worst drag of the day, it seemed to go on forever. I think we helped each other up the climb with a bit of banter and Allen wiggling his arse.
The thought occurred to me that I would have found this drag really hard if I was on my own.

I decided that after Aughavannagh we should take a different route home to avoid the long climb to Knockananna. It turned out that we had a long climb anyway. There was some discussion about what roads to take but we found our way eventually.

We finished with about 55 miles. the time was really slow but we had a good few stops on the way for mechanical issues and water stops etc .. Shush !! there was even a hill stop.. we'll say no more about that.........

I was so delighted that we did that route today. I was really worried about those 2 ascents on the Wicklow 200 but although we won't hit them on the day until the 70/80 mile mark, I am not bothered about them now.

The three 0f us ended the day in the local with a bit of grub and a few pints.........

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Week commencing Monday 18th May

Monday 18th May

30mins on treadmill @ 10.5kph. Still tired after the weekend and the wine

Tuesday 19th May

PM Spin at gym 30/35 mins. 15 on treadmill to warm down.

Wednesday 20th May

Intended to do a chest/biceps session but ended up doing 15 mins treadmill & 20 mins spin bike.

Thursday 21st & Friday 22nd May

Rest (totally lazy week)

Thinking about adding another event to the calendar ...... Gale Force Race

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sportsworld 5 mile run - Sunday 17th May

Early start again, have to get to Dublin for 9am.

The legs feel remarkably good considering yesterdays 140km cycle.

I met Sean at the sign in and we ran a warm up together. We headed for the start a waited on the footpath for the road to close.
I was right at the front. After all my moaning about fat arses getting to the front at the bupa 10k and getting in the way, I was suddenly that fat arse.

When the race started I knew I was running a little faster than usual but was surprised to find the first mile was at 7 min mile pace.
I saw a guy that I recognised from taking photos and found this one that he took. (thanks Private)
Way tooooo fast for the training I had done and I knew that I would slow down soon enough.
The second mile was at 7.i5 and it was all going to be downhill after that.
Only realised at the third mile marker that I could take split times. It was interesting to see the results after.
My 4th mile was the slowest by a good bit at 7.44 but was back into the 7.20's for the last mile. Had I paid more attention to my watch I would have tried to knock the odd 7 seconds off my finish time.
I tried to push a bit for the last 1 - 1.5 miles but couldn't get the legs to go any faster. I really need to do some speed work.
I finished with 37.07 which I'm reasonably happy with. Hopefully I can improve on that for the Adidas 5 mile next month........

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mount Leinster Challenge

Mount Leinster Challenge

Am I bloody MAD
7.30.... I'm looking out the kitchen window, the wind is like a mini hurricane, it's pissing rain and I've just heard on the radio that the fast ferry has been cancelled because of the weather....
I'm going to pay 30 euros for the privilege of spending at least 6 hours on the bike freezing cold, wet through and taking my life in my hands on wet mountain descents. So yes I am MAD !!!

9.40 A.M .........By accident I started at the front of the group. It was a neutral start for the first 6/7 miles. I spun along having a nice chat with a guy from Arklow.
When the lead car left the pace picked up. I made a decision early on that I would not push to stay in a group but just move along at my own pace and if a suitably paced group came along I would hop in. I dropped off this group on the uphill out of Kiltealy............
There were a few single riders that passed me a a few who I passed until I picked up a small group on the way into Ballymurphy. We stayed together for a few miles, there was a downhill coming out of Ballymurphy, that was the first time I got a inkling of the wind. I got hammered with cross-winds on the hill down and it wasn't pleasant........

The run into Borris and into Bagnalstown was uneventful, except for the fact that I was hitting 20+ mph on undulating roads on my own - now, I'm no pro rider, which means I have a tail wind, I realised that I would pay for this later... oooh yes I would.

A guy passed me on the way into Bagnalstown on a bike that was in worse condition than mine (that pissed me off a bit) anyway he didn't open a gap and when we were climbing to the Bagnalstown graveyard I passed him with a "hello, how's it goin" . I never saw him again....

I saw a small group ahead of me and was wondering if I could catch them to get a bit of shelter for when we hit the wind. I picked off the first straggler on the bend at the hire shop and then got on the group a few miles before Fenagh.

This shall be known as the RED group as all the riders were wearing red. Please forgive me for waffling but I found the next few miles sooo interesting.....
There was about 6/7 guys in the "red" group, the first guy went off the back in Fenagh, the group turned at the roundabout towards Myshall and into a strong head wind. It looked like there was only one guy doing the work, everybody else was hiding,(I don't think that I've ever seen so many guys trying to hide) eventually (after the lead guy stopped peddling) another bloke took the lead, I had been thinking that it was only a few miles to Myshall so why don't we work together. A group passed us at this point....I was riding outside right with this guy (after too short a time) I took the lead. We were at the bottom of a hill. I gripped the bars and pushed for the top, I was closing the gap to a lone rider and the group who had just passed us. I looked around to see if somebody would take over....Please take over..... I've done my bit.....
Hey, where are you gone?
Rode the short bit into Myshall with the non red group. Then the fun started........

It's a climb of various severity from Myshall to the Nine Stones on Mount Leinster. There is one steep climb then the road levels out then a sharp left turn and WHAM the start of the ascent to the Corrubut Gap. I was really gasping for air on the way up and my heart rate was maxed. Stopped at the top for a minute and had a chat with the other poor sods. Short sharp downhill and hard right for the Nine Stones. The refreshments van was just around the turn. Topped up the water bottle and then had to put on the rain jacket as it started to lash rain.
The murderous head wind and driving rain made for a very unpleasant ascent.
At this point I still hadn't decided if I was going to do the extra loop for the 140km. I told myself if the descent wasn't to dangerous then I would carry on for the full event.
I stayed on the brakes all the way down the descent (what a wimp). For a few miles after the down hill there was a horrible head wind and the road undulated more than I would have liked. Eventually got to Kiltealy and the food stop at about 50 miles.
Fair play to Slaney Cycling Club the food was an absolute feast, sambos, cakes, scones, hot food etc and lashings of tea and coffee. Everyone was soaked and most of the chat was about taking the short run to the finish. I spoke to some of the guys mainly about ordering a boards jersey.
Jaysus I'm totally mad, I've decided to do the second loop back to Mount Leinster. The rain is still hammering down and will not let up for the rest of the day.
I don't see another bike until after Bunclody.
I'm wet, I'm cold, it's all uphill and there's a bastard off a headwind.
I pick off one guy on a steep uphill, remarks about the wind were exchanged. Final short climb to Corrubut Gap and the sharp left to the Nine Stones.
AHHHHHHHHHH BOLLIX it right into the wind. It's so much worse than the first time. Trying to spin up the hill, it feels like riding against a wall, I glance down at the computer, I'm distraught to find it reads 4.5 mph FFS I'm in danger of falling off sideways from lack of momentum.
I stopped at the refreshment van at the top, restocked with a drink and asked the guy how far to the finish. He told me 40km/25miles. Ok, a quick calculation makes that 92/93 miles.
The start of the descent is scary with the gusting crosswinds. I held the bars with a vise like grip and I think my arse was gripping the saddle with similar intensity.
Got to the bottom in one piece, undulating road again, still raining, still cold, still windy, into Kiltealy for the second time but now taking the road to Enniscorthy. Counting off the miles, a few cruel hills to test the legs.
I pass a sign that says Enniscorthy 13kms, can that be right ? I really hope so, it will make the run in about 5 miles shorter than I !! happy days.
Arrived to the clubhouse, shower, change and off home.
Just over 6 hours on the watch, pretty slow but probably not too bad for the conditions and the amount of time that I was solo......
Concert tonight and a 5 mile run tomorrow......................................

Monday, May 11, 2009

Week commencing 11th May

Monday 11th May

A.M. Gym

Back & Triceps (4,4,6,8 sets)

Bent over barbell row
Skull crushers
Wide grip lat pulldowns
Seated tri extensions
Close grip lat pulldowns
Cable tri extensions


5 mile run 39.45..... 7.57 mins average

Tuesday 12th May

A.M. Gym

Legs & Abs

Hamstring Curls
Leg Raises

Mixed with Plank & Swiss ball Sit Ups


Short hilly spin on the bike.. about 25 miles

Wednesday 13th May

A.M. Gym

Shoulders & Traps

Dumbbell Overhead Press
Lat Raises
Upright Row
Bent over Lat Raises

Thursday 14th MAy

A.M. Gym

40 mins easy on spin bike

Friday 15th May

Rest day...... Mount Leinster Challenge tomorrow !!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Week commencing Monday 4th May 09

Bank Holiday Monday

The legs are still a little stiff and sore from the cycle yesterday.

Wanted to see if I could run after a long cycle as the Mount Leinster Challenge and the SportsWorld 5 miler are coming up in 2 weeks time.

Went to the gym, weather was bad for road running but I also wanted to sit in the jacuzzi.

5 minutes warm up on the treadmill @ 10.5kph
Few static stretches
Set the distance for 8km
Started @ 12.5 kph
I was getting pains down my shins and in my left foot after about 1km. The shin pains were a bit more severe than I normally get and I really struggled from about 3km.
I set a target of 4km before reducing the pace but managed to get to 5 km and then reduced to 10.5kph

Distance: 8km
Time : 42.15
Average pace: 11.4kph

Tuesday 5th May

Intended to rest today (actually intended to do a short weight session in the gym)
I was fucking knackered when I woke up.

Change of plan
Went to the gym early evening for a spin class.

Spinning 30/35 minutes
Treadmill 25 minutes @ 10.5kph
Distance covered 4.33k

Wednesday 6th May

Tired when I got up this morning and my stomach felt a little dodgy.

Chest and Biceps session

All 4,4,6,8 sets
Chest Press
Biceps Curl
Incline Chest Press
Zottoman Curls
Dumbbell Flyes
Reverse Curls

Eventually got through the sets, took way too much time for recovery. Stomach still dodgy.

Thursday 7th May

Rest day

Friday 8th May

I had intended to do a back and triceps session but I was late getting to the gym and my energy levels were low.
My revised plan was to do some intervals on the treadmill.
Only managed 5 min warm up and 1 x 10 min interval @ level 11
Christopher has been out of school for the past 2 days according to the doctor he has some type of virus. I'm thinking that I must have a touch of something as I'm still feeling totally knackered and my stomach is still not great.

Saturday 9th May

Did 4.81 miles cross country with the club lads.
Total of 6 short laps. First 1.5 laps was slow at about 9.5min miles, pace picked up after that.
I wasn't as comfortable as I should have been at that pace, must still be a little off colour.
Distance 4.81 miles, Time 41.34, Average 8.38 mins per mile

Sunday 10th May

Headed for the Corrubut gap on the bike with the intention of heading up the climb to the Nine Stones on Mount Leinster.
It was tough on the gap, I stopped at the top for a drink and a bar (took a way longer break that I should have) As I look across at the road to the Nine Stones I tried to find any plausible excuse not to head up there.
Ahh fuck it, just go for it.
Turns out it was a really handy climb, I didn't get out of the saddle and actually finished the last bit on the big ring.
Returned through Fenagh and Rathoe.
Overall 40 miles.....

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sliabh Bloom Challenge - Sunday 3rd May 09

Event Info

Looking out at the early morning sunshine and having heard a good weather forecast I decided that this was a day for shorts,light weight socks and short sleeve top.

I had thrown overshoes, armwarmers, jacket and heavy tights into the car the night before, just in case and I was going to be sooo sorry that I didn't use them.

I arrived at the meeting point with Allen,in Strawhall at 8.30 for registration and a 9.00 start. Bumped into a mate, Lar, at the assembly area.

We had a bit of a false start. We noticed that there were groups heading off already, so we decided to follow one of the groups. That was all well and good until we realised that we weren't closing the gap although we were pushing the pace a bit. We decided to turn around and head off with a more suitably paced group.
We met Lar and two mates on the way so we jumped in with them. None of us actually knew the route so a quick check of the map was needed on the ringroad. The roads were well marked after that.

Despite the strong head wind it was good craic in the group on the long drag by Killeshin.
This was also the first opportunity to try out the new chainring. After what happened on the climb up to the "Cut" my small gears will no longer be referred to as girly gears. More later !!

I was freezing for the first few miles, my feet didn't thaw out for about 60 miles. I'm really not sure if they did get warmer or if I just stopped feeling them after all my other bits started to hurt. I wasn't brave enough to take off my over jacket all day.

At about 17 miles I had the life scared out of my by a bunch of 30 or 40 riders whizzing past on a downhill. We hopped into the group and stayed with them 10 or so miles.
This was the first time since school (that's not today nor yesterday) that I've been in a large bunch and it felt fantastic. I lost sight of Allen, Lar and the lads for about 20 minutes as I moved closer and closer to the front of the bunch. I was getting a bit nervous when I realised I would most likely need to take a turn at the front (Ahh Jaysus, I'll be too slow, how long will I last at the front etc.) I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when the group broke up and I hadn't been on front.
I think that I went into a sort of race mode for a while, I wanted to chase down the wheel in front and hop on any wheel that passed, it did feel exciting, but it eventually dawned on me that we still had about 70 miles and some big climbs ahead.. slow down you fuckin eejit you're not 18 any more !!

The route took us through Abbeyleix and onto the rest stop at Mountrath. A very welcome cup of tea and a couple of sambos refreshed us for the next stage "the mountains" I had hoped that the break would help to warm my feet, unfortunately that wasn't the case.

The first climb over Sliabh Bloom towards Kinnitty was steep enough in parts but mainly a tough drag. The scenery was impressive, although I guess that it would look a lot better without sweat and snot dripping off your nose.
The surface on most of the downhill was crap and made for some serious arse clenching.
I nearly rear ended Allen on the way down (not in a brokeback mountain way)
I was glad to reach the better surface of the main road.

The wind is either in your face or you are having a good day.
We were having a good day on the road from Kinnitty to the next village (cant remember the name) We had a conversation along the way, we knew that there were two large climbs on the route and I asked Allen if he thought we had already done the two climbs. not as stupid a question as it may appear as there was a distinct up, down and up again on Sliabh Bloom. We were left in no doubt when we made the right turn off the main road and started up the climb to the"Cut"

Like Lance Armstrong and Jan Ulrich we were powerfully pushing our way to the summit, About half way up I tucked in behind "Lance" to allow some cars to pass and as I glanced to my right to move out I was greeted by young lady in Carlow road club livery shooting past "howya" "howya" and she disappeared into the distance leaving us "supreme athletes" huffing and puffing and suitably reminded of our place in the cycling world. (no more references to girly gears, ever, ever, ever again. Sorry girls)
I was getting some mild stomach cramps on the way up, I think it was the mix of Lucozade sport and gels just didn't agree with me, all was well and good until on the way down I farted :-O .I had to tell Al that there would be a stewards enquiry. For a few minutes the laughter took my mind off the aches and pains.

Mostly downhill back to Mountrath where we checked out where we had the first tea break in the hope that there would be some more refreshments. At this point I really fancied a cuppa and a sandwich No luck though. Ah well, keep going, onward to Portlaoise.
I noticed that I was starting to check the mileage on a more regular basis, 70, 71, 71.5... It's going to be a long haul home...the legs felt like they had one speed only and my shoulders (traps) were going into spasm.

Going through Portlaoise Allen did a Superman and made his bike fly, when he jumped a huge pothole and avoided a car pulling out of a side street. Impressive move .. I could almost visualise him with red knickers over his lycra shorts and a billowing red cape...(WOW !! that's a scary thought)
I was a bit worried about the impending climb out of Stradbally but it turned out to be relatively easy (didn't need to use the baby gears) Well not all of them.
We joined up with some lads from Naas cycling club and that really helped make the last few miles fly by. I even found enough energy to take a turn at the front and close down a gap or two. Wonders will never cease !!!

Back to Carlow, a cup of tea and a quick chat with the lads and away for grub and a shower.

Finished the day with a gallon of guinness with Allen in his local. Great day !!!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Week Commencing Monday 27th April

Monday 27th April

Went to gym. Did a leg and abs/core session

All set of 4,4,6,8 aming for failure on the last set.

Squats 55kgs (I know, I'm working on it)
Hamstring curls 65kgs
Leg Raises 65kgs
Lunges with 16kgs in each hand.

Mixed with Plank and Swiss Ball sit ups.

Tuesday 28th April

Didn't hear the alarm. Missed the planned A.M. session.
Hoped to have a P.M session but a friend had some issues that had to be attended to, so the training had to me missed.
Went to pub late and had a few pints

Wednesday 29th April

No early start today after the pints.
Went to gym.
Session was:
10 Minute warm up on treadmill @ 11kph
1x 10 min interval on treadmill at level 11
1 x 10 min interval on treadmill @ level 10
50 mins on spin bike
1 min easy
2 mins pushing sitting down
2 mins pushing out of the saddle

Thursday 30th April

Went to Dublin to get a new chainring on the bike (34 inner ring, what a puff)
Just made it to the gym 45 mins before closing.

Session was:

20 mins treadmill @ 12.1 kph
20 mins spin bike

4 mins easy/med
1 min out of saddle

3 mins easy/mid
2 mins out of saddle

2 mins easy/med
3 mins out of saddle

1 min easy/med
4 mins out of saddle

Friday 1st May

40 mins treadmill @ 10.5 kph

Saturday 2nd May

Rest day
Sliabh Bloom cycle tomorrow

Sunday 26th April

Sunday 26th April


Went for a 5 mile run around the Ardattin circut.

I felt extremely tired all the way around and finished somewhere close to 45 minutes (can't be bothered to look up the exact time)


Called over to Allen with my bike and we headed for the Corrubut Gap via Bagnalstown. I was hoping that when we crested the gap that we would head for the nine stones. Well, was that all going to change !!!

As we headed up the first steep section Allen went ahead of me. He had a steely look in his eye and was totally focused on getting to the top.

I managed to get about 1/3 of the way up when I had to stop. I actually got off the bike and walked around a bit, then I puked, not very pleasant but a least I would be a bit lighter for the rest of the climb.
Eventually made to the top but as I was getting there I noticed Allen heading back down to look for me. I had a laugh to myself (would have laughed more if I wasn't in pain) because when he saw me he turned around to head back to the top but the hill was so steep he couldn't get back on the bike and had to walk back to the summit...

When I got to the top I got off the bike again and huffed and puffed for a while. All plans to head for the nine stones were abandoned and god bless Allen he suggested that it looked like rain so maybe we should take the short route home. (thanks Al)

I had a first on the way down !!!
It's a horribly steep downhill and since I fell off a bike as a young lad at terminal volocity I don't like downhills
I don't know if it was because I was gripping the bars so tightly on the way up or something else but on the way down I could smell the brake blocks burning (not a first) and my hands and forearms were starting to cramp. I actually had to stop to take the pressure off my hands, I thought that I was going to lose the ability to pull the brakes and knew there was an especially steep bit just before a T junction. Imagine how stupid that makes me feel !!! Stopping on a downhill....

We got back to Allens after only abut 32 miles. Last spin before the Sliabh Bloom challenge... God help me !!!!

The Bike

The bike started with a phone call from Eddie

"Hey, Git you want to do the Wicklow 100?"
"Let me check it out. I'll call you back"

Some internet research later !!!

"Hey Ed, had a look at that. The wicklow 100 is for puffs we should do the 200. There are some proper climbs in the 200"

Jaysus, me a me big gob !!! How I was going to regret that remark over the coming weeks.

Turns out that Ed is a big puff after all and bottled the whole bike thing, however, his older and better looking brother Allen is altoghter a different kettle of fish. Turns out that Al and his sexy new carbon fibre bike are up for the challenge.

So with 8 weeks to the event we started training for the Wicklow 200

We have added a few extra events as part of the training. The first one is the Sliabh Bloom Challange

I have done some spins on the bike, mostly with Allen. The longest spin was just over 80 miles on Sunday 19th April and we have also headed up the Corrubut Gap a few times (that still hurts) added to that are some flatter spins. Not many miles but hopefully enough to complete the sportives.

Bupa 10k 5th April 09

I drove to my friends house a couple of hours before the the run. He lives close enough to the Phoenix park to run/jog to the start. His wife and son and my son were helping out at the race so they headed off early.

Sean and I jogged over to the park and did some gentle runs along the grass as a warmup.

The weather was perfect, sunshine and no wind worth talking about.

There were 11,000 people registered, the start area was jammed with bodies, some running, some stretching but most were just standing around nervously waiting for the race to start.

As we made our way to the starting pens, Sean hopped into the 35-45 minute section. I kept walking towards the next section 45-55 minutes. I mentioned previously that I wasn't well prepared for the run, I had also been ill earlied in the week so I was just hoping to finish in under 60 minutes (60 was my out loud time, i was really hoping for something closer to 50). At this point I had no idea how the legs would react, I was a bit nervous about not finshing at a run. I had a mental picture of myself waddling across the line at a slow walk surrounded by grey haired old women.

Eventually the run started. It took me a couple of minutes to get to the start line.

Here we go !!
Start the watch, ipod on, get the legs moving.
Actually would like to move a bit faster.
Can't do it, it's wall to wall bodies, try to get through some gaps as they appear (not good at the gap thing).
Ah well, just go with the flow.
At the 1km mark at the roundabout I check my watch 5.38 (Sean tells me later his group went through in 4.30)

As they slow down the fat fuckers are still blocking the road. From the start to the 5 or 6km mark I have passed 100s of fat arsed people who obviously have a very high opinion of their abilities and packed into the 35-45 minute section. Some of these are still going to be on the course as night falls.
Don't get me wrong I'm no Eamonn Coughlan, I was overtaken by plenty of people too but I really got irked by the amount of slow runners who placed themselves at the top of the field.

I called out and waved to Christopher at the water station, I was on the opposite side of the road as I didn't need water at the time. Don't think that I had broken a sweat yet !

I had been chatting to a guy at the start, he was in his early/mid 20s and was saying that his target was 50 something (can't remember now). I met him on the hill just after the water station. I have to admit that I really enjoyed patting him on the back with the obligatory "well done, keep going" as I glided past.
I spotted a guy in a red top on this hill who was moving well through the crowd, I moved in behind him and used him as a target for a few kms. This also seemed to make the time fly by.

The downhills especially at the Kyber Pass (?) were too packed to make any time. In fact on a few occasions I had to do the baby step shuffle so as not to step on the people in front of me.

In the last 3 or 4 kms there were still quiet a number of people going backwards. It was noticable at this point that the arses were smaller.

The final straight (long run in) I managed to stretch the legs a bit and finally finished in 51.50.

Handed in the chip, got the goodie bag and escaped the melee at the exit.

Ran back to Seans house. I did receive some funny looks on the way.

Overall a very enjoyable day and some valuable lessons learned.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bit more backround

Didn't do very much for a good few weeks after Dublin 08. I then started to train for a 10k that was on in early December. I was following a well structured programme and was doing all my running on the threadmill.

I began to develop a pain in my left foot and after it became seriously uncomfortable I decided to rest it. Diagnosis by internet suggested that it was caused by a stress fracture of a metatarsal, although I'm not so sure about that now.

Anyway, I put on my fat head for christmas (starting early Dec and finished early Jan) Drank Guinness by the bucketful and stuffed my face with lovely goodies. Added about 5kgs to my already rotund frame.

Early /mid March started to do a few short slow runs. My intention was to run the Bupa 10k on the 5th April. Only managed to get 3 or 4 4-5 mile training runs in before the event. There is nothing like being prepared for a race and this was nothing like being prepared !!!