The weather has timed itself to perfection as we write this Ireland is being battered by Gael Force winds and rain, anticipating the weather on race day is almost impossible with Irish forecastors finding it hard to get things right….. the one thing we do know is that… it is Ireland, we can have any seasonal weather on any day… so always carry a light windproof rain jacket
Gaelforce west starts before the race begins… if your reading this looking for training tips, we apologise but you should have spoken to the Guru before now @mr_mikejones is always happy to help. (www.mikejones.ie)
In the days leading up to and the night before the race… rest up, lay off your normal training, maybe keep the frequency the same but back off on the intensity before hand, skip the friday of work(if possible) as travel is a killer on the body and getting a good nights sleep is always key to racing well. folks this isnt open heart surgery, so loose the nerves and prepare to enjoy the race.
Breakfast… get the porridge in, eat it until your ears are dripping with the stuff!! but and this is a big but ( we aint talking J-LO) if you havent eaten porridge before race morning then stick to your normal pre-race routine. maybe skip the fry though…
eat 3hrs before race start and then an energy snack again before the race starts.
By this stage you should know what you can and cant eat in terms of time before your long runs. The first run of this race is 14k, getting the pacing and hydration for this first section will be key to the rest of the day.
The first run, start eating early don’t wait until your hungry or its too late. your first run will be over the hour thats over your bodies hour worth of glycogen.. eat what you do in training, dont try anything new in race day
Remember the rules, you must carry your kit……. but… you dont need to carry a full hydro pack of fluids, make sure and place full water bottles on your bike and just bring enough for in your hydro pack for the sections.
Start there race at your own pace, no sprinting off, or you will be caught by your smarter friend who has done half the training you have but has used the peanut between his ears as his weapon of choice. It is natural human instinct to follow the crowd, be smart do what you do in training and race smart
first run = steady….. dont let us say “we told you so” Coaches love that line
Tips for clothing’s would be to wear quick drying shorts for after the kayak… but all these things are personal preference, and a light rain jacket is paramount … just vaseline the nipples and lobe up the groinal area those potential chaffing regions, always hard to write about these topics but believe me, we see it year in year out, this brings grown men to tears and has caused numerous DnFs
Onto the kayak…. with your minds eye, search for the longer paddle pole/oar, hard to do when not used to the kit but it makes a big difference.
Tip for the kayacking…. nice and steady, in the greater scheme of things your not going to loose a huge amount of time here, rest your legs, focus on even strong long strokes. for the majority of the masses…. slow and steady wins the kayak race. (always noticeable is those who havent done the core work on this section… ill wait until after to see if I can say i told you so 🙂
Wet socks after the kayak… and all those puddles… don’t make the mistake of wearing a type of socks that you haven’t raced in before or you will be visiting the blister hell zone.. good fitted sports socks, worth every pennies worth of investment, take a little bit of time to put some vaseline on those areas whic can blister, if you get toes blisters normally then pre- plaster your toes before the race. some useful videos can be found on youtube to help on this.
re-fuel!!! have a refueling plan… simple plan eat every 30 to 40mins regardles of what your doing!! it doesnt have to be a full energy bar or snack a simple mouth ful will do combine with water or carb drink. check the manufacturers guidlines.
The run after the kayak … is quite boggy, watch your footing, find the firmer ground and the fastest line
Transition area… make sure and follow the marshals advice, make sure and be switched on and listen to their advice on finding your steed, the bike are usually numbered in areas etc but check this out on race day while at the briefing.
Please dont abuse the marshals… Race brain doesnt count as an excuse!!!
one to eat something
On to the bike section…settle into the bike.. find the gear that helps loosen out a few muscles groups and find a few comrades to help you work and make things more efficient, working as a team can make big improvements, be careful on the decent and ride within your ability be conscious of other racers …..once your onto the gravel try and stay seated and focus on the power and find the smoothest line through it watch out for punctures, always a few numpties who think they are Sammy sanchez descenders, roaring down the side of an alpe chasing Brad wiggins to steal victory…. there is still a long road to the “HILL OF DEATH” folks so ride it smart
your now ready to meet the saints…… or as i find out every time im up there “god always seems to find me on this hill
Leave you helmet with your bike!!! croagh patrick it is a case of grin and bear it, take the direct line or go along the track we reckon though its a bit of gamble either way but we also believe by this stage of the race that your legs will tell you which road to take. Be careful on the lose gravel
once to the top turn and go but on the descent its a case of digging your heals in, stay at a pace you can control, we don’t want accidents at this stage, but choose the heavier side with stones and dig the heals in. once your off the mountain back on the bike, its down hill to a sharp left hand turn onto more off road biking. Ride at your level and pay attention to things… Mike says “at this point of the race, people can do a lot of stupid things” switching off is not something we advise, stay tuned into the race!!
Smoothest line, always chose this, also know as the safest line. depending on where you are in the race you can follow those in front of you. we recommend to try to stay on the bike as much as possible but sometimes the quickest way is to shoulder the bike and run for it….. no choice if everyone in front of you is doing this. stay switched on, your almost there!! 🙂
Follow the road back to west port and get your legs ready for the final sprint finish and guinnes smile…
Take time to get a picture taken after this race to remember the feeling of what you will have achieved, no matter what way you look at it, this is a hard race and you will have earn a nice cup of tae and a scone.
Thanks for reading
Yours in Sports
Mike & STL