#TriHarder #BeastofBallyhoura With Credit to Sleepmonsters, their day 1 recap explpaining the shortcoursing.
It’s been a dramatic afternoon on the first day of The Beast of Ballyhoura.
After teams passed through Waterford they set off again in their sit-on-top kayaks for the long paddle out into Waterford Bay. Here the ocean conditions, a rising wind and difficult tidal conditions affected all the teams and they moved much more slowly than expected, struggling to make headway, blinded by the salt spray and getting colder in the chill wind.
The race safety team made a call to pull teams into the second short course option before they headed too far out into the bay, but only after the top 10 teams had gone ahead. Those teams completed the full route and arrived at Dunmore Bay East shivering violently. I asked them about the conditions but they did not find it easy to talk and all of them said the same thing. “That was hard and horrible!”
In their cold condition it wasn’t hard to make the choice to wear their wetsuits – the teams wanted to get them on quickly and get running around the bay to the start of the coasteering so they could warm up a bit.
The majority of the teams arrived jogging along the road having been sent on the shorter route to come ashore on the western bank after passing the ferry at Passage East, and miss out checkpoint K5. Once ashore they left the kayaks and jogged down to the Transition at Dunmore East carrying their wet kit for the coasteering.
Most seemed relieved, some disappointed, and the race may make some adjustment as the teams who did the full route had a very tough time of it, even though they gained an extra 1000 points at CP K5.
Cold and wet as they were teams now faced getting in the water again on the coasteering/swim stage around the bay. After a short run they jogged down 101 steps to the shore below the cliffs and set off scrambling and swimming around the coast. It was only a short distance with 3 checkpoints on the route, but cold and tired as the teams were it was still demanding.
They faced one extra challenge too as at C7 the marshal told them they had to make a cliff jump of around 25m to claim the points. The teams I saw didn’t hesitate, though the Polish team made the jump twice, only realising they’d not dibbed the sportident box after they’d leapt off the cliff!
SWECO, who were running third at this point behind Halti adventure and adidas TERREX, arrived at the jump from the wrong direction, having climbed up to the park above the cliffs to move around rather than stay in the water – a move they may well be penalised for later on.
With most of the re-routed teams arriving close together the coasteering got very busy in the early evening and when they finished and arrived at their bikes to continue onto the next stages they were told the second coasteering stage had been called off. With the race running well behind schedule all of the teams would arrive at this much more demanding coasteering section in the dark later tonight, so it was dropped from the course.
As race leaders adidas TERREX prepared to set off again Jo Thom took a fall on the road and gashed her chin and bashed her face. She was clearly shaken up and although the team decided to set off again their tracker subsequently showed them heading back to a hospital at Waterford so it looks like they went for further medical assistance. (At the moment I’ve no more news on their situation other than that.)