Almost caught the beast

So my 4 hour cycle took me to Mitchelstown, and on to Cahir, which meant I passed through Kilbeheny, where I spotted a hall with a bunch of mountain bikes outside. found out it was Ta9/10, but a look online showed the guys what looked like a good bit away. I kept going, but an hour later they were showing up as right there, so I missed them by a very small margin.


They’ve been and gone through there, and are now in the galtees. as are most of the teams, and team #Triharder are currently running in 34th spot .


from sleep monsters:

Most teams were riding in the second night of the race on the way from Ballmacarbry to Kilbehenny (TA 9/10) and the first to arrive at 04.15 were Halti Adventure. They were well ahead of the bulk of the teams who are arriving through the middle of day and into the afternoon at the Community Centre in Kilbehenny.

The long overnight ride has spread out the teams and with different race strategies in play the leaderboard will be changing constantly today. (As soon as teams collect a CP they will move up.) Fortunately, it has been a fine morning for those on the riding and for the trek up into the Galtee mountains and there has even been a fair bit of sunshine.

I caught up with a few teams this morning near checkpoint B45, the last checkpoint in the hills before they dropped down and rode into Kilbehenny along country roads. To get to B45 they were riding along the Avondhu Way (also known as the Blackwater Way) which offered some easy riding and no navigational challenges, but B45 had been placed off the trail 500m up the hillside.

The first team I saw arrive were R’adys Team Switzerland and they lost time at this checkpoint with a simple mistake.  Looking for a track on the right they found an overgrown trail and left their bikes to set off on foot to B45. The trail up was deeply rutted and full of heather, tussock grass and prickly gorse, so it wasn’t easy going – it wasn’t the right trail either!

Less than 100m away a rideable trail led to the checkpoint and they only found this after trekking across the boggy moorland in their bike shoes.  As they ran back down the trail they were meant to use they were passed by Team Yeti and Vallfosca – Raidaventure.org … who were riding up to the checkpoint.  It was an unnecessary extra kilometre of trekking for them, but an easy enough mistake to make.

Watching the team dots on the trackers you don’t get any sense of how the finer detail of route finding can affect the teams.  The tracking map may have shown the team arriving by the checkpoint, but in fact they’d lost 30 minutes and had a frustrating time just finding it in the last few hundred metres – and that was in daylight on a sunny morning.

This kind of scenario is played out hundreds of times in a race and experienced by all the teams.  Deciding which side of an island to paddle or which of two gates to take, can make the difference between finding a checkpoint quickly and easily or losing time.

Team Yeti had seen the Swiss team’s bikes on the trail side and stopped beside them, checking their maps, but in the end decided it didn’t look right and rode on those few extra metres to find the bigger trail.  They were experienced enough not to let another teams mistake distract them and the more experienced racers and navigators will find the best way more often than not, as well as deciding what to do more quickly.

Yeti were followed by Vallfosca and all three teams were in the next checkpoint at the Michelstown Caves entrance together, along with Dutch Adventure 2.  The race had hoped teams could go into the show caves but it couldn’t be organised so the Sportident timing box was hung by the entrance.

The Dutch team were busy fixing a puncture here and helped out Yeti by giving them a chain link to make some repairs of their own.  They were enjoying the sunshine and said they’d slept well in the Astroturf hall at the previous transition before riding through the morning hours.

Shortly after all the teams were in Kilbehenny where they stopped to prepare for the next big trekking stage in the Galtees. They didn’t leave their bikes though, they had to ride on to reach the farm at Kings Yard for the bike drop, before setting out on the mountain trek

Points Penalties

There were some penalties given to teams yesterday which reduced their points total.  Most were for the coasteering with teams 4, 13, 30, 41 and 43 getting a 250 point penalty as one of the team couldn’t make the cliff jump into the sea.

Team 42 (SWECO) also received a 500 point penalty for not staying on the coastline between two of the checkpoints.

Teams 13 and 39 received a 250 point penalty each as they had a team member who couldn’t make the abseil descent. (The last 4 teams also arrived at the abseil so late they couldn’t complete it so won’t have been credited with those points.)

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