Saturday 20 February
Event: Causeway Coast Adventure Race, Round 2 in Boyle Co. Roscommon – 5 hours, MTB, Trekking, Orienteering, Kayak and Special Tasks in teams of 2. Collect as many controls as you can. Penalties for roads off limits and every minute over 5 hours.
Road Run race (1 – Foot Orienteering) 25:45 4.43 km (5:49 / km) +75m 5:22 / km
Sean says: A quick blast around a football pitch and we were handed a foot orienteering map with 7 CP’s to collect around the town of Boyle.
Having spotted that we were coming back to the same TA and CP’s could be hit “in any sequence” my suggestion to run reverse course was decided when we saw a queue forming at CP 1
Mike says: Sean and I took off like the clappers on an urban O course. Collected 7 controls and entered TA amongst the first teams. I panted my way around this.
Mike says: Made a nav boo boo out of TA and cost us 20 mins. I just wasn’t 100% recovered from illness and my heart rate was through the roof keeping up. Misread the tiny town detail on the map. Dropped us to dead last. Up in to the hills with smoother nav to collect 3 more controls passing a couple of teams.
Sean says: Passing the map to Mike I took the control card, slotting them into our Nordenmark map holders we were off out the gate.
This was completely different to the normal map study and route planning, all has to be done on the fly, orienteering style. We made an error, realised it and then got stuck behind a tractor on narrow streets.
Feeling good we chain ganged out to the first bike CP: Wynnes Viewpoint and caught Team ARSE there (turns out they were having sickness issues). Super fast dibbing and back with flying mounts onto the next CP at Kesh Caves. We caught another team on the way with a clever jump off the main road saving backtracking – good nav call there by Mike.
Mike says: Droping the bikes at TA we trekked zig zag up a steep muddy trail. We had thought for a second about Route 1 but it was too steep and would require climbing over high thorny gorse. Got to a Cave entrance where a smiling marshal directed us inside. Onto our bellies and crawled on soft deep mud maybe 40m through pitch blackness, cut only by the odd glow stick. We emerged smiling and collected our rucksacks.
Sean says: Looking at Mike and Mike looking at me and us looking down the hill. The words “It’s not worth it guys!!” from the marshal convinced us …. and off we went ass-tobogganing down the steep grassy slope… WHEEEEE!!!!!! and through a thorny gorse thicket. We reckon we saved 10 mins on this leg alone and had an absolute blast!! 😀
Mike says: Sean in his shiny leggings over his tri shorts bombed down in glee like a kid sliding down an icy slope. I followed but was wearing my tri shorts outside my leggings and received an unmerciful wedgy! The next few minutes were scrambling through thick thorn bushes but we got the jump on a few more teams to TA 🙂 Oh what fun!
Trail / Mountain Bike (4 – Bike leg) 32:28 4.88 km (9.0 kph) +241m
Sean says: High on exhilaration from our cross country slide we tore away from the caves having gained a place on the descent too.
We stopped at the next junction and opted for a route which was almost hidden on the map. A bare trail looped around the contours of the hill we were aiming for and brought us parallel to the main route but higher up. We lost less height so would have less climbing 😉
Slight over shoot of the entrance to the next CP as we made better time than expected but 100m turnabout and we caught another team as we came into the Special Task
Mike says: We could have used the road for a longer smoother ride but the trail looked like fun on the map and it had some lovely fast bit as well as some granny ring climbing.
Mike says: There was 1 Mandatory control and 2 bonuses. Before we got to trek we had to complete another special task and solve a puzzle. We trekked straight up the trail to collect the first at a style and the bonus at the base of a cliff.
The last point was up over the mountain in a Megalithic Tomb. It was worth a lot but not worth the effort. I thought it would put the rest of the race under pressure and I figured the bonus on the Kayak would be “easier”. We trotted back down the trail, quads twinging with cramp but happily chatting. The rain became heavier and the temperature was dropping.
Sean says: I took my first Agave gel at this point more from a psychological thing than anything as we ran to the bikes, more map swapping, back on and away we went, catching and passing another team out of transition.
Sean says: We hit max speed on the way to the next couple of controls unfortunately though we over shot the turn we wanted – covered the ground quicker than expected again and had to back track as it was a mandatory CP we’d missed.
Mike says: We had 4 mandatory bike controls to collect before the paddle. It involved plenty of climbing and some nice descents. We overshot one junction and sailed a km past a control. Climbing back up to dib it was demoralising but we had passed a couple more teams. The effort was starting to take its toll and hills were becoming a challenge
Sean says: it was not too bad, got the CP, and racing down hill, held our position but passed another team who had ventured onto a forbidden stretch of road.
We found our way to the kayaks and Mike’s face lit up as he was handed a chocolate biscuit.
Sean says: Special Task though – we had to put it on our foreheads and eat it without touching. Quick as a flash I put his biscuit on my head and knelt in front of him he ate his and vice versa. Job done and in fits of giggles we got PFD’s on and into the water.
Super section hit +7kph as we settled quickly, down to CP, nabbed and turned back to go fetch the bonus. Only 21 mins on the water but a few minutes getting off and out as the cold was hitting and hips were tightening.
Mike says: I started to cramp in both quads and my left shin and calf. This paralysed me for 15 minutes in agony last summer during the European AR Champs and I dreaded the worst. Sean basically forced me to move and get my bike knowing it would ease once I started cycling. We work great as a team together and its moments like these or the call to slide down the hill on our backsides that stand out.
Sean says: we gotta keep moving as we ‘undressed’ each others bibs and PFD’s onto the bike and go!
Mike says: Any more bonus controls were now out and we had about 18 minutes to get back to the finish.
First we had to bike to a nearby woods to punch a final control. There wasn’t a hope we would make it but we gave it everything to limit the damage. We made a good nav call after the Kayak TA to steal a march and reduce the distance of this the final leg. My quads were toast as were Sean’s, it was milling with rain and we were both cold. It was a 5pt penalty for every minute late and that was harsh so it became a serious motivator. We arrived at the finish to punch at 5 minutes over 5 hours.
Sean says: A smart nav call by Mike had us paralleling the main road and crossing at the right place, no rules being tweaked by us! But we knew we’d be tight for time. Having to get to TA4 as it was mandatory meant not heading right to finish. Energy was well sapped and it took great efforts to haul ass to the TA, dib in and out avoiding the temptation to take a punt on the Orienteering course.
We were already accepting that we would be late, it’s the trade off on penalty vs points available. So back to finish just under 6 minutes late and 30 point penalty.
Over all we finished well, both extremely happy with the days efforts going from 3/4th to last back to complete in 6th after result adjustment.
All a great day out, tons of fun and smiles, plenty of laughter with a great team-mate.
Mike says: I was starving and laid into the soup, sandwiches, blueberry buns, tomatoes, apples, oranges, chocolate. We quickly changed and greeted some teams we knew as they arrived back. Overall we came 5th of 20+ teams and were pretty stoked with that given where we were after my mistake at the start. There were only 2-3 controls in it between the winners and #TriHarderAR.
The only ARs I’ve done have been 36hr+ so this was a fast race by comparison. I was wrecked! Great fun though and as usual Sean & I had a blast 🙂
Sean & Mike both want to thank Ivan Park the Causeway Coast race director for hosting great races in fantastic locations.
Adrienne Bolton for setting out a challenging course to test us all and for popping up all over the place as usual, you didn’t disappoint us! 🙂
Greg and all the remaining crew for keeping an eye on us and stopping us from doing really stupid things, silly stuff is fine, stupid a no-no.
Mark Kelly for fantastic photos.
To Silva, Ronhill & GottaRun for the race support and equipment. We appreciate it.
And of course to Caz & Edel (and our kids) for letting us off out of your sight for the day. We love you.
Thank you all
Sean & Mike – we’ll #TriHarder next time 🙂