across the finish line.

Under cover of darkness, at 5.10am team #TriHarder crossed the finish line in Ardpatrick.  I’m working off a phone since yesterday so I can’t pull up their track history to see if they did the loops of the MTB trails in Ballyhoura,  but from the timing I think they chose to miss at least some of it.

but fantastic achievement from the team. Looks like they finished themselves as there are still teams out on the course. Well done guys, epic weekend.


I’ll try and copy the sleepmonster reports up.

galtees no more.

Good news. Guys are down off the galtees.  They are currently rocking across the road from Kilbeheny  towards Ballyhoura. Finishing stretch coming up. Keep it lit lads

still galteeing

The leaders are beating down on the finish, but the  lads are still deep in the Galtees.  Looks like they are around half way round the hills, but are still clocking up the checkpoints  almost there guys. Keep it going!!!

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.)

Are we there yet? #TriHarder #BeastofBallyhoura

Morning all. well state of play. looks like the guys made it to TA7/8 just before midnight last night. from the GPS track, they left aruod 3am, so presume a couple of hours slee. it looks though that they have skipped the bike/kayak/bike leg through Clonmel (or maybe couldn’t do it cause of dark. ) anyway, here is where they are just now


status 1_8_0747


no update from sleepmonsters this morning yet.

right, i’ve a 4 hour cycle of my own to do now, actually heading down to clonmel so i might catch sight of them. #TriHarder #BeastofBallyhoura

Decisions Decisions #TriHarder #BeastofBallyhoura

#TriHarder #BeastofBallyhoura Looks like the guys are heading back to TA8. in fact looks like all the teams are heading back that way, with none of the teams outside teh top 3 looking like they are doing the hike and all heading for TA8. May be that they’ve all been told to go that way due to time. anyway, here is an update from sleep monsters

One of the surprises of this race, even for regular Irish adventure racers, has been the Comeragh hills, which teams have been trekking across today.  The deep and sheer walls of the coums, some with large waterfalls and many with small lakes, the high plateau, rocky ridges and sweeping views of the surrounding countryside, have all impressed the teams. The range is little known and Richard Nunan of Team Get No Sleep (IRL) said, “I’d not really heard of these hills but they are stunning, and tough.” Many others had similar comments.

Race Director Ivan Park has wanted to use the range in a race for some time, and this was his chance. The hills have provided a stern test for everyone and Finnish team Halti Adventure were surprised by their difficulty. “That was tough country!” Jaako Makela said.  Chris Hope of adidas TERREX said, “It was full on, with lots of ankle deep heather and steep ground.”

Not surprisingly many of the teams have opted not to complete the full trek, or even collect all of the high scoring checkpoints, mindful of the time and effort that would take and how far they still have to go to the finish line. Some teams are already making a fairly direct line towards the finish, cutting the Comeragh trek short and dropping the next bike/kayak stage so they are now far ahead of the teams in the top positions on the leaderboard.  (The fact that today has been cool, windy and sometimes very wet has made it and easier decision to cut the trek short.)

Those teams have different factors in their calculations but they all want the same result – the maximum number of points within their 72 hours.  

As the lead teams complete the Comeragh trek it’s a good time to compare their progress. Adidas TERREX were the first team to set out on the trek and the first to return, having completed all of the checkpoints. They made a remarkable comeback last night after losing time visiting the hospital to attend to Jo Thom’s injury. (She had the chin injury cleaned, two stitches and asked me to tell her mum she is fine!) “We were on a bit of a mission on the bike last night,” said Chris Hope.

Even so the team were surprised at the choices some of their rivals made to visit low valued checkpoints, especially the orienteering on Tramore Strand. “We’ve taken a scientific approach,” said Hope, “and before the race we had a big spreadsheet to work out the points per hour of effort each CP would take to get.”  Stuart Lynch said he wasn’t having any problem with navigating the team on the maps … but was leaving the strategy to the others!

So far the strategy seems to be working as they are on top of the leaderboard, although not by a huge margin, and ahead of the chasing teams on time.

While adidas TERREX were in transition Halti Adventure arrived, having missed three low valued scores on the trek and at this point were 350 points behind. “We are a bit behind our schedule,” said Makela, “but so far we are in good shape and hope our plans for the rest of the race are good. We won’t know until after we’ve finished of course!”

Their plans are different to those of adidas TERREX. The British team set off on the next ride/kayak stage, which is only worth 1200 points in total, but Halti have decided to skip that stage altogether and try to use the extra time to get more points towards the finish of the course.  They aim to complete all of the next trekking stage, while adidas TERREX are expecting to drop some checkpoints. The Finns have also had an hours sleep while the British team have not slept at all, but they do have experience of multiday races on their side as 3 of the Halti team have not raced longer than 24 hours before.

Several other teams are still in with a chance of winning too, and with the trek complete Team Yeti (Denmark) moved up the leaderboard above Halti by 30 points. They too plan to miss the bike/kayak stage, as do top Irish team Get No Sleep, so from the leading teams I’ve spoken to it seems adidas TERREX are following a different strategy to their rivals in this next part of the race.

Get No Sleep were one of 11 teams who have been credited with the 1000 points for checkpoint K5 on the sea paddle, as the safety boat turned them back when they had almost reached it.  (Those extra points may not yet show on the leaderboard.)  Because the team had not quite reached the CP they’ve been given the points but had a 20 minute penalty applied. i.e. they have 20 minutes less to complete the course.

The adjustments for the teams affected in this way are;

Team 5    -10 mins

Team 17   -20 mins

Team 19   -20 mins

Team 21   -30 mins

Team 24   -20 mins

Team  45  -24 mins

Teams 10,29,36,40,49 are all -60 points.

There are also some other points penalties to apply and these will be made to the leaderboard later on after the teams have been told about them. They are mainly a penalty for fear of heights … applied to those who couldn’t make the jump or abseil.

With the race approximately at the half way point, and lots more options still open to the teams, it’s all very close, and the win could go to any number of teams.

Lazy Feckers #TriHarder



so it appears they guys have decided to cut off some of the hike. They have followed  the black line on the map, and looks like they are skipping the 4 points lower down and shaving off the extra distance. Lazy Feckers. #TriHarder


Current Location #Triharder



So at 5:17pm, this is where #Triharder are, they are bubble 47. leaders are shown, (3. 20. 49), and also shown are team 4, Adventure Race Squad Extreme

status 31_7_1717

Here there and everywhere #TriHarder #BeastofBallyhoura

#TriHarder #BeastofBallyhoura Getting a bit hard to keep track of things at the moment. The route loops back around itself a lot where they are, and all 3 of the leading seem to be well away from where i thought they would be, they seem further back the course than their last checkpoint, and nowhere near what should be their next one .

#TriHarder are motoring well though, they’re staying roughly on track, but are veering off the marked course at times, i can only guess that it’s either a shorter route based on terrain, an easier navigation point,  or to get some bonus points.

Now running in 37th space.

I hope they’re not getting the weather we have here, or Sean’s impressions of the Ronhill jackets are going to be put severely to the test!!

Sleepmonsters Update #TriHarder #BeastofBallyhoura

Latest update from Sleepmonsters on the overnight activities

#TriHarder #BeastofBallyhoura

The first night of the Beast of Ballyhoura is over and teams have been arriving at TA7 at the Community Centre at Ballymacarbry through the early hours and into the second day.

They are arriving on their bikes after a fast downhill ride from The Gap, a pass in the nearby hills, and the descent has helped cheer them up after the hike-a-bike up the hill on the other side. From what they’ve said it sounds like it was more hike than bike!

During the night the teams were on their bikes most of the time moving from Dunmore East to Ballymacarbry, mainly riding on country roads, and fighting the fatigue of a long day and the dip in energy and desire for sleep in the hours of darkness.

The last teams didn’t leave the campsite at TA4 until after dark, and they’d completed the coasteering in the dark too. There was a small kitchen here and they made use of it to cook up food and try to warm up and recover some energy.  The further back in the race teams are the longer they take in transition, partly as they are slower in TA’s anyway, but also because they need to stop and cook etc. before the next stage.

The choices teams made in the night depended on their speed and strategy and the race has now taken on a far more tactical aspect than in the early stages. Adidas TERREX had their own route with the unscheduled trip to hospital in Waterford for Jo Thom to get stitches in her chin, but once underway again they swiftly passed all the other teams overnight. They missed all of the lower value checkpoints on the way to do this, dropping the orienteering stage on Tramore Strand and CP’s 17/18/19, but then so did some of the other teams near the top of the leaderboard.

Both SWECO and Halti Adventure took on the beach orienteering, which had 6 checkpoints worth 20 pts each, but they arrived earlier in the evening and with some daylight available.  For those arriving in the dark the prospect of searching the dunes for so few points wasn’t appealing, especially as if they missed one they’d have got no points at all for the section.

Valfosca – Raidaventura.org (Spain) and Team Yeti (Denmark) opted to miss it out, but then Yeti took in CP’s 17/18/19 which most other teams missed. Who has made the right choices and what effect they will have on the future of the race no one knows at this point and teams have to make their own choices. They don’t know what others are doing and would want to run their own race anyway.

All of the teams headed for the abseil off the bridge at TA6 as this was 1000 points and with a team of volunteers from the Irish Defence Forces  (who also have a team in the race) on hand, and 8 ropes there were no hold ups or queues as there so often are at rope sections. Each team had one line, some of which were free hanging, others were run down the bridge supports and racers commented it was one of the slickest ropes sections they’d ever seen in a race.

 Some teams stopped at times to sleep overnight, and with no rain that was easier to do, but cold.  When I spoke to the Ellis Brigham team (UK) at Ballymacarbry they said, “The only flat place we could find when we wanted to sleep was a graveyard in the middle of a town!”  Hopefully no one saw them getting up or they’d have had a fright!

Other teams hung on to sleep in the transition and the community hall is as perfect a transition as a race could hope for. There is space out the back for all the bikes and boxes (and that requires a lot of space for 50 teams), a wooden floored hall for the teams kit bags and with a kitchen attached for hot drinks, plus an adjoining astro turf hall where they can sleep. For the marshals there are hostel dorms and more kitchens and the race is planned to be based here during the second day and night as well. (Depending on what they choose to do the teams can transition through here 3 times.)

The main kit hall has that pungent AR aroma of sweat, wet clothing and rank socks and there are bags piled everywhere with teams making their own space to sort themselves out before setting out on the big trekking stage on the Comeragh mountains.

I met up with Patrick de Bruijcker of Dutch Adventure 1 in the hall and he is sadly out of the race. “I hurt my knee on the very first stage,” he said, “and although we carried on it was impossible to continue so we had to pull out. We were team no. 13 and unlucky!”  His team mates are continuing unranked, as are Team Black Hill/OpavaNet who also had a team member pull out.

A couple of the teams I saw this morning were still a little downbeat after the shortening of the paddling stage.  Both DAR Dingle (IRL) and Issy Absolu 1 said they’d almost reached checkpoint K5 after a lot of hard effort and were then turned around, and naturally they were not happy about it. “We worked really hard to get close to the checkpoint, and we could even see it,” said Pierrre Ouagne of Issy Absolu, “then it was hard to get back across the bay after we were turned around and we don’t know yet if we’ll get any extra points or not.”

“We’ve also made too many mistakes,” he added. Most teams will think that however, because of the nature of the race they will always be asking ‘what if’ we’d done it slightly different – and they may never know! It is one of the mental strengths of the elite teams that they don’t think about what’s past and concentrate on what’s happening next.

What’s happening next is the Comeragh trek, which includes 6 high value checkpoints and crosses some steep ground, with one checkpoint reached by a ridge scramble, and teams will be out on this stage for much of today

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