Off-season adventure racers, what do you do?

So you’ve had a busy year adventure racing and its winter. What do you do now? Feet up in front of the fire and rest?

There’s an old adage “Winter miles = Summer smiles” and its very true. Training and racing is a year on year activity. It’s not about starting in Spring and racing for the summer and relaxing in the cold of winter.

It is a multi-year round process of training cycles and possible multiple peaks for races through the season.

There may also be time in the winter to try more indoor activities that will complement your outdoor training and there is some great advice in the attached article from the Quest Adventure Series –

Source: Advice for off-season adventure race training – Quest Adventure Series

There are also big adventure running races (Art O’Neill Challenge, SPine Race) and other events (Causeway Coast, North Coast Trailquest) through winter that are more in the spirit of multiday racing for you to participate in or support if you are seeking your next inspirational challenge.

With my own 2020 calendar starting to take shape I’d love to hear what you have planned for winter 2019.



Paddle, paddle, paddle…run, run…cycle, cycle…#TriHarder FUN !! :-)

I have to say last weekend was going to be a shock for the team. A little bit of scheming and secret planning between Mike & myself for a bit of an unveil.

I was nervous myself as I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be from the others and Mike was not confirming I was in or out… “Team decision.”

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How’s your adventuring spirit? Are you up for a huge challenge this summer?

If you have a look over here ———>>>>>

you will see that it is a little over 2 months and 2 weeks until #TriHarderAR takes their place in ITERA Ireland alongside some HUGE international adventure racing teams.

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Time for the SHARTs!!

I stumbled across this brilliant post from Team Virtus a while ago about SHared Adventure Race Training sessions and just have not stopped laughing or thinking about it since!! 😀

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Are you looking for adventure?


Would you consider being part of TriHarder Adventure Racing? Are you ready to take that first step?

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More routes to Christmas – Day 2 & 3

Did you have fun with the first maps?

Hopefully you are taking part in the daily challenge too on World of O. We’ll continue to post our route choices as it serves as a mental exercise for us too.

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Routes to Christmas an orienteering visualisation.

You may have spotted a post on Facebook from us the other day about the Route to Christmas challenge on the World of O(rienteering ) website??

Well Mike and myself are having a bit of fun on the Daily navigation challenge, we each (along with 100’s of others) plan the route we would take to get between the Control Points (CP’s) and then to compare them afterwards.

We’re leaving a time lag between picking our routes and posting them so you can have fun with the other days too.

Fancy some #adventureracing navigation games with #TriHarderAR? Click To Tweet

Here’s the map and link to Day 1:

Jan Prochazka gives us the introduction to the leg: As I am looking to the future, this leg is one of the best examples on the way towards EOC 2016. I have chosen one leg from the Czech long distance Champs 2015. There were about 3-5 interesting legs, but this one I did extremely well, and I was even surprised by the margin to the second best time. The terrain of Czech long distance 2015 was similar to EOC 2016 long. However, this terrain is situated on other side of the Jeseniky mountains and have in overall higher altitude. This leg comes up after 70 minutes of running, and its highest parts are over 1000 meters above see level – a last physically challenging leg of the course.

Our chosen routes:

Route to Christmas Day 1 2015 World of O News

Mike – Don’t fancy the leg sapping steep route. Contour around the tree-line and punch through the saddle.

Sean – Working across the contours will be quicker and using fences and streams as handrails to get to the second saddle where a sharp blast uphill will allow a direct drop down to the CP16

Bearing in mind we don’t have route maps or any information on restricted roads etc we are workign off our working knowledge of most likely case scenarios of race rules. No main road, that kind of thing. So either that road is out of play or Mike went for pints 😉

Stay tuned for Day 2 & 3 coming up as a double feature!

Kate’s report on our recent #TriHarderAR team training session.

Section 1: Night MTBo with some hike a bike: ~ 75k in 6hrs

Last big training session before the Beast. I met up with our new teamie Shane on Saturday evening and we drove down to Limerick. Mike had been slaving over a hot stove all afternoon to ensure we were all suitably fueled before we set off which was very much appreciated. We set off to ULAC shortly after 10pm and we had the bikes organised and were good to go by 11:15. We headed into Ballina on our way up Tountinna towards the Graves of Leinstermen. There were some fairly sharp inclines on the way up and it was pretty warm.

CP1 – “Graves of Leinstermen” – Signpost

From the signpost we turned up the Ballina way. A steep narrow path which had lots of rocks, gulleys and ledges. I hiked my bike most of the way up. It was hard work! This path brought us up to the mast. There was a biting wind up here and we had a quick practice of using the bothy before we began the descent.

CP2 – Tountinna – Mast

I’m not too mad about descending on the trails when it’s dark especially when the trails have gulleys in them. I use the breaks too much and the bike doesn’t travel very well. The front wheel slipped off a grassy ledge at one stage and I fell over. After that I got a bit braver and let go of the breaks a little and the bike was moving better but all the same I was glad when that section was done. The nav was a bit tricky around here but we were working really well as a team and there were very few mistakes made as we travelled into Killoscully. I think this was were we cycled through the town in the early hours of the morning and a couple of lads who’d been out socialising did a double take as we went past. It was funny

CP3 – Killoscully – Stone Sign “Cill Ó Scolaí”

From Killoscully we made our way to the Clare Glens. In the Beast last year there was a transition area here and we had to change into our wetsuits and walk a couple of kilometres up to the Clare Falls where there was a canyoning stage. Unfortunately when we got up to the CP last year we were told the canyoning had been cancelled because the water level had risen too high. That was a low point in the race for us as we could have used a fun section to lift the team spirits. It was much quicker and easier on the bikes last night and in no time at all we had reached our CP.

CP4 – Clare Glens – Clare Falls

The dawn was breaking as we headed out of Clare Glens into Newport. We practised drafting on the bikes and this section seemed to fly by. There was a guard in the tower at the railway station who seemed intrigued when four cyclists rocked up to the platform and abandoned their bikes briefly. They loitered on the platform eating jelly snakes before gathering up their bikes and disappearing!

CP5 – Newport – On Bridge
CP6 – Birdhill – Railway Station sign “Cnocán an Éin Fhinn

We made our way back by the main road to ULAC, packed away the bikes and got ready for the kayaking.

Section 2: Kayak ~ 10k in 1hr 40

The plan was to do 5k out to this little island, change around the pairs and then 5k back. I started off with Sean but I had this notion that I would be better in the back of the boat. This was definitely not the case because we ended up going aroung in circles for about 5min. We had to take a little detour back to the slip and change around Once we got going then we flew along. The lake was a little rough on the way out but we kept a good enough line. I was much more comfortable in the kayak today. My paddling was better and we were keeping in unison and the first 5k seemed to pass quite quickly. Once we got to the island, I swopped with Mike. The way back was a lot more difficult. The swell had increased and the waves were crashing into the boat and into me and I was properly soaked. Mike and Sean were by far the stronger paddlers and although they waited for us a couple of times we were still about 5 or 10 minutes behind them getting back to the slip.

Section 3: Swim ~ 250m

The guys were pretty cold by the time Shane and I had finished the kayak. It’s scary how quickly your body temperature drops when you’re soaked and you stop moving. There was talk of abandoning the swim but I really wanted to do it because I’ve never done an OW swim in a lake at 7:30 in the morning when I’m cold and sleep deprived and I wanted to make sure I could handle it. In fairness Mike didn’t need much persuasion and once I had him on side it was a done deal I was first in and OH MY FRICKEN GOD did I get a wake up call. It was bloody cold and I started hyperventilating pretty much straight away. Luckily this happens to me a lot and I’m kind of used to it so I didn’t panic but I know it sounds kind of alarming. I tried to make it stop by swimming like I do in the pool and exhaling underwater but I was only making it worse so I I had my head out of the water all the time. We swam a little square around 4 buoys and that was plenty!!!

It took ages for me to stop shivering uncontrollably but by the time we had reached the service station for our full Irish breakfast and the team debrief I was pretty much recovered. Very happy to have another good session in the bag and we had a lot of fun.

Clare GlensPolar Flow

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Having a splash in the new kayak..

Sean got out over the weekend on one of the rivers close to where he lives in Galway.

As you can see after all the recent rain there is a fair bit of swell in the water which meant a decent flow and a fair bit of chop. It is all about learning though and some simple things like forgetting to take out the scupper plugs can make a massive difference in how the boat handles.


This is the first section. After deliberately scooting past the exit point he turned to see how the boat would go up stream…. it didn’t!!! 🙂

This was expected, so he carried on down to the next set of bridges at Kilcolgan just before heading out to sea where a nice paddle would bring you out by Moran’s of the Weir. There is a second video being edited of the lower stream which flows through a lot of flooded land and with several small weirs it was again very choppy in places.

All in good time for the Coast2Coast this weekend!!

All about the feet.

Reading a new article on The Gear Nuts about foot care packages from Trail Toes called Foot First Aid which is essentially a does-as-it-says-on-the-tin product for Foot Rescue; a 3-in-1 bundle that provides  Bag 1 – preventative, Bag 2 – maintenance and Bag 3- remedial products and care for your feet.

Following my own experience in The Beast last year where I succumbed to foot problems leading to a Short Coursing of the team my feet and care for my feet is my No. 1 priority for this year.

From the Gear Nuts site, it lead me to read some solid advice on the site about Foot Care that applies to pretty much anyone hiking, running or enduring. If you don’t look after your feet it is going to get very messy, very quickly!!

The feet of runners can be can be broken down into two basic types. The first are those that don’t need anything. Regardless of the distance, these lucky few don’t really have to do anything and they don’t usually have event limiting problems. The second type, are far more unfortunate because these runners tend to get blisters regardless of what they seem to do.

1. Ensure your shoes fit well and that they have enough room in the toe box, forefoot, and that the heel is set firmly in place without play. This will help reduce movement and therefore friction and the dreaded outcome they produce.

Absolutely critical in the first place. There is no point being a whizz at foot care if your shoes are wrong. All you will be doing is dealing with fixing the symptoms rather than dealing with the cause. Easy for me to say but get help with selecting your footwear. Use the knowledge and experience of trained footwear specialists, that is what they are there for.

2. Wear socks that don’t absorb and hold water. Change them when they get dirty and gritty. If you don’t it just helps create a nidus for skin breakdown. Nothing like a little sand to cause skin abrasion.

(My highlighting) This was my downfall last year. On account of plenty of time with my feet on a sandy river bed I ended up with grit in my footwear. Unfortunately while I changed my footwear I did not have clean dry socks and not realising the sand was embedded in the fibers of my socks (I discarded them after the event when I realised my mistake) that was the source of my initial hotspots and ultimate blistering issues.

3. If you use a lubricant, and we recommend Trail Toes Phenomenal, Ultra-Extreme, Anti-Friction Foot Cream, apply a thin layer for short runs, if you are going longer then consider doubling the amount. Ensure there is an adequate amount between the toes.

Have never used a foot lubricant as I felt this would soften the skin and possibly lead to problems. Something I will be testing out on a few events early in the season.

4. About 4 days before your run ensure your toes nails are trimmed and not beyond the end of the toe. Be careful you don’t cut too deeply into the nail fold. If you do get overzealous the wounds should have healed by by your start date.

Very clever!! Cut them too short and you know all about it, give a bit of time and they will grow out to a comfortable length.

5. During your run, especially during multi day events, clean your feet and dry your socks and shake them out. Consider changing daily. If not at least try and wash them to get the excess sand and dirt out of them.

This ^ is my race plan going forward. Spare socks in ziploc bags available in my back pack at all times and extra socks deposited in the saddle bag for just in case moments! I am also looking at an option of waterproof socks only for the water stages though I think I will be going down the route of boat / beach type slip on shoes for these. Carefully drying and lubing my feet before pulling on fresh socks and shoes for trekking stages. Aaah Bliss!! 🙂

6. As soon as you feel a blister coming on, stop, rest, dry and air your feet. This down time may help decrease the growing hot spot and help you avoid blister formation.

7. If you get a blister, pop it and dress it using your favourite technique. However, at the end of the day, take the dressings down to let your feet dry out. If you leave the dressings on you increase the risk of trapping and possibly prolonging the problem.

In case I can not get my mitts on a Trail Toes – Foot First Aid pack, I will be packing Compeed plasters in all shapes and sizes in a ziploc bag just for emergency use.

8. One common technique for draining blisters is to take a needle with some cotton thread and it feed through. This allows the blister to stay open and the thread will absorb some of the fluid. Once the blister closes back up it is likely to refill with fluid so be prepared to drain it again.

I wonder what sort of fit of giggles we would all suffer sitting at the side of the road after 46 hours trying to thread a needle to ‘sew’ each others feet!! It could end in tears!!! 😀

9. For your toe nails, get and 18 or 16 gauge needle and simply rotate it counter and clock wise until it breaks through and you see fliud draining through it. I like to make about three this will help keep them open. Just be aware that there will be some discomfort as teh air hits the new hole, but more if you go too deep and put the needle into the nailbed. Just do it slowly and cautiously and will will not have any problems. I do this as early on as I can to ensure the nail stays in place.

Just don’t let it get to this stage. Simples.

Now all that is left is point 10 which probably should be at the top. One more addition to my reading list and soon to be on my shelf.

10. Consider purchasing and reading the book Fixing Your Feet by: John Vonhoff, for more detailed information.

Of course there is no point having all this equipment and reading up to have all this knowledge if you don’t put it into practise. So now is the time to be working on your footcare, testing out your sock combinations, packing your gear so you know where it is when you need it. Last thing you want is to be suffering with your feet and then discover that your Foot First Aid pack is back in the last TA in the bike box. I’ll be fitting it in a waterproof pouch inside my racepack and where I go, it goes.

Mind your feet!

#TriHarder – Sean