Friday, August 27, 2010

2010 Marathon World Championships - St. Wendel

It took a while to get the post up (I have been 'life' busy). But finally a bit of a report from the World Marathon Championships.

I took this video just after the race which says it all.


Started at the back of the grid, race was super fast and split early into large groups. I was in a group too far back. After almost an hour of racing I was 4 minutes off the race leaders – but the race was effectively over.

Course was the most boring course (in the dry) I have ridden – I have had much more technical road races. I felt reasonable in the race though. Race organization was great.

Next years Worlds are on in Montebulluna where I raced a few weeks ago - much more interesting. Followed by Ornan where I finished 25th in a Marathon World Cup in 2008. Ornan was a great course.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

2010 Suir Valley 3 Day

The Suir Valley 3 day has been done and dusted. A well run race with a beautiful route taking us through the August bank holiday weekend. I had had a hard training block right up to two days before the race in preparation for the World Marathon Champs and wasn't so sure how my legs would feel – not much short, high intensity over the previous two weeks so I was pretty certain I was in for a shock come race day. For the event, I was racing for the first time with the racing team – they share some common sponsors and it was an honor to be riding with them over the weekend – I had a great time and soaked up as much of the experience these guys have to offer. This is how it went down (I'll be a little more brief than usual – too many things going on!):

Stage 1 - 116km

As I warmed up for what I expected to be a fast start, the rain started – it did not bode well. I knew that the first hour or two of this stage was going to be very fast and that the chances of crashes, if it rained would rise dramatically... I laughed a little to myself as we were about 3km into the stage when mother nature unleashed all her fury. A truly impressive amount of water fell from the sky that made breathing difficult at times. Before long, the inevitable crashes started – I was fortunate and just missed the first one (some minor two wheel drift to get by) but my teammates where not so lucky getting caught up in it and eventually losing a lot of time due to the split. Not that I needed any more convincing but I briskly hurried my butt up to the front of the peleton where I knew it would be safer (There were multiple broken bones/bikes in the two big crashes on the first day). In the first hour of racing, despite the horrific conditions, we still covered 47km. Pretty quick going...

As the first major climb got underway (I use major in a very minor way – no big hills where climbed in this race – I guess you could classify the roads as lumpy) a few of us clipped off the front: Mark Cassidy, Stephen Gallagher, Sean Lacey, Conor Murphy, Andy Roche, Stephen Barrett and myself. A little while later we were also joined by Adam Armstrong, Martyn Irvine, Thomas Martin and Conor McConvey. We rode together until some of the later climbs when 3 of them clipped off again (I was feeling terrible on the bike – no legs at all) and I waited for others to work to pull me across (I would do my bit, but I wasn't going to do all the bits!). Conor Murphy and Thomas latter TTed their way over leaving 5 up front, us and then the peleton. Later, a few more from the peleton got across to us. By the time we hit the line, the 5 up front had 35 seconds on us and we had a further 4 minutes on the peleton. The Suir Valley winner would come from our group.

Stage 2 – 92km

A funny stage – a few moves would go, get a little time, then get brought back. I made a few attempts too but nothing was working and my legs still felt like soggy pasta – I could ride around endurance all day but there was no snap.

With 1.5km to go and a very technical final last stretch I wound myself up and made a dash for a break to victory – unfortunately, some other rider infront (I was attacking from 15th or so) no longer thought that riding in a straight line was optimal and moved over left blocking me. Jamming on the breaks, feeling I'm about to do an endo and seeing a telegraph pole get close to my left shoulder. The thoughts of being in a sling on my wedding day calmed my ambitions and I rode in to the finish to get the same time as the winner.

Stage 3 – TT – 1.4 km street circuit

Power, power, power, AHHH, you stupid man, brakes, get out of my way, brakes, gone, idiot, power power, corner, power, power, suffer, power, power, corner, power, lactate acid, power, done. 1 minute 47 seconds – should have been better but my legs started to feel that they were coming around. A stupid person walked out in front of me while I was doing 50kmph on the closed circuit – how much did that cost me – a few places on GC in the end...

Stage 4 – 98 km

Finally, there was something in my legs to give. A few early digs in the stage bridging to early breaks had my legs nicely ready for the first big climb when my teammate and I bridged across to a 4 person break. As 6, we stayed away for a long time but got expanded by another few about 35km from the finish. With about 20km to go, some of the teams wanted to bring down the break and stopped working (I wasn't doing too much, I had my eye on the prize, but I was riding through). With 13km to go, we were caught. Another small break got away a few km later and I should have been there – I wasn't, and rode in towards the front of the group in an interesting finish. (A few kicker climbs, followed by many roundabouts and finishing on a ramp in a hotel parking lot)

A stage races worth of kit


A well run event that I enjoyed – I was glad to finish safely and was 15th on GC in the end. I was tired going to the race but the legs came around a bit for the final stage. I had my training all planed attached to various goals I have and this didn't feature highly (thus, the fatigue) – I wish I did arrive a little fresher though – the win in this race is well within my ability.

Congrats to my RAS teammate Thomas Martin for winning the overall in a daring move on the final day.

Also, many thanks to the team for taking me on for the racing – I had a great time and enjoyed your company and picking up new things.