Oblate Youth Service News

WAR Sport Adventure Race 2013

Preparing for the Race Ahead

After many weeks of tough training through the roads and hills of County Meath and the lakes of County Cavan, the big day arrived. Anxiety levels were high as Declan and myself strapped the bikes onto the back of PJ's car. The quick spin down to Wicklow was passed by quickly as we discussed tactics, eat pasta and listened to soothing music.

Upon arrival at Powerscourt House, we dismounted the bikes from the back of the Volkswagen and began our preparations for the big race. After about an hour or so of toilet breaks, stretching, more toilet breaks, pumping air into the tyres and eating energy bars, PJ, Declan and myself found ourselves amongst over a hundred other eager looking riders at the start line of the 2014 WAR Sport Wicklow Adventure Race. A gun shot sounded and we were off on the bikes in a mad dash down the hill.

The Start...

However only 300m into the race disaster struck, with the sound of a huge explosion. Yes, my front tyre had given in. What a terrible start to the 32km race. I pleaded with Declan and PJ to stop and help me out with my lack of experience in changing a tyre posing a bit of a problem. And so they did. It took just under ten minutes to change the tyre as we watched the rest of the field fly by.

Once we got going again it was a matter of playing catch up. The two boys began to set a good pace and pushed on ahead of me on the stretch between Powerscourt and The Sugarloaf. I was setting quite a slow pace if I'm to be honest with an overhanging concern that my tyre would blow again. However it was encouraging to catch up with some of the slower runners after about 5km, but there was a considerable gap between the boys and myself by the time I reached the base of The Sugarloaf.

Running The Sugarloaf...

After a tough first sector, I was looking forward to getting off the bike for a while and setting of on foot for the 3km stretch up and down the mountain. Into the first hundred metres or so I saw Declan running towards me coming down off the mountain and I thought to myself surely these lads havn't been up and down the mountain already? But the look of stress and concern on his face told me otherwise... "What's Up?" I asked... "i've forgotten my bloody medical kit" Dec replied. I told him "not to worry about it and if anyone asks about it tell them you're sharing mine". So he turned back and we both began to ascend the mountain.

I decided to push on a wee bit and try and catch up with PJ, which I did. We both got up and down the mountain in good time... stopping at the top briefly to take in the view and to draw a breath. Once we arrived back to the bottom of the mountain, it was back onto the bike for a 10km stretch onto vartry lakes. This 3rd sector of the race was probably the easiest as the route was reasonably flat. By the time PJ and myself arrived at Vartary lakes the wind was beginning to pick up. There was no sign of Declan behind us so we decided to press on and begin our lap of the lake in the double open kayak.

Into the Home Stretch...

And so it was into the home stretch, but what a stretch it was as the cycle from Vartary lakes back to Powerscourt House proved to be a long and grueling struggle. I was beginning to loose pace to PJ and he pushed on ahead of me. It felt like the up hill struggle would never end and I was waiting for Declan to catch me up but he never did obviously feeling the pain of the final few hills. I was absolutely delighted when I reached the gates of Powerscourt House until I remembered I still had to navigate one final long steep incline inside the grounds before reaching the finishing line in the car park.

It was truly a fantastic feeling of achievement when I crossed the line. PJ got in ahead of me and Declan wasn't far behind. We were barely able to speak to each other at the end with exhaustion but still we were able to say we went from 'Couch Potatoes' to triathletes in six weeks.... not to bad at all... and in the process we raised over €2.000 for the Oblate Youth Service.

A massive thanks to everyone who sponsored us and who supported us during the challenge.

The Author: Dave O' Donnell

OYS Irish Regional Co-Ordinator