If you don't like needles....maybe not the best to look at all the photos.
What an event. The concept of it boggles the mind. Teams of 4 riding 2,131km around the country in under 96 hours. Then add in the solo's doing it in under 120 hours. Crazy. Totally so.
So to make it a little crazier it was decided that one team of cyclists would lend me their bodies, blood, saliva and urine for the name of science. This team was the wonderful lads in An Post Connaught.
What can i say about the race from an outsiders point of view. Controlled chaos. Riders would wait for a while until everything was about to explode and then jump into action, bikes set, gear on and in 2 mins the new riders would have arrived and the recovered riders would be on the road. Every 4 hours this rotated between resting and riding. Day and night, luckily through near perfect weather.
But my side of the race is what i want to talk about and how i experienced the event. This is going to be a bit like 24, but not as many explosions, but very similar amounts of blood.
-12 hours to race:
Navan, god how i hate Navan, something about the place. Sitting at the local sports partnership at 7:30am waiting for the boys to turn up and the sensors van to rear its head, please god let it turn up of 15mins penalty even before we start. 7:59:50 they turn up and Colm sprints in to sign on. Oh dear.....this is how its going to be then. Sign up, get the vans ready, accelerometers on the bikes and riders. Off to the main town centre to get the van accredited, done, happy out. Get my blood, psych, saliva and urine samples. Say my good lucks the the lads, turn all the kit on, bail back to my lab. Run my samples, pack the van, hit the road.
-1hour to race:
Phone wont stop ringing, ive just driven to the other end of the country and people want me to sort shit out. Get over it and deal with it!! I'm tired and i want dinner.
-10mins to race:
FUCK OFF, i don't care about it. MAKE SURE ITS ON. Simple strokes as Niall would say.
4 hours RT (00:00am):
Cant sleep, totaly shitting the first night, no idea if this is going to work, really not enjoying this not knowing whats going on.
11 hours RT(07:00am):
Phone on, P just rang. Van has blown all its circuits, fuse fucked, no power, but got it sorted. To make things worse, total blow out on the van. Stress building, people not happy, no idea if they are going to let me sample them. So so nervous.
14 hours RT(10:00am):
Met the lads....everyone is actually chilled...quite confused. WTF happened and why aren't they annoyed! Waiting for the lads to arrive for the switch over and every one is just lolling about, drinking coffee kicking heals. I'm very very confused, yet chilled.
15 hours RT(11:00am):
Riders here, switch done, Mick and Padraig in, Noel and Daire out. What a total anti climax! So fast, saw everything, which was nothing. Time to take samples off the lads. Have the van in a nice corner of the carpark away from everyone, however sticking needles into cyclists in the public's eye is something i need to keep quiet!
15:30 hours RT(11:30am):
Shit the wheel with the puncture is still in the follow vehicle, chase time! Got it an hour later, then had to skip on ahead onto Sligo to get it fixed. This is a puncture kids.
19.5 hours RT(3:30pm):
Sligo, another petrol station, new tire fitted in record time in Grange. Time to stab the lads and get more blood in another dodgy spot. Lads are holding up very very well. Local area now so they are happy out, playing up for the people and just talking easily to everyone.
29 hours RT(11:00pm):
Just arrived in Tralee, drinving from Sligo to Tralee in one go sucks so much. Wrecked, lads are still riding, apparenlty ok. Will see in the morning. hope i can get more than 5 hours sleep tonight.
This gives an idea of the first day. Seriously hectic moments and other not so hectic moments. I'll do some more tomorrow, to tired now! All leading up to this: