This was my first ever official bike race and at 1,350 miles with 75,000ft of climbing, some rough roads and unpredictable Irish weather, it is also Europe’s toughest cycling event. It is a solo time trial over open roads in which the fastest person to reach the finish line is the winner. Sleeping is optional and the cut off time is 132 hours.
In 2009 I withdrew from the race after 1150 miles because I was going to miss the deadline of 132 hours. The body was unprepared for the sleep deprivation and I had also completed the wrong training in 2009, having focused on long mileage and often completing 24hour cycling rides each weekend, rather than shorter speed sessions.
In 2010 I returned and, armed with smarter training techniques, I managed to claim 3rd place with a time of 127 hours despite carrying a bad chest infection. In 2011 I had to withdraw due to recurring injuries and other competing priorities. In 2012 I will be targeting the elusive win but what I will primarily be focusing on my overall time. If I can be 15 hours faster than 2010, than a top 3 finish will again be close and will show that I am getting stronger each year. That is enough for me.
Every year until 2018, I will be looking to go faster and hopefully I will progress enough as a cyclist to eventually complete the course in sub 100 hours.
For a report on the 2010 Ireland race, click on this link: http://www.seanohiarnain.com/?page_id=71
And for a 2011 look-in analysis from a crewing perspective: http://www.seanohiarnain.com/?p=508