21 February, 2022The college championship brought 12 runners and some welcome brightly coloured singlets to the start line. Karol Cronin had done his homework and sported shiny new grippy trailshoes. GAAaaaaaa training was cancelled early enough on Friday for a golden ticket to IMRA Trooperstown to be purchased and I ventured out to the shed to find my own grippy shoes.
Grippy shoes, rainjacket, shorts, longs, gloves, number, buff, facemask, timing chip and game face. It was great to be heading to a race. I checked the IMRA unofficial IMRA FAcebuke to see a half frozen Niamh marking the course photo and packed more gloves, and a gilet.
Thanks again to Mike, Niamh and all the volunteers for putting on a great event and giving up their racing so i can.
There was plenty of slush on the roads and white on the hills on the way down but Trooperstown itself appeared to be in some kind of a quirky micro climate and was relatively warm and snow free. It was however fierce windy on the exposed sections and that pushed us along to Boots hilltop with the greatest of ease, so easy in fact that turning into the wind was a bit of a shock. Thankfully it appeared to be slowing Peter Bell a little more than me and that encouraged me to give it all the gas I had left. I very slowly closed the gap up to Peter but in retrospect I passed him too early. We were still on the climb. He nearly jumped when he saw me. And then did jump. Forward. Onto the descent and Peter put another half a minute into me here. The retrospective hindsight thinks I should have slotted onto his shoulder and attempted to follow his lines. Not to worry as I was to have another chance. This time Warren passed me just as we turned onto the final descent and I slotted onto his wake. This was grand until I realised popping onto the road behind someone and within 50m of the line wasn't going to work. And it didn't.
So there you have it. 8th. 3rd old man. Actually 4th old man but Carol was upgraded to 2nd overall so doesn't count today. And to think approaching the top of the hill I thought I was gonna be first old man. Racing is great though. Especially as an old man, you get two bites of the cherry.
More chats at the finish. Warren is still in full adrenaline mode and gives us a full blow by blow account of his thinking processes for the final 3km. Very informative. Brutally Honest too.
Well done to Enda and Clodagh the 2022 college champs.
19 February, 2022 - Brian FureyAfter Ticknock Winter race last Sunday - it was a case of double or quits to see where I really am form wise.
Trooperstown is a classic 10k course with a newly added traily forest section near the end the last few years.
A lovely course of a summer's evening. Less enticing during the winter but the trails are generally hardpacked
so it's a good one for Winter/Spring. Weather wise it was raining on way down and Djouce was snow covered.
As it worked out - it cleared up nicely for the race and was mild enough so not too cold.
I travelled down with Ciara and James came with us. Better to carpool and I owe James a few lifts anyways. Topics of conversation
included why Strava is good / bad and the many pitfalls of uploading activities from Garmin and GPS watches.
We got there, registration went smoothly, a quick change and managed a 15 minute warm-up with James
and some fellow runners Peter, Cormac and Paul Mahon. Some reminiscing going on.
Race doubled as the Colleges race so plenty of brightly coloured vests milling around. A quick race briefing from Mike Long
to the gathered crowds. Mike mentioned to enjoy and it's a privilege given the last 2 yrs with Covid that we're back racing. Very true indeed and long may it continue.
We were off up the fireroad. Pace was fast from the start with likes of Enda heading off into the
distance. I settled into the running pack near the front at a steady pace with idea of enjoying the race and not burning up too soon.
I traded places with a few lads in the first 5k. The tracks were very wet - lots of puddles
Boots hill seems far in the distance and daunting til you get nearer and realise it isnt that steep or that far away.
Having a strong wind blowing us up the hill helped too!
Turn right off Boots into a strong wind and down and around and back up Trooperstown hill. Past Barry McEvoy who was marshalling and
giving word of encouragement. I managed to gain a few places here.
Then the final finale 2k descent off Trooperstown to the finish, passing Mick Hanney who was taking photos
and Becky who was marshalling near the finish
Ran the final section from top of final hill to the finish on my own with a few too far ahead
and no one catching me. Happy enough for the result. Better than last week, legs fresher and we go on.
Ciara happy too and James happy apart from losing a sprint finish at the end!
A win for Enda Cloake overall and college champs with Karol Cronin 2nd and Tom Lupton 3rd I think. Ruari up there too in the college champs.
Thanks Mike and all for a great race.