In 2013 we will be involved in the organisation of 15 events all of which will offer a quality and value for money experience.
Paul has been a prominent and successful participant in a wide range of outdoor sports over the past 12 years since returning to Ireland after working in the UK, Asia and Australia over a 7 year period.
He is a member of Setanta Orienteering Club, the Irish Mountain Running Association, Bray Wheelers and Rathfarnham A.C. and has served for several terms on club committees in a variety of positions and organised many events.
He is currently the IMRA representative on the Dublin Mountains Initiative (DMI) group and in the past has represented Ireland at Mountain Running and at the Mountain Bike Orienteering and Adventure Racing World Championships
His success in adventure race events on home soil particularly in team based adventure race events speaks for itself:
Victories to date have included Carlingford Lough Endurance Challenge (6 times), Ballyhoura Beast (4), National Adventure Marathon (2), Blessington Adventure Race (2), Outsider Adventure Race (2), Wicklow 24 hr Rogaine (2), Irish Adventure Challenge, Galeforce 12, Kilbroney Challenge, Annacurragh Bike Adventure, Lough Derg Monster(2), Raid 24 Hr AR (3), Shamrock 24hr AR and several other Adventure Ireland organised races.
Whilst competing in 2011 was very limited due to a combination of injury and organising commitments these outings included wins in the Rogaine Ireland 6 hr Solo, Raid 24 hour Adv Race, Lough Derg Monster, Headless Horseman, 1st mixed team (2nd overall) in CLEC, 1st Irish Team in the 36 hr Beast of Ballyhoura, 2nd in the Connemara Rough Diamond and 3rd in the Dingle adventure races in addition to being part of the team to set a World Record (18,000 m of cumulative climbing and descending) when each team member successfully summited Croagh Patrick 12 times in a 24 hour period.
Internationally Paul has raced on 5 continents and has enjoyed podium success when coming as a late substitute for several international AR teams.
MSAI is the vehicle through which this experience is being used to provide top quality events and tailored training in Ireland.
The Team aspect of Adventure Racing is something no amount of solo training can replace and is a vital and often overlooked part of adventure race preparation.
In this particular aspect of racing Paul's experience and aptitude has been proven by race success on many occasions.
Before turning to fulltime event organisation, Paul worked throughout the world on a variety of process and pharmaceutical industry projects as a project engineer, construction and project manager and is qualified Chartered Engineer with the IEI.
Events succesfully organised to date include the Achill and West Wicklow ROARs, WAR (Glendalough, Glenmalure & Powerscourt), Tulfarris 10, Runamuck Challenge, Howth Triathlon, Howth Aquathon Series, Escape from Ireland Swim, Urban Trail Series, Tuff Trax, Athlone 3/4 Marathon, Monster MAC and the Glendalough Trail race.
Select suitable clothing to suit expected weather conditions and your expected progression in the race with a “What If” allowance in terms of a bike mechanical/ crash/ injury/ “bonk”!
Many start off races over dressed and then need to remove layers within a short distance of the start or persist in wearing too much clothing which can result in excessive sweating and possible later race cramping problems.
For certain stay warm and dry before a race but once the race commences you will warm up so generally it is advisable to remove rain gear before the start of the race.
Ensure footwear is well broken in before event
This may involve having trained and broken in more than one pair of shoes to take account of underfoot conditions that may change depending on weather in the days before an event.
To date there is no “One Size Fits All” in terms of footwear brands and types.
Go to a reputable shop and get advice as to what suits you.
Do not be driven by the “go faster stripes” type of shoes that are primarily aimed at the fashion rather than function market.
For most adventure racing events it is generally best to use trail shoes even if some of the running is on the road.
The slight advantage of a road shoe is often well negated once you venture off road.
Should you slip or fall because of incorrect footwear selection then the seconds you gain on the road may pale into insignificance compared to the discomfort or injury that may threaten your chances of finishing a race.
Select a rucksack / bum bag to suit your needs for the event.
In general you are looking to have minimal weigh and size and a bag that is functionally designed as this will ensure most comfort and optimal performance for you.
The larger the bag you select, the more likely you are to fill it with stuff you don’t really need
Ensure you have practiced running in whatever bag you think you will wear with your race kit inside and that your bag does not bounce, provides quick access to food with hip pockets, water bottle holder, etc
Find out the detail of the course (distances, terrain, profile, etc) and train accordingly
For the likes of Gaelforce, if you can’t make it to Mayo to train on the course itself then you could, if based in Dublin / Wicklow area, cycle to Kilmacanogue via a couple of hilly road climbs and “run” up and down the Sugarloaf and then another cycle afterwards.
For the likes of Achill ROAR' you could start a swim or paddle (your choice in race too of course) if possible, then transition straight into a flattish run before a climb on foot and returning by a similar route to your bike by running a flat section and then biking an undulating route.
Know what your reasonable pace and finish time should be and don’t be tempted to go too fast at the start despite what everyone else is doing.
It is better to start slowly and be capable of finishing strongly in the second half of the race.
A bike “failure” is the most likely reason that most will not finish a race and most “failures” can generally be avoided by proper preparation.
Ensure your bike is in good condition and not likely to cause you problems.
Have your bike serviced by a reputable shop if you are not able to do this properly yourself.
This preparation includes tyre type and pressure selection to suit the terrain expected.
Know how to change a tube and ensure you carry the correct tools to do this.
If possible you should carry a chain tool and “Power Links” to repair a chain break quickly.
Mandatory kit is selected by race organisers for the safety of you so do cooperate and bring whatever the organisers tell you is mandatory.
Seconds saved by deciding not to carry the mandatory kit will seem such a waste if you need your first aid kit or space blanket when injured on the side of a mountain!
Be prepared for changed weather conditions – mentally and physically
Just because it is raining does not mean you should cancel a planned training session.
Train in all weathers and then whatever Mother Nature throws at you on race day will be somewhat familiar particularly in terms of bike control on wet road descents, running down hills and of course correct clothing and footwear selection.
Ensure you have sufficient food for the full duration of the event either on your person from the start or, if the race format allows it, in an easily accessible format on your bike.
You can use a small bag on your handlebars / cross bar or alternatively by using tape to attach bars and gels to your bike.
If dong this ensure you have not interfered with the correct working of breaks and gears.
Practice all your eating in training and only eat bars/ gels that work for you
Ensure you have practiced eating and drinking form bottles on your bike in particular and that you have sufficient control of your bike when doing so.
Water alone is usually not sufficient for most unless in a short event (< 2 hours) or the weather is very cold.
You should only use hydration products that work for in training for your needs
Some products that are available for hydration include NUUN, Hi Five, Deoralyte, etc are generally easy to take but the key is to hydrate before you become dehydrated.
Studies have shown that being 2% dehydrated can result in a 20% drop in performance.
You may not actually feel thirsty until you are 6% dehydrated at which stage some studies have shown that there is a 60% drop in energy available.
If you do feel a cramp coming on then get electrolytes into you quickly preferably in the proportions recommended by the suppliers of hydration products.
Despite the best preparation in terms of training, gear selection, nutrition, you should be prepared mentally for the unexpected as it sometimes does happen
If you have so unexpected problems along the way just deal with them quickly and efficiently and get back to racing ASAP but don’t be tempted to change your pace or strategy in order to make up time lost fixing a puncture, etc
Enjoy Your Race Day out and the night after – Well Done J!