Posts Tagged ‘Connemara’

The alarm went off at 4am. I felt sick. Not just the normal “sick with nerves before a race”. It was a nauseous feeling, a feeling that something wasn’t completely right with the body.

I wondered if I should even get up and get the bus to the starting line. You shouldn’t race if you don’t feel well, should you? But then again, I had paid the 88 Euro entry fee. I had paid for a full tank of petrol and two nights’ accommodation down in Westport. Not to mention all the training I had put in over the months, as well as the new puncture proof tyres I had recently purchased.

The start of Gaelforce West.

The start of Gaelforce West Adventure Race on Glassilaun Beach.

So I hauled myself out from under the covers and put on my racing gear. I figured if I got moving I’d feel a lot better. By the time I had settled myself on the 5am bus for the hour’s journey to the start, things had definitely improved. The banana cake was settling in my stomach and my headache was nearly gone. So I lumped myself in together with the 200 other athletes that had signed up for the elite wave start of the 68km adventure race known as Gaelforce West.

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“Now if you want proper mountains, then we need to head to Connemara”. Andrew had suggested going to the west of Ireland way back in 2007. Having led group walks around there for years whilst based in Galway, he knew that Connemara had real mountains made of rock and cliffs and proper stuff. This makes for incredible views over valleys and lakes as well as exhausting ascents and scary descents. Connemara was apparently the antithesis of the softly slanting bog that makes up Wicklow’s slopes that I had come so familiar with.

Andrew looking into the valleys below the Mamturks.

I was to spend less than three weeks in Ireland this summer. It was a great excuse to finally make the journey over to Connemara three years on and to traverse the Mamturk Mountain Range in a single day.

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