Wicklow Round Challenge - Jordan/Scriven/O'Meara
Support Crew report
08 July, 2015 - Maike JürgensIt did not come as too much of a surprise to me when Mike asked me whether I would be free to support a Wicklow Round attempt on July 4th. Since it would still allow me to run the Carlingford race on the 5th, I agreed to support provided I would get to sleep through the night.
It transpired that Brian and Sam were also going to do the Round and the three of them agreed that a lift to the start and support from Drumgoff to the finish were sufficient. They had the, in my opinion brilliant, idea to leave dropbags at Ballinagee bridge instead of having a, at this stage 1 person, support crew out for 24 h. Gareth Little kindly agreed to provide support at the start and the Sally Gap so I was off the hook and could get a good nightâ€™s sleep. Well, the night ended at about 4 with a false fire alarm. At 7 it was time to get up. I had a list of stuff to bring to Drumgoff, which included hot water (for soup and coffee), cheese, bread, salami and I suppose a good cheer after a miserable night of rain for the lads. I was quickly running out of time and rushed to my car, leaving about 20 min later than planned. Oh dear, if the support crew was late it would be a desaster. Quickly get some petrol and onto the M50. Looking over at the hills, I felt for the guys since they were covered in mist to about 200 m down. Surprisingly, with the fear of being late, I made it to Drumgoff in less than 1 h â€¦ without consciously breaking a speed limit. I suppose that early on a Saturday morning there is not much traffic and no cyclists. Mike and Sam had left their support box in my car already and I picked up Brianâ€™s box which had been left at the Glenmalure lodge. I was in place at the agreed bridge meeting point at about 9.30 as planned. And the wait started wondering how the guys were getting on, how they were feeling, what conditions were like. It cleared quickly at Drumgoff and Karen who was out to help support the guys showed up soon after. So we waited together. We mistook a few cyclists for runners, I occasionally got excited about bushes that looked like runners, then there was a runner but not the one we were waiting for and eventually the lads showed up in seemingly great spirits. We rushed to provide coffee and soup while they changed into dry clothes and shoes, grabbed some food and we exchanged some brief information on how the night went while keeping an eye on the time to make sure they wouldnâ€™t stay too long and loose valuable time. Making sure they took some food for the road, they set off and we cleared the mess (in fairness, they were very well organised not expecting a big support crew and were self-contained in their respective boxes).
Next up was Glendalough. Still not too busy but nice and sunny, I used the opportunity of a black car in direct sunlight with open windows and the clothes dried off rather quickly (or at least the smell disappeared from my car :D). We were about to think about getting things read when the lads appeared â€“ earlier than expected and all making a dash for the toilets. A quick feed with a countdown on time and a funny remark by Sam about his odd looking beetroot (â€œapparently it is meant to make you faster, but I havenâ€™t won a race yetâ€) and they were off again. The next stop was the Wicklow Gap. A lot of people had said they would drop by here but for a long time Karen and I were the lone crew. Until we saw a green shirt whizz up the short cuts towards Turlough Hill â€“ very much looking like James Cahill. We thought we saw them coming down the hill shortly after but it was a false alarm. Stuart and Susan dropped by and kindly went to look for the Ballinagee drop bags in an their search efforts missed the lads. Same for Brianâ€™s wife. We were getting hungry but it is only a short stretch to Glenmacnass and the lads were faster than their proposed splits. A short wait at Glenmacnass later in the company of Jutta + family, Karen, Lillian, Stuart, Susan â€¦ all of them around and they showed up, just to be rushed up Scarr by me a few minutes later. Off to Lough Dan to provide coffee and noodles (no curry :D â€“ I got complaints later) where we met Ger and Dave and Pol and Martina. The lads were still in good spirits and the next stretch would take them a little longer so time to get some much needed food for the support crew in Roundwood. It was looking like they would make it so I was starting to feel a bit more relaxed. Off to Sheepsbank bridge and even more company â€¦ Brendan, Elaine and Paul joined us here. We had a good chat and discussion about which route the lads would take down to the stop over. It was great fun seeing little dots on the horizon become bigger and bigger. Strict instructions on who was to do what and that the guys were to be out of the checkpoint within 5 minutes â€“ no chatting, thatâ€™s for afterwards. Brendan later claimed I was running the checkpoint faster than a formula 1 pitstop. Martina went with the guys and most of us went to the Kippure service road where we provided some attraction for passing cars (no idea what was so interesting about 4 cars at the bottom of the service road). I finally had some time to get out my knitting â€“ much to the amusement of my company. Bang on time (just after nine) we saw 4 people pop up on top of Tonduff. They were coming, oh the excitement. Quickly getting the gear and food and new shoes ready â€“ 5 min guys and you are gone! And so they were â€“ down the road. We drove past them with loads of cheers and waving and went over to Oldboleys to be met by an awful lot of midgets. Polâ€™s spray didnâ€™t really work (for me anyway) so we ended up being crammed into the car for a good old chat. Martina left us, the guys showed up and left just as quickly to complete their mission. Back to the car and more knitting and the occasional banter on whatsapp (if we did get reception). We were rejoined by Jutta, who came to pick up Brian. Eventually, Dave went out to see how the guys were getting on. They were coming and only had about 2 km left. Unbelievable, they were going to make it â€“ with a good bit of time to spare. Once back on the road they marched on with determination in their steps. We convoyed over to the finish for a warm welcome. An odd feeling to cheer on the three in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night not really realising what they had just achieved. Piling Sam and Mike into the car, I drove off with some very sleepy company and funny conversation. Much needed sleep awaited at home, what a day.
07 July, 2015 - Mike JordanIn accordance with the rules of the Wicklow Round here are the split times for our attempt starting at 1am on Saturday 4th of July 2015.
Duff Hill 03:57
East Top 04:29
Table Mountain 08:23
War Hill 20:25
Tonduff North 21:05
Prince William's Seat 23:13
Brian, Sam & Mike