Loads of work done the last couple of weeks. Had the opportunity to go surfing out west which was absolutely fantastic! It feels like our time is running out very fast and we should be in a better position with our fitness and training but I imagine that's how these things always go. Two weekends ago Myself and Steve did a 10k paddle hugging the coast from Balbriggan to Skerries. It was a fresh enough westerly so we stayed very close to shore. The 10k felt like a doddle though and we were mixing in some sprints between certain points on the beach etc. The weekend just gone myself Killian and John did a short and sweet 7k paddle at a faster pace around Skerries, again the wind was up so the paddling was hard enough. On the Saturday Steve and I went up to Balbriggan and did a 7k downwinder into Skerries which turned out to be great fun! We had a strong enough WNW wind on our tails and as we paddled the wind veered more north which instantly changed the sea conditions and got quite bumpy which was way more fun than flat water. Our average speed was up around 7.5kph but there's no way we could maintain that intensity for more than a few hours.
Monday was the longer paddle. We met up at noon and were prepared for a long one. Unfortunately the wind conditions from the previous couple of days had left the sea pretty choppy. 3k into the paddle my feet had completely cramped up and John had fallen in a couple of times, it wasn't looking great. We powered through though and continued on up the coast past Barnageera, past Balbriggan, past Cardy Rocks, up to Gormanston beach. We had seen a bit of sunshine at that point which was lovely but with the choppy seas it felt like we had paddled 50k. Just as we were arriving into the beach it looked like it was a sandy bottom, but my fin caught on a rock which caused my board to come to a complete stop, and I was jolted forward falling off the front of my board face first into the water. Bruises and a few scratches, a very sore knee and certainly ego, I started to get cold quickly. John was in the same boat as he had taken a few impromptu dips along the way and once the sun was in we were cold. We had been paddling for 3.5 hours at that stage and to be honest with my knee quite sore I wasn't sure how well I was going to manage the paddle back. We ate some bananas and nuts, drank some water and jumped back on the boards without much hanging about. John and Steve powered off ahead while I had more of a saunter, we hugged the coast back to Skerries and after 5hrs40mins we were back where we started, with just under 30k complete. It's nearly a third of what our planned paddle is and we were happy with our progress considering the sea conditions were not very favorable.
Outside of the on-the-water training, we have all been doing our own fitness training during the week which we keep track of on Strava. Swimming, running, cycling, gym workouts and yoga are on everybodys menu. Its certainly a time consuming challenge and getting the motivation sometimes can be hard. We are all enjoying it though and its great to be on the water so much.
There's a few other aspects to the challenge which we have started to address recently. Rescue boats for the crossing on the day, personal safety equipment, navigation and timing the tides with the right conditions are at the top of the list. We are also doing the challenge to raise money for the RNLI so we need to conduct risk assessments and emergency action plans before they put their stamp on it. We also have the problem of actually paying for the fuel for the rescue boats so we were considering approaching a couple of businesses to see if they would sponsor us on our mission!
Oh in other news, my brother who lives near Middlesborough in the UK has decided to organise a sort of race against us where he and a few of his local cycling club will cycle 400km including crossing the Pennines to meet us in Holyhead when we get there. No pressure or anything!!
So it's all systems go. Train, eat healthy, train, write thesis, train, open business for season, train train train!