Sunday 19 November 2017

If you can't stand the heat get into the sauna

JUST HOW DO you prepare to race flat-out for ten hours in temperatures that could well exceed 35°C and it might also be humid - very humid.

That's the problem facing local Ironman Alan Ryan who is gearing up to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii this October.

After a very pleasant swim of just under 4km, Alan, along with 2,000 of the Worlds top Ironman triathletes will head off on a 180km bike ride followed by a full 42.25km marathon run in the blistering tropical heat on the famous Ironman Hawaii course.

"With the summer we have just had," says Alan. "I haven't been able to train in anything close to the temperatures I am going to experience at the race. A lot of Europeans would head to the Canaries to train where conditions are similar to Hawaii but I have had to content myself with putting my bike up on a roller in my attic to simulate warm weather training. It's not quite the same thing and not nearly hot enough."

James Dooley of the Aqua Club at Kelly's Resort Hotel & Spa in Rosslare, who also coaches swimming for Wexford Triathlon Club, of which Alan is a member, half jokingly suggested to Alan that he put his bike in their sauna and do a few sessions there.

"At first I laughed, I thought the idea was crazy but then we began to think it through - it really did make sense and was worth a try. Remarkably, Bill Kelly of Kelly's Hotel was happy to facilitate me".

"I didn't really know what to expect so I stocked up on water and thought I might stick it out for an hour. In the end I managed an hour and a half though I did need to stop for a quick cold shower or two along the way to avoid overheating.

"I think James was feeling guilty for proposing the sauna and having organised things with Kelly's Hotel, he kept popping in to check if I was still alive.

"I really must thank him and all at the Aqua Club in Kelly's for letting me do this. I know the owner Bill Kelly has recently completed the infamous Gale Force West adventure race and James has represented Ireland in swimming so they know what I am trying to do.

Its daft, it's tough but it is just what is needed. Obviously cycling in a sauna is not something I would recommend to anyone as a sensible form of exercise. But for my specific goal it is a great help. It did raise a few eyebrows from the guests but when they find out why I am doing it they see my logic. But they are still a little amused to be sharing a sauna with a nutter on a bike".

Alan is hoping for a top finish at the Ironman World Championships, he reckons he has a chance at taking the World title in his division and if he does it will have been worth all the curious looks, slagging and sweat.

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