Taper, my arse!

If you read my last post, you will have known that I intended doing the Tried & Tested Triathlon Club 20k TT this evening. Furthermore, I had intended doing it sensibly, as the Dungarvan Triathlon is only nine days away and my hard training is finished. But….it did not go to plan.

Ballyvoile on a summer evening. Bikers going too fast to be caught on camera! (c. Meabh)

On a beautiful warm summer evening again, I was at the “crooked bridge” and decided to give it 100%. Why? I don’t know really. Maybe some overflowing testosterone (I’m allowed to say that, coz tis my flippin blog!) but mainly because I need to have an indication of where I’m at. I had hoped to do this event for the past few Thursdays, but Thursdays is not a good day for me as my family all meet up for tea and a catch-up. Also, whenever I do the brick workout on Tuesdays, I figure it’s a bridge too far (and not sensible, to boot…) to do two extremely hard workouts within 48 hours.

Garmin metric info
Garmin metric info
Strava info the old-fashioned way. I usually prefer this.

Anyways, shortly AFTER starting, I gave it welly. Looking back at it on Strava, I had several section PB’s and KOM’s, and was really really thrilled with my pace. And I know I have more in me. What was interesting was that I was not able to get my HR to where it can be maintained for the duration. This tells me, of course, that the oul body is a wee bit tired, and with sensible rest and fresh legs on Saturday week, I’ll know what’s possible. Mind you, there’s a big unknown in the equation. How will I manage the TT after swimming 750 metres? Well, I’ll update you after next week. In the meantime, I’m going to approach it in my most positive frame-of-mind. Even though I’ll find the swim very tough, I have two things in my favour. 1. When I get on the bike, I’ll definitely be well warmed-up and 2. My HR will be high enough to go hard from the start. I do realise this is my FIRST triathlon, so there’s a chance that my best-laid plans might come to an abrupt halt! It’s important though, to visualise the best-case-scenario.

My clock time for the 20k TT was 36:52 That works out at 20.3mph / 32.6kmph.


Incidentally, looking back through this post, the title may be open to various interpretations! However, Meabh noted that the comma in “Taper, my arse” saved me from further embarrassment.


Finally, here’s a good post-TT tip: three Guinness in the Lady Belle, Dungarvan, watching the highlights of England’s unfortunate defeat to Uruguay.

Scoreline England 1 – Luiz Suarez 2.

Report from The Irish Times and another from BBC Sport.

Do you ride bike time-trials? Let’s compare / contrast…

Are you an England fan? Perhaps a Uruguayan fan? Will Chile be the 2014 dark horses? Share your thoughts please…


Triathlon Taper

The training is all done. I’m ready now for the Dungarvan Triathlon on Saturday, June 28th. I have worked hard since early spring, learning to swim, and competing in several bike and running events to get me to where I need to be. My task now is to ease up quite a bit to be fresh  for the big day.

I will participate in tomorrow’s club brick session at Ballyvoile. However, I will go gently. Not completely easy, though. My plan is to push the bike section very hard on the short hill, and ease up for the rest of the lap. on the run section, I intend to go hard uphill, and very easy back down. I’ve got a swim on Wednesday, and bike time-trial on Thursday. Again, I will concentrate on short hard efforts followed by easy-paced recovery. There’s a 5-mile run on Friday night, and this will be my last hard run.

Bring it on!


Completed events 2014:


  • Naas Duathlon (run / bike / run)
  • Dungarvan John Treacy 10 (run)


  • Kilmac 5 (run)


  • Cycling week Gran Canaria
  • Ballinroad 5k (run)


  • Butlerstown Duathlon (run / bike / run)
  • Butlerstown 4 (run)
  • Ballyvoile Brick #1 (bike / run / bike / run)





In addition, I biked (occasionally) with Dungarvan Cycling Club, and with Tried & Tested Triathlon Club. Challenging, training & leisure spins.


Footnote: I WILL get around to doing a post on all the above events. Just at the minute, they’re coming at me faster than I can cope with! Winter is a great time for writing. In summer, I gotta take the chance to get out doing them!


I can’t Update My Name Right Now

It’s time. I’ve had this post in the back of my mind for the past twenty-nine years, and now the time is right. Time for me to put on paper my long regret, in order for me to move forward.

I refer to who I am, deep down. Who am I? In short, I am Pat Burke. Since 1985, I have used the Irish version of my name. I like the Irish language; in fact, I like it very much! However, the reason behind my decision at the time is filled with confusion, and as the years rolled my confusion continued.

Journey back with me, please. I had been teaching in Dublin since 1978, using my given name, Pat Burke. I started my second teaching job in West Waterford in October 1985.  A strange thing happened on the day I was signing my contract. A certain local priest, who shall remain name nameless, visited my home. As I was ready to sign the agreement, he mentioned that he had a “favour” to ask. He said that he would like it very much if I were to use the Irish version of my name, Pádraig de Búrca. Now, it needs to be said that I applied for the job as Pat Burke, and I was informed in writing that I was successful. The letter is in my name, Pat Burke. I felt certain that he was flying a kite; that this suggestion came from him alone, and was not in any way associated with the Board of Management of the school.
Fast thinking time…and to my regret I agreed. I felt really that my choices were limited. In 1985 Catholic Ireland, what the priest wanted he usually got! So, I started 22 years teaching in West Waterford as Pádraig de Búrca. Immediately, I discovered that I was in reality two persons! My parents and family knew me as nothing other than Pat. In fact, all of my schoolboy friends did likewise! I was a schizophrenic! Monday to Friday at work I was Pádraig, and everywhere else I was Pat. Shortly afterwards, in order to rectify the situation, I changed my name officially to the Irish version. Within months, Pádraig de Búrca was on all my correspondence, and as I began to integrate back into Dungarvan life, I became known as such. Many many people became very confused.
I joined the Dungarvan Badminton Club as Pádraig, met my future wife as Pádraig, and as the years again rolled on I joined Dungarvan Cycling Club as Pádraig. Understandably, the transition was a difficult one for my parents, siblings, cousins and school friends.
Interestingly, my wife and I adopted a slight variation. I did not like Pádraig, as it has a very rough gutteral sound (for anyone unfamiliar with the language the phonetic pronunciation is “paw-drig”). The d in the middle really bugged me, and so we used Páraig (paw-rig) at home! More split personality issues now.

In or about 2010, my family and I had a discussion about this, and I was glad that we did. I was happy once again to be called Pat by my mam, and my brothers and sisters (dad had passed on). Some had a tough time getting used to the initial change, and equally found it easier just to stick with Pádraig. Some rowed in with my Páraig variation , while some were more comfortable with Pat. My nephews and nieces are completely confused.

So, let me put this to bed. My name is Pat Burke, always was, and always will be. The Irish version of my name really is not me. So, what happens now?

Realistically, I am not going to change my name back again. I know so many people through teaching, friendships and local involvement with several clubs and organisations that it would be very impractical. My darling wife calls me Páraig, and this I like almost as a term of endearment as it originated only between both of us. I have several close friends who call me Páraig, and this too pleases me. I am 100% more comfortable with Páraig as opposed to Pádraig. But, the time is right for me to be called Pat by my family. Full circle….in fact, several interconnected loops…

Footnote: I started using Facebook in 2010. Since then I’ve used so many variations that even Facebook itself is at its’ wits end: Pádraig de Búrca, Pat Pádraig Burke, Pádraig Pat Burke, Pat Burke, Paddy Burke (don’t know how I thought that up!) and currently Páraig Pat Burke.  Last week, I tried to edit my name on Facebook to “Páraig de Búrca” and use “Pat Burke” as a nickname, and here is the error message that came up: “You can’t update your name right now because you’ve already changed it too many times. Facebook is a community where people use their real identities. We require everyone to provide their real names, so you always know who you’re connecting with. This helps keep our community safe.” I wonder perhaps would it make a difference if I were to email / share this with Mr. Z. Perhaps I’ll launch a campaign to force FB to allow more than six name-changes, without undermining safety issues! I think ten would be an acceptable number.

Here’s a lovely story to finish: I joined Tried & Tested Triathlon Club, using my official Pádraig de Búrca  title. The club uses Facebook for messaging. When a member of the committee met me recently, she mentioned that she does not know what to call me, and was sure that my Christian name was Páraig Pat, as in persons using two Christian names e.g Paddy Joe or Mary Ann. I appreciated her curiosity!

If you were able to follow all of that, I’d love to hear your slant on it! If you are completely muddled, that’s understandable.



Have you any tales to tell about family names?

June Bank Holiday

So, although I am retired, and Bank Holidays are not quite as necessary to me now, I was very surprised today. You see, while cycling early morning and jogging in the mid-afternoon, I noticed something very interesting. Everyone it seemed was  out and active. Solo runners and bikers, couples, families, teenagers in small and large groups, pets and motorists. All were out in reasonably warm sunshine, enjoying leisure time. I’m sure that it’s been the same for most fine Bank Holidays, but it struck me in a particular way today. I suppose I am now detached from the world of work and the pressures of time, so the focus for me over the past nine months has been towards leisure and enjoying this valuable time. It was especially lovely to be able to see others make good use of limited leisure-time.  Many are working hard and finding decent leisure time is difficult…but so important!

I had a very busy day. Up at 7.30am for spin with my friend Declan at 8.30am. We pushed into a breezy headwind to Affane Cross,  after which we enjoyed a cyclist’s dream return to Dungarvan. Turning off along the Military Road to Ballinroad and Garranbane, we  decided to tackle a new route back to Stradbally. We nicknamed it Zoncolan de Garranbane, for good reason. The climb was just less than 2km long and very steep. In fact, the elevation from 10 metres to 130 metres in such a short distance speaks for itself! We measured some sections at 15%. Not that we needed clock-verification, because our legs were telling us that this was HARD. After coffee in Stradbally, I was very happy to see that the wind had changed SE, and I had a tailwind home.

Zoncolan de Garranband
Zoncolan de Garranbane

Lunch with Marion, and some time to sit in the garden to enjoy the sun was  followed by me second session of the day: an easy 50 minute jog, with one-minute hill-intervals x6 (again at Garranbane!) in very warm conditions. So, now it’s time to sit back and relax watching some TV and updating this blog.

Below is s screen-grab of the hill-interval effect:

Garranbane x6
Garranbane x6

The cycling link on Strava is here, and the severe section is clearly obvious from the spin profile. Sure, if you have a Strava account, you might want to follow my workouts. And of course, if you don’t well…that’s ok too!

For your information: The Zoncolan is a famous mountain-climb in Northern Italy, used sparingly as a stage finish during the Giro d’Italia. I have included a link to last Saturday’s epic events on this sacred ascent. Also, some historical information about the massive climb.


Question: How do you like to spend your Bank holiday? Replies & comments most welcome…