Nikki Dorey takes on the Joe Barr 800km
I was born and raised in Southampton and have always been involved in sport. From the age of 8 until around 27 I played soccer. My football career started with Southampton WFC where I played until I left to go to university at the age of 18. During my 10 years with Southampton I also represented my region and County from the age of 12-18. At university I played for the University of Bath first team and then joined Bristol City for my final year.
In 2011 I moved to Ireland after accepting a job with AerLingus. Upon moving I joined Shamrock Rovers for a season but decided I wanted to move away from soccer and challenge myself in a different way. I joined Belpark Triathlon Club in 2012 and raced for 4 years. During this time I competed in the Age Group World Championships in London, representing Ireland at Olympic distance. I then decided to try my hand at half Ironman, where I came 2nd in my age group during my first race in Wimbleball, UK and the following year came 7th Overall female in the same race.
At the end of 2015, I wanted to really test my endurance ability beyond the realms of triathlon and into a challenge that not only tested my physical ability, but also my mental ability to endure. My partner, Lisa Jacob,and I entered the Race Around Ireland in 2016. This consists of cycling 2200km around the perimeter of Ireland within 132 hours. We currently hold the record for the fastest female pair, finishing the race in 88 hours and 25 mins. Alongside this, we also raised €30,000 for the mental health charity Suicide or Survive, after a friend of mine died by suicide at the end of 2015.
Having completed the RAI I took a few years off competing and took the time to enjoy cycling and training with no specific aim in mind. However, at the beginning of 2020, I decided it was time to start challenging myself again. My initial goal had been the 24 hour World Championships in Borrego Springs, just outside of Los Angeles.
I am coached by Brian Welsh, who also coached Lisa and I for the RAI. He is an ultra cycling and endurance sportlegend, having completed RAAM solo, RAI solo, TCRsolo and Norseman to name a few. An excellent coach notwithstanding his competitive racing experience, Brian’s in-depth understanding of people, training and competing has made him a secret weapon in my armoury.
Initially a lot of my training was to build good base fitness. I have done a lot of my training this year on a turbo trainer because of the Covid 19 restrictions, but I also find that it’s a very efficient way of getting good training results. I use a software called TrainerRoad which I would highly recommend, as the sessions are very directly tailored towards your fitness levels and what you want to achieve. My training ranges from 10 hours on a light week to 18 hours on a heavy training week.
Initially my week would combine a mixture of very high intensity but short sessions, some VO2 max sessions (just above FTP), a couple of moderate intensity sessions around 75-80% FTP, a couple of lower intensity but longer rides and either a rest day, or a recovery spin day. I tend to be on a bike 6 or 7 days a week. I also try to do at least one yoga session to try and keep any injuries at bay, but I also just find it a great benefit to my mindduring these strange times.
As the situation with Covid 19 progressed, it became apparent that I would be unable to do the 24 hour TT. I’d been looking at the Joe Barr 500 race for a few months and made the decision to sign up for that instead as it looked like a brilliant race and a great challenge. The race is 500 miles (800km) with nearly 25,000ft of climbing and a 49 hour cut off.
With slightly over a month to the race, my training has adapted slightly to lower intensity, longer rides designed to get my body used to riding at my race pace. Over the coming weeks I will also be incorporating night rides in to the training. This serves two purposes. One is to get used to riding at night time, which is a slightly abnormal feeling – you feel like you’re going much faster than you are, which in turn means you tend to slow down. It’s also a pretty miserable experience as you get more tired, but it is fantastic race-specific training. The second reason is to get both myself and my crew members used to riding with a follow car.
In terms of support, the rules of the race require a minimum of two crew members. In my case, these will be my partner, Lisa and a fellow Naas CC member, Sean Teevan. Both of whom are very experienced in the world of ultra cycling. Lisa, obviously participated with me in the RAI, and Sean crewed for us during the RAI also. Alongside this, Sean does a huge amount of multiday touring around Ireland and Europe.
In terms of kit, I am delighted to say that British cycle clothing brand, Rivelo will be supporting me again. Having supported us for the RAI, I have been using their gear since and absolutely love it, so I am very proud to be wearing it again during this race.
If anybody would like to follow my journey to the race or the race itself, please follow me on Instagram(nikkidorey)/twitter (@nikki_dorey)/facebook (Nikki Dorey).
You can also find info on the race website: www.racejoebarr.com