This week, I got to interview another class athlete and gentleman of the Scorching Events circuit. Once again, I am truly inspired by my peers who indulge in multisport.
Smouldering Ember. – Dermot, you are coming up to the 50 mark in Scorchers, congratulations and welcome to the club. Which is your most memorable Scorching event and why was it so special for you?
Dermot Coffey – There are a few that stand out- first one obviously, and another back in 2008 when I got a double puncture way out up Happy Valley Road. Someone threw me a spare tube and I made it back- never got to thank them! I’m usually happily propping up the mid-table ranks, but I did win one event on a foul day when everybody either stayed in bed or did the medium course. Still dining out on that one! (This may be a fib as the weather is always outstandingly good during Scorching Events.- SE.)
The most memorable though would be my only DNF a couple of years ago, February 2013. It was fantastic weather that Daryl puts on for us every so often, and I was feeling pretty good coming back past Worser Bay when a car pulled a u-turn in front of me. It wrecked the bike and my knee and I had the police and an ambulance attending within 5 minutes I’d say. All good and I got patched up, headed home and got in the car to go into the After Hours to get stitched up. “Hmm, no petrol, that’s odd,” I thought- I was sure it was full. Anyway down to the petrol station to put in $40 of 91, which promptly poured out the hole in the bottom of the tank that some guys had used to drain it! Apparently any spill over 5 litres needs the fire service to attend, so the station got shut and I got to sit down outside, blood seeping down my leg waiting for the cleanup. Got to use all the emergency services that day. (I remember that event. Reasonable excuse for a DNF – SE)
If someone at the time had said I’d be looking back fondly on it two years later…
The car got stolen 12 months later too! (Many people would say rather the car than the bike! –SE)
SE – Conversely, which has been the most forgettable and why?
DC – None really stand out. Even having done a fair few, I can look back over the results and get a good memory from each of the races.
SE – We all have our own nemesis on the course. Who is yours and why are you
in competition with that person?
DC – I’m well behind the Angry Bulls and Daveys, (As aree most of New Zealand –SE) but I have a couple – maybe they don’t know. Despite giving up 100 years to James Turner, he still has a tendency to steam past me on the bike or run. This might not be a problem anymore, as I hear he’s swimming pretty well at the moment! Matt Berg too, he always seems to pull out the good performance for the bigger races! (We all know Matt Berg will run over small children to save an extra second – SE)
SE –Apart from Scorchers, which other triathlons have you completed? How do they compare with Scorching Events?
DC – I’ve done a few around the country, mostly shorter races. I did the Lakes Hayes tri a few years back which was a great race in a fantastic location, hobbled around Auckland in 2012 at the Worlds, and I always enjoy the Tri series race down on the Waterfront (it’s at a better time next year too). I did a few events when I last spent time in Ireland in 2009- there are some excellent tris over that way if anyone is headed there. The Scorchers hold their own though- I’m not sure if I’ve found anything tougher than that first 500m of the run from Scorching Bay into a howling northerly! (This may be a fib as the weather is always outstandingly good during Scorching Events. Am I repeating myself – SE.)
I haven’t really done long, I know it seems to be the natural progression, but time for the training would be hard to find and I’m not sure I’d particularly enjoy it. I’ve only done the one half ironman, in Taupo a few years back- so I’m hoping to smash my PB in the Scorching Wellington Half in January. I’ve not checked the course maps yet but I’m sure Daryl has taken everyone’s advice on board and will give us a fast, flat course with no wind. (See you on the startline – SE)
SE – Who is your most inspirational sports person?
DC – I’m loving Chris Boardman at the moment. Hour record (on the Eddy Merckx bike too), yellow jersey, bike designer, sponsors the Brownlee bros, and especially recently he’s become a serious advocate for social and utility cycling. Super stuff.
Plenty of local inspirations too- but I think the Scorching crew and especially Daryl deserve a huge shout-out for keeping such a fantastic local series going over the years. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to have it. (I agree. Everyone knows we are privileged to have Daryl et al to organize these events, so keep up the support participate everyone – SE)
SE – I see from your Facebook existence, you also enjoy mountain biking and climbing. Any calamities participating in these sports which you would like to share with the Scorching horde?
DC – I used to love getting out into the mountains (at a pretty modest level), safe to say I’m now in retirement. I miss it of course – it’s one sport that has even more emotional highs and lows than triathlon! Lots of good memories though, and no personal epics to report fortunately.
Nothing too bad with the mountain biking- just the usual thrills and spills. My ‘technical abilities’ wouldn’t be up to much mind you
SE – Dermot, you are one of the nice guys on the Scorching circuit. Does
anything make you angry. I suppose this question is inflammatory.
DC – Nothing tri related anyway – in fairness we’re pretty lucky in Wellington to be able to swim in the harbour and cycle and run in such fantastic surroundings, and to have so many local events like the Scorchers and Splash and Dash.
I do get angry of course! Just the usual stuff- health inequality, children’s freedom destroyed by a world beholden to motorised transport, spineless right-wing governments here and overseas at a time when the world needs decent leadership…that sort of thing. It doesn’t keep me up at night, mind you. (not much anyway!)
SE – Which do you prefer, Diamaid or Dermot. Suppose you need to write Dermot
so people know who you are.
DC – Either is fine really! One is as Irish as a sack of potatoes singing a ballad on the Atlantic seaboard, and the other is phonetically spelled so they each have pros and cons. I go by Dermot here usually. Both are a problem for baristas though, so I usually go by ‘Xander’ in cafes. The funny thing is I get really annoyed if they spell Xander with a ‘Z’! Grr! (There it is, the thing which makes him angry – SE)
SE – This is a nice segue (another truly confusing spelling of a word which
sounds different to how it is spelled) into the next question. Your Irish background, will you be supporting green or black during the rugby world cup? By the time this is published one team, or both could be out.
DC – That’s an easy one! Rugby team loyalty is given at birth, so it’ll be green for me. I think I’d find it hard to support a team that actually wins stuff anyway. (You just cannot get over that tackle by Tana on Brian O’Driscoll at the stadium a few years ago. – SE)
The kids have been indoctrinated for the All Blacks though despite my best efforts.
SE – What is your favourite curry and your favourite Indian restaurant in the
DC – I used to live in Newtown so I love Planet Spice. Truly out of this World. It’s got to be big, hot and meaty and they do a great Goat Vindaloo. (Good choice and classy dish. When making a goat curry, make sure you cook with all the bones in the stew until the meat starts to come away from the bones and there is a glossy look to the curry. Suck the marrow from the bones, messy but tasty. – SE)
SE – In 10 words or less, how would you describe Scorching Events?
DC – Whether in the hurtbox or out for a trot, Scorchers give you the lot. (That’s 13, but it does rhyme). (No it’s not – count again. – SE.)
Thanks very much for doing this Dermot. I have pulled a picture file of you in action so people will say hello next time they see you at the Scorching events. All the best for your imminent 50th event.