The double Paralympic gold medallist has revealed he is sick of training in the rain at home as he prepares for the South Carolina event with Paralympics qualification in mind for next year. Average temperatures in South Carolina in August are in the low 30s and Rohan believes slogging it out on Irish roads is a waste of time.
“I have to get out of this country because for endurance events I don’t think you can train to your highest potential in Ireland,” Rohan said at an event to mark Mondelez Ireland’s sponsorship of Paralympics Ireland until 2017. “The body responds better in the heat. If it’s 10 degrees and it’s wet and you’ve an hour to go to get home, it’s miserable. It affects your mood and everything.
“Once upon a time I used to say, ‘I love the hardship’. People said, ‘Rohan’s the hardship king, he uses sandpaper in the shower’. I must be getting old!”
While the investment Mondelez provides helps Paralympics Ireland identify new talent and deliver a fast-track programme, the Westmeath man has his own financial pressures.
He was awarded ‘podium’ funding this year but has to balance peaking for P1 ranking events in 2015 that count towards qualification for Rio with hitting form in South Carolina.
“I’d love to win the World Championships again but, for me, everything is geared towards Rio. We’re doing altitude testing, bike changes, different training techniques, but if I don’t make the top three in the World Championships my funding goes from €40,000 to €20,000.
“It focuses the mind big time. If you can’t get the €40,000 you can’t train full-time. And you spend 40 grand easily.”
Meanwhile, Rohan, who was part of the Westmeath backroom team last year, said he was blown away by Dublin’s conditioning in their win over Laois last weekend.
“The Westmeath team had one strength and conditioning coach. The Dubs have maybe six. That’s the way it’s gone. The difference between those guys’ fitness, professional rugby players’ fitness, soccer players’ fitness, I wouldn’t say there’s much in it.”