Race Day Build Up
Left Kilkenny around 9 getting into Athlone for 11am as the adrenaline started to kick in. The bottom floor of the Town Centre car park became the athletes hub for the day, with most parking there to get the €3 deal (a bit better than the €25 I paid for a car park in Dublin the following day for an hour less parking!). I’ve never seen a car park with as many deep-rimmed carbon wheelsets before 😀 Heading to registration the organisation was pretty much top notch, dealing with a hell of a lot of racers and getting people through the check-in system nice and quickly.
Floating around Athlone Town Centre at 12 o’clock I had no idea what to do for lunch. Not too far away I see Gavin Noble nibbling on a basic white bread sandwich, little cupcake and some water…if it will do for him it will do for me! Never know what to make of races with a p.m. start, with my wave kicking off at 2.20pm (wave 6). Positives – you get a lie in and don’t have to leave home at stupid-o’clock to get to registration in time. Negatives – regular race nutrition strategy of a quick little bit of porridge for brekkie and nothing more after that is thrown out the window and you waste a lot of energy by simply being up and about for longer before the race starts! ‘Short, easy steps Ray…save every bit of energy you can…’
The day was going smoothly, a little too smoothly I kept thinking to myself. Normally there are any number of calamities to deal with. No sooner had I everything racked in transition that I realised the wheels on the loaner bike I got for the day were fairly flat. BALLS! Right so, I’ll just grab a pump, no bother at all. 40MINS LATER after continuously running up and down Ireland’s longest transition zone (around 500metres!) I finally find one lying idle beside someone’s kit with no-one around it. Not normally one to swipe something without checking with the owner, I convinced myself I really had no choice! Couple of minutes later issue is resolved, pump back home with it’s master and I can breath, wipe away sweat and get ready for the swim
SWIM – 750metres / 14mins 43secs
(including 150m run to T1)
350 metres downstream, 350metres back up. No current…CRAP! Why couldn’t it be like last year with a straight downstream swim and a current that would rip your face off if your weren’t careful. Being a fairly shoddy swimmer this was always going to be tough and getting kicked in the head by 5 different people before the 1st turn didn’t help. Disorientated I found myself going completely off line on the return 350 metres, and getting completely dropped by the main pack. ‘Patience Ray, it’s not won on the swim, only lost, keep that cadence up and keep moving forward – 40 hard strokes, 40 steady, 40 hard, 40 steady…’. The little mantra settled me down and got me to the pontoon in one piece. Then came the crazy long run through transition to the bike…I’ve run shorted road races than this!!
BIKE – 20km / 34mins 17secs
The bike leg didn’t actually go too bad considering I had to forgo my broken TimeTrial bike for a basic road bike which was set up for someone else. I was happy with time given talk afterwards of the course being 1km longer than advertised! The bike leg was a pure time trial route, out and back course with a minimal rise on the way out and downhill on way back, low wind and great road surface – that is compared to majority of Irish Tri races! The only issue (which always happens at the bigger races with lots of close waves) was bunching from the slower racers in earlier waves. Technically they all draft of each other but should they penalised if they are clearly 1st timers or just out to complete the course rather than compete? I don’t actually know if they should or not! Maybe a 2 strike warning system for groups like this is something that should be enforced by draft marshals?
My beg leg was definitely slower than if on the TT bike, looking at the bike times around me I would say anywhere from 30-50 seconds but in a happy twist of fate my legs felt much better starting the run, given the higher cadence on the road bike. There were parts of the course where I couldn’t actually find a low enough gear on the road bike to really push on but time lost here was probably turned straight into time saved on run by feeling fresher!
RUN – 5km / 16mins 41secs
Love this course!! Nothing better than triathlons or road races where the entire course is within the winding streets of a town, feel your running quicker for some reason. The buzz was genuinely electric with the great Athlone crowds and travelling supporters, and made even more so when you basically have close to all 800 racers on the run course at the same time. High 5’s and shouts of encouragement to and from other runners is common practice. Over towards the furthest point away from the finish line is what I like to call ‘Drunkards Corner’, two swift right-handers which take you by a line of pubs and easily the most boisterous of all the Athlone crowds! I would not complain if the run route was 50 laps of that one little stretch, some great hootin’ and hollerin’ going on!!!
The plan on the run was to take the first Km at tempo pace, not get the heart rate too high and then work up to full on race effort. This was the first time in a triathlon that I didn’t go off like a bat out of hell coming off the bike and definitely reaped the benefits as the race went on, feeling stronger and faster the closer I got to the finish.
In my previous post I said I was aiming for a top 60 overall (yes, if you take professional racer Gavin Noble out of the equation!), top 10 in Age-Group (bingo, came 8th) and 107+ NS points (108.3 right now but will come down as they eliminate one-day license holders from the overall results. I had hoped for 107+ points with around 1,200 racers taking part but only 800 raced on the day)
All in all happy with the performance, first time where the bike legs felt good after the swim and the run legs felt good after the bike, helping move me up 133 spots after getting out of the water! I know the swim is crap and nowhere near the kind of standard needed to compete but it is moving in the right direction and I’m doing all I can to bring it on 🙂 Also happy that it was the first time putting the back under that kind of intense pressure since the accident in May and it seems to have taken it with no repercussions…quick, find some wood to touch…
It was great to have a battle with two Belpark men from the start of the swim for basically the entire race! Mate and fellow blogger, David Power, left T1 with about 10secs on me and stayed the same until leaving T2. That’s when the fun started and me getting schooled while trying to keep with him on the run! In between us was John Brennan who just managed to keep his pace to get in 4 secs ahead of me. I think I may have just found my nemesis for the rest of the season 😀
TriAthlone 2013 Sprint Breakdown
Swim 750m – 00:14:43 (194th out of 796 in swim)
T1 – 00:02:01 (23rd out of 796 in T1)
Bike 20km – 00:34:17 (88th out of 796 in Bike)
T2 – 00:01:53 (26th out of 796 in T2)
Run 5km – 00:16:41 (24th out of 796 in Run)
TOTAL – 01:09:35
61st Overall (59th Male) / 8th 25-29 year old
TriAthlone 2012 Sprint Breakdown
Swim – 00:12:18 (straight down stream with very fast flow)
Bike – 00:36:57
Run – 00:21:34
TOTAL – 01:14:55
73rd Overall / 10th 25-29 year old
(Note – TriAthlone 2012 had only 580 racers and was on same day as National Olympic Championship Triathlon so many top racers didn’t take part)
The Main Man does it again!
Congrats to Gavin Noble on winning the National Sprint title and putting in another stellar performance on the local circuit, proving without doubt why he is the main Irish guy out there on the pro circuit racing with the big boys!
‘Hon The Cats…
It was great to see so many members from Kilkenny Triathlon Club taking part on the day (over 25+!!) with fantastic results for everyone. Special mention for the performance by Kilkenny’s top triathlete Eoin Molloy who is really putting together a great season, placing 23rd overall with a great time of 01:05:47. This was the closest I have ever been to him in a race, 3mins 48secs behind and I”ll take that considering I hand him over 2 and half minutes head start after the opening swim 🙂
The Future is Bright, The Future is Green
Congrats to Irish Juniors doing so well on the Sunday at the ETU Junior European Cup, with Con Doherty and Chris Mintern taking 1st and 2nd and Emma Sharkey taking 3rd girl home. Full race report for this on Triathlon Ireland
Next up on the schedule is the The Lanesboro Two Provinces Sprint Triathlon (National Series race) on Saturday 13th July, followed by the Carrick-on-Suir Triathlon the following day…My mental gene is clearly running on full at the moment 😀