It was quite a poor training week in the build up to the home town sprint triathlon, with a fairly eventful stag in Scotland the weekend before. 5 day hangover was a new experience for me… A full 7 days without training and then just 1 day of hard intervals on the Thurs didn’t give me much hope of a decent performance. An easy week is always a good recommendation now and then but not 7 days completely off!!!
Race day started with a bit of a rush, sleeping through three alarms and waking up at 7.30am with transition supposed to close at 8! After some swearing, I dressed, had a very quick banana for brekkie and after a sleepy wild cycle across the streets of Kilkenny I was down at the race transition. I forgot it was Ireland so of course transition stayed open until close to 8.45am. The head melting was all for nothing! Continuing the season long form of things going wrong right when you don’t need them to, I let my mate John (who had loaned me his ‘fast as you like’ race wheels for the day) have a look at my back brake which was acting every so slightly up. 2mins later after he looked at it (I mean fucked around with it) he tells me best not use the back break today, not working at all now…lovely. I never really go fast enough to use it anyway 😀
The swim strategy changed from my normal ‘nice and easy, slowly get into the race’ to ‘go VERY hard from start’. This changed back pretty quick when after about 100metres my heart rate jumped so high I swore I was having palpitations and my heart was trying to jump ship from the rest of my body! I slowed to my standard race speed (which is still annoyingly way, way off the pace I can pull out in my long intervals on the pool). A decent enough swim time for me, 00:12:49, if not actually my best ever swim in a river triathlon without any current in the water. Got under 12mins in the race last year but that was with what was probably a 3 minute helping current!
Felt good for most of the 24km out & back bike course on my set of loaner carbon race wheels. However, due to the wave system I couldn’t see the leading 3 in my wave as I was 2 mins down on them from the swim so had no one to battle with on the bike (and also the run), so was just constantly moving through the crowds of the earlier waves. Hard to judge effort, pace and really get mentally into it when you don’t have a moving target you know up ahead to fight with. Just tried to keep the head down, hold cadence at optimal levels and avoid the heavy traffic from the people coming to town for the Bruce Springsteen gigs!
Run felt awful while on it, thought I was running slower than ever but happy to see in the end it ended up being fastest run split of the day 🙂 Although I came across the line thinking it was a horrible race, after getting the overall results and splits in my hands it turned out to be quite a good race for me!
750m Swim – 00:12:49 (105th out of 592)
T1 – 00:03:19 (7th out of 592)
24km Bike – 00:40:56 (15th out of 592)
T2 – 00:00:46 (10th out of 592)
5.3km Run – 00:18:27 (*1st out of 592)
*down as 5th fastest run on the online results but the 4 ahead of me are for runs of only a couple of minutes in length so the system must have a few glitches in it 😉
TOTAL – 01:16:19
8th place overall / 2nd 20-29 year old
There were some great results from KTC racers with Eoin Molloy leading the way in the Sprint (2nd overall), Eddie O’Keefe top Kilkenny man in the Olympic (5th place not including the winning Relay team) and Niamh Richardson making it two wins from two this season taking top female spot in the Sprint race.
It was also great to see so many new members in the SuperSprint and others trying out Olympic for first time! In the weeks before the race I was contacted by someone doing the first ever race looking for some advice and it was great to see them finish so well and talk about planning for their next race!
Well done to TriGrandPrix for successfully putting on a large event which everyone seemed to really enjoy and come away with a good triathlon experience. There are some great things about the race (the beautiful setting being the main one along with great atmosphere with so many taking part) but unfortunately there are some poor aspects which seem to be repeated by most people I spoke with. Some of these issues have been there for the last few years so hopefully they will actually look at these for 2014!
* Fee is too high for a non-National Series race (€50 for the Sprint, €60 for Olympic) and it’s hard to see where this extra fee goes compared to cheaper, club events
* Course length for the bike is bit of a joke but only as it’s on an out and back course. 24km instead of 20km gives just too much of an advantage to stronger cyclists. As I’ve said before, saying “sure, isn’t it the same course for everyone” is not a valid excuse for this
* Portaloo’s were a disgrace. Flushing system in all of them didn’t work so greeted by nice smells and views as you walked in and no toilet paper in any either
* Wave started close to 45mins behind time and also waves need to be allocated on ability so the better racers compete together rather than based on the randomness of when you entered
* Serous danger was present on the course coming in & out of Kilkenny due to the heavy traffic and car queues with everyone coming to town to watch Bruce Springsteen. This was clearly something organisers/Garda would have known and a different route should have been used
* Range of prizes on offer was pitiful considering the entry fee. Only 1st place in SuperSprint, Sprint and Olympic (male & female & relay) got prizes. No top 3 or age-group prizes!!?? Again, athletes are left wondering where the high entrance fee is actually going?
* Registration for 1,500 athletes took place in a small Scouts Den with no place for parking ANYWHERE!!??
* No on-site pop-up tri store or bike mechanic. Fairly common place practice at any decent sized or well run event these days
* Another scam was using marathon-photos.com for athlete pics. The only way to get snaps of yourself (apart from crappy, small, pixel-ated pics with lines and branding across the middle of them) was to pay the fee of around €30
* At 7.30pm 2nd August, TriGrandPrix and TriKilkenny facebook pages deleted all comments posted by numerous athletes informing them of problems with the event, many of which covered points I have listed above. Very poor form from a triathlon event with the supposed tagline Serious About Athlete Care. That is of course unless you don’t like exactly what they do!
It is still a great event and great day to be apart of but if they could address some issues it could easily become one of the best triathlon races in Ireland!
THE IRONMAN OF ROCK N’ ROLL COMES TO TOWN
What a show Kilkenny was treated to for the two nights after the triathlon. Bruce Springsteen was in town to rock the place to its foundations on the Sat and Sun night. Truly amazing experience to see The Boss perform like that for over 3 hours. If any rock star was to be called an Ironman, it would have to be Bruce!
What a weekend for Kilkenny, apart of course from the hurling!!! I will probably piss off a few mates saying this but as a man that shouts for Tipperary while living in Kilkenny, their loss in the All Ireland Hurling Quarter Finals actually made my weekend that good bit sweeter 😉
Onward this weekend (Sunday 4th August) to the Loughrea Sprint Triathlon and my 4th National Series (NS) race of the year. This will be my 4th Sprint and hoping to use this one to scratch the North Tipp Sprint race off my list where almost everything went wrong and I only just got over 100 NS Points before taking on Dublin Olympic and Mourne Olympic in late August. After the performance at The Two Provinces Triathlon, which was over a similar course and similar field in terms of ability and size, the target is a top 40 overall, top 6 age group and 107+ NS points.
Happy training & racing to everyone!