Loughrea is an absolute gem of a place to hold a triathlon and I would firstly like to say congrats to Predator Triathlon Club and Triathlon Ireland for organising a great event and hosting over 400 senior athletes along with the Junior Championships earlier that morning.
Not much to report on from this race as everything actually went nice and straightforward for once!!! No head melting, no forgotten or last minute issues with equipment, no stress on swim with bashing and drowning, no injuries, nothing… This also means I have no excuses for the race performance 😀
THE SWIM (750m anti-clockwise looped lake swim)
The swim took place in one of the most gorgeous places I have ever swam. The water quality and temperature in Loughrea was perfect. A few tiny little chops of waves but nothing to throw you off kilter at all. It even tasted nice, which suits me as I like to partially drown during most triathlon swims 😀 I struggled with pace, vision and racing line from the off, probably added about 100metres onto the race for myself zig-zagging everywhere. My new BlueSeventy goggles were having their first ever day out and just got a bit foggy. Seeing the buoys became an issue for me and it was simply a case of following swimmers who I hoped knew where they were going! Out of the water in just over 14mins and well down in my wave, I’ve given up caring about that at this stage in the season as it happens so often!!
THE BIKE (20km hilly, looped course)
The bike course offered me a chance to put in some work to the field. This is definitely a testing cycle with multiple drags and hills over a 20km looped course. I have put in a bit of hill work over the last month and it paid off as I dropped into granny gears and spun my way past every bike I saw in front of me along the route. I have learnt that the best way (for me anyway!) for the hills is to drop those gears right down on the cassette and chainring and spin, spin, spin, while watching those racers who try to keep the power/effort high and churn it out fall backwards! The last couple of Km’s were pretty slick and downhill offering a nice respite before getting out on the run. Just under 34mins for the bike and left me set up nicely to attack a top 40 with a good run.
THE RUN (5k out and back course)
What I didn’t realise during the swim and bike was how warm it was that day. The minute the run started it was a bit of a suffer and sweat fest. I could thankfully see it wasn’t just myself that was hurting bad and as I met the racers ahead coming back against me each face told the same story…this was hurting. It also gave me a boost to try and kick on as there were a good few lads there for the taking. In my mind I turned it on for the return 2.5k but in reality I was probably going slower, but luckily others started going even slower again allowing me to shift from around 50th spot to 30th after an 18min run. All that was left in the legs went into a final 50m full on sprint to get under the 1hr 8min marker…Got in by literally 1 second!!! Happy Days 😀
Well done to the crowd from Kilkenny Triathlon who made the journey up. KTC’ers Eoin Molloy and Eddie O’Keefe kept up their great form this season by coming 11th and 17th respectively, while Pat Young, John Carey and Alec Young all put in decent performances on a testing route with a good old amount of heat in the air.
Big congrats to 19 year old Rory Sexton who claimed the men’s title and local hero Anna Crooks who took top spot in the ladies. Rory is an absolute star of the future (along with 18 year old’s Aaron O’Brien and Darren Dunne who finished 2nd and 3rd) while Anna has simply dominated the ladies scene this year. I have been ‘chicked’ by only one lady in a few races this year and no prizes for guessing her name!
In my last blog post I had set the target of a top 40 overall, top 6 in age group and around 107 National Series points so was very happy to find I had cracked the first 2 (30th place and 4th in age group) while the NS points aren’t out yet but just have gotten over the 107 all things going well.
750m Swim – 00:14:17 (184th out of 421)
T1 – 00:01:09 (16th out of 421)
24km Bike – 00:33:51 (42nd out of 421)
T2 – 00:00:41 (10th out of 421)
5km Run – 00:18:02 (13th out of 421)
TOTAL – 01:07:59
30th place overall / 4th 25-29 year old
LAYING DOWN THE LAW
In and around 20+ people (nearly 5% of the field) were either penalised or DQ’d for a number of different reasons – bare torso in transition, dismounting after or mounting before the line, crossing the middle white line in the road repeatedly and of course, the big one, drafting. Triathlon Ireland has always had a bit of heat given to it by athletes who see these rule violations at each and every race, often towards the very top end of the field, and nothing is done about it. Whether Loughrea was a reaction to this, a warning message for the rest of the season or that the organisers just happened to get enough marshals out on the course to see these things, this was a good thing. Some may say this is all a bit harsh and we’re just amateurs having some fun but those seconds gained through bending the rules can make the difference between winning and losing!
The next 5 weeks are the most important of my season. 5 hard weeks of training and 1 week of taper to be primed for the World Triathlon Championships in London where I’m racing in the Sprint Distance race. This will be a hard training week with the rather uniquely formatted Formula 1 Duathlon (3k run/9k bike/3k run/9k bike/3k run) on in the Phoenix Park midweek (this race actually took place while writing this blog post, my race report from duathlon is available by clicking here). Next big race is the National Olympic Distance Triathlon Champs at Dublin City Triathlon on August 25th with potentially the Fermoy Sprint Triathlon the weekend before.