Early, early, early start for this race with the long drive from Kilkenny to Castlewellan, County Down ahead. 5am alarm call and 5.30am on the road. Why do we do this to ourselves? However, as you got towards the Mourne Mountains and drove into the race location it was clear it was worth the effort. Absolutely beautiful setting in a wonderful part of the country. Always find that a great race setting is a fool proof way to get yourself straight into the right mind set. Check out the stunning view below that greeted us for the swim 🙂
This was great race organisation by Olympian Triathlon Club, with the car park, registration, transition, swim start and finish line all within 200metres of each other. It was a very bright but also very windy, chilly start to the day and looking at the lake, and the waves that repeatedly crashed up and down, it didn’t appear too attractive or warm! At race briefing we were told that the 2 waves would be merged into one. I immediately thought this wasn’t the best thing to do and looking back at the number of people on the swim and bike legs at the one time I think leaving it as two would have been the safer option.
SWIM 1.5km Lake Swim / 00:25:05
The lake actually ended up being a perfect temperature for racing and far warmer than when standing around waiting to get in! The choppy waves stayed put though and the decision to turn it into a 400 person mass start meant this would be a very interesting swim. What a way to try out my brand new 2XU E:3 wetsuit for the very first time in open water! A cheeky hooter went off without any warning catching me off guard cleaning my goggles while the madness started. And so began the trash-fest to the 2nd buoy at 700metres, with many, many punches to the head. In fairness, I gave as good as I got 🙂 There was some clean water once turned at the buoys but this was actually to my detriment as it meant relying on my own race line rather than the feet of those right in front of me. 25mins of dealing with sea like waves and a criss-cross route, I was out and towards transition.
BIKE 40km (20km Out and Back x2) / 01:12:51
Tough, tough, tough cycle! The minute you left T1 and got out onto the main road it was a stiff headwind right into your face, everyone looked like they were seriously hurting. Hills and more hills on the way out were made even worse with the horrible realisation that you had to do this twice 😦 There was an awful collision right in front of my eyes about halfway out the first 10km involving 5 cyclists where 3 going one direction crashed with 2 going the other way on the other side of the road. It looked a very serious incident but luckily the ambulance were on hand very quickly to look after the guys. I haven’t seen or heard anything about it since but wish the guys a speedy recovery.
It was an experience to see Bryan McCrystal in full flight, who came from a few minutes down on the swim leader to tear through the bike course and set a time I didn’t think was even possible. As I hit the turnarounds I tried to count my position, down from 100+ after swim to inside the top 50 after the bike. 72mins and change for the 40km and now time to do my thing on the run leg 🙂
RUN 10km Forest Trail Run (2x 5km loop) / 00:37:54
I saw Anna Crooks a few spots ahead of me towards the end of the bike leg and tore through T2 like a lightening bolt to get out onto the run course just behind her. Every race I do with her in it she ‘chicks’ me. “Not this time” I kept telling myself. She is having an awesome season and has crushed me in the National Series rankings so getting the better of her at least once this year will be one of my highlights 🙂
I love the slightly off-road run course, quick light cadence and careful foot position with all the loose stones was the order of the day. There is an absolute bastard of a hill on both loops which seemed to completely suck the life out of everyone. However, it was almost the exact same length and incline as the hill on my training route in Jenkinstown Forest, “Bring it on”!!!!
The first run lap offered the chance to appraise overall position and see how you were moving through the field, but the 2nd lap meant no chance of this as you met all the traffic from those doing both the 1st and 2nd lap. I just tried keeping the cadence high, back straight, chest out, arms relaxed and heart rate under control and see where a decent 2nd lap gets me in the overall rankings. I had estimated around 35th place but delighted to find out afterwards it was actually 24th, Happy Days!
1.5km Swim – 00:25:05 (105th out of 342)
T1 – 00:01:29 (9th out of 342)
40km Bike – 01:12:51 (26th out of 342)
T2 – 00:01:04 (4th out of 342)
10km Run – 00:37:54 (8th out of 342)
TOTAL – 02:17:46
24th place overall / 4th 25-29 year old
I was delighted for the two Kilkenny Triathlon Club girls who travelled up North, Irene Henebry and Una Byrne, who smashed the course with both breaking the 3 hour barrier and it was great to see how much this meant for them, especially over such a beast of a course. Eoin Molloy (driver for the day) put in another great performance taking 18th overall and should hopefully have cemented his place inside the top 20 in the National Series rankings.