Pain & Rain – A Welcome Return to Cross Country Racing!

10k ray blog - dunboyne leinster novice cross country - race start

And they’re off! Pic courtesy of Kilkenny Athletics

The topic of discussion on the drive up from sunny Kilkenny towards Dunboyne, Co. Meath for the Leinster Novice 6km Cross Country Championship consisted mainly of the horrible weather, which was getting worse the closer we got to the race, and whether this Winter racing nonsense was really worth the hassle at all. Throw into the mix the fact I was full of food and wine from 2 previous nights of serious over-indulging at the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival and I was surprised I managed to get myself out the door of the car at all…Figuratively and literally! The poor training and plenty of excuses not to do it were put aside for the hour however. On went the smile (along with the wellies) and I was getting excited to be back racing again after a 5 week self-imposed hiatus.

10k ray blog - dunboyne leinster novice cross country

The sun decides to shine after the race is over!

I had about 20mins to get my warm up in after finally making it to the Kilkenny City Harriers tent to get my race number from the team manager. The rain had lightened up at this stage so I stripped out of my winter woollies and into my race gear to start warming up the muscles. The 6km course was 3 laps of a 2km course so I jaunted around 1 lap to get my bearings. The course was as flat as you could get for a cross-country race but each lap had roughly 15 hard bends and each of them had been completely destroyed from the rain and a morning of junior races.

Standing in the race start pen I got a shot of ‘The Fear’. I really felt I had no right to be in this race with the sheer lack of training and half arsed build up to the race, not to mention all the greyhounds standing around me. The gun went, I lost my mind and broke with the leading group of 6 for the first lap. I have no idea why I did. It was a horrible mistake! I spent the first half of the first lap thinking ‘dig in Ray…you can take these guys…you’re going to win…’ but that quickly changed to ‘give up Ray…you’re getting dropped and passed by lads behind…you’re going to come last…’.

I genuinely wanted to give up so bad, the legs were drained, fatigue was at an extreme and everything hurt. It even went as far as running the different injuries through my brain I could pretend to have to step out of the race. Leg Injury? No, I’d have to keep limping all the way back to the car. Shoulder or neck injury? No, how would I have gotten it? Back injury? Perfect, and the easiest to get away with because of my back injury earlier in the season! But no, I came to race and finish it regardless. The 2nd lap was pure torture as I slowed and found myself dumped down close to 30th spot but as the 3rd lap started the idea that it was only once more around gave me a little lift and got my pace back to slowly claw back some places. The finishing chute never looked so good to me before!

10k ray blog - dunoyne leinster cross country - dirty runners

From this to this…

Overall I was happy with the performance, 21st place out of 72, with a very decent field competing in it. Onwards and upwards to the Leinster Intermediate Cross Country in Adamstown (Sunday 10th November) with a bit more focus on the training and hopefully there won’t be another food and drink festival on the 2 days before that race 😀

10k ray blog - dunboyne leinster novice cross country - take away food

A well earned reward of Bacon-Cheese chips later that night! Not an official part of the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival! 😉

Pictures of the day courtesy of Kilkenny Athletics available on their Flickr page

Full results from the men’s Novice race available from Precision Timing

Some more 10k Ray posts you might enjoy!
– Let’s Go Country! Online Articles on Cross Country Running
– Triathlon Ireland National Series 2013 Wrap Up
– World Triathlon Championships Race Report

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World Triathlon Championships London – A Race Report

World Triathlon Championships 10k Ray blog grandstand

Blue Finishing Carpet – This is where everything would be decided!

It was last November when I found out that I would get the chance to race in London for Team Ireland and from then on my 2013 season was based around getting in as good a shape as possible for it! In the months and weeks building up to it the chance to get to race against some of the best age groupers in the World got me more and more excited!! The Sprint race was on the Friday, I flew over on the Tuesday morning to get registered early and soak up as much of the event as possible as I had to make a quick exit from London shortly after the race on Friday evening.

I was not disappointed, the buzz was electric right from the off with seemingly every single nation having some form of representation at it and triathletes of every age and ability with support in tow were there to enjoy the whole thing. Throw in some great racing from the pro triathletes in the World Aquathlon Champs on the Wednesday, including Cork’s Lizzie Lee in the female race, and the Junior/Under 23 Elite male & female on the Thursday and the stage was set to get out there and race hard on Friday.

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I had originally entered the World Aquathlon Age-Group Championship on Wednesday morning (1km Swim followed by 5km Run) simply as a chance to test out the lake and the run route before my main race on Friday as there was no course recce available to athletes but as I was suffering from a niggle in my right shoulder I decided to pass and give myself an extra day of tapering 🙂 Looking back it was the right decision as I really would have felt like I was letting down the Irish colours trying to keep up with people who could actually swim!!

I felt completely awful for the Friday-Thursday before the race. Because of a few different reasons I had actually only done about 2 hours of training over a 5 day period and then finally got in a bit of a swim and cycle on the Thursday. I had read that tapering down training can make you feel tireder but I wasn’t expecting to feel like I was running on complete empty with every muscle aching! I just kept telling myself I had done the right thing and I would be shocked back into life come Friday 8.35am!!

Thursday evening we said goodbye to our trusty steeds as we left the bikes overnight in the transition zone, which had a very Ironman feel to it, especially with all the Ironman bags some racers had used to protect their bikes from the rain. Two Sainsbury’s plastic bags over the saddle and tri bar arm pads would do me fine 🙂

Race morning started nice and early with a 5am alarm call, brekkie of a energy drink, microwave pot of porridge and banana and into Hyde Park for 6.30am to finish getting my transition area together, which actually ended up being one of the simplest transition zone set up’s ever as you weren’t allowed anything on the ground apart from helmet and shoes. Towels and boxes were banished! Headphones on with some pumping music to get the adrenaline going.

But then crisis…the front wheel on my loaner set of wheels wasn’t spinning freely at all. Brakes weren’t the issue. I was lost!!! Kris Muldoon who was racked beside broke the news that the bearings were busted and nothing I could do apart from pedal harder during the race and invest in my own set of wheels over the Winter! So after some cursing and blaming the fact that today was Friday 13th it was back to the Irish tent in the athlete zone, try to keep warm, begin my warm up session and then leave the safety of the tent to walk the 200metres to the start line!

10k ray world triathlon chapmionship swim

Me & Kris Muldoon on way to swim start

SWIM – 750metres / 14min 25sec

world triathlon championship london 10k ray swim start

The blue pontoon awaits 1,000’s of racers to start their swim!

After being held in a pen like nervous cattle for around 15mins, 100 of us 25-29 year olds started walking the famous blue plank! It was a great feeling to start a race like this with a fairly packed grandstand and the famous blue finish line carpet which has had the greatest triathletes of all time run along it right beside you! There was no getting used to the water at all apart from spooning some water into your hands and splashing it on your face and down the neck of your wetsuit. We were made sit on the pontoon and then with about 40secs before the hooter we were allowed to jump in and quickly get in position against the pontoon trying to get your legs nice and high against it for a big push off.

The adrenaline was high and it was a trash fest once the hooter went but I found myself dropped by the leading swimmers in what felt like the first 20metres! I took this as a positive though as it meant not worrying about any kicks and punches to the head! I tried to get back on feet but uncontrollable palpitations meant I really had to slow down, try to breath and settle into own rhythm. The water conditions and temperature in the lake were pretty much perfect and I got through at a decent pace for myself but I was always going to way back after the 1st leg. The aim was not to come last in the swim and I just about managed it 🙂

BIKE – 22km / 37min 18secs

world triathlon championship london 10k ray cycle bike

Out of the tri bars a lot to deal with twists & turns

You better have had your run legs on you getting out of the water and some spikes in your feet as it was a serious long and slippy run to transition. I had one of the fastest T1 times in the wave but still clocked up nearly 3 minutes getting in and out on the bike! The weather in the days before the race was horrendous with the internal Hyde Park roads as slick as ice. We had been thoroughly warned about the danger on this course but many athletes didn’t seem to heed this at all. I didn’t see any crashes myself but heard all the horror stories afterwards from racers and spectators.

The course was unlike any on the Irish circuit. The closest thing to it would be Dublin City Triathlon (which has 5 laps for 40km) but even then this London course (3 laps for 22km) would put it to shame with the number of twists, turns and U-bends and not to mention the speedbumps. There was close to 40 dangerous bends in total and for some you had to come to a complete stop to make sure you didn’t taste tarmac! I have the feeling that if this was a normal race on anywhere else it would have been cancelled or turned into a Aquathlon!

I was happy-ish to get through the course in 37mins as I wouldn’t have any experience with the necessary bike handling skills and although I can’t say the issue with the bearings on my wheel were felt while cycling (as it’s probably been like that since I got the wheels from my mate!) I can only assume it affected my power and time I was able to put down.

RUN – 5km / 16min 20sec

world triathlon championship london 10k ray run

Hurting…hurting a lot

Back into the marathon length, slippy transition for T2 and again I had one of the fastest times in my age group but still took nearly 3 minutes to drop the bike and get my Asics on to start laying down the law 🙂 This course was built for me and I thoroughly loved every single step of it even though it hurt like hell! The run course was 2 laps around the Serpentine Lake. The support was amazing especially around the transition area, the finishing chute but mostly coming over the Serpentine bridge where there really was a massive contingent of Irish supporters cheering like mad and giving some serious high 5’s. The guys from Shipmytribike were also on show to let some serious shouts at all the green trisuits from their truck parked just off the course!

The course was very flat and fast apart from a 1km drag at the far end of the course which suited me down to the ground as it allowed me to go further into the pain threshold and eat into the lead of those who came in 1-2mins ahead of me after the bike. The final lap meant you got that unbelievable experience of running down the blue carpet alongside the grandstand and through the same finishing chute that we have watched all our triathlon heroes do down the years! In the last 800metres I got my kick working and managed to run down a few Germans, Yanks, Canadians and Mexicans but finished just 2 seconds behind a Brit…Grrrrr!

My run times have been my saviour this year and I was delighted to put down my fastest ever time when it mattered most and post the 9th fastest run in my age-group, definitely the biggest positive I will take away from not only the race but my whole season of training!

RACE BREAKDOWN
(placings are all within the 25-29 year old category)
750metre Swim – 00:14:25 – 90th out of 99
T1 – 00:02:45 – 11th out of 99
42km Bike – 00:37:18 – 58th out of 99
T2 – 00:02:40 – 16th out of 99
5km Run – 00:16:20 – 9th out of 99
TOTAL – 01:13:26
60th 25-29 year old

10k Ray world triathlon championship finish

Finish Line Pose!

A massive thank you to my friends and family for all the well wishes in the run up to the race, especially my girlfriend and tri-newbie Maria who helped me get over some serious confidence issues about doing completely shite in the race and for also tracking my splits while I was racing and sending me a message as I came over the line which made the race for me! I can’t thank the guys and gals at Fit4Life and Kilkenny City Harriers enough who really went above and beyond with their funding as it pretty much covered all costs, while the further funding from Kilkenny Tri Club was very much welcomed. The Irish team were a brilliant bunch of guys and gals and it was an honour to race with them all, while the team managers really went above and beyond and made the whole experience more enjoyable!

10k ray team ireland photo world triathlon championship

The Irish tent!!! A great old bunch of folks ;D

Full gallery of all the pics I took available on my Flickr account

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Photo Gallery – 2013 World Triathlon Championships, London

10k Ray - World Triathlon Championship 2013 - Blog header image

Below are a sample of some the pictures I took over the course of my 4 days in Hyde Park, London while racing at the World Triathlon Championships! I will have a blog race report in the coming days about the experience. To see the full range of pictures please click here to visit my Flickr account! Feel free to use or share any of the images.

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“Taming the Northern Beast” – Race Report from Mourne Olympic Triathlon

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!

RACE BREAKDOWN
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.

For the photo gallery of the event (James Shelley) please click here
Full results available here 

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From 217th to 38th…My Story at Dublin City Olympic Triathlon!

dublin city triathlon 10k ray blog race report 2013

The day before the Dublin City Triathlon (DCT) I was in support role for the girlfriend down in Castleconnell, Limerick at the Worlds End Triathlon where she was racing her 3rd ever race in the try-a-tri. I have never gone to a race as a spectator before and it was pure torture!! All I wanted to do was get out there and take on the course! All in all it looked like a great race and very well organised. Congrats to Stephen Early as well for completely bossing it and winning by nearly 3mins. If the race picks up a NS ranking next year I will definitely be making the trip back, but this time to race 🙂 Went to Bunratty Castle afterwards to celebrate and enjoyed the perfect DCT pre-race meal with the Medieval Banquet – Beer, Wine, Mead, Soup, Ribs, Chicken and cake – what more would you want before taking on DCT!!!

bunratty castle medieval banquet 10k ray

A beauty of a day greeted racers rolling down towards the Garda Boat Club for registration and transition set up. Dry and not overly warm. Registration was a speedy affair, taking about 90secs, giving me just about enough time to try get through the goody bag…This was mega. Easily your entry fee returned in great items you would actually use – Amphibia dry mat, very decent long sleeved running top, headphones, chocy bars, loads of nutrition. Top marks for all the freebies 🙂

Dublin City Triathlon set up

As always the guys and girls at Piranha Triathlon Club put on a phenomenal show and the buzz pre-race was electric. I’ve said it for the past 2 years since I started doing this race that it is the best organised race in Ireland and they went even bigger and better this year. Kudos to Piranha and also to Vodafone for clearly putting some weight and funding behind it. Let’s hope other events outside of Dublin can get this kind of support in the future.

It was also a joy to get to pit oneself against Irish Olympian Gavin Noble. Gavin has been a great force on the Irish scene all this season after basing himself back home for 2013. Some racers have whinged saying that having a pro in the field is not fair on amateurs looking to win a National title but it is nothing but a positive to have Gavin in the field and those amateurs vying for top spot would also want to know they have done it against the very best Ireland has to offer.

Onto race performance…

1.5km SWIM / 00:29:36
For the first 500metres there was absolutely no room, complete washing machine feeling, but I was still happy to be dragged along on the large gangs feet. I lost touch before hitting the turnaround and found myself going way off line and losing loads of time here. I think my dodgy shoulder has a habit of leading me a bit out to the right for some reason! I had a little bit of sick out my mouth with around 100m from the finish but didn’t mind at all as I was just delighted to be getting out of the Liffey in one piece!!! I got my aim of breaking 30minutes (by just 25 secs) but at the end of the day I still gave up 5-10mins to almost everyone ahead of me in the overall standings and started into the bike leg in 217th position 😦 Long winter in the pool ahead of me…

10k ray dublin city triathlon swim(Image courtesy of Pixel Promotions)

40km BIKE / 01:07:15
I love this bike course, the more technical the better, sorta levels the playing field between me and the big gear munchers who usually run away with it on other course with long flat out and back routes! It also helps it was the perfect practice for the World Champs in London as well with all the twists, turns and switchbacks, roughly counting about 40 notable turns over the entire course. Strategy here was key and it is basically 5 laps of knowing when and where to turn on the power given the constant and quick changes in flatness, twists, uphills and downhills, and also not forgetting the wind. I pushed hard at the start to move through the field and opted for a high cadence option on the hills, sit up, spin as much as possible and rest the legs to power through the flats and absolutely hammer the downhill section. As the hills came around on each lap I found it easier to get away from close competition by spinning and was delighted with sub 68mins for 40k over a very testing course. Nutrition strategy was two High5 gels, first one after lap 1 and second one after lap 4. Combined with a full 600mills of water/High5 energy powder I was pumped leaving T2 and ready for the run!

10k Ray Dublin City Triathlon bike(Image courtesy of Pixel Promotions)

RUN 10km / 00:37:46
Spent the swim and bike waiting for this, I don’t call myself ’10k Ray’ for nothing 😉 After spending my Winter season at cross country racing I knew this would play into my hands, with the majority of the run being off road, very lumpy and hills to deal with. Strategy was to maintain a steady effort for the first 3km, settle in to a nice pace and then give it everything for the last 5k. Over the line in under 38minutes, “Happy Days”!!! Apologies to Piranha member Sharon McGuire for collapsing over the line onto you, just send me on the dry cleaning bill after covering you in my sweat!!!

This is such a great race, course and field and combined with fantastic organisation it is definitely Ireland’s top race. The free ice cream at the finish line really is the icing on a pretty great cake 🙂 I hope it goes even bigger and better next year and my only tip to other racers is to enter 2014 early to make sure you get your spot on the start line!!! P.S. please bring back the Fan Zone next year, Tour de France eat your heart out 🙂

10k Ray Dublin City Triathlon run(Image courtesy of Pixel Promotions)

RACE BREAKDOWN
1.5km Swim – 00:29:35 (217th out of 482)
T1 – 00:01:17 (20th out of 421)
40km Bike – 01:07:15 (38th out of 482)
T2 – 00:01:15 (92nd out of 421)
10km Run – 00:37:46 (12th out of 482)
TOTAL – 02:17:07
38th place overall / 6th 25-29 year old

versus 2012

1.5km Swim – 00:33:30
T1 – 00:02:11
40km Bike – 01:13:43
T2 – 00:01:34
10km Run – 00:41:34
TOTAL – 02:32:30
88th place overall from 389 / 13th 25-29 year old

The one thing I can say looking at last years results is that the standard of triathlon in Ireland has absolutely exploded over the last 12 months. There are now 10-20 brilliant athletes out there who could win any week and to put things in perspective, my 2013 time at DCT, which had me 38th this year, would have had me in 17th position in 2012!!! And for the record, Gavin Noble was the only athlete to go sub-2 hours coming in under 1hr 58mins…WOW!

Full results from the day available here

Range of photos from Triathlon Ireland photographers available here and here

Next up is my final National Series race for 2013, The Mourne Olympic Triathlon up North in Castlewellan on Saturday 31st August. Last chance to grab some NS points and try force my way into a top-ten in the 25-29year old age category and maybe sneak a top 70 in the overall rankings!

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“LOUGH-10k-RAY” – Race Report from the Loughrea Sprint Triathlon

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 😀

10k Ray Loughrea Sprint Triathlon National Series Run(Hurting bad along the testing 5km route)

10k Ray Loughrea Sprint Triathlon National Series Bike Dismount(Keep your balance Ray!!! About to dismount the bike at T2)

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!

10k Ray Loughrea Sprint Triathlon National Series Ice Bath(KTC racers getting in a free ice-bath after the race in the lake!)

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.

RACE BREAKDOWN
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

Full results from the day available here

Range of photos from Triathlon Ireland photographer Ken Murphy available here

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!

UP NEXT
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.

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Formula 1 Phoenix Park Duathlon – Race Report

10k ray - formula 1 phoenix park duathlon race start(Me in red about to make a move!)

A lovely mid-week evening greeted the 212 athletes in the Phoenix Park (Wednesday, 7th August) for the Formula 1 Duathlon organised by Irish Triathlon, one of the most unique race formats on the triathlon/duathlon calendar in Ireland. The race comprises of an opening 2.7km run, then is followed by an 8.5km cycle, a 2.7km run, 8.5km cycle and a final 2.7km run. Let me tell you, this is tough! The distances may be short but the pace at the top of the field is absolutely blistering. On top of this the bike course includes a few cute little drags which really sap the legs. It reminds me of the Professional Team Relay sprints on the ITU calendar where there are short swim, bike & run distances and you are basically in a complete state of oxygen deprivation for the whole race! Great training for the longer slower stuff 🙂

THE RACE
The race started promising enough, coming through the 1st run in the leading pack of about 6. One of these lads was a runner by trade only (a very good one at that!) and took off with 1k to go to ensure he got the cheque for 1st man over the line on the 1st run. None of the rest of us took heed in his move and basically all thought the same thing, “Leave him off, he’ll have disappeared back into the main pack over the 1st bike.”. We were not wrong 😀

I sprinted through a quick T1 and for about 700metres into the 1st bike leg found myself leading the race before being overtaken by 3 racers who would take 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall. The race standings essentially stayed in this exact same position for the next 21 kilometres. Each leg of the race hurt so much more than the last, lactic acid was tearing legs to pieces but the pace was still kept rocket high. With the leaders just ever so slightly out of touching distance after the 1st bike leg, the remainder of the race was about pushing hard while being someway sensible with the effort to ensure no blow-outs and make sure that 4th place was secure.

10k ray - formula 1 phoenix park duathlon 3rd run leg(3rd & final run leg. Body starting to fail…)

‘EVENING-LIGHT ROBBERY’
Not one to try court controversy (tongue firmly in cheek) all I can say is a spot in the top 3 was robbed from me by very carefully planned drafting by the 2nd and 3rd placed athletes. Once I was overtaken by the eventual winner (who has since told me he led the bike leg for the remainder of the race and in doing so denied any drafting on his part) and 2nd and 3rd place a nice little chain gang forming for the next 8km. I ensured to keep my 15metres back of the racer in front and in doing so was quickly dropped by the 3 ahead due to faster group speed, which also meant I expanded more energy than them. The 30 odd seconds I lost here was the 30 odd seconds that 3rd place finished ahead of me. Let’s say I wasn’t too happy a bunny crossing the line and made sure the lads knew how I felt about their tactics…

Drafting is a complete bane in this sport. I was delighted to see so many get penalised at Loughrea the Sunday before this race but the growing trend seems to be that if you can get away with it, do it. Would you kick your golf ball out of the rough in golf? No. It’s cheating to improve your position and there is no difference in the sport of triathlon.

10k ray - formula 1 phoenix park duathlon cycle leg(Climbing the short, sharp hills of the Phoenix Park)

In the end, I was happy enough with the evenings work. After having good finishes in duathlons around Kilkenny and the South East it was a big boost to do it on a larger stage in Dublin and happy to see that even over the very short distances my times in each section have greatly improved from the same race exactly 1 year ago, improving in total by over 4mins. I’ll take that sure 🙂

2013 VERSUS 2012 BREAKDOWN

2013
Run 1 – 2.7km – 00:08:32
T1 – 00:00:40
Bike 1 – 8.5km – 00:12:36
T2 – 00:00:41
Run 2 – 2.7km – 00:09:44
T3 – 00:00:48
Bike 2 – 8.5km – 00:12:54
T4 – 00:00:45
Run 3 – 2.7km – 00:09:45
Overall – 00:56:29 / 4th place (from 210) / 2nd 25-29 year old

versus…

2012
Run 1 – 2.7km – 00:09:04
T1 – 00:00:55
Bike 1 – 8.5km – 00:13:20
T2 – 00:00:48
Run 2 – 2.7km – 00:10:28
T3 – 00:00:47
Bike 2 – 8.5km – 00:14:01
T4 – 00:00:50
Run 3 – 2.7km –  00:10:23
Overall – 01:00:40 / 19th place (from 222) / 4th 25-29 year old

Full results available on Irish Triathlon website
Full range of pictures on the Irish Triathlon Facebook page

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Kilkenny Sprint Triathlon – Race Report

10k ray - kilkenny triathlon - transition set up(Transition area race morning)

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 RACE
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!

10k ray - kilkenny triathlon - swim exit(Swim exit…Survived the River Nore!!)

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!

10k ray - kilkenny triathlon - bike(Coming in close to T2 after bike leg)

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!

10k ray - kilkenny triathlon - run(Finish line in sight!)

RACE BREAKDOWN
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

Full results from the day available here

10k Ray - kk tri - post race pic(Triathletes relaxing after a job well done!!!)

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!

ORGANISERS PERFORMANCE
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?

Update
* 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!

10k ray - kilkenny triathlon - finish line

10k ray - kilkenny triathlon - kilkenny castle(One of nicest finishing areas and race settings 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!

10k Ray - Kilkenny Tri race report - Bruce(Bruce in full flight on the big screens)

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 😉

LOOKING AHEAD
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!

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Race Report – Two Provinces Triathlon (Lanesboro)

What a morning for racing it was (Sat 13th July)! Ireland is right in the middle of a heatwave at the moment but thankfully the clouds actually rolled into Lanesboro (Co. Longford) Saturday morning. It was still hot and sunny-ish but the mighty Sun held back his strongest rays for the couple of hours racing much to everyone’s delight! 30 degree’s baking heat is lovely, but not when you’re out there racing for over an hour! Ambulances on the ready…

Lanesboro offered up the perfect race set-up – a large, well organised registration in local school and a large car park in a field right beside the transition and race start! A triathlete couldn’t ask for more. No messing around wondering where to put your bags and no standing around for hours in your wetsuit in that time between transition closing and race starting 🙂

Transition sorted and set up in around 40 seconds…Time left to chat with fellow Kilkenny Tri Club members and discuss how warm and sickly the water might be…

10k ray lanesboro triathlon race(Lake for the race in the background behind the car park & transition. Authors Own Image)

SWIM
…And we were not wrong, it was so warm. It as like being in a horrible bath or as if every triathlete had done a little wee at the same time. A few more degrees warmer and that could easily have been a non-wetsuit swim, not the typical thing you hear at an Irish race.

After about 10mins getting a bunch of racers looking for a cheeky head start to get back to the official start line (making the rest of wait, grrrrr) the hooter went and immediately it was carnage. I planned to start at the front towards the middle and just try to for once keep with the leaders. Bad idea… I was pretty much immediately grabbed, dragged, kicked, pulled, punched and dunked by all the faster swimmers trying to get past me. My own stupid fault to be honest! Lesson learned Ray…get back with the other hacks for the start.

Had the full on feeling of drowning about 4 times before the 1st of 4 buoys but after that some space opened up. Just became a game then of trying to maintain a half decent tempo, sight a lot to keep on the shortest line and get out in one piece. So many bikes gone by the time I got into transition…hate that feeling 😦

10k Ray swim Lanesboro Triathlon(Swim exit, still throwing up lake water as I got out…Image courtesy of Pixel Promotions)

BIKE
What a great time trial route for the bike course! I was so happy to be back on the Time Trial bike after breaking the headset bearings and having to ride the loaner road bike at Athlone the weekend before. The bike started with a 100m neutral zone and then a swift right onto 10k straight out and back. A few little kicks and drags to mix it up a bit but nothing to slow people down too much! Decent enough road surface, good and bad in parts, and a great chance to start eating into all that lost time on the swim…

10k ray bike lanesboro triathlon(You go faster if you use your arm to pedal… Image courtesy of Pixel Promotions)

RUN
As the run started myself and Derek McCormack (Naas Tri Club) left T2 side by side. It was immediately clear that this guy could run! So the plan was to stay on his heels. Ended up coming over the line right behind him 6 secs later, we tore through that course picking off around 70 positions combined! Great out and back course giving everyone the chance to eye-ball those ahead and behind as you came and went around the turnaround…Thousand yard stares going on all over the place!

One final kick in the last 100 metres to get past Andree Walkin (top lady on the day) to ensure I didn’t get ‘chicked’ 😉 Apologies to Andree for ruining her photo op coming over the finish line as I stopped dead in my tracks once I hit the line and turned around just in time to make her crash into me!!! Many thanks to the kids along the route who were outside their houses spraying us with hoses, very much appreciated!

As it turns out I can run faster on a twisted ankle than on a non-twisted one!!! Unbeknownst to myself, as I came into transition I managed to twist and strain my ankle dismounting the bike. Don’t ask me how I did it, just one of the many stupid things I do to add to the list! Thank Christ for adrenaline though. What a wonderful thing! Didn’t feel a bit of pain ’till I stopped running and then….whap! Barely able to walk. Thanks to the paramedics who strapped me up with support bandage and ice-pack straight away! Two days off from hard training with a bit of a hobble but acting fast saved me another couple of days…lesson learned, fast reaction means fast recovery!

10k ray lanesboro triathlon foot(I might have to injure myself more often during a race if I keep running like that off the bike! Authors Own Image)

RACE BREAKDOWN
Swim – 00:14:24 (133rd out of 420)
T1 – 00:01:15 (52nd out of 420)
Bike – 00:32:54 (74th out of 420)
T2 – 00:00:34 (20th out of 420)
Run – 00:17:34 (10th out of 420)
TOTAL – 01:06:43
40th place / 7th 25-29 year old / 108.092 NS Points

Full results from the day available here

Happy to take 40th overall, my best placing yet in a National Series race, my lowest overall time in a Sprint Triathlon, closest time I’ve ever been to the overall winner and the most points I have ever taking from one National Series race! And considering my swim is still so far down on basically everyone in the top 150 I’m very happy! 🙂 It’s nice to see the hard work on the roads reaping some rewards and look forward to putting in even better performances for the remaining 3 National Series races on my race calendar, which you can see by clicking here.

Congrats to all the guys and gals at Lanesboro Triathlon Club involved with putting on this great race. Hopefully it will retain its National Series status for next year and if so I will be the first one to enter. Great location, beautiful lake and a great fast bike/run course.

Next on the agenda is a weekend off on a stag in Scotland 🙂 The weekend after that is the home triathlon in Kilkenny, and then back the weekend after that to National Series racing at the Loughrea Sprint Triathlon.

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TriAthlone – National Sprint Race Report

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.

triAthlone registration - 10kRay (TriAthlone Orange Shirts busy getting everyone through registration!)

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…’

TriAthlone 2013 10kRay(“Is there not a shorter route to get to the finish line?”)

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?

10k Ray on Bike at TriAthlone(Hoping up on my loaner of a bike for the day!)

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!

turas bike - 10kRay(Turas bikes on display in Athlone. Time for an upgrade? Yours for just €4,000!!)

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.

Happy Enough!!!
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

versus

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 

Full results from TriAthlone National Sprint Championships on Race Timing Systems

Great pictures of the day from Martin Jancek Photography

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 😀

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