Photo credit to Luís Santos
Quarteria ETU Olympic Triathlon
Last weekend I was in Portugal for the Quarteria ETU Triathlon Olympic distance race. This was to be my first triathlon of 2015 and my first ETU finish. It’s mad to think that, already abroad, other athletes have clocked up triathlon racing experience while at home we are still only in pre-season and duathlon racing mode. A lot of people thought I was mad racing so early in the season but as both my swim coach and triathlon coach said “You learn more racing than you ever will training”. I wanted to race this and see where I was at ‘now’, rather than end up hitting race season in June blind. The race was a solid one for me and I have to be happy with a top 20 finish in a stacked field. The swim wasn’t as physical as previously experienced- I was able to take breaths this time- but the pace wasn’t as heated either.
Overall the race was a physically challenging outing that would have produced a top result had I timed my swim re-entry better by 2seconds! Breaking waves are not great for diving into and this cost me to miss the first bike pack. So having been over with my coach Stephan Teeling Lynch, high performance development coach Stephen Delaney, team mate Rory Sexton and Russell White I came home from Portugal happy, but not satisfied. I must say I did have phenomenal support over from friends and family- thanks guys. Thank you to Dave Loughran of Planet X for sorting me out with such a good road bike. I was gliding up the hills on my Planet X RT90 and there were no issues finding my bike thanks to the team Planet x-Carnac colours!
National Duathlon Championships
Yesterday saw me race in the Irish Duathlon National Championships, which were held in Ennis. I have done one other duathlon in my life and I did so off the back of two months sidelined with a knee injury picked up while running over mountains with a particular mountain goat (Paul Tierney). I swore ‘never again’ as I can’t get my head around why anyone would want to run flat out and then jump on a bike to then run off it again. Running off it is enough! I wasn’t 100% sure the race would go ahead yesterday as when the alarm sounded at 6am it seemed like the end of the world was occurring outside with the wind and rain! I knew it would go ahead though- duathlons go on regardless of mother nature! I arrived at Lees Road, Ennis, with my pal Barney who was looking to add to his duathlon podium tally. I don’t think he appreciated my musical contribution on the drive over but I was glad of the lift and company anyway. Quick registration and we were informed no disc wheels were allowed due to the winds. There was also going to be a change to the bike route to make the race a bit safer. Transition was a free for all so you just had to find a space and set up. I somehow managed to lose my elastics on route into transition so thankfully Killian Heary was on hand to sort me out (thanks Killian). With the bike ready to go it was just a matter of warming up and getting the race started. It was great to catch up with all my team mates beforehand (briefly) and before long Eamon Tilley was getting us ready on the start line. The run feels like you’re in a 10km but you’re conscious the legs are going to be working their socks off all day. Run route was great with a nice long downhill section on the main road (whoever put the hill up to the carpark should be shot!). I came into T1 leading and I was actually grateful to be jumping onto my TT and heading off out on the bike route. It was THE roughest, windiest bike leg I’ve experienced racing. I was fighting with the TT bars to try and hold a semi straight line and when over taking I was praying to stay straight! I could see others up ahead having the same trouble and everyone was battling with the wind. We went out with a tail wind and once we turned for home and into the wind the speed dropped considerably. I was overtaken just before the bike turnaround by another female who was making the wind look like a summer breeze. She was trucking! I knew I needed to keep her in sight and so I took a gel and pushed on as best I could. Coming into T2 I couldn’t see the lead female and I was ready to run hard in pursuit. I had a quick transition and legged it out onto the 4km run route. I closed the gap considerably on the 1st lap of 2 and could see her 20s ahead of me. I kept steady but once I exited the woods with 500m to go I heard the announcer say the first female had crossed, and so, with that, it was steady home to take second place in my first Duathlon National Champs. No sprint finish needed today. I waited to see Rachel Clancy home in third and had a big hug on hand for her. She had a savage race. Despite the weather, there was a great atmosphere post race, and it was great getting to catch up with lots of the GoTri team, as well as getting to know some new faces 🙂
Here’s a pic of the women’s podium from yesterday- flowers and glass trophies were a nice touch and not many can say they shared a podium with a Commonwealth Triathlete!
Myself (2nd), Heather Foley (1st) and Rachel Clancy (3rd) [photo credit to Oísin McHugh/ TI media]
Ennis Triathlon Club should be commended for putting on such a fantastic race in what can only be described as horrendous weather conditions! Every single athlete that crossed the line yesterday deserved a medal because it was brutally tough out there! The spread of food afterwards was more than appreciated!
Big thank you to Planet X, and High5 nutrition, for their great support and interest in my racing this year- loving my Planet X beanie hats to go with the bikes!