Race reports are generally written straight away after a race if you got the result you were looking for. You wanna tell the world how deadly you are or in my case how deadly i wasnt…;-) … Well Im gonna break that trend..
Myself and my Dad Pat arrived late Tuesday night local time in anticipation of the race that was taking place on Saturday 13th.
I made no secret I wanted to get top 3 in my age group 25-29 and if I’m truthfully honest I wanted to win. All my planning and calculations was giving me a sub 4 hour but come race morning that went out the window. A windy day and choppy waters made for slower times. Nothing to rattle me, it was the same for everyone else. It was a chase of lets get on with it.
My wave/group started last, the water was very choppy and the waves were strong. Normally at the gun there’s a fight to find your own space but it seemed that most of us were of the same standard swimming wise and it was a battle for the whole 1900m. I had to use all the experience I had not to panic because its easy to shy away from the fight and be pushed aside. I was banking on 27 minutes or so but 30 minutes was my time.
I got out of the water feeling like there were no big disasters and was pleased. I knew it wasn’t going to be a fast swim because of the conditions but I had the bike section next to make up for it.
Transition was chaos, the were bodies everywhere. I had to hurdle over a few people just to get through. I don’t know whether they were taking a rest or changing into a new costume.
I had my bike shoes on the bike and was able to mount and quickly get into the aero position and do what I was looking forward to doing. There is a nasty hill over the bridge as you leave Clearwater beach and my plan was to take it easy to there and then drill it for the next 50 odd miles. That’s exactly what I did. This course has a bad reputation for drafting. Because it is flat and alot are of the same standard packs tend to form. I passed a fair few and many joined me . I never looked around but I could see the shadows in the road. For the first hour or so I had an uninterrupted ride. I biked up to a group of guys that were in my age group.( I knew this as our age was marked on our calfs). From there I went to the front and most came with me. The packs that I was catching were hard to get though at times and made for very dangerous riding. With a few guys on my tail they decided to pass me, I in-turn had to slow up and let them in but the speed went down from 28mph to 26… I went back to the front after 5 minutes to get the speed up again. This happened a couple more times and it upset my rhythm. I lost my rear bottled and grabbed one from the aid station. Paranoid I might need more calories I drink another half bottle..
Heading back to clearwater beach I felt I’d done a GOOD JAB and was looking forward to the run. I hoped for early 2 hour ride but settled for 2:06.. It was a comfortable 2:06.. I felt ready for the run..
I had a very clean transition and went straight out at target pace. I ran at flat 4 minute kilometre pace with the view of holding that until 6 or 7 kilometres and then upping the pace. But the legs were not there. When you get off the bike your heavy legged & your waiting and waiting for the legs to come round but they never did. From mile 3 I started to get stomach cramps and from there it was survival mode. I maybe took on too much fluid on the bike.. Hoping for a 1:21 I ran to a record low of 1:32.. nothing could have made me go faster. I felt I left it all on the course. What did motivate me to keep going was knowing that everyone back home would be willing me to the line..23rd in my age group is disappointing but I’ll learn and move on and enjoy the remainder few days.. The support I received leading up to the race is testimony to the friends I have. I am very lucky,Thank you.
I read in another report that you can either compete or complete, I would summarise my performance by saying I competed in the swim, competed on the bike but completed the run. My form coming in to the race indicated I could live up to the numbers I set myself out to achieve but sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you plan it. I’ve had a great season working with my coach Rob Griffiths. I also couldn’t have done it without the support from my friends and family especially my wife Karen. 😉
Ireland did grab the headlines though…..
Myself, Matt Molly, Eimear Mullen and Robert Wade were representing the tricolor..Though myself and Matt didn’t race to our potential, Robert and especially Eimear certainly did. Matt like myself swam and biked well but suffered on the run. Eimear is known but Robert maybe not so. Robert moved to the US 9 years ago from Waterford on a running scholarship and now has turned to triathlon. Not a strong swimmer but and strong biker and runner. He placed 2nd in my age group 25-29 and is one to look out for next season. Eimear is a great talent and finished 8th overall (2nd in her age group)betting most pros. Like Robert swimming is her weakest discipline but her bike and running certainly makes up for it.. Well done to all..