I hoped to be hurt but happy. Sitting on a bed in the medical tent was a good place to be after 7 gruelling hours. I wasnt that bad,I just needed a snooze.
The little lady I met that after my training day in around the rock told me I shouldn’t do that to myself, and boy did I think of her throughout my day. I was hurt and happy after what I had to do and overcome.
Races aren’t plain sailing, I never did a race that doesn’t throw a curve ball. We arrived Sunday, which gave us loads of time to prepare. Life seems easier in the sun, the pros have it easy. But- your a pro I hear you say!!??..I might be racing as one but not living as one. I’m always envious of how they prepare for a race. All of them come from training camps in the sun. Owen Martin on the other hand was coming from his camp, camp Newry road!. He arrived the next day and Liam from his camp, camp Dublin road. He arrived Wednesday night.
I left a sick house where my wife and kids werent well. It followed me to Abu dhabi and the green stuff arrived the day before the race. I also had issues with my rear wheel that I was unable to solve fully but it wasn’t disastrous. I learned in my last race to take spare tires. Now I learned that I should take a spare set of wheels.
Energy levels were perfect though , I cant complain about that, all week I felt light on my feet and power in my legs. Myself and Owen even went out riding with Fredrick van Leidre, last years champ. He took us under his wing as it was a case of taking life in your hands should you ride and dance among the crazy Abu Dhabi drivers.
Big names just kept strolling through the lobby doors all week. Many entourage`s.. and egos too. The race organisers looked after me really well. I got to go to Ferrari world and experience their roller coaster!- stomach churning stuff.. They put on a good show.
I was to share the sand with the best in the world, something that I blanked out until after the race. You have to look at it as you versus them, enemies. You can do the dreaming after. I dont tend to get too hung up on famous people, they are just like you and me. Maybe its my Leeds days coming out in me where we would be in the tunnel with Beckam ,Keane, Viera, Shearer.. you just got used to it.
I had feet I wanted to get on the swim but no surprise I didn’t catch on.I am swimming well in training but it’s not translating in my racing. Not to worry – the elite women were starting 1;30min after us. I told myself jump in when they pass. Then the song from the Sugar Babes started to play in my head “here come girrrls, girls girls`… sure enough they came and I started to sing the silly song but they left just as fast. I had a nightmare swim but I had to accept it and remember I had 200km to peg them back.
I was confident I could bike the same as the front group with a view on catching the 2nd group(if there was one) but as the km`s ticked by I wasnt catching anyone. The dessert was lonely and thoughtful place, I started to write this blog! I was putting out the power I wanted and maybe a bit more. I touched on my wheel issue,that played on my mind but I just had to battle through. I only caught the lead woman at 120km’s. something was up but I had to keep calm. I could see the leaders putting serious time into me because it was a lap course. I was really frustrated, I had to dig really deep. Owen came up to me before the race, eye balled me and said. ` there are going to be moments when you’re going to tell yourself you cant do it`.. `dig in and tell that voice to f*ck off“.. That inspired me for the rest of the bike. I noticed a lot of salt on my tri-suit, that worried me. Luckily I taped 3 salt Tablets to the handlebars should I need them. I ate them like smarties. My nutrition went down well, my high fat – high protein diet seems to be working well. Not that I under estimated 200km, but 200km is a bloody long at race effort. This race really was an open book for me as I’ve never raced this long before.
The last thing to happen me was with 60/70k to go I heard and felt a bang, I thought I punctured but still rode on but it didnt seem to go down or at least I thought. I just had a clicking sound every time the wheel went round. I thought I broke a spoke. I got off to in inspect quickly but nothing. I said ride on and if it goes down fix it. But nothing happened. I just road back to t2 but at 20 watts less. That was a combination of tired legs and a piece of wire pierced through the tire that i noticed after the race. For the first time I didn’t feel like me and the bike got along in a race. We need to see someone- a wind tunnel maybe!. Nothing I could say or do could rectify our spat. We need time apart to solve our differences.
* We got to ride around the formula 1 track twice in Yas Marina Circuit. I hit every corner bang on. Didn’t get off the bars once. It was a great buzz. I couldnt decide who I was going to be as i entered the track-Alonso or Hamilton??! A great experience I will never forget.*
As I left T2 I begged my legs to work.. `come on, WORK`.. they did. I got moving really well for someone after riding 200km.. The garmin kept me where I wanted to be be and after 3k I threw caution to the wind and pressed harder. I paid the price with 7/8km’s to go as they were tough and the little lady was there again.. `why son, why??` On my second lap Liam was beginning his first, he bolted out of transition like a Gazelle. At this stage I couldn’t bridge the gap and use him as a pacer but it was good to have a target. I got to the line and to my surprise the clock was giving me a sub 7 hour.
I finished 17th overall and on the same page as good athletes that have been around a long time. The Irish Team produced good performances, Liam won his age group and Owen finished 3rd. Many other lads from around the Country were there but I didn’t manage to get their names. Support was fantastic, and a race I will definitely be back to.
Next up in Tristar Mallorca 15th April with my sister Eve. We are gunning for the win!