A few weeks back I scrolled through the triathlon Ireland calendar of events and noticed the national duathlon champs. The only thing I saw was the 40km bike and the fact it was in mondello. The run bit I’d worry about later…
So the running has being going well, I had curtailed it a bit with Ras mumhan the week before as there’d be no forgiveness there if I turned up with tired run legs. So I came back from kerry and myself and rob worked on short fast run sets to hopefully open me up for what lay ahead in the 6.7km first run leg of the race.
I knew this would be very difficult because I can’t tell you the last time I did a 5k race, over 3 years ago definitely!.
So the format was a 6.7km run followed by a draft legal 40km bike(road bike) and then to finish off a 3.4km run.
I think what the years of competing has given me is a cool head and put out of my comfort zone I try and stay calm keep smiling keep talking and have an attitude of what will be will be. If I didn’t feel pressure to do well I certainly did 20 mins before the race!.. Alot of talk surrounded me in what I was going to do. Ah well I’m here now, all I can do is my best.
The race was in mondello race track and very much spectator friendly. Karen and the kids were there along with Eve. I knew the kids would love the laps as they rarely get to see a race like that. The weather was awful but the grandstand sheltered them from the rain.
Another thing the years of racing has taught me is wear clothes!.. I wore an underlayer along with my VeloRevolution speedsuit and a gilet. The kids lined up as if it were a summers day…(not mine, the ones I was racing against!).. “I’ll give you boys 45 mins in that ” I said to myself.
Bang and I mean BANG…! The race was on.. Those guys just exploded out of the traps. I felt lazy slow heavy but I got into it.” Relax.. Do your thing.. There’s an hour of biking to make up for this.. ” I kept saying… Then a few guys started coming back to me and then I’m running with dessie Duffy and Cillian heary although I don’t think Cillian was 100%. OK.. Keep this.. It got hard after 5km running off road in muck and grass. I thought transition would never come.
The bike was draft legal on road bikes. The course was wet, exposed and windy with a few hidden drags. I never raced mondello before and it took me a lap or two to find my line, although it was hard to take the correct line as I was passing out guys that were in front or either being lapped.
Eve was switched on to give me laps to go and splits. I would veer over towards eve to hear the split to the leaders and then… “come on Dad!!!” would follow me round the first bend.. The time was not coming down by more than 5/10 secs a lap inside the first 3 laps.. In cases like this I ask myself a very simple question.. “can i go any quicker?”.. No is the answer.. So I tell myself again to remain calm.. There’s alot of road to cover.
Very quickly after I thought the race was out of my reach I caught the chase group of maybe 8. I haven’t much time to play so I rest for a minute or so at the back and then seated coming out of a corner I go full gas and I’m alone again. Now I’m in 4th with 3 up the road
My confidence lifts and I’m in a race. Eve gives me more splits and after 6/7 laps I catch the guys. Now the race gets tactical.. Mintern, O’Reilly, Jackson are the leaders.. I try an play the the alpha male and coax the guys to ride with me. Mintern seems to be the only guy switched on to know what I want to do so out of the first bend with a few laps remaining I put the power down and he comes with me dropping the other two. I isolate him and get a gap and flicked the elbow for him to ride. I knew he wouldn’t come round so slowed to a near stop. With that the two lads passed us and i wasn’t to worried.. It forced Mintern to close the gap and I sat on until it was closed and then I attacked and wasn’t coming back. From here I had to go full gas, eyes to the tarmac with my bontrager Balista cutting through the wind. I still didn’t think it was possible given how fast the guys ran and they’re used to the bricks more than me. With 2 laps to go the gap was only 30 secs, I figured I needed a minute . Then all of a sudden the gap went out to 90 secs… (Remember what I said about wearing some clothes!! )
With eve giving me laps remaining she had given me 1 to go but rounding the last bend thinking I had 1 to go I looked at my garmin for the first time and it said 40km…time to get out of the shoes…. “you’ve another lap she says” … “do I f&@k!!”..
When I say my legs hurt I mean they feckin hurt like never before .. Lungs burning.. I couldn’t feel my feet.. I had to look down to see if I put my shoes on as I couldn’t feel my feet…” Beastmode, animal, dog, woof woof “… Shouts from the terraces… Holy Jaysus lads I’m a normal human being!!!
In my mind I was going to be caught but it didn’t happen.. I resigned myself to silver or bronze but gold was there with 1 km to go… Then I upended myself and near broke myself falling on a corner… I got up as quick as I went down.
Fimilar faces cheered me to the line and it felt nice. It was great my family was there to share the moment with me. I now have an excuse to wear a national jersey!!
Congratulations to Heather Foley the women’s champion, pure domination from start to finish. Chapeau !
This was an individual race but thanks to my team mates over the weeks for keeping me right when I wasn’t going well. Thanks also to our sponsors Asea, Wheelworx, Trek, Cyclepowermeters.com, Niall Clarke Oils and amphibia . Thanks also to Personal Sponsor Wattbike Ireland, Udos Choice and Nateralife. And my friend Rob Griffths…. the man who understands!!!!
The biggest thanks of all is to my amazing wife. K you are the best XX