2XU wetsuit trial

Wednesday evening saw us again meeting at the pool at the Kingfisher Club in Renmore.

V:2 from 2XU

My brand new V:2 wetsuit only arrived in the courier van during the day so I was very eager to try it out  in comparison to my current Orca Alpha which is almost 3 years old now. In fact I had bought the initial release of the V:1 wetsuit (V = Velocity) in the spring of 2008 having been present at the prelaunch presentation of the wetsuit by (then) sales rep Mike Trees (now Managing Director) of TCL. I had spotted the suit at the ITU Worlds in Hamburg September 2007 where it was being launched into Europe.

Anyway a little warranty issue lead to a recall and I was upgraded to an Orca Alpha suit for my troubles. All those warranty issues are well behind the company now and 2XU are the only company offering a 2 year warranty on their wetsuit seams.

We were at the pool to allow customers the chance to select and try on a proper swimming wetsuit and to experience the benefits it can make to their open water swim, either Triathlon or leisure. We had a great response to the offer of the trial and we were busy helping people identify their sizes and chatting about the swim ability and the differences in the three suits on offer.

Team (T:2) wetsuits suit entry level swimmers giving additional buoyancy to help gain confidence in the water and to maintain correct body position for the free style stroke. Race (R:1) are the next level and feature increased body stabilising strakes and a 3D grab panel on the forearms to aid with the body catch and pull. The Velocity (V:2) suits are unique in their own league with contoured catch panels, titanium oxide coating in the lower legs, full body & leg strakes, body roll buoyancy among other features.

Wetsuits should be like a second skin. With the silicon coating they are extremely ‘slippy’ in water and enable you to glide so much further in the stroke, think ‘fish’ and you will understand. The buoyancy as mentioned allows you to focus on your stroke and propulsion rather than worrying about working hard to stay afloat.

The customers really enjoyed themselves and were thrilled with the opportunity to get the advice and to try out the suits before committing to the purchase. A properly fitted wetsuit is the only item of euipment that can guarantee an instant improvement in your Triathlon times. I will post the data when I find it.

After a great result for our customers I got to try my suit in the pool and I love it! A Tri gear review of 2XU wetsuits

Normally, I average 21-22 strokes in a 25m pool, with T:2 I managed 17, R:1 was 16 and I did 14 in the V:2!! My legs felt much easier to maintain in the horizontal position and the grab in the water really felt good, I did a few lengths of arm only pulls and kicking felt like throwing a NOS switch.

Missing a spin

Thursday normally sees us (Edel & I) getting an opportunity to get out for a long spin together. Unfortunately the weather was very much against us, so for safety we slung our plans to get out.

We brought the kids to the pool and enjoyed seeing the progress our little girl is making in swimming. I captured a little video clip of her kick for analysis later 🙂

She has her mum’s affinity for the water and should make a great little swimmer when she gets going.

Hats off to the Kingfisher Club in Renmore keeping a good pool in tip top shape. The facilities are great and very family friendly.

Claregalway 5k

Tuesday evening saw the running of the 4th in the Galway 5k series. I didn’t get to register for the series as my wife won the toss on this one.

Anyway due to tiredness on acount of the kids I was ‘subbed’ in with the option of running on Tuesday. I haven’t been running at all lately. To be honest since the half Marathon in Kinvara in March I’d say at most I’ve clocked up 20-30km at most, so lots of recovery! Bar the 5k with Ray none of this has been at pace.

The joke going out the door was that a 22 minute was the requested time on the chip.

Claregalway 5k route

I arrived at the venue, lots of people milling around chatting & warming up. Bumped into Paul and a couple of the guys from the club and we did a small warm up on the first hill. Normally I would just race without really bothering with much of a warm up but it does make a difference.

We made our way down to the start area, met lots of people on the way that knew me from the shop. I know this is weird but I checked out their running shoes and found that helped remember names. At this point I was planning to empty the bladder, but got caught up like a politician greeting the people. Was chatting to Matt Bidwell, a regular winner of anything 5 & 10k around the area. He had a win in Mayo at the weekend and was asking how the Lough Corrib spin went.

Next time, off we went, the first hill was early and I’m glad I took it fresh. I settled into a steady pace, suprisingly the legs felt good after the weekends efforts, and I was pushing along comfortably. The course was reasonably ‘draggy’ with what seemed more uphill that down. There was a definite fast downhill where you just had to let go and float your way down without trippin gover yourself.

About 2k in the bladder started to annoy me to the point where I’m trying to work out how much time I’d loose stopping and wether I could make that up again being lighter!

Normally I can pace well and will begin to kick on from half way in a race, usually simply stretching out a little more rather than a faster gait. I wasnt really up fo it and was holding off on this until I could get a view of where I was and what lay ahead. Around 4k I finally felt the competitive surge and started pushing on a bit. Definitely the lack of running was having an effect on my kick and I was looking to hold it to the line.

Bit of a sprint for the line on account of the heavy breathing behind me. I knew I wasn’t suffering as much as he sounded so foot to floor. Crossed the line, hit the button 22.20 not too shabby! A PB for 5k, nice one.

Looking at the analysis I averaged 12.9kmph and my stride cadence was between 82-85 strides per minute. Lot done, more to do!

The best bit came when the chip times were posted, 22.14. Hope I get to do the next one!

Lough Corrib Challenge

Sunday 22nd May saw me up early to get to Dangan for registration on the CROI Lough Corrib challenge. A 100+ km cycle around Lough Corrib in Galway to raise funds for CROI Galway.

Sleep has been a thing of the past as we are trying to ‘train’ our two kids to sleep in their own beds and not in mum & dad’s. Friday night was especially bad with plenty of broken sleep and lying awake with elbows, knees & feet poking in the ribs.

Up at 6 and down for the coffee and breakfast. I had spent time on Saturday evening checking over my bike for condition & tweaking. I even cleaned and polished it! All the while listening to the wind and rain howl through the gaps in the window frames. Bit of craic on Twitter with @ravishinrick & @conorgrif re soft boys and turning the spin into a giant turbo session in the sports hall.

Kissed the family and off I went with plenty of time to find the place and get set up. Lots of Predator Tri guys and girls arrived in the carpark and we all got organised to go. Weather was fine, blustery would be a word to describe it. Some showers but nothing that would soak you through. Hard to plan the layers for such a spin, if you don’t have it with you, tough!

We all set off (Predator Group) just after 8.30 and heading into the wind rode with the Lough to our right. We had a decent size of a group riding in parallel taking turns to ride up and over for a spell on the front.

Somewhere around Moycullen two of us popped off the front for a pitstop at the side of the road. I hadn’t quite managed to learn how to deal with the On the fly pitstop so stopping was the only option. The group rolled on and we were happy enough to catch up over the next while.

Somewhere  around Rosscahill I got stuck behind a jeep and horsebox which was stuttering along dangerously jumping lines of cyclists and then cutting back in on them. In fairness some of the cycling was pretty poor with people thinking the rules of the road don’t apply to a peloton. Well I can tell you if a bus was coming the other way there would have been carnage on several occasions.

I fell away from the other guys and ended up coming out along the lake into a headwind by myself. There was a lot of hard work with strong gusts but I was feeling good and happy to push along where traffic allowed. It was a little bit of ‘surge and ease’ as vehicles played dodge the cyclist and on any other day I would have been glad of the power intervals.

I eventually got to the top of the lake and made the turn at Maam Cross and realised there was a bugger of a climb ahead and the wind still coming in from the 10 o’clock position. I still felt good, but knew there’d be a payback for doing this on my own. I’m only 40k into a planned 120k trip, so still a long way to go, but at least that wind would come behind on the homeward stretch (I hope!)

Following what was a tough uphill drag came a fun downhill stretch where I cranked the bike hard into the wind and took the corners on the fly. The gusts made it a little nervy but I was glad of the respite and floated off the saddle as much as possible for the 3k descent. At the bottom I caught up with the group for a couple of pics, a quick breather (for me) and a chance to grab some protein / energy bars and a drink to top up the fuel tanks. I had topped up along the way but was glad to get off and stretch the legs.

All too quick we were back on the bike, moving again, this time back in the group so it felt much better as we headed across to Cong for the lunch stop. There were a couple of sharp little climbs and drags as we cruised back along the side of the lake. Even though we were with the wind behind us we were sheltered with the hills and had no direct benefit. I was feeling it in the legs, I was definitely dropping off on the climbs, I could keep a steady state but the power was sapped and i would slip back. Once on the flat / roll I could catch up again to the group, I just didn’t have the extra ‘oomph’ to push through the gear on the drags.

At Cong we broke for about 20 mins, coffee, carrot cake, fruit & water all taken on board. Again off we set, someone had a great idea and dragged the group out on a high intensity sprint. Good luck with that! I stayed with it for a while but I was shot and I let them off as there was still 40 odd km before getting back and I had no idea of the lay of the land.

After that I held a nice steady pace for myself, the road in from Headford to the city is very scenic and after Cloonboo it is amazingly straight. The wind still seemed to be coming in from the side so there was still work to be done to get home. Eventually I got back to the carpark and enjoyed the relief of getting out of the saddle and stretching my back, hamstrings, arms, shoulders, glutes . . .