Rosses Point Olympic Triathlon 25th May

This is a sculpture in Rosses Point, County Sl...
This is a sculpture in Rosses Point, County Sligo Ireland, for people lost at sea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2012 was my first year racing the Rosses Point Olympic triathlon which was back on the race calendar after a couple of seasons where the young (2008) Sligo Triathlon Club held Sprint & Olympic races to reestablish themselves after years of lying in the shadow of the legendary ‘Metalman’. At the time I remarked how wonderfully organised the event was and that I hoped the club would see this as a National Series race in the coming years. It definitely had the potential to be a great NS race.

My wife is from Rosses Point so this area is home from home for me.

Roll on 2013 and Sligo Triathlon Club are hosting  a National Series Olympic Race at ‘the Point’.

We drove up from Galway on Friday evening with the kids (being minded by Aunty Sinead) all excited about seeing their cousins and counting the number of ‘sleep-overs’ they would have. I hung a few Amphibian King banners on the balcony at the house and enjoyed a bit of banter on Twitter with @sligo_tri_club :

FireShot Screen Capture #113 - 'Twitter _ Interactions' - twitter_com_i_connect

There was to be a reasonable crowd at the event with 220 individual entries and 45 relay teams. That’s a huge number of teams (and until just now I didn’t think of the skew that this would place on results) and a big indicator in the number of people coming into our sport recently.

With the race due to start at 1pm my/our (as Edel is racing too) race morning preparations were a little bit out of sorts. The late start is on account of the tides. So up early, as usual, breakfast and then lay out the gear. Not much for an Olympic race, trisuit, wetsuit, goggles, runners, bike, helmet and bike shoes. Race-number and goodie bags I picked up at registration on the morning of the race so all sorted and ready to go.

IMG-20130525-01020

Edel dropped the kids up while I checked over the bikes & packed the gear away. We spun up the prom to transition and had a coffee at ‘Hale & Hearty’ where we bumped into a few familiar faces and make introductions to the Boards / Twitter crew. Dropping off the gear bag with friends we went out the course for a little bit of a warmup on the bike and to test the wind direction as its a big player in events around here.

Once back in transition, rack the bikes, lay out the shoes, place the helmet, elastic the bike shoes in place (need more elastics, almost out of my/our stock). I left arm warmers over the tri bars, if I needed them they were there, if not they could stay on the bars. Wetsuit on, Bodyglide and then possibly one of the most entertaining and relaxed Race Briefing I’ve ever attended!! 🙂

The swim was to be the same as usual, starting at the 2nd beach and swimming out, along the shore and back into the slip on the 1st beach. There was no warmup swim on account of safety, the water is cold, but it was an ‘in-water’ start at knee / waist depth. We were told it’s a shortened 1200m swim, but looking out at it (and having swam the course so many times last summer) it looked like it was more a middle distance swim.

2013_Oly_SwimRouteAnyhow, I was racing this sans watch so I had no indication of time as we all headed for the start line. Right down the beach and lots of people chatting about the beach run and the dreaded ramps to come later in the day. For now it was time to fill the suit, wash the face and neck with cold water and wait for the hooter.

Quick hug and kiss for Mrs and 5,4,3,2..1 off we go!!

Straight out to the first buoy. Bloody hell this water is cold!! Brrr!! Rounding the first buoy in the middle of a bunch there were a few stray arms and legs but I found clean water to the left and I sighted a line straight to the next buoy using the Yacht Club as a land mark I could quickly spot the buoy when sighting. I’m not the best swimmer in the world, but I make up for it by swimming straight! I hate drafting as where I am is usually Z-Swimmers weaving back and forth and I’d rather trust myself (and blame myself when it goes wrong)

Conditions were into a headwind, little bit of chop, some found it tough, I liked it.

Nice steady rhythm from me but as I passed buoy Nr.2 my hamstrings went PING! like guitar strings. It must be the cold because I’m not a big kicker. It was so bad, I rolled onto my back and looked for a kayak thinking this is bad 😦

A deep breath and I rolled front again, stretched out straight in the water and left my legs trailing behind. Mind over matter I ‘thought’ the cramps out of my legs by willing them to relax as I pull stroked my way back through the group that passed me whilst I floundered.

Around the last buoy and into the shallow water, seemed to be a bit of a current pushing back down the course as I needed a couple of adjustments on the way in and this would explain the swim times on the course if we were swimming into a current.

With no idea of my times, I was racing to see where I was in transition.

Disappointingly it was quite sparse (as usual) but I thought I had swam much better than normal and hoped for a few other bikes in there. Hey, ho, I’d just have more fun catching people on the bike 🙂

2013_OlyBikeRoute

As bike courses go, this is a testing little number. Simple enough, 3 loops and back into Transition. But it often looks easy on paper.

T1 was sharpish, wetsuit off, helmet on, push button on Polar power pedals, ‘Start’ on head unit, de-rack and away! (NB rear mounted bottle cage is a great bike hanger). The mounting line was a bit cluttered so around the outside and run on for 3-4 meters, flying mount and onto the shoes. One lad stuttered and started and fapped about in front of me trying to get his feet into shoes near taking me off the bike with his meandering across the road.

Transition bike tip – get up to speed and then put the feet into the shoes once you’re rolling.

Pushing down the prom there was a headwind which hit as you come around by Austies threatening unsteady front wheels then push out to Cregg where the left turn brings you up and around the rolling bit with technical turns. You really need to time your charges up the hills to get the best of the momentum then back down to the main road turning right at a well marshalled junction to hammer it all the way back to the turnabout at the top of the prom.

X3 times around the loop and then drop back into transition for a swiftish change to running shoes.

Apart from obvious drafting on the bike again (are people really that ignorant of the rules and etiquette?) one person I passed insisted on surging back up the inside of me to argue about me pulling in front of him (having completed the passing manoeuver). I advised him to cop himself on, read the rules and stop drafting off me to which he charged up the inside of the next person (after tucking his number over his belt).

T2 fairly sharpish, rack, helmet off shoes on. Feet and shoes were damp from the rain that had started so I struggled to get the feet in at first (I find talc just clumps, so need some other approach). Out of T2 and left to the ramp, down the slope and onto the beach.

2013_Oly_RunRoute

Running up the beach we had to cross the stream at 14th which on a summer day would be lovely, but not today. Cold water into the shoes, thankfully, straight back out due to the holes in the bottom of the Saucony Fastwitch 6. Up to the cone where Sheila corrected me about my number call out and off in pursuit of my wife.

This is not a nice run route. The ramp up and down to the beach is an awful steep ramp putting quite a bit of pressure on the calves so I speed walked up and ran over the top. Up to the village green and around the finish area I was into the middle of the fist 4k loop when I caught up to Edel. As this was the first time I’d managed to catch her in a race having her tell me to race on and not stop with her was weird.

Leaving her to her own race, it felt strange dropping my Mrs. but I ran on to the 2nd loop. Down the ramp again across the beach and back, the day was getting miserable. Rounding the finish area again all that was left was the 1k to transition and back to the finish line where a welcome Kinetica Protein bottle, banana and more yummy Good4U sprinkles.

Waiting for Edel to appear, shouting her on to the finish it was my chance to welcome her home for a change.

Something tells me I’ll have a tougher battle the next time though!

Great day out. Another cracking race organisation by Sligo Triathlon Club. The post race set up with cake, curry and showers is something else (I missed this as we went back to the house for warmup). Well done to all the organisers and sponsors on a great spread of food and prizes and I’ll definitely be there for cake next year!!

Any problem areas? The only criticism (constructive) is the run route, it’s a tough challenging route that’s easy to manage from a logistics point of view, but very tricky for runners to find and maintain a rhythm. Also the ramp is slippy for descents and awkward to traffic manage.

Otherwise “fandabbydosey!!”

Rosses Point Olympic 2013

Swim: 00:37:20

T1: 00:01:10

Bike: 01:15:18

T2: 00:01:20

Run: 00:48:42

Overall :02:43:49 (14th in Cat)

 

Back again in August for the Sprint distance race.

 

 

Rosses Point Olympic Triathlon 25th May

This is a sculpture in Rosses Point, County Sl...
This is a sculpture in Rosses Point, County Sligo Ireland, for people lost at sea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2012 was my first year racing the Rosses Point Olympic triathlon which was back on the race calendar after a couple of seasons where the young (2008) Sligo Triathlon Club held Sprint & Olympic races to reestablish themselves after years of lying in the shadow of the legendary ‘Metalman’. At the time I remarked how wonderfully organised the event was and that I hoped the club would see this as a National Series race in the coming years. It definitely had the potential to be a great NS race.

My wife is from Rosses Point so this area is home from home for me.

Roll on 2013 and Sligo Triathlon Club are hosting  a National Series Olympic Race at ‘the Point’.

We drove up from Galway on Friday evening with the kids (being minded by Aunty Sinead) all excited about seeing their cousins and counting the number of ‘sleep-overs’ they would have. I hung a few Amphibian King banners on the balcony at the house and enjoyed a bit of banter on Twitter with @sligo_tri_club :

FireShot Screen Capture #113 - 'Twitter _ Interactions' - twitter_com_i_connect

There was to be a reasonable crowd at the event with 220 individual entries and 45 relay teams. That’s a huge number of teams (and until just now I didn’t think of the skew that this would place on results) and a big indicator in the number of people coming into our sport recently.

With the race due to start at 1pm my/our (as Edel is racing too) race morning preparations were a little bit out of sorts. The late start is on account of the tides. So up early, as usual, breakfast and then lay out the gear. Not much for an Olympic race, trisuit, wetsuit, goggles, runners, bike, helmet and bike shoes. Race-number and goodie bags I picked up at registration on the morning of the race so all sorted and ready to go.

IMG-20130525-01020

Edel dropped the kids up while I checked over the bikes & packed the gear away. We spun up the prom to transition and had a coffee at ‘Hale & Hearty’ where we bumped into a few familiar faces and make introductions to the Boards / Twitter crew. Dropping off the gear bag with friends we went out the course for a little bit of a warmup on the bike and to test the wind direction as its a big player in events around here.

Once back in transition, rack the bikes, lay out the shoes, place the helmet, elastic the bike shoes in place (need more elastics, almost out of my/our stock). I left arm warmers over the tri bars, if I needed them they were there, if not they could stay on the bars. Wetsuit on, Bodyglide and then possibly one of the most entertaining and relaxed Race Briefing I’ve ever attended!! 🙂

The swim was to be the same as usual, starting at the 2nd beach and swimming out, along the shore and back into the slip on the 1st beach. There was no warmup swim on account of safety, the water is cold, but it was an ‘in-water’ start at knee / waist depth. We were told it’s a shortened 1200m swim, but looking out at it (and having swam the course so many times last summer) it looked like it was more a middle distance swim.

2013_Oly_SwimRouteAnyhow, I was racing this sans watch so I had no indication of time as we all headed for the start line. Right down the beach and lots of people chatting about the beach run and the dreaded ramps to come later in the day. For now it was time to fill the suit, wash the face and neck with cold water and wait for the hooter.

Quick hug and kiss for Mrs and 5,4,3,2..1 off we go!!

Straight out to the first buoy. Bloody hell this water is cold!! Brrr!! Rounding the first buoy in the middle of a bunch there were a few stray arms and legs but I found clean water to the left and I sighted a line straight to the next buoy using the Yacht Club as a land mark I could quickly spot the buoy when sighting. I’m not the best swimmer in the world, but I make up for it by swimming straight! I hate drafting as where I am is usually Z-Swimmers weaving back and forth and I’d rather trust myself (and blame myself when it goes wrong)

Conditions were into a headwind, little bit of chop, some found it tough, I liked it.

Nice steady rhythm from me but as I passed buoy Nr.2 my hamstrings went PING! like guitar strings. It must be the cold because I’m not a big kicker. It was so bad, I rolled onto my back and looked for a kayak thinking this is bad 😦

A deep breath and I rolled front again, stretched out straight in the water and left my legs trailing behind. Mind over matter I ‘thought’ the cramps out of my legs by willing them to relax as I pull stroked my way back through the group that passed me whilst I floundered.

Around the last buoy and into the shallow water, seemed to be a bit of a current pushing back down the course as I needed a couple of adjustments on the way in and this would explain the swim times on the course if we were swimming into a current.

With no idea of my times, I was racing to see where I was in transition.

Disappointingly it was quite sparse (as usual) but I thought I had swam much better than normal and hoped for a few other bikes in there. Hey, ho, I’d just have more fun catching people on the bike 🙂

2013_OlyBikeRoute

As bike courses go, this is a testing little number. Simple enough, 3 loops and back into Transition. But it often looks easy on paper.

T1 was sharpish, wetsuit off, helmet on, push button on Polar power pedals, ‘Start’ on head unit, de-rack and away! (NB rear mounted bottle cage is a great bike hanger). The mounting line was a bit cluttered so around the outside and run on for 3-4 meters, flying mount and onto the shoes. One lad stuttered and started and fapped about in front of me trying to get his feet into shoes near taking me off the bike with his meandering across the road.

Transition bike tip – get up to speed and then put the feet into the shoes once you’re rolling.

Pushing down the prom there was a headwind which hit as you come around by Austies threatening unsteady front wheels then push out to Cregg where the left turn brings you up and around the rolling bit with technical turns. You really need to time your charges up the hills to get the best of the momentum then back down to the main road turning right at a well marshalled junction to hammer it all the way back to the turnabout at the top of the prom.

X3 times around the loop and then drop back into transition for a swiftish change to running shoes.

Apart from obvious drafting on the bike again (are people really that ignorant of the rules and etiquette?) one person I passed insisted on surging back up the inside of me to argue about me pulling in front of him (having completed the passing manoeuver). I advised him to cop himself on, read the rules and stop drafting off me to which he charged up the inside of the next person (after tucking his number over his belt).

T2 fairly sharpish, rack, helmet off shoes on. Feet and shoes were damp from the rain that had started so I struggled to get the feet in at first (I find talc just clumps, so need some other approach). Out of T2 and left to the ramp, down the slope and onto the beach.

2013_Oly_RunRoute

Running up the beach we had to cross the stream at 14th which on a summer day would be lovely, but not today. Cold water into the shoes, thankfully, straight back out due to the holes in the bottom of the Saucony Fastwitch 6. Up to the cone where Sheila corrected me about my number call out and off in pursuit of my wife.

This is not a nice run route. The ramp up and down to the beach is an awful steep ramp putting quite a bit of pressure on the calves so I speed walked up and ran over the top. Up to the village green and around the finish area I was into the middle of the fist 4k loop when I caught up to Edel. As this was the first time I’d managed to catch her in a race having her tell me to race on and not stop with her was weird.

Leaving her to her own race, it felt strange dropping my Mrs. but I ran on to the 2nd loop. Down the ramp again across the beach and back, the day was getting miserable. Rounding the finish area again all that was left was the 1k to transition and back to the finish line where a welcome Kinetica Protein bottle, banana and more yummy Good4U sprinkles.

Waiting for Edel to appear, shouting her on to the finish it was my chance to welcome her home for a change.

Something tells me I’ll have a tougher battle the next time though!

Great day out. Another cracking race organisation by Sligo Triathlon Club. The post race set up with cake, curry and showers is something else (I missed this as we went back to the house for warmup). Well done to all the organisers and sponsors on a great spread of food and prizes and I’ll definitely be there for cake next year!!

Any problem areas? The only criticism (constructive) is the run route, it’s a tough challenging route that’s easy to manage from a logistics point of view, but very tricky for runners to find and maintain a rhythm. Also the ramp is slippy for descents and awkward to traffic manage.

Otherwise “fandabbydosey!!”

Rosses Point Olympic 2013

Swim: 00:37:20

T1: 00:01:10

Bike: 01:15:18

T2: 00:01:20

Run: 00:48:42

Overall :02:43:49 (14th in Cat)

 

Back again in August for the Sprint distance race.

 

 

Tri an Mhí CXIII – Irish middle distance National Championships

CXIII_2013_posterThere has been a ton of discussion about this race, most of it surrounding contingency plans for when, in the event of a curtailed or cancelled swim, what was going to be the likely format. Lots of people wondered about the water temperature.

Bottom line, we all had the training done (or should have!) and we were all there to race the conditions that were thrown at us on the day.

I’ve written previously about the rules under which decisions are made on race conditions, emphasis on the swim in particular.

This is my race report, not a rant, though I will point out a few negatives I was not happy about and points likely to make me think twice about next year.

Continue reading “Tri an Mhí CXIII – Irish middle distance National Championships”

Tri an Mhí CXIII – Irish middle distance National Championships

CXIII_2013_posterThere has been a ton of discussion about this race, most of it surrounding contingency plans for when, in the event of a curtailed or cancelled swim, what was going to be the likely format. Lots of people wondered about the water temperature.

Bottom line, we all had the training done (or should have!) and we were all there to race the conditions that were thrown at us on the day.

I’ve written previously about the rules under which decisions are made on race conditions, emphasis on the swim in particular.

This is my race report, not a rant, though I will point out a few negatives I was not happy about and points likely to make me think twice about next year.

Saturday 18th of May 2013 started as a good day.

Mentally and physically I was prepared to race. I’d my bags packed, bike checked, and was good to go. I was actually hoping for and was ready for a full swim, 1900m which I knew would be cold, but I was there to race just like everyone else.

After breakfast, my usual porridge for race day, I kissed the family and said to my wife how I was looking forward to measuring myself against the best in my AG in the country over what I think is my best racing distance (middle distance, half Iron, 70.3 or whatever you call it yourself).

Its a long trip, 2.5 hours from Galway with a bit of cross country driving to Lough Lene in Co. Westmeath.

Turning down the hill to the carparking area, the lake opened out in front of me. Looking calm and inviting, just like the race promotional poster, I thought this is going to be good.

A great parking spot in beside transition, out, stretch the legs around the car park spotting and greeting familiar faces. Down to registration to pick up my race t-shirt, race number, timing chip and swim cap.

At 10am I was sorted and ready to get organised. Bike out of van, tyres checked and topped up, nutrition prepped and fitted on bike (x2 bottles Accelerade, x1 bottle water with Nuun, x5 GU gels) shoes clipped in, helmet on head, race number on and into transition I went to rack my bike and leave my running shoes with sock in my spot. I don’t fuss over things, that is all done at home in the days leading to an event, I believe if you are fussing in transition about details on your bike, you’re in trouble.

Quick chat with familiar faces in transition, Ian, Mark, Liamo, Gabby couple of Galway boys Cian & Arthur. Lot of chat about the coolness of the weather and still the likelihood of a full swim. My 15°C photo from Loughrea Lake on Friday afternoon:

And rumoured 14°C in Lough Lene. (Not a chance!!). We were all there to race (in our different capacities) and there was a willingness to swim. So a non-issue.

By 11am pretty much everyone that was going to race had turned up and the transition area was busy. People were checking out mount / dismount areas, walking the entry and exit of transition, visualising, I was happy, I’d this all done and was quite relaxed waiting to change into my race gear. I’d a few nibbles in the van and a cup of coffee to top up breakfast.

Race briefing was due at 11:20am for a 12:00am start so time to change into race gear, base layer top, trisuit. back on went the hat, Amphibian King fleecy cycle jacket and club hoody as well as warm up pants. I was leaving the wetsuit until we were almost ready to go, staying warm was important.

Here is where it starts to go wrong.

All the competitors were huddling around the area outside of transition at 11:20. There was a lot of good-natured chat and banter, but also a fair bit of shivering going on.

11:20 came and went.

11:30 came and went.

Lots of ‘officious’ looking people and Triathlon Ireland Technical Officials (TO’s) and the race referee in a big huddle down the dock.

11:40 same thing.

Eventually at 11:55 we were told that a swim would be happening. Big cheer! But, it would be shortened to 700ish meters. Race briefing would be at a deferred time of 12:10pm. We were also informed that no bags were to be left in transition.

Wetsuit on and my Plan B move of putting a 2XU windproof cycling jacket with a rain jacket and gloves in the stuff pockets as well as a towel into transition was an indicator of my weather radar working.

12:10 – race briefing.

The day was getting colder as were we. Briefing was an explanation of the course, swim out buoys on your right, straight back to the slip, 20minute maximum cutoff; bike unchanged, as per race doc, rules of the road apply, watch the villages, no drafting, no littering, open road mind the traffic; run unchanged. Be safe, enjoy!

TO then spoke about strict 20min cut off in swim, you will be removed from the water, deposited on the slip and decision as to how fit you are to continue will be made, but you will not be racing. Bike marshals are watching for signs of hypothermia on the cycle course, you will be ambulanced if there is any doubt.

12:30 we are counted down the slip into the water. 12:32 would have been the perfect time to take the water temperature! 😉

12:37 off we go!!

As per usual, I know my place & pace. Setting off at the rear of the field I moved steadily up and through. Within the first 200m I passed some people obviously struggling doing breast stroke and gasping with the cold, I reckoned they would be swept up pretty sharpish by the boat crew. Round the buoys, lots of people barging through the inside on top of each other, I’d a wide line and stayed out of the trouble and swam straight to shore.

Out of the water with marshals calling time mark at 17 minutes (not 700m!!) up the ramp and into transition.

Bike located, helmet on, PM on, GPS on, rub down the arms and jacket on. De-rack and go. Trotted around to the exit line in barefeet, half of it carpeted, but with blocks of ice for feet it could have been hot coals and I wouldn’t have noticed.

Moving mount, feet on shoes and away!

WTF?! Got 30m and stopped. Neoprene covers wrapped around the crank! Back pedaled to unwind and go again, same issue. Stop, off the bike, unclip shoes, ripped off covers, threw covers to side of ditch, shoes on and as I was going a spectator said she’d pick up the covers. “Grand, thanks!”

Up the hill, left at the top and onto the route.

Settled quickly, a systems check, PM reading – check!, speed / distance reading (GPS) – check!

I wanted to cycle a strong race and was pushing hard reeling in and catching people. The course is a tough course. When you climb like me you have to make the most of the downhills and work hard on the up-hills so its tricky making a call on when to drink or eat. I usually push over the top of a climb and at start of a descent grab a drink or gel before driving down the descent. I’ve no fear on a descent (respect yes, fear no) and try maximise the momentum off the bottom.

On the first lap there was so much drafting going on I was fuming. This is National Championships, you’re cheating!! There’s a couple of people I marked for future attention. There’s also a shocking lack of awareness and obeyance of the rules of the race. Guys sitting two abreast, like a club training ride, blocking safe overtaking routes, forcing people to cross white lines.

No way was I risking a DQ cos you’re a twat. ‘Behind on your right!’ Get the hell outta my way. I’m racing my race here.

Collinstown and Castlepollard are two busy towns and on a Saturday afternoon not the best to be negotiating on bikes. Between shoppers and country parking you had to sit up and be aware. The rest of the route was hammer worthy. Some very stiff climbs on the first lap, but some nice rolling sections which I can TT quite nicely, thankyou.

Coming to the end of the first lap, I reeled in another couple of guys over a km or so and then the heavens opened, literally at lap 2.

Air temperature dropped a couple of degrees and heavy rain made it uncomfortable. There was now very few to be seen ahead and nobody coming through. Power stayed fairly constant, though the climbs were tougher second time round I still did my best going up them, digging in and pushing myself on. I didn’t stop to do gloves or jacket, though with wet hands the gloves wouldn’t go on and the 2XU jacket still kept my torso warm. Hands and feet weren’t too happy.

Looking back now, I can see my heart rate dropped on average through the second lap (due to the cold?) even though power and speed seems comparable with the first lap. My legs were starting to tighten up but I expect that too. I’d run that off.

Couple of issues with the bike; lost tool kit bottle (near start, got it after race), Kinetica water bottle jumped overboard (no loss), Accelerade bottle jumped overboard (almost empty), repair cylinder with slime lost overboard. All were on account of bumpy surface except pump which worked loose and flew on a corner. I need to adjust my rear mounted bottle cage for the next time.

Back into the race HQ as I stepped off the bike, the cold hit me. I realised I had been shivering through the last 25k or so and this was why the legs were feeling bad. I racked my bike and as I went to take the helmet off I realised I was soaked through, my running shoes were wet through and I was cold. One of my old club mates came over to help unclip the helmet and I just said thanks, but I’m done, enough done.

Shaking vigorously I handed my chip to the official at the exit to transition and for the first time DNF’d myself.

Straight to the van I stripped off the gear, wrapped myself in towels and got into clean, dry gear. UA thermal top, double hoody, hat and gloves, CompresSport recovery stockings / leg warmers and my jeans. I spent the next hour cold, drinking tea and staying in shelter. It was not fun. 😦

All I wanted to do was get the hell out of there and on the road home. I couldn’t though. I had to cheer on those who were tougher than me, those who had a better race plan than me, those who finished.

My race will be another day, this was not to be my day. As my wife said, it’s not often I do the right thing at times like this, but this was the right call for me on the day.

I want to acknowledge the fantastic marshals at all the junctions, the club members who helped out and thank the TI officials who made the right call for everyone’s safety.

There are a couple of things I want to offload however, constructive criticism, none of which I am blaming for my DNF, that was me.

  • Communication – very poor.

    • Facebook, boards, email, give people information about the water temp. You were asked, just give it, let people know what to expect.
    • Race day. To have 2-300 people standing around in the cold for over an hour waiting for race information is wrong. Let people know at 11:20 there is a delay, go stay warm, eat etc come back in 30mins.

  • Organisation – in general it was good. In my opinion a race that is going to be 5-6 hours for most should have better transition arrangements.

    • You should be allowed a covered box or bag in transition to keep your run gear dry. Its Ireland, seasons change in 3 hours.
    • At the end people could not get their dry bags as all dumped in a tent on top of each other. People cold and shivering looking bewildered at a jumble of bags.
    • Foil blankets. There really should be enough to go round or…marshal people directly to a dry area for changing. Do not encourage loitering at the finish area when the weather is this bad.
    • Draft penalties. I didn’t see any issued and I know there was a team of 3 up the road ahead of me working together that a marshal drove past.

     

Next weekend is Rosses Point standard distance race another Open Water swim but hopefully no more issues. Head to head with the wife!!

Something special for the Triathlon Youths

Creating a triathlon wetsuit for the stars of tomorrow left Huub with a few challenges. The key to the suit after consultation with coaches, swim experts and human movement specialists was flexibility, comfort and warmth. So there is your balance, more flexibility and lighter neoprene but keeping warmth in due to less body fat and more susceptible to cold body make up. Huub addressed this by investigating the best quality materials in combination with highest grade “Plush” linings which deliver increased warmth to the backing of a thinner and lightweight 3mm chest and 4mm thigh and hips neoprene.

Good body position is not a major weakness in junior athletes, but good practice in a wetsuit will assist pool swim events which are the majority for junior athletes.

By taking a 3:4 combination Huub have managed to retain the incredible flexibility while delivering the benefit in position and sensation of a slightly raised leg position that works with young females and males without over compensating for natural buoyancy.

The Huub Atom wetsuit, designed for ages 8-13 features:

  • Incredibly flexible and durable Smoothskin neoprene
  • Flexible superstretch lining and facing in key stretch-reach points.
  • Insulation lining for young healthy fat void bodies
  • Superstretch ankles for ease of release in transition
  • 2mm superstretch sleeves
  • 3:4 Buoyancy combination delivers natural buoyancy with body alignment enhancement

Something special for the Triathlon Youths

Creating a triathlon wetsuit for the stars of tomorrow left Huub with a few challenges. The key to the suit after consultation with coaches, swim experts and human movement specialists was flexibility, comfort and warmth. So there is your balance, more flexibility and lighter neoprene but keeping warmth in due to less body fat and more susceptible to cold body make up. Huub addressed this by investigating the best quality materials in combination with highest grade “Plush” linings which deliver increased warmth to the backing of a thinner and lightweight 3mm chest and 4mm thigh and hips neoprene.

Good body position is not a major weakness in junior athletes, but good practice in a wetsuit will assist pool swim events which are the majority for junior athletes.

By taking a 3:4 combination Huub have managed to retain the incredible flexibility while delivering the benefit in position and sensation of a slightly raised leg position that works with young females and males without over compensating for natural buoyancy.

The Huub Atom wetsuit, designed for ages 8-13 features:

  • Incredibly flexible and durable Smoothskin neoprene
  • Flexible superstretch lining and facing in key stretch-reach points.
  • Insulation lining for young healthy fat void bodies
  • Superstretch ankles for ease of release in transition
  • 2mm superstretch sleeves
  • 3:4 Buoyancy combination delivers natural buoyancy with body alignment enhancement

Come in to see the HUUB range in store and don’t forget you can book your expert wetsuit fitting through our website www.amphibiankinggalway.ie ensuring that you get the perfect wetsuit for you right from the start.

Related articles

70.3 things on a checklist

Fail to prepare and what do you expect?

Failure.

There’s no two ways about it, your middle distance (half Iron / 70.3) race day is 100% dependent on the amount of training you have put in over the past year AND the amount of organisation you put in your readiness in the days leading up to the event.

Taper week is all about checking things. Checking the legs, the body, the nutrition, the bike, the gear.

The obvious thing to say at this point is don’t change anything, do nothing new or unexpected in the week before a race and definitely don’t try anything new in the event itself!

So how do you organise yourself for race day?

You need a spare room or somewhere you can lay out all your gear in an orderly fashion so you can pack it in a logical manner and keep track of it all. you will also need a couple of transparent storage containers and a bag or box for your transition setup.

Amphibia X-Bag available from Amphibian King Galway

I’m going to break this into a couple of sub sections so we approach this planning properly. Ideally you are doing this a few days before hand, not the evening before when you should have your feet up.

  • General Preparation –
    • Assuming you are racing in a one or two piece tri-suit, bring that. If you are using sport specific clothing ensure you pack it ie. swimsuit, cycle shorts & jersey, run shorts & singlet.
    • Ladies – the only essential I can think of outside of this list is a bra, I’m happy to edit in whatever you think is necessary. Use whatever bra you have used in training knowing that it won’t cut, chaffe or fall off.
    • Bodyglide. Don’t ever forget the Bodyglide!!
    • Heart rate monitor, watch and accessories. Bring these IF and only if you have used them in training, know how to use them and are also confident racing in the event that they fail to work mid race. Do not be dependent on them. Ensure batteries are fresh and memory is empty.
    • Post race clothing – pack a tracksuit, hoody and rain cover in your transition bag / box. You may be hanging around waiting for transition to open after the race so warm clothes are needed until you get a chance to shower and change properly.
    • Compression wear – calf guards, quad guards, recovery leggings etc.
    • Racebelt
    • Safety pins
  • Swim –
    • Wetsuit – visual check for damage, nicks, cuts, nail marks and repair any with Black Witch or equivalent in
    • Neoprene swim hat
    • Silicon swim hat (spare)
    • Goggles
    • Goggles (spare) possibly clear lens / opposite tint to main pair, handy for changing conditions or parts if a strap breaks)
    • Suit juice
    • Towel(s)
    • Nose-clip
    • Ear-plugs
    • Anti-fog solution
    • Flip flops or sandals
  • Bike –
    • Clean and visually check the bike from top to bottom. Check tyres for wear and any embedded debris. Do not race on new tyres, ensure they have been run in a few times prior & make sure you are comfortable with the handling of the tyres at race speed in different weather conditions. Same applies to brake blocks and cables. Make sure if you have replaced any that they are working fine. Don’t leave it til race day to find out brakes levers are sticking!
    • Bike
    • Helmet
    • Cycle shoes
    • Elastic bands
    • Socks
    • Head unit / computer with battery and clear memory!
    • Calibrated power units.
    • Spare tubes / tubs (know how to change these!!)
    • Tyre levers
    • CO2 canisters / pump
    • Bad weather gear –
      • Overshoes / toe covers
      • Gilet
      • Rain jacket
      • Arm warmers
      • Leg warmers
      • Gloves
      • Clear lens glasses
    • Water bottles
    • Aero bottle, straw & sponge
    • Race wheels (hopefully you also have your normal wheels just in case of dangerous wind conditions)
    • In transition final checks
      • Track pump
      • Tool kit
      • Electrical tape
      • Valve stem extenders (you’ll know if you need these)
    • Other optional items (kitchen sink stuff)
      • Maintenance stand
      • Turbo trainer for in-van warmup
  • Run – this is the easiest section
    • Running shoes
    • Speed laces (Greeper are my favourite see my previous post on Race Laces)
    • Socks (might be the same ones as used on the bike, bring spare in case of weather)
    • Talcum powder
    • Fuel belt / pouch
    • Cap / headband etc.
    • Sunglasses
  • Nutrition – I’m being deliberately vague here as you should have this all sorted out to suit your individual nutritional needs. I don’t want to confuse people with my nutrition plans or to have others confusing mine!
    • Pre race snacks & drinks.
    • Pre swim gel
    • Bike – gels, bars, drinks (water, 4:1, sports drinks)
    • Run – gels or whatever you run with that is not provided at water stations.
    • Post race recovery drink & snacks, protein & carbohydrates.

Above all, don’t forget to pack your spirit of adventure, your enthusiasm for the competition (even if it is just with yourself) and your sense of fun.
It may all go pear-shaped on the day but as long as you enjoy yourself you will always pick it back up again for the next race.

I hope this is of some benefit to you.

See you out there 🙂

 

Friday evening EDIT: Two things I can’t believe I forgot to add:

  1. Your governing body (in my case Triahtlon Ireland) valid membership with photograph. No ID, no race!!
  2. Leave wedding bands, engagement rings, jewellery etc at home. Swimming in a cold lake this afternoon I spent the whole swim trying to keep my wedding band on my finger. Everything shrunk in the cold 😉

70.3 things on a checklist

Fail to prepare and what do you expect?

Failure.

There’s no two ways about it, your middle distance (half Iron / 70.3) race day is 100% dependent on the amount of training you have put in over the past year AND the amount of organisation you put in your readiness in the days leading up to the event.

Taper week is all about checking things. Checking the legs, the body, the nutrition, the bike, the gear.

The obvious thing to say at this point is don’t change anything, do nothing new or unexpected in the week before a race and definitely don’t try anything new in the event itself!

So how do you organise yourself for race day?

You need a spare room or somewhere you can lay out all your gear in an orderly fashion so you can pack it in a logical manner and keep track of it all. you will also need a couple of transparent storage containers and a bag or box for your transition setup.

Amphibia X-Bag available from Amphibian King Galway

I’m going to break this into a couple of sub sections so we approach this planning properly. Ideally you are doing this a few days before hand, not the evening before when you should have your feet up.

  • General Preparation –
    • Assuming you are racing in a one or two piece tri-suit, bring that. If you are using sport specific clothing ensure you pack it ie. swimsuit, cycle shorts & jersey, run shorts & singlet.
    • Ladies – the only essential I can think of outside of this list is a bra, I’m happy to edit in whatever you think is necessary. Use whatever bra you have used in training knowing that it won’t cut, chaffe or fall off.
    • Bodyglide. Don’t ever forget the Bodyglide!!
    • Heart rate monitor, watch and accessories. Bring these IF and only if you have used them in training, know how to use them and are also confident racing in the event that they fail to work mid race. Do not be dependent on them. Ensure batteries are fresh and memory is empty.
    • Post race clothing – pack a tracksuit, hoody and rain cover in your transition bag / box. You may be hanging around waiting for transition to open after the race so warm clothes are needed until you get a chance to shower and change properly.
    • Compression wear – calf guards, quad guards, recovery leggings etc.
    • Racebelt
    • Safety pins
  • Swim –
    • Wetsuit – visual check for damage, nicks, cuts, nail marks and repair any with Black Witch or equivalent in
    • Neoprene swim hat
    • Silicon swim hat (spare)
    • Goggles
    • Goggles (spare) possibly clear lens / opposite tint to main pair, handy for changing conditions or parts if a strap breaks)
    • Suit juice
    • Towel(s)
    • Nose-clip
    • Ear-plugs
    • Anti-fog solution
    • Flip flops or sandals
  • Bike –
    • Clean and visually check the bike from top to bottom. Check tyres for wear and any embedded debris. Do not race on new tyres, ensure they have been run in a few times prior & make sure you are comfortable with the handling of the tyres at race speed in different weather conditions. Same applies to brake blocks and cables. Make sure if you have replaced any that they are working fine. Don’t leave it til race day to find out brakes levers are sticking!
    • Bike
    • Helmet
    • Cycle shoes
    • Elastic bands
    • Socks
    • Head unit / computer with battery and clear memory!
    • Calibrated power units.
    • Spare tubes / tubs (know how to change these!!)
    • Tyre levers
    • CO2 canisters / pump
    • Bad weather gear –
      • Overshoes / toe covers
      • Gilet
      • Rain jacket
      • Arm warmers
      • Leg warmers
      • Gloves
      • Clear lens glasses
    • Water bottles
    • Aero bottle, straw & sponge
    • Race wheels (hopefully you also have your normal wheels just in case of dangerous wind conditions)
    • In transition final checks
      • Track pump
      • Tool kit
      • Electrical tape
      • Valve stem extenders (you’ll know if you need these)
    • Other optional items (kitchen sink stuff)
      • Maintenance stand
      • Turbo trainer for in-van warmup
  • Run – this is the easiest section
    • Running shoes
    • Speed laces (Greeper are my favourite see my previous post on Race Laces)
    • Socks (might be the same ones as used on the bike, bring spare in case of weather)
    • Talcum powder
    • Fuel belt / pouch
    • Cap / headband etc.
    • Sunglasses
  • Nutrition – I’m being deliberately vague here as you should have this all sorted out to suit your individual nutritional needs. I don’t want to confuse people with my nutrition plans or to have others confusing mine!
    • Pre race snacks & drinks.
    • Pre swim gel
    • Bike – gels, bars, drinks (water, 4:1, sports drinks)
    • Run – gels or whatever you run with that is not provided at water stations.
    • Post race recovery drink & snacks, protein & carbohydrates.

Above all, don’t forget to pack your spirit of adventure, your enthusiasm for the competition (even if it is just with yourself) and your sense of fun.
It may all go pear-shaped on the day but as long as you enjoy yourself you will always pick it back up again for the next race.

I hope this is of some benefit to you.

See you out there 🙂

 

Friday evening EDIT: Two things I can’t believe I forgot to add:

  1. Your governing body (in my case Triahtlon Ireland) valid membership with photograph. No ID, no race!!
  2. Leave wedding bands, engagement rings, jewellery etc at home. Swimming in a cold lake this afternoon I spent the whole swim trying to keep my wedding band on my finger. Everything shrunk in the cold 😉
Related articles

Triathlon Schooling

Are Triathlon Clubs over-rated or under-utilised?L plate

Back when I started triathlon (re-started) I did my initial bit of training by myself. My first few runs were 300 & 400m runs up the road and back. I was really impressed with myself when I was able to do my first 3km loop without stopping.

This was in the days before Couch25k and all the other training methods became vogue.

Cycling was the same. 10k on flat roads gradually became hilly 20k and ultimately taking on a 40k loop which went up Rocky Valley (in Co. Wicklow) and around gave the same satisfaction as if I’d climbed Everest.

I felt I had to do this sort of ‘introductory’ training to bring myself to a respectable level of fitness before considering the joining of a club. It also served a function of ensuring that I would like the sport and more importantly enjoy the training.

The reason was I’d taken on a challenge of doing a sprint distance triathlon in July of that year. It was a charity event for Focus Ireland and I’d drawn my brother and brother-in-law (to be) into forming a relay team for this. The two boys baled out and I was left having made the commitment to do the event & also having raised sponsorship I couldn’t back out.

I took on some duathlons in the Phoenix Park that May & June, as part of my training, and got to see a social side of the sport which hooked me immediately. All levels of athlete mixed & chatted, shared information, tips on training, setting up your transition. All conversational, sort of like the passing of the guard, old teaching young. Not for one second was there an elitist vibe. By being there you were in the gang, there was acceptance, you belonged there without having to belong (if that makes sense?)

It was here that I met my first club members. They so impressed me with their hospitality, invited me to join them training the following week, which I did, it was a run session, my first ever properly coached running session. Weekend cycles and open water swims followed soon as I joined the club and got stuck into club life.

Nowadays I’m still a member of a triathlon club (not the same one, though I have very fond memories of my first club) even though I do all of my training solo or with one or two regular buddies.

Why am I a member of a Triathlon club?

Well, I want to give something back, if I can.

You see, without my club I would never have become the triathlete I am, nor would I have the confidence to be still training to develop into the triathlete I will be.

I learned an awful lot from senior members and coaches and from the sharing of information and from the sharing of sources of information.

As well as learning from my own experiences, I was learning from the experiences of others.

I was learning from people who had been Ironmen, I was learning from those going to be Ironmen, I was learning from those who had been injured, recovering from injury, about to be injured.

I was learning from those who broke things, fixed things, those who don’t know how to fix things, those who relied on others to fix things. How to eat, how not to eat, how to pack a bike bag, unpack it, set up your race day checklist, plan a race, plan nutrition, recovery.

Pool etiquette. (the number one frustration for so many people is the lack of common manners in lane swimming)

My ideal lane designation.

How to ride in a group, how not to ride, how to draft in a run, swim, how not to draft on a bike. How to be safe in the sea, how to get into the sea! How to get into a wetsuit. How to get out of it.

How to post race party! 🙂

Everything.

You name it, everything I know or learned about triathlon started within a club structure. The follow up was from me, but the learning about how to learn came from the club.

This is why I believe it is critically important that anyone considering taking up triathlon should join a club.

Even if you train by yourself because of work, family, time commitments, you will still get the club emails about what’s on, where. And you never know you might be able to swing that early Sunday morning cycle or that late evening swim session. Maybe not every week but even once in a while helps. Even if you never train with the club you will have access to a remarkable source of useful information and hopefully a set of peers you can bounce ideas off.

The best thing for me joining a club?

I met my wife there and we have two tri-babies 🙂

Go join a triathlon club, you never know what could happen.

Triathlon Schooling

Are Triathlon Clubs over-rated or under-utilised?L plate

Back when I started triathlon (re-started) I did my initial bit of training by myself. My first few runs were 300 & 400m runs up the road and back. I was really impressed with myself when I was able to do my first 3km loop without stopping.

This was in the days before Couch25k and all the other training methods became vogue.

Cycling was the same. 10k on flat roads gradually became hilly 20k and ultimately taking on a 40k loop which went up Rocky Valley (in Co. Wicklow) and around gave the same satisfaction as if I’d climbed Everest.

I felt I had to do this sort of ‘introductory’ training to bring myself to a respectable level of fitness before considering the joining of a club. It also served a function of ensuring that I would like the sport and more importantly enjoy the training.

The reason was I’d taken on a challenge of doing a sprint distance triathlon in July of that year. It was a charity event for Focus Ireland and I’d drawn my brother and brother-in-law (to be) into forming a relay team for this. The two boys baled out and I was left having made the commitment to do the event & also having raised sponsorship I couldn’t back out.

I took on some duathlons in the Phoenix Park that May & June, as part of my training, and got to see a social side of the sport which hooked me immediately. All levels of athlete mixed & chatted, shared information, tips on training, setting up your transition. All conversational, sort of like the passing of the guard, old teaching young. Not for one second was there an elitist vibe. By being there you were in the gang, there was acceptance, you belonged there without having to belong (if that makes sense?)

It was here that I met my first club members. They so impressed me with their hospitality, invited me to join them training the following week, which I did, it was a run session, my first ever properly coached running session. Weekend cycles and open water swims followed soon as I joined the club and got stuck into club life.

Nowadays I’m still a member of a triathlon club (not the same one, though I have very fond memories of my first club) even though I do all of my training solo or with one or two regular buddies.

Why am I a member of a Triathlon club?

Well, I want to give something back, if I can.

You see, without my club I would never have become the triathlete I am, nor would I have the confidence to be still training to develop into the triathlete I will be.

I learned an awful lot from senior members and coaches and from the sharing of information and from the sharing of sources of information.

As well as learning from my own experiences, I was learning from the experiences of others.

I was learning from people who had been Ironmen, I was learning from those going to be Ironmen, I was learning from those who had been injured, recovering from injury, about to be injured.

I was learning from those who broke things, fixed things, those who don’t know how to fix things, those who relied on others to fix things. How to eat, how not to eat, how to pack a bike bag, unpack it, set up your race day checklist, plan a race, plan nutrition, recovery.

Pool etiquette. (the number one frustration for so many people is the lack of common manners in lane swimming)

My ideal lane designation.

How to ride in a group, how not to ride, how to draft in a run, swim, how not to draft on a bike. How to be safe in the sea, how to get into the sea! How to get into a wetsuit. How to get out of it.

How to post race party! 🙂

Everything.

You name it, everything I know or learned about triathlon started within a club structure. The follow up was from me, but the learning about how to learn came from the club.

This is why I believe it is critically important that anyone considering taking up triathlon should join a club.

Even if you train by yourself because of work, family, time commitments, you will still get the club emails about what’s on, where. And you never know you might be able to swing that early Sunday morning cycle or that late evening swim session. Maybe not every week but even once in a while helps. Even if you never train with the club you will have access to a remarkable source of useful information and hopefully a set of peers you can bounce ideas off.

The best thing for me joining a club?

I met my wife there and we have two tri-babies 🙂

Go join a triathlon club, you never know what could happen.