[Report by PJ Dunne]
I have a rule if it takes longer to get there than your going to be racing it’s too far! Valentia island triathlon is the exception . Stunning location and the idea of swimming from the main land to the island sounded appealing.
The road trip:
Roll on Friday morning and another epic road trip. Frank and myself were travelling together, Don coming down later in the day. Shared driving was the order of the day as by the time we had got to Portlaoise I’d heard all about how driving effects Frank’s medical condition. (Won’t mention it as I don’t even know what it is!)
Got to the B&B after lots of forced rest stops by the boss late afternoon. Dump bags and catch car ferry over to the island (your man is still counting the €6 Frank gave him in 5cents)
We decide to do recce of the bike & run route, just as well as there’s an awful rattle coming from my rear end and quite a few very sharp downhill turns. Time well spent. Return to car and check my bike, turns out my cassette is very loose. Of course we didn’t bring any tools. Will sort Saturday morning.
Down to registration and we meet Don there.
The two lads are hungry so we head for food. Just as well I’m not hungry because there’s fish, fish and more bloody fish on the menu! The two more refined 795ers tuck into smoked salmon and brown bread. I sip water as we all look out window at the sea. Eamonn Tilley had been in for a dip that evening and had said that the current was very strong, he had to aim way over to the right. Frank and myself I’m sure looked worried.
Retire to room which turns into a bike workshop with Frank changing tyres and all sorts of things. Now that I think of it what was that battery pack for? An engine?
I find a nice man from Cork who gives me the cassette tightening tool I need, but in my haste to get it done quickly I lose the quick release spring! Drama. That same nice man from cork gives me one from a spare bike we has with him. Drama over.
We set up in a numbered transition with minutes to spare. Meet Don and we just chill. Sea is like a swimming pool ,not a ripple. 5 ferry trips later and we are ready to go.
Don is off in wave 1 me in 2 and Frank in 3. Only 3 minutes between each wave which is nice. Don reports after that there were mass brawls at the start. We all concur that the water wasn’t near as cold as Courtown.
Before we all knew it the swim was over, Don gliding across in 10:52 Frank a pb of 15:51 And me 14:30. Happy days.
Transition was long and narrow (easy now) so a good 200m run from the water.
I think Don must have a PA in transition he’s so quick. Meanwhile Frank & myself shower and change clothes!
The first 4 km of the bike is up a hill. Roads are narrow and with 550 or so competing and 3 waves there’s people everywhere. Frank reckons he passed about 200 on the bike but with his counting who knows. But he did put in the quickest bike split of the 3 of us and had the 10th quickest spilt of he day in his age group. Don will have his work cutout for him to stay with Frank on that fast white bike this year.
Franks bike 32:04 Don 32:32 PJ 34:16
T2 was a breeze for everyone with Frank getting his now customary calf cramp .
The run was an out & back, 2.5 km up hill 2.5 down simple!
Saw Don when he had 1.5 left in the run and he was giving it socks.
Got to the turnaround and it was all downhill from there. Opened up and let fly for 2.5 km.
Saw Frank coming up the hill, shite he’s not that far behind and the big lanky legs will get me coming down the hill! I open up some more turns out I did the 2.5 km in 9:08. Beat that Hogan!
We all cross the finish line empty but happy.
“Great triathlon will definitely do this one again” was the consensus.
Weather gods also helped. Ideal conditions, sunny, little wind and 15 deg c.
We pack up and head for home. Just before we stop for food our phones go with the results. Dean Watson Sports Timing on the ball. (they did mtb race and are doing our Tri)
Great discussions (or shite talk) over dinner re times.
Don came 65 th in a time of 1:07:43
13th in his age group
Frank 163 th in a time of 1:14:17
22th in his age group
Myself 149 th in a time of1:13:38
30 th in my ag.
Considering the top quality field I think we did great if I do say so myself! Frank and myself will have some right battles this year cant wait. Frank and Don will do battle on the bike splits every race. And Don in the swim well 3 rd fastest time in his age group says it all really.
C’mon we could do with some company, or you will get fed up hearing about he 3 stooges all summer!
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