[Report by Fran Burke, photo by Orla O’Muiri]
The excitement was building on the week leading up to Triathy, as it promised to be the biggest triathlete turnout in quite a while and all were looking forward to Racing795 and our distinctive jerseys popping up at this well attended and very well organised event.
I had my usual travel companion, but mercifully the journey to Athy is much shorter than Valentia! Due to local knowledge (I was right again PJ), we parked very close to transition after registration (A very well organised, no fuss setup i might add). Set up in transition under damp conditions. Again the transition was very professional and bike allocation takes all the hassle out of ..”Where is the best place to setup”. Along came the Furlongs and Orla O’Muiri (present in an official capacity with Triathlon Ireland). The rest of the crew followed suit, Fintan and Tracy, Paul Hutton, Adrian and Ann-Marie, Don.
I would safely say, it was the most miserable, cold wet morning spent on the side of a river and hats off to Tracy and Ann-Marie for sticking it out as support crew, carrying flip-flops, hats, duffel coats, fake tan and suncream . Joy was first to go in wave 3, Adrian in wave 5 followed by PJ, Fintan and Don in wave 6, David and I in wave 8 and Paul Hutton in wave 9. Unbelievably, it was warmer in the water than standing on the bank (and that’s with a wetsuit on). While the atmosphere was typically subdued as all apprehensive trathletes ponder on “how cold will the water be, etc”, once in, everyone livened up. Our wave headed up the Barrow to shouts of “Come on the aul lads”.
The swim went well for everyone, particularly Don who reached the 250 marker in third place and got an elbow in the jaw for his troubles ( not sure if the giver of said elbox has been recovered from the Barrow yet). No more than myself, Fintan took his time in the water, but his delay was due to looking for brown trout!. King of T1 was Don once again – he manages to fasten his helmet while removing the wetsuit as PJ flossed his teeth and gelled his hair .
The bike was particularly unpleasant with rain in the face going out and having to clear visors/glasses of fog and rain droplets. It’s a pity helmets don’t come with wipers! Having got to the turnaround, we were then faced with strong winds and biting cold, resulting in numb hands and feet, which makes T2 more difficult. Yours truly took the honours in the bike split (secret lies in the colour of the bike – white goes faster), followed closely by Don and PJ. Pj took the honours in T2 as the gel kept the hair in place . For the rest of us, numb hands and feet resulted in many fumbling to get into the runners. The run in Athy is probably the only crib that triathletes may have with the event – part road with a bad camber/path and lots of puddles, followed by running across someones backyard (Fintan thought he was lost at this point) and onto a muddy, grassy track along by the Barrow – not for the purest runners. Fintan completed the fastest run split in 20:14, on a route that does not lend to fast times, particularly in those wet conditions.
Great to see DavidF returning to triathlon (word has it he’s givin up the mtb stuff) along with Joy who was on secondment to that 26mile thingy. Tracy, amazingly, when David F emerged from the Barrow on Sunday morn, the crowd gasped – they thought it was Jenson Button strutting his stuff, 2 days on the trot in Athy. Paul Hutton returned to the fray with a very respectable time, following a lengthy absence due to injury, eventhough, as he queued for food afterwards, he was told “Athletes only” – he wasnt too impressed. Nice to see Adrian Ryan returning to competitive action also and happily he arrived with air in the wheels this time! PJ, you could learn from Adrian and do as Adrian does and have the hair gelled before the event – save time in T1!
More importantly, it was great to have a crew from the club, thanks to all the shouts of encouragement from Orla, Ann-Marie and Tracy. The post mortem continued in Bradbury’s of Athy over tea and cakes.
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