[Report by Niall O’Muirí]
A broken night’s sleep , check list circling my brain. Bike, bike shoes, runners, socks, towel, shorts, tops, tri membership, jaffa cakes, water…..glasses! My biggest dilemma, do I or don’t I wear me glasses, in case I have to read a sign or avoid running over a marshal. The sleep interrupted by a relentless list of “what ifs”, what if it rains, what if it snows, what if I get a puncture, what if my calf muscle caves in, what if I need a lash,…what if I sleep it out because I spent the entire night awake worrying about “what ifs….”?
Someone asked me “do I have a race plan”, I said I did, “ my race plan is not to have a fkin heart attack”, that’s my race plan.
And so, early Saturday morning pulling out the drive way to pick up Mike, Mount Leinster is a blanket of white. Heaven for our Mountain bikers, hell for us road bikers. But it’s dry and it’s all-systems-go for the first duathlon of the season.
Mike and I, punctual as hell, are first to sign in and set up in transition. We meet up with Tracy (making her competitive debut) and Colm. Poor Fintan tags along as our coach, sports psychologist, coffee boy, cloak room clerk, and photographer. We huddle in the car sucking jaffa cakes, sipping energiser sports drinks, and watch the temperature fall. A light dusting of snow had us piling on the layers.
250 competitors went to post. The advice was to make your way to the front so as to avoid the initial stampede. I did, and then got flushed out the back as soon as the start gun went. It was as if someone had given the group an enema. By the time I got to the gate that entered the ambulance track, Mike, Tracy and Colm had disappeared with the herd. The next time I saw them was on the cycle course, with cheers and whoops of encouragement.
The 3.5km track was a dream for serious runners, easy to keep a visual on leaders and finishing post.
Mike was flying from the off, clocking 12.40 on his first run followed by Tracy at 14.23 and Colm 15.21 while I limped in with a 15.34.
The bike section was a straight forward spin to the out skirts of Blessington. It was impossible not to draft for the initial 10k with so many bikes on the road but the return spin stretched the entire field out .I clocked 52kph at one stage (down hill) even managing to pass one or two pointy helmets.
We clocked the cycle Mike in at 40.37, Niall at 40.04, Colm 41.58, and Tracy 44.53
The second run Mike again cleaning up and coming in first in his category at 14.52 Tracy 16.04, Niall at 17.37, and Colm 18.25.
It was a great day out, great company, the snow held off, the wind cut the snot of you, and where else would you want to be on a cold day in January…..Really well organised, great encouragement from the marshalls, a great facility, and great warm up for Racing 795’s season opener in February.