[Report by Frank “Where’s Frank?” Burke]
The first day of June 2013 finally arrived and a large crew of Racing 795ers headed for Athy on Saturday morning. Eight of us competing in the Olympic and one in the Sprint with three who had to cry off through injury/illnesses, so we were well represented again this year.
This tri is one of the better organised ones, and considering they dealt with 2000+ triathletes over 4 different events, I thought they did an excellent job again. Closed roads on the bike route is the main attraction for me.
The ladies were off early with Orla in wave 1 followed by Dena and Louise in wave 2. Mike was off in wave 4, Paul in wave 5, myself in wave 6, Adrian in wave 8 and PJ in wave 9. This went like clockwork and hats off to the organisers! Waiting on the bank was considerably warmer than last year, so there wasn’t the usual dread of getting into the cold water.
The swim was pleasant and the current for the 600m upstream wasnt too strong. During my own swim, I came across a swimmer that had a poorer sense of direction than myself, which takes a bit of doing! He swam straight across a few of us an ended up head first in the reeds.
Out of the swim for all and onto the bike course, which comprised of 50:50 technical to non –technical. Surfaces were ok and the volume of cyclists on the road was definitely up on last year due to overlap with the double olympic race. Passed a lot of cyclist but got passed by three guys which left me looking down at the pedals to check if I was moving at all. Serious speed merchants. One of these had a mechanical up the road, so I passed him again. 10 minutes later he flies by me! I didn’t meet any 795ers on the bike course. Into transition and while wrestling with my runners, a marshal comes over asking “How much did ya pay for the bike” which I duly ignored. He goes again “ Jaysus, tis a lovely bike, what ya pay for it?” Gave him his answer to get rid of him and off I went on the 10k run. Met Mike on his way back and he was flying.
This run course is not for the purists and was v v busy so rhythm was not easy, as everyone was constantly checking their stride to avoid oncoming runners or to overtake runners on a very narrow path. Came across Louise and Paul H on the return leg – exchanged a few words of encouragement and on we went. Nice to finish having left it all out on the course, to shouts of encouragement from all the other 795ers and the extended support (fair play to Wild Bill, Fintan, Tracy, all the Hogans, Yvonne and Kids, Ann-Marie). Mike, PJ and Orla who had already finished were there to cheer in the remainder. Hutton was in shortly after me and then Louise. Adrian was still out on the course and knowing his strong running, we reckoned something must have been up. Lack of nutrition found him out on the day, but the lesson has been learnt and the credit card got a lashing Sat night as he ordered all sorts from Wiggle!
Next off was Niall who we ran into in transition and he was facing his first race in open water. A daunting task for anyone. He had the prep done though and having purchased a “black” wetsuit – yes a new brand that none of us had heard of, he faced the Barrow. Got through the swim without any mishap and you could hear the sigh of relief in Bunclody as he got back on terra firma. Flaked round on the bike and did a great run….for a 59 year old!!
Now to the results, PJ finished top again for his second tri of the season, Orla and Dena put in sterling performances with Orla just pipping it this time. Mike belies his age (I reckon he’s about 37) with a serious performance and Paul H did very well considering he was obviously suffering with the hip injury as he finished the run. Adrian had a fantastic swim time and learned a valuable lesson along the way. Louise is improving all the time as she builds up her experience in her first year doing tris. I was very happy with my swim above anything else as James Dooley’s coaching is starting to show. While PJ’s performance was top dollar, the weekend belongs to the witty Dub (that blew into Bunclody on a bike) wearing a black wetsuit. Fair play to the crew who travelled over again in the evening to cheer him on – that is what being in a club is all about!