[Report by Frank Burke]
Arrived down Friday night to very bleak conditions. Sky on the ground and v little visibility. Registered and picked up a class H of W jacket (worth the entry fee) and great goodie bag. Drove bike and run route. happy with bike route and knew wind would be an issue. Run was seriously steep for 5K
Sat morn was a little better weather-wise. Sea not as choppy as the night before. 728 triathletes took part. Wave 1 saw off Gavin Noble (see photo where we shared a pizza ) who was the last onto the beach for his swim, but first out of the water. Wave 2 saw off the aul lads and the women. Serious washing machine/boxing match in first 400m of swimming as no room to swim due to 350+ all heading off together. Conditions were tougher than last year according to race briefing that morning, so swim was very tough swimming out to sea against a west wind. Ploughed on regardless and sighted a lot to reduce the amount of zig-zagging. Very happy with swim and onto bike. Course suited me as non-technical and lots of straight stretches. Passed a lot on the bike and felt good as no cramp issues unlike Athy (kicked a lot less in the swim this time). End of bike was bizarre as there was an accumulation of cyclists on the uphill into the face wind for last 3k, where it was more like a peleton than a time trial, as no one could push on enough to get past. Tried but was swallowed up by the group 1km down the road. Spun into Kilkee having covered 44k in 1hr 19min. Best transition to-date and off on run. Seriously scenic and sun came out. Lots of climbing and steadily got faster as legs gradually felt like my own.After about 3k pushed on getting strength from somewhere, got to 5k turn around and flaked down the hills. Saw i was on for sub 2hr 40min and hit 9k on 2hr 36min on the nose. 300m uphill faced me and then downhill to finish and tried to hit a sub 4 min k finish, but didn’t manage it, however it was a great target to leave all efforts on the course!
First time to do this tri and it won’t be my last. Great, great tri, seriously well organised and some spread of food afterwards. Kilkee is beautiful in the sunshine and so so bleak in the mist. Is it tougher than Beast of the East? In my opinion – no, but they are very different but must-do tris.
Thought of Martin a lot while on the course especially during the swim and cant help but think the surge on the run was down to thoughts of him. Finally, I know why it’s so so important to be part of a club – this was the first time I did a tri without other club members and wouldn’t be quick to repeat this… but this was always Martin’s race, so glad I did it.