[Report by Don Morrissey, video from Triathlon Ireland]
Despite the course misgivings and previous years’ disappointments, some Racing795 hopefuls headed to Athlone, this time for the National Sprint Championships. Raging Bill, Comsummate PJ, Mega Mike and my good self were the protagonists. The course setup and routes were different than previous years with further changes over night, which included different swim route, the longest transition in history, mount lines being changed and then changed again and an extra thousand turns added to the run route, so it it was fair to say not going to be a PB course. Myself Mike and PJ lined up together with Raging Bill a wave in front. That meant “game on!”.
A new set of goggles leaked after just two strokes meant for a difficult swim and for a change I found myself in a bunch fighting for position instead of drafting off some swim guru. Out of the water in solid but unspectacular 13.23, Bill next in 14.42, PJ next in 14.45 and Mike in an impressive 15.15. After running forever, eventually got to my bike. After some mount/dismount recce, I arrived at a red line, which clearly stated ‘Mount Line’, only to be screamed at by an official, no it’s up here. I replied rather loudly ‘That’s a bleep bleep bleep bleep and so on…. Was half expecting a card for abuse 😮
Out on the bike and hit with a bloddy hill and then a bloody wind with 25 degrees of sunshine draining the soul and as far as I’m concerned, one of the hardest bikes to date. Mr. Garmin apparently consulted that the bike was 800 metres longer than advertised and the last three kms was like a peleton, with little chance to hammer it to dismount. I managed a solid 35.11, PJ managed an impressive 35.41 (holy shit that was close), Bill next with an excellent 36.27 and Mike with 38.31. After another eternity, we were out onto the run.
The new design didn’t particularly suit me, with lots of small drags, downhills and several 180’s, so with my big frame, I struggled. The heat didn’t help and a stitch that I managed to pick up running through transition weighed heavily. Of course I met all three on the first lap of the run, so lap two was going to be interesting. Bill was a lap ahead so I didn’t see him again, but when I met PJ for the second time, he had gained and I had only half a lap left and Mike had made major gains. So I put in the hardest 4-5 mins I ever did trying to make up some time. Unfortunately after another consultation with Mr. Garmin, he has suggested the course was approx 200 metres short, but Mikes time of 18.20 was amazing and definitely split of the day (PJ reckoned he went too slow on the bike 😀 ). I arrived next with 19.20, PJ just behind in 19.29 and Bill with 19.36. The true times may have been a little closer to 20 mins but all in all very impressive runs in the heat and on a technical course.
Overall I finished in 1.12.33, PJ next in 1.14.51, Bill next in 1.16.29 and Mike in 1.17.39. All excellent results, all completely bolixed afterwards, all happy to be finished and all moaning once again about Athlone and that we won’t be back. So we’ll see you all next July!