So I decided to enter the triathlon in Schull a few months back, mainly as I quite liked the idea of myself and himself (or my other half as Brian refers to him) sneaking off to west cork for a night!! Schull could not have been prettier when we arrived on Friday evening. We parked the car and booked into the Schull Harbour Hotel for the night (really nice small hotel in the village, with a pool and only a ten minute walk from the transition area). I later learned there are holiday homes to rent, right beside transition. Once I had settled in,( himself went for a run up a mountain!!!) we went to register in the Sailing Centre, took a quick look around, familiarised myself with the layout and took a trip in the car to have a look at the bike route, there is a steep hill out of the village, so yes Frank, I will remember to have the bike in the correct gear! The village was buzzing with the anticipation of the triathlon for the next day, I felt more in holiday mode than triathlon mode, it was magic.
Nice relaxed morning, cycled down to transition. The transition area is in the Schull Community College just beside the sailing centre. (imagine the kids have sailing on their curriculum there) I set everything up ,racked the bike and I walked back to the hotel room to change, thinking, how wonderful it is, to be able to wander back to the hotel. Made it back for the race briefing and my last challenge whenever I am at a tri on my own, I have to scout which poor person I am going to ask to zip me into the wet suit..Nice gentleman beside me kindly obliged and off we went to get ready for the swim. The 750 m swim is a triangular route swimming around three buoys in the harbour, the entry and exit for the swim are at the same slipway. The conditions were perfect, warm, sun shining, water a balmy 17 degrees and everyone in great form. I’m in the second wave, so I watch with trepidation at the pink hats swimming toward the first buoy, this is the part where I am most nervous, but there is no messing around and we are off 5 mins later. Swim went well,I really enjoyed it, (training with Liam has boosted my confidence) hardly a kick or an elbow and it wasn’t too messy on the corners, sighting went ok, except I couldn’t locate the second buoy for a while and followed the crowd, hoping for the best, this time it worked out fine, I got back on track, warmed up a lot more (I know, the water was warm but i’m a cold creature and it takes a while!!!), and I got into a nice rhythm,I got out of the water in 14.15 feeling good and I run up to transition. Nice cheer from the hubby, all smiles.
This was my first triathlon using proper bike shoes etc so ecstatic when I made it to the line, got on the bike, and clicked in without a hitch (Joy, Elaine,Bernie, Catherine,Eimear you’d have been very proud ), just to get up that hill out of the village in front of me now ! I made it, Sliabh Bhui stood to me women The bike route was an out and back course on narrow country roads, sharp bends and hills. Surprisingly enough for me I felt comfortable for the most part on the bike. We were advised in the briefing to slow down and not to overtake on the descent back into Schull, I had no worries here, as I was going slow, concentrating hard on clicking out, dismounting and not falling off the bike, all to be completed before I reached the dismount line….tricky…I just about got away with it by smiling very sweetly at both stewards I stumbled/walked into transition, in one piece, not sure if the shoes will survive though. (note to self, the next time a practice brick session is kindly organised by Dena and Frank I need to practice in the proper gear) I completed the 21 km bike in 46 mins, thought I had done better during the cycle, however on reflection and looking at the splits, it’s the first time in a triathlon where I have not lost tens and tens of places on the bike, so there is hope.
I would really recommend this tri to anyone, testing route, friendly atmosphere, well organised, spectacular scenery and venue, the entire village gets involved. Nice medal, water, coffee/tea, muffins and fruit at the end for all competitors, everyone chatting about the race. I enjoy the buzz post race, exhilarated by the fact I have just completed a triathlon, this is infectious. Get a cup of tea for himself, he’s happy too
Finishing time, 1.29, respectable for me, very pleased, yes, still lots to learn and lots to improve upon. But for me that’s part of the enjoyment in it. My transitions, both a good minute behind almost everyone else, so guess what I’ll be practicing for the next few weeks!!!
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