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Mourne Castlewellan and Blacksod Triathlons

[Report by Don Morrissey]

Photo: An Fud Dubh (Blacksod), 22k West of Belmullet. I think I can see New York. Definitely lost it...

It’s fair to say, my mid-2013 season did not go to plan. I missed my priority races due to a mixture of a recurring virus, a wrist injury and work pressures leaving me with my normal season goals and race schedule in tatters. London was always going to be the number one priority and that came about (separate post), but I had no Standard Distance races and thus no NS points. Then late in the season, I decided lets sneak two in and hit my goal (but still trying not to effect London). However there were only three left at that time and one clashed with the Tour De Frank, so I had to travel…

Mourne Triathlon 31/8/2013

Situated a the foot of the Mourne Mountains, 30k East of Newry, Castlewellan made for the perfect backdrop for a triathlon. As I was only two weeks from London, my race goal was storm the swim (needed a good swim as I had a few dodgy performances this year), solid bike and admire the mountains on the run and that’s exactly what happened. By far in away my best swim ever. I decided to mix it up in the middle of the pack, boxed and punched my way free, drafted all the way and came out in 21mins 30 secs (3 mins ahead of Bryan McCrystall and only a minute behind the eventual winner). The road surfaces on the bike were exceptional. A two lap course with swirling winds, serious drags and a 43k distance, meant I decided to burn the first lap and take it easy on the second. I was 2 1/2 mins faster on the first and came home in a solid 1.17 bike. Then the run, typically I started off fast, hitting the first two kms in 4.01 & 4.04, then came a 700 metre drag up a fire road, which I was unprepared for. I was so poor up the hill, I actually looked around to see if my legs were still at the bottom of the hill. Hence it was time to ignore the splits and just jog admiring the lakes and mountains. 48 mins later I trotted into the finish area in 2.29 and a solid but unspectacular 67th overall. Did exactly what I had come for without drilling the legs too much on the run. Happy overall and the swim of my life, roll on London.

Mourne Results

Blacksod Triathlon.

Well the picture above speaks for itself. Belmullet is 51kms West of Ballina (the furthest I’d ever been before) and An Fud Dubh (Blacksod) deep in the Gaeltacht, a further 22k West. In fact when you turn left after Belmullet, it’s a long Cul De Sac out to the coast and back. I had to collect my bike in Dublin on the way, which was being delivered back from London, so 7 hours later I rolled into Belmullet :o . The race organisers were smart providing two hats for a mass start with the faster coloured hats entering the water first, nice one. My end of season swimming had been good, so I mixed it up in the middle front again. This time it was carnage, but I eventually pushed through to the turn-around point. Then came the hardest section of open water swimming I’d ever experienced, straight back into a gale force wind and I must have got ‘wave-slapped’ at least 20 times while trying to sight. I still came out of the water in 22.54 (very happy) with the conditions and well inside the top 30. Only the best athlete in the World Kevin Thornton beat me through T1 (by 1 second) and then away out on the bike. Within 2k, the organisers decided to put the cyclists through the hardest 1k climb into a gale force wind I’ve ever experienced. I literally was on my limits getting to the top and I knew there and then my legs were still in London and this was now going to be a struggle to the finish. The bike to the turnaround was fast and came quickly, but upon turning, you were hit with that gale force wind and rain, and this time for 22k (44k bike) back to transition and I thought it would never end. 1:18:40 later and i was into T2, got through quickly and off on the run. This time it was left up a different road, but a similar gradient to the bike and into the wind. Then if that hill, wind and rain wasn’t enough, 3k later we found ourselves running on the beach for 1.5k leaving 4″ deep footprints behind us. That was the end of me, I cramped up big time and had to stop three times in total from there to the finish. Despite my legs and cramps, i managed to run a 3.57 final 1k to finish in 48.53. I left a lot of time on the course but I also left my guts, so I can’t complain. I would argue with the conditions, the course and my poor legs, the hardest triathlon I’ve done. 58th overall from 230 odd, 4th in my age-group (2nd of the season), so solid but not exactly my best. I’m done.
Neither of these courses suited me and neither were on any sort of priority list. I finished, I’m done, not much more can be said. So I did Valentia, Blacksod and Mourne this year, certainly visited the Country. Despite the ruggedness and beauty of both of these races, probably not to return. However the friendliness and organisation on both was superb. Going for a long mental and physical rest now.

Blacksod Results


World Triathlon Championships London 2013 – Olympic race


[Report by PJ Dunne]

The build up:

The road to London started back in Jan ’12 when Frank kick started an email to Don.
It grew from there to eventually include all 4 of us, me, Frank, Don and Fintan.
2012 was spent chasing valuable national series points around the country.
The competition seemed to be up for it as standards jumped hugely from the previous year.
When we all got word in June this year (except Don he knew from June ’12) the plan was coming together.
Roll on September 15th for the Olympic when Fintan and myself would line out in our country’s colours.

For me the start of the week didn’t go well. The vomiting bug was doing the rounds in our house and I was the only one left. On the Monday it hit me and it was Wednesday in London before I was ok again.

Up to this point I had been putting in pbs in the swim and run so wasn’t that concerned.

When we got settled into our lovely apartment there was a lot of coming and going from Hyde park for reg and briefings and what not.

Going down on the Friday morning to cheer the lads on in the sprint Fintan and I agreed it finally hit home. The nerves hit us and we still had 2 days to go.

On the Saturday evening after eating a feast prepared by Tracy the packing started.

Bikes already in transition, I can confirm the rumours are not true, no teddy slept with my bike. Alarm clocks set for 4:55 am so we could stuff more food in and get the 5:25 am bus to Marble arch. Of course we missed this bus and had to wait until the next one. Leaving us with only 15 mins in transition before it closed at 6:30 am

We both then had a long wait around until our start times of 10:10 & 10:15am.

I think despite the many toilet visits we both were relatively calm. While sitting over a pot of tea at a lake side cafe we noted the first waves were swimming the wrong course. What the fu€@ ? We soon found out the swim had been cut to 750m because of the ambient air temp.

It was cold at 7am but by the time we were off it was warm hence the elites being allowed to do the full swim distance.

The race:

Just 5 mins separated our swim waves. Me off first.

We had decided earlier that we would place ourselves on the middle of the long pontoon. And that’s what we both did. It took me the first 250m to get into my rhythm , Fintan saying he had a good swim. Neither of us experienced the usual kicking and boxing you get in Ireland apart from at the 1st buoy. It was over before it started really. I’d hoped with the shorter swim that I wouldn’t be passed by the next wave, in the end there was just 2 who passed me and that was in the last 50m. Fintan had 10mins before another wave got in the water.

We exited the water with only 7 sec separating us, me ahead barely.

If we had been in the same wave Fintan would have passed me here as he had a lightning quick (pardon the electrician pun) T1.

Out onto the bike and the reason we both picked the Olympic distance.
We started with a lap of Hyde Park then out through the Queen Mother gates and sharp right and through Wellington arch. Then down to Buckingham palace ,Big Ben London Eye, Under London Bridge ( which isn’t falling down thank god) and turnaround at Tower bridge. We came back via Downing street and Trafalgar square. Cycled up the Mall and Constitution hill and back into Hyde Park and then did it all over again. Despite being down on the tri bars for most of it we still could take the sights in. The first lap had lots of bike traffic but the second lap was nearly empty.

The wave after Fintan was the last so not much joining the route on lap 2. The wind was significant at times. Coming across us as we turned 90degs . I had a couple of hairy moments. As I mentioned before Fintan’s wave started only 5 mins after me, on lap 1 of the bike the big boys passed me. I was bombing along at one stage on the flat only to be passed at speed by 4-5 in the space of a minute. I looked down at my speedo thinking right you may push harder, to see I was doing 40 kmph. Fu€@ they must have been doing 50+ kmph! As we passed Fellow Irish or indeed were passed by Irish there were words of encouragement. This was nice.

Frank ,Don & Daniel, Paul & Carol Mimnagh and family set up an “Irish corner” on the straight just past Buckingham palace. This was great all the roaring and cheering.


Apparently the flag flying means the Queen is in residence. I heard she was shouting for the Paddys :lol:
Yvonne & Lia and Tracy moved from Swim exit to T1 exit and then onto entry/exit of Hyde park. This was great hearing familiar shouts.

No much separating us on the Bike either.

PJ 1hr 7mins 48sec

Fintan 1 hr 8mins 13 sec

Both avg 35 kmph aprox

Back to T 2 and I got me transition mojo back recording the fastest T2 of all 4 of us.

The run was 3 laps of a 3.33km circuit around Hyde Park.

Mainly flat just 2 little digs each lap.

At this stage only 1 sec separated us virtually.

Running as we all know is Fintan’s strongest discipline so this was the part he most looked forward to.

It didn’t take him long to get into his stride and was putting in solid sub 4 min kms.

I started well and got into a good rhythm and found myself passing a few people but also being passed. The crowds along the run route were absolutely amazing. Shouts of c’mon Ireland ,Dunne , Redmond etc it would make the hair on your head stand up ( not Fintan’s of course!!). Not only from Irish people but from the Brits also. I had a Welsh couple sing Ireland’s call to me!

On the second lap I started to struggle and having followed my nutritional plan to a tee the only thing I can put it down too is the bug I had earlier in the week.

We didn’t see each other until the last km when Fintan passed me and bounced off to finish very strongly on the blue carpet.

Putting in a savage 38:09 10km.

My 10km time was a disappointing 43:47.

2 weeks before London I had ran a sub 40 min 10kms (a season goal) so the running was there. I had hoped for late 41 or early 42.

Overall it was a great experience and well worth the work involved.

My disappointment has faded already.

Well done to Fintan strong all-round but a savage run.

Finish times:

Fintan age group placing 106th 650 th in Olympic race
Swim 14:37
Bike 1:08:13
Run 38:09
Total 2:06:53

PJ 143 rd in Age group and 840 th overall
Swim 14:30
Bike 1:07:48
Run 43:47
Total 2:12:30

[for detailed results see this post]

A big thank you to my Family for all their support in the hours spent training in the last 18 months.

And to Don, Frank, Paul, Carol and kids, Tracy, Yvonne and Lia for all the shouts cheers high fives photos etc along the way.

Running down the finishing chute with the Ireland flag at the World triathlon Championships will be a memory that will last a long time.

But one thing that wasn’t far from my thoughts at any stage, most particularly the finish line, was how he’d have loved the whole thing.

Edmonton Canada next year or Chicago 2015 anyone?

From everyone who was over in London a big thank you to everyone in the club for their good wishes and help.

Niall O ‘Muiri was right when he famously said London is a big city.

World Triathlon Championships – London, September 2013


London Irish. L-R, PJ Dunne, Fintan Redmond, Frank Burke and Don Morrissey

Congratulations to PJ, Fintan, Frank and Don who represented Ireland and Racing795 with distinction at the World Triathlon Championships in London this weekend. PJ and Fintan raced in the Olympic distance while Frank and Don took on the Sprint. Well done lads, your club mates are all proud of you,

Detailed results for each of the lads below. Full Results here

Name Redmond, Fintan (IRL)
Age Group 35
Number 32399

Race Info

Swim 00:14:37
Trans 1 00:02:48
Bike 01:08:13
Trans 2 00:03:09
Run 00:38:09


Place (M/W) 650
Place (AC) 106
Time Total (Brutto) 02:06:53


Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/km km/h Place
After Swim Finish 10:39:39 00:14:37 14:37 09:45 6.16 1073
After Bike Start 10:42:26 00:17:24 02:47 886
Bike Check Lap 1 11:05:47 00:40:45 23:21 02:21 25.69 850
Bike Check Lap 2 11:38:39 01:13:38 32:53 01:39 36.50 859
After Bike Finish 11:50:38 01:25:37 11:59 01:12 50.07 858
After Run Start 11:53:46 01:28:45 03:08 830
Run Check Lap 1 12:06:38 01:41:36 12:51 03:54 15.40 753
Run Check Lap 2 12:19:34 01:54:32 12:56 03:56 15.32 696
Finish 12:31:55 02:06:53 12:21 03:38 16.52 650


Name Dunne, Pj (IRL)
Age Group 35
Number 32296

Race Info

Swim 00:14:30
Trans 1 00:03:21
Bike 01:07:48
Trans 2 00:03:05
Run 00:43:47


Place (M/W) 840
Place (AC) 143
Time Total (Brutto) 02:12:30


Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/km km/h Place
After Swim Finish 10:34:32 00:14:30 14:30 09:40 6.21 1046
After Bike Start 10:37:52 00:17:51 03:21 943
Bike Check Lap 1 11:00:53 00:40:51 23:00 02:19 26.09 860
Bike Check Lap 2 11:33:39 01:13:38 32:47 01:39 36.61 861
After Bike Finish 11:45:40 01:25:39 12:01 01:13 49.94 860
After Run Start 11:48:45 01:28:43 03:04 828
Run Check Lap 1 12:03:28 01:43:26 14:43 04:28 13.46 833
Run Check Lap 2 12:18:25 01:58:23 14:57 04:32 13.24 841
Finish 12:32:31 02:12:30 14:07 04:09 14.46 840
Name Morrissey, Don (IRL)
Age Group 40
Number 21035

Race Info

Swim 00:12:19
Trans 1 00:03:04
Bike 00:37:13
Trans 2 00:03:07
Run 00:19:17


Place (M/W) 449
Place (AC) 59
Time Total (Brutto) 01:14:58


Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/km km/h Place
SWIM FINISH 10:02:22 00:12:19 12:19 16:25 3.66 487
BIKE START 10:05:26 00:15:22 03:03 439
BIKE CHECK LAP 1 10:12:42 00:22:39 07:17 02:02 29.70 415
BIKE CHECK LAP 2 10:24:24 00:34:21 11:42 01:37 37.44 452
BIKE CHECK LAP 3 10:35:59 00:45:55 11:34 01:36 37.84 459
BIKE FINISH 10:42:39 00:52:35 06:40 01:46 34.20 455
RUN START 10:45:45 00:55:42 03:07 449
RUN LAP 1 10:55:47 01:05:44 10:02 04:01 14.96 452
Finish 11:05:01 01:14:58 09:14 03:42 16.24 449
Name Burke, Frank (IRL)
Age Group 40
Number 20966

Race Info

Swim 00:16:51
Trans 1 00:03:32
Bike 00:38:10
Trans 2 00:03:24
Run 00:21:20


Place (M/W) 790
Place (AC) 99
Time Total (Brutto) 01:23:15


Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/km km/h Place
SWIM FINISH 10:01:56 00:16:51 16:51 22:28 2.67 1012
BIKE START 10:05:28 00:20:22 03:31 973
BIKE CHECK LAP 1 10:13:08 00:28:03 07:41 02:08 28.16 926
BIKE CHECK LAP 2 10:25:02 00:39:56 11:53 01:38 36.83 868
BIKE CHECK LAP 3 10:36:47 00:51:42 11:46 01:37 37.24 820
BIKE FINISH 10:43:38 00:58:32 06:50 01:48 33.33 794
RUN START 10:47:01 01:01:55 03:23 788
RUN LAP 1 10:58:07 01:13:01 11:06 04:27 13.52 795
Finish 11:08:20 01:23:15 10:14 04:06 14.67 790

The Lost Sheep Triathlon – Kenmare, 7th September 2013


Ruairi, Peter, John and Bill enjoying some pre-race hydration.

[Race Report by John Dempsey]

After dinner on Friday evening Ruairi, Peter and I took a walk down to the transition area and swim start to scout out for the following morning. The Cork tri lads & ladies were well on the way to having everything set up so it was easy to get our bearings and figure out what was going on. After having a look through transition we gingerly made our way to the end of the pier for a look out at the swim area.


The water was dead calm and seemed to be at or around high tide. Looking out to sea Peter confidently announced that the two orange buoys would be the markers for the next day, “looks about 1900m” he says. It looked an awful lot further than that to me but i kept schtum!!

Off up for registration and we hung around for the briefing – far too detailed and went on a little long but no harm done. Back to the house about 10pm, Peter Ruairi and I were all staying together. Bill had the right idea and had gone straight from the meal to register early and then straight home without the briefing, he was surely back at his place by 8pm.

Now started the great ritual of getting ready for the big race. There were gels and bars and more gels and secret potions and even more gels and … you get the idea. All carefully laid out in front of bikes which by now had the perfect psi in the tyres, with wetsuits beside and water bottles filled and saddle bags adjusted. Runners and bike shoes laid out just so. Spare clothes for after the race, food to refuel. In short – nothing left to chance.

Didn’t sleep too well that night but not worried as had got a great sleep the night before. The 5am alarm came nice and early, breakfast, double check all the gear for the 21st time and we were off out the door and cycling down to the race start. Ruairi and Bill had both done a Half Ironman race before, and sure Peter has done 3 full Ironman’s along with several Half Ironman’s, so the lads knew what they were getting in for. This was my first time racing this distance and despite plenty of banter and dodgy predictions going on between the lot of us the past several days, I wasn’t sure how I would react to 5.5 / 6 hours of racing. All of this playing through my mind as we freewheel down into town, and arrive at transition about 6:45 and it not yet dawn. I let the two lads head in along as I took the chance to cycle a little way out the course for a warm up, but I couldn’t go very far outside the town lights as it was still too dark!!

Back in and got the bike racked beside the lads. Something I see going on in a lot of tri’s now is that they allocate people from the same club adjoining space in transition. Makes for a friendlier atmosphere and also allows you to keep tabs on the most important part of any race – clubmates, are they ahead or behind 🙂 Anyway got set up and head off for a run warmup this time, before getting into the wetsuit to stay warm!! My stomach was a little dodgy so I took a motilium from Peter and hoped it was just the butterfly’s. The great shuffle starts now towards the swim and it turns out Peter was right – we did have to swim that far. Looked like a fierce long way for a poor swimmer like me but sure i came to do it so no turning back now. A quick round of good lucks and handshakes between the four of us and in we go for the swim. Water wasn’t too cold but it takes a while for 300+ bodies to make their way down a small jetty. I got the goggles set right and took a few minutes to swim around a bit before settling in near the back of the crowd and away from the rough and tumble at the start.


The race director started his countdown from 10, 9, 8 – and half teh crowd started swimming 🙂 – 7, 6 – everyone else was swimming now too so off I went. I’d be pretty sure there was a hooter or something but none of the competitors heard it with their heads underwater anyway.

The swim course was triangular with 700m out from the pier to the first buoy, 400m across to the second buoy, and 800m back to the start. I took my time heading out along and intentionally avoided anyone who looked like they might be about to swim into me. Can’t avoid everyone though and about 5 minutes in I get a kick in the face which knocks my goggles loose, easy breaths, no panic, tread water, fix them up and get going again. Got to the first buoy really happy with my swimming so far. I had gotten a few tugs on the ankle which at least meant that there was someone still behind me. A quick look back under my arm showed an awful lot more people there than I could have expected – I was delighted and went round the first buoy thinking this swim will be no bother.

The 400m across had us swim across some very cold currents that sent a shock or two through the system after all the relatively warm water up till then. Also the tide was now fast sweeping out of the bay and was pushing us out sideways. I ended up going quite a bit wide at this point and lost a little bit of ground but was happy to make it to the final turn and face into 800m for home and completing my first HIM swim. The final leg was headfirst into the tide and despite being fairly comfortable i was again getting pushed wide and was adding lots of extra distance to the race for myself. I normally tend to swim fairly straight but struggled a bit with this tide. Also it didn’t help that my mind began to wander a little bit and I started thinking about the bike leg and lost focus on my swimming.

About halfway back I began to tire a bit and switched breathing sides every few minutes for a bit of a change. From looking around like this i could see that most of the people that had been behind me weren’t there anymore and this just confirmed that i was loosing ground. I had to increase the effort here and managed to increase pace fairly well covering the second half into the tide quicker than the first half – lessons learned for the next day.

Up the ramp and I was disappointed but not surprised to see only 7 bikes left in transition. I had been hoping for about 45 minutes from the swim but ended up with 52 minutes on the clock for the 1900m.

I was expecting to be last of our club out of the water and I wasn’t disappointed. Peter had swam a great 32 mins (before stopping and making a cup of tea for himself in transition 😉 ) Bill swam a very impressive 35 mins, and Ruairi had a very solid 45 minute swim. I swam 52.


I was expecting to be slowest of the lads out of the water, but I was also expecting to be fastest on the bike. I reckoned that Peter would swim in and around 32 minutes, so figured that I now had over 20 minutes to try and make up on the bike. I didn’t think i could catch him but put the head down and was determined to bury myself trying. The very best thing about being a weak swimmer and a strong biker is that you get to pass out loads and loads of people. It took a little while to start catching them, and they were only in dribs and drabs to begin with but pretty soon they were coming thick and fast, particularly on the uphills. It was the usual mix of hybrids and dodgy road bikes to begin with but then started getting into the nice road bike and even into the fancy TT bikes.

My plan for the nutrition on the bike was nice and easy, I had three little bottles of gels and an energy bar with me. I planned to take a bottle during each hour and half the energy bar during the second hour. I was expecting to be on the bike for 2:45 – 3:00 hours. I also had two 750ml bottles of water that I planned to drink fully. Things started ok and the first gel was going down alright. Going up the first climb of the day though my stomach did a somersault and I had my first puke of the day. It didn’t slow me down too much but the stomach kept flipping for the rest of the bike course and I kept puking. I had been concerned abut a slight tummy bug earlier in the week and it seemed that it was determined to strike hard now on race day!! All this puking meant that my nutrition strategy wouldn’t be near as effective but i stuck at it anyway and drank the full of the three gel bottles and half the energy bar. I only managed to get a third of the way through the second bottle of water though – my stomach just couldn’t take it.

Anyway back to the bike, over the first hill and a nice sweeping descent into Lauragh before we turned left and up the first big climb of the day across Healy’s pass. About a third of the way up this climb, and 51 minutes into my bike I caught and passed Ruairi. When I saw the red and gold jersey up ahead it really lifted my spirits as I was just pure determined to do my best to catch any of the three lads that I could. “Hiya Ruairi, keep her up” says I or something similar. “Good man Dempsey, I was getting worried you were lost!!” replied smart-ass Ruairi.

Up the rest of the climb and the final pinch at the end saw most people out of the saddle. Across the top and welcome to Cork. The next stretch of road is fantastic for bombing down as fast as you can on a bike. Apart from a small bit of loose chippings at the start the surface is generally very good and there are hairpins and switchbacks with lovely open views of the road ahead that allow you to just sweep down and around the mountainside at top speed. Right to the bottom and then left through Adrigole heading towards Glengarriff.

The next stretch of road is fairly draggy without having any serious climbs. I was disappointed to come across a fair bit of drafting here from other competitors and people happy enough to cycle along side by side. I had seen two motorbike draft marshals on either side of the mountain (where there would be no drafting gong on) and then didn’t see a single one for this long stretch of road and lads blatantly helping each other cheat.

There was one nice sharp downhill on this part of the course which saw speeds of about 75km/h before the road rose up again for another short climb. Shortly enough I was winding my way in towards Glengarriff when I see another Racing 795 Jersey ahead – who was it this time? As they went around a bend I could see the flash of blue on the bike and knew it was Peter. There’s always only one way to pass a lad like that and it’s at full speed so I knocked her up a few gears and started churning “Howya Peter” as I flew by with 1 hr 46 mins on my bike time. Through Glengarriff and no thank you to the nice people offering water and Powerade.

Now the second serious climb of the day was staring up the Caha pass. Bill had done this race last year and had warned me that this road just keeps going on and on, and never stops climbing. He said you’d think you must be near the top several times but until you can see the tunnel, you’re not there. He was right.

With my stomach still doing flip / flops I wasn’t really looking forward to this but was still managing to pass people out so kept going. I was getting worried about two things now, I had been pushing really hard the whole way on the bike so far and wasn’t sure how much if any i’d have left for the run, and also I knew that with all the puking going on my energy stores would be pretty low about now.

All this was going through my head as I sat up to take some more gel and water when I got a bit of a fright to realise that someone was actually passing me out!! This was the first time all day so i was a bit surprised – surely i must have passed this person out already for them to be behind me? As I was trying to get the water bottle back into the cage I noticed that they were wearing a pink jacket and had nice shapely hairy legs!! No one in a pink jacket and hairy legs was going to pass me out so i put the head down and repassed them almost immediately. All thoughts of taking it easy up the mountain to save a bit of energy for the run were long gone, replaced with only one thought “No way hairy pink coat is getting past me again”. They were a fairly strong biker though to be fair and stuck with me nearly all the way to the top, managing to drive me on and making me work like a dog.

Turns out Bill was right, I thought that I’d never each the top of this mountain. It didn’t help that we were now on an exposed mountain side with no trees to shelter us and riding into a very strong wind. Thankfully there hadn’t been to much rain till that point and the roads were fairly dry, but the rain started now. On and on up this cursed mountain when finally i can see it – the tunnel at the top. If you’ve been up here before you know what its like, if not then it is literally just a 250m stretch of road that has been cut directly through the top of the mountain, and the main Glengarriff – Kenmare road (which is a national route) passes straight through it. This is no fancy Port Tunnel jobbie though, there are no lights inside, and there is only one smooth surface – the road, everything else is just jagged and lumpy rock.

Anyway through here and out the other side, welcome back to Kerry. Immediately the road starts to point almost straight down and we’re away. a quick look over my shoulder at the first bend shows me that the hairy legged pink jacket wearing mountain goat has fallen a good way back and doesn’t worry me anymore. Zooming down the hill now as fast as i can possible go. I can feel the strong side winds pushing me sideways and figure that Bill can’t be having it easy with his fancy deep rim wheels so this is my chance to catch him. Lo and behold a few minutes later i catch a flash of what looks like a 795 jersey down the road ahead of me. Sure enough it’s Bill so I go into my best Tour de France style tuck with my eyeball just peeping over the handle bars and go past him as fast as i possibly can “Well Bill” 2 hours 18 minutes on my bike clock.

I have to say I was grinning like a big ass Cheshire cat with all the cream in Kerry, the most delighted smuggest big head on me as I flew down the rest of the mountain. Before the race I had hoped that I would be able to catch the lads before the end of the bike because I figured we would be all fairly similar to each other on the run and it would be hard to make up time then. After my fairly poor swim though I was resigned to the fact that Bill at least was going to get out on the run ahead of me and maybe beat me overall. Now I knew that I had given myself the best possible chance that I could have done, and lets be honest – it’s all about beating the lads that you know 😀

Right as I went past Bill the wind picked up and the hailstones started blowing sideways. I knew that this was better for me than Bill and I had to push as hard as possible in this weather to open up the gap on him. We had been told that from the bottom of the mountain it was a straight time trial back into Kenmare and I knew that Bill would be much stronger with his TT specific bike on the flat road than he was coming down the exposed mountain. I buried myself for the rest of the bike dong everything to stay ahead of him, only coming out of a tight tuck on the aero bars to take a small sip of water, or to spit out another bit of puke – stomach still heaving.

Into transition and i was delighted to see that i had come in at the limit of my best expectations – 2:45 total time on the bike. I knew that was a good time and was really pleased as I flew in towards the dismount line. Now the rule is that you must get off your bike before the dismount line. Some people come to a complete stop and unclip feet from pedals before getting off the bike and pushing it across the line. What a lot of other people do (me included) is to take their feet out of the shoes (placing them back on top of teh shoes) and ride as fast as possible up to within 150m of the line before swinging the right leg over the saddle whilst standing on the left pedal and then right at the line pushing off the left pedal to run across the dismount line without loosing any time at all. It sounds complicated but with a little practice and a lot of faith is handy enough to do. Except if you’ve just pushed yourself harder and longer than you’ve ever gone before. As I started to swing my right leg back around and over the saddle i got cramp in both quads and caught the saddle. The whole bike lurched left and then right and my leg stuck on the saddle. Thankfully I managed to avoid a complete (and very embarrassing) disaster and somehow got the right leg down on the ground bang on the dismount line. It was a very hairy moment and there were a handful of marshals who surely aged several years as they witnessed me out of control and heading for them at top speed!!

I racked the bike and pulled on my runners, just as i was picking up my run bottle sand getting ready to start off “Oh I’m bursting for a piss”, it’s Bill, he’s into transition and not very far behind me. “Jaysus Bill, good luck with the run” says I as I head off a little shocked and worried, I thought he might be further back.

Racing 795 bike times were; John 2:45, Bill 3:02, Ruairi 3:10, and Peter 3:11


I set off on the run with a few gels and the rest of the half eaten energy bar tucked into my trisuit, with a bottle of water with a gel mixed into it in one hand, and my secret weapon of a flat Red Bull & Coke mix in the other. My stomach was still doing somersaults and I was really not looking forward to having to try any of them.

Out across the bridge and I met Peter finishing his bike – he seemed a bit closer that I thought he would be too. I knew now that the chase was on, with Peter probably set to have the best run of us all, and Bill fairly similar to me but probably not suffering the stomach issues. This is what it had come down to between the clubmates now. After about 1k in I found myself on a quiet stretch of road and stopped for a wee. I tried to be as quick as I could conscious that Bill would have the bit between his teeth, as I got going again I took one quick look behind me and saw a flash of red. I don’t know if it was Bill or not but I told myself it was and didn’t look backwards again for the next 4k.

I really struggled to get going on the run until at about 2.5k a guy caught up with me going not that much faster than me so I tried to stick with him. It crowned me and I was able to run at his pace until about 6k when he took an energy gel and shot off up the road. Thanks Daithi from Mayo living in Cork, you helped keep Bill off my back for that stretch anyway.

I had been carrying the water with gel and the Red Bull / Coke mix all along but couldn’t face the gel and was afraid of what the Red Bull would do to me. There was a water station at 5k so I left my water & gel mixture here and slowed to a walk to make sure I drank a good half or three quarters cup of water. I did this at all of the water stations on the run. My stomach was in knots at this stage and I didn’t know what to do with the Red Bull and Coke. After struggling to stomach the water I knew that there was no way I could take a gel, and I needed to get some energy into me if i was going to finish the run, so I chanced a little sip of the Red Bull Coke and it was grand 🙂

There was a turnaround point at 7.5k where i could see how far back any of the lads were, Bill was fairly close at this stage only about 1 or 2 minutes back, but Peter was at least 5/6 and maybe more. I wasn’t worried about Peter anymore but I was concerned about Bill. Another few sips, another few stomach flips, and another few minutes up the road I met Ruairi coming towards me. “Ruairi tell Bill I’m 10 minutes up the road will you?” “Yeah sure” answered Ruairi. I figured that if Bill thought I was too far gone he might give up the chase – all is fair in love and war 😉 Talking to Ruairi going home the next day he says he did say it to Bill, I haven’t got a chance yet to ask Bill what did he make of it, or did it affect his chase?

Anyway I was dawdling a little again on the run and people going past me that i could not hold onto. Then I hear these footsteps closing up behind and I look over to see this girl, again not travelling that much faster than me. “I’ll try stick with you for a while” I said and off we went. Turns out her name is Annemarie and she was a member of Cork tri club so had loads of support the whole way that we ran together. She crowned my race and running beside her I had the strongest part of my run from about 9k through to 17k. I even shared a bit of my red bull coke with her which may have been a mistake though cos once we got to the big hill at 17k she just went up it like she had wings. i couldn’t stick with her and struggled on, the road really starting to kick up now and I was getting fairly tired at this stage.

The “knock” came at about 17.5k. The road got fierce steep for the last 250m of the hill and i had to walk it. After the road leveled out I just couldn’t get going again – I had completely ran out of energy and could not muster any sort of speed at all. There was a water stop at 18k, and just 3k of downhill running after this – I had no more speed. People i had passed over the last 20/30 minutes started passing me out again and I could do little or nothing about it. With about 1.5k to go I thought that there was no way Bill would get past me so despite the rumble in my tummy i took one of the energy gels and downed what was left of the Red Bull & Coke but still couldn’t get any speed. Thankfully I had no further stomach troubles though and ran slowly down the final kilometer, looking over my shoulder every 30 seconds.

A guy from Cork tri club caught up with me about and urged me to pick it up with him that we were nearly finished, I took another look over my shoulder and told him I was grand once I couldn’t see the lads and to run it in himself 🙂

As I rounded the corner to the finish line on the square in the middle of Kenmare I could feel the crowd tensing up and that only means one thing – sprinter behind! Whatever happened anyway i managed to muster up enough to sprint as fast as I could the final 100m to try not let this stranger past me – we finished in a dead heat. 5 hours 30 minutes on the clock.

I was delighted and a little spaced out, I had just finished my first Half Ironman, and 5:30 had been my target time from the start, and most importantly of all I had somehow managed to beat the lads, which I hadn’t really expected. i just stood there for a little while soaking it up before i got something to eat and turned back to cheer the lads home. Bill finished strong in 5:35, Peter just a little back in 5:38, and Ruairi rounded out a day full of Racing 795 PB’s with a 6:01 finish time. everyone was happy with their times, we all agreed that it was a super tough course, and we will probably try to get back to do it again at some point in the future.

The run splits for the four of us were; Peter 1:44, John 1:46, Bill 1:51, and Ruairi 2:00

Poor Bill was left to freeze at the end though when his finish line bag with warm clothes in it had not been transferred to the finish line for him, so he had to rush off back to transition to stay warm.

Performance of the day though probably has to go the Alma Barry, Bills wife. Despite wind, rain, hailstones, and almost 6 hours of boredom, she managed to have herself and their two little girls out on the road to cheer us all the way around the course, nothing easy about that!

Fair play to Cork tri club, this race has a big reputation and after doing it it’s easy to see why. This is probably the toughest and the most beautiful course in the country, and everyone of the marshals were full of good cheer and encouragement. This is a race I would recommend to anyone and I will definitely be doing it again.




TriGrandPrix Kilkenny, 27th July 2013

Niall, Louise, Mike, Adrian, Colm and Raging Bill in sunny Kilkenny

[Report syndicated by the legendary Niall O’Muirí]


Kilkenny was buzzing, Bruce was in the air, Born to Run was blaring from street side cafes, As 1200 tri athletes racked up in the majestic grounds of Kilkenny Castle. Where else would you want to be on a sunny Saturday morning in July.

We linked in with Adrian anxious to clock a good Olympic post Athy. Louise, her fourth Olympic of the year, sporting Number 1 on her vest, and Number 1 Wave….no pressure. Raging Bill drifting in, easy and laid back…while Mike Colm and myself opt for the “recreational” sprint, as Mike referred to it!! (Man, ye are going to be impossible to live with after ye complete an Ironman).

We travelled over the evening before, parked at Paddys Pub and cycled the 10k into Kilkenny covering the cycle route to registration. Thanks be to jaysus I checked out the river the previous evening, otherwise I was a deadman drowning. Because once you enter the water there’s no going back. There’s no messing with the River Noir, its dark and deep and slow moving its high walls hem you in, you have no choice but to swim…(It was reassuring reading John Dempseys report on The Beast of the East and their collective experience of the swim, even the good swimmers have a scarey moment). And as I entered the water, I swear I could hear Bruces “The River” playing in the distance… But Kilkenny was well organised, the swim waves were small and lacked the chaos normally associated with the swim section,Throughout the day our paths crossed, with shouts of encouragement, Colm on the road out as I was on my way in, Mike just exiting T1 as I entered T2 and Raging Bill our paths crossed as he started his second lap of the olympic run, and I headed for the finishing straight… The cycle route flat and fast, and there to cheer us on at the turn around Frank with his bike and 795 jersey and his gammy shoulder!!…well in the running for “Club Fan of the Year” at this years Christmas Party. The only problem was traffic on the edge of town near the shopping centres, but the bike lanes gave you loads of room and a feeling of security. The run was a nature trail through the manicured castle grounds…passing bemused walkers and tourists…and me with me heart attack head on me…

At days end, tired and emotional, we all made it home, Adrian happier with his times and days work, lays the Athy ghost to rest. Louise, disappointed and hurting, after struggling on her run. But as Dena posted on Facebook, just put it down to a tough training session, and live to race another day. Raging Bill first home, drifts of into the sunset happy and content, till we meet again at the next big event, Colm, under pressure heads home to put out fires and collect the child from the babysitter. And as me and Mike head for the car, we reflect on a wonderful day, a great event, in a beautiful city……and for Mike, a date with “The Boss” later that evening…

Kilkenny Results

The Beast of the East – Lough Dan, 21st July 2013

Beastie Boys 2013: John, Bill, PJ and Mike.

Beastie Boys 2013: John, Bill, PJ and Mike.

[Report by John Dempsey]

Five 795ers made the trip to Lough Dan last Sunday, Bill, Mike, PJ and me (John) to race. Frank cycled the 70km odd to cheer us on.

This is always a very well organised race and is a great credit to Wicklow tri club. The course itself offers a little something different too. A daunting 1,500m swim in a peaty / boggy mountain lake set amid the stunning scenery of the Wicklow Mountains. A gruelling cycle with a nice sharp climb at the start to wake you up, and another one and a half climbs at the end to finish you off!! The run then takes in that first climb off the bike again to leave you feeling well and truly beat up and needing your BBQ burger at the end.

Transition was moved slightly this year to accommodate a bigger crowd, but I think it was a better location for it. The racks were pre-numbered which is always good as there is no fighting with aul wans trying to squeeze in beside you where there’s no room!! As with previous years all competitors were grouped by club which is another nice touch so the four of us got to rack up beside each other. On the way into transition with your bike (and out again afterwards) you were stopped for a photo. This is a really simple thing to do but adds a nice bit of security for your bike.

Bill was off with all the fishies in wave 1, Mike, PJ and me together in wave 2 ten minutes later. Getting into the lake the water was noticeably warm, not that surprising with all the fine weather lately, but water level was also fairly low meaning a long way to wade across rocks before it was deep enough to swim. As usual a deep water start treading water and then we were off. Swimming is by far my weakest sport so I was determined to hang back and to the side and let the bunch round the first buoy without me. Whatever I tried though I still found myself in the middle of a scrum and got swam across by another lad as we were going round. Not being a confident lad in the water my head went and I struggled to get going again, taking a little breather on my back before catching a rest off a nearby canoe to gather myself. After a long internal debate about whether to swim on or abandon I said I’d give it a shot and pushed off again, taking it easy to start before gaining confidence and building the speed again. It’s pathetic how crap my swimming is, just gotta work on it. It’s still a great swim and when you see 1,500m laid out in a big rectangle like that it’s an impressive sight.

Bill and PJ both seemed happy enough with their swims; Mike said he got a bit of a hammering also.

Swim times and rank (out of 316 starters) were:

Bill — 28:12 – 123

PJ —- 30:43 – 192

Mike – 32:44 – 247

John – 41:35 – 303

The run into and out of transition was fairly long, but the mats were right at transition so the extra bit got added to the swim / bike / run respectively.

Onto the bike and the best thing about being such a crap swimmer is that you have almost the entire field ahead of you waiting to be passed out!! Once I was over the first climb it was time to get down on the tri bars and take my frustration out on the bike. Funny thing is that tough and all as these climbs are, they didn’t seem near as bad as two years ago. On the way out of Roundwood I see a Racing 795 jersey coming back the other way and start thinking “what’s wrong there?” Turns out its Frank and he sends me on with a big shout of encouragement. From Roundwood it’s almost entirely downhill to Laragh where the Gardai are doing a great job marshalling traffic on a very busy junction to allow the cyclists through unimpeded. The only issue here is it gets a bit dangerous trying to over / under take very slow moving cars, but got through alright. Out of Laragh and heading towards Roundwood and the turnaround point. The road surface along here is awful, and would nearly be enough to put you off going back at the race again. There are some nice sweeping turns and short climbs to keep it interesting, but in the main it’s just a really awful surface that stops you putting down any sort of real power at all. The cycle goes out and back past the entrance to Clara Laragh. Late morning on a sunny Sunday Clara Laragh is busy, but despite a single marshal on duty got through here unhindered.

I hit the turnaround and soon after found myself kind of half dawdling on the bike. Sometimes I find that I just go too easy on myself during races and don’t push hard enough so a few quiet words later and it was head down tongue out again. Back through Laragh and the dreaded left turn DON DON DONNNNN!!!

Luckily I knew what was coming and geared down accordingly. Now most bike snobs out there turn their noses up at a triple on the front, but I absolutely love mine. All the mega hard lads and ladies up out of the saddle and grinding their way up the big hill producing lots of sweat but not much forward momentum. Me on the other hand had my bottom nice and firmly planted on my seat and sailed past them all as I spun past them Chris Froome style to the top (probably had that maniac looking grin on my face and all). I just don’t understand why people think they can power up a long hill like that any quicker than spinning would achieve, my legs would be absolute toast if I tried it.

Across the top of the hill, down a nice quick little descent and then it was time for the sneaky bonus hill before the final descent. This is a no pass zone which is fair enough, but it was made even more dangerous by the one or two marshals who deciding that waving a flag was not quite pro-active enough and opted to create additional hazards by standing in the middle of the effing road as we came hurtling down waving their hands screaming slow down.

Round the bend, and back to transition. Nice shout of encouragement again from Frank, no major issues in T2 and back out to slog though the run.

Everyone was fairly happy with their bike splits, PJ having a moan about the Clara Laragh entrance, and everyone mentioned the one or two peletons that seemed to be making their way round (cheating eejits!!)

Bike splits and ranking as follows:

John – 1:17:59 – 99

PJ —- 1:18:40 – 109

Mike – 1:21:47 – 156

Bill — 1:22:13 – 165

Onto the run, uuggghhhh. Shut up legs, keep going, it’s not that far (really it wasn’t – short run course!!). Out from the Scout centre and across the bridge. A couple of yahoo’s had commandeered a fire engine and were spraying all out going and incoming runners with water to cool off. They ruined my hair, I was raging!!

Up, up, up the hill. Sure did seem a lot longer this time round. Over the top, no thank you to the lovely folk at the first and second water stations, and across to the turnaround point. Got passed near the top of the climb, but as he was the only person on all of either the cycle course or the run course to pass me out I couldn’t complain. I love these turnaround cones because they always seem to give me a boost going round them. Picked up the pace and back though the second (now third??) water station and turned left for the bit of a loop. I’ve stopped taking water on the run recently as I find that I have to slow down to get my stomach to swallow it or risk making myself sick. Once it’s only 10k so seems to be working fine so far. Again no water at the 4th table, and continuing to pick up the speed feeling good and passing strong. At the fifth water table (5 on a 10k run!!) I finally take a sup to pour over my head and set about getting down that big hill as fast as I can.

The toughest thing about the run I found was the continuous changing of up / down / flat. Every time I hit one of the three it took me a few moments to get my stride right to tackle it properly. The hardest part of the whole run course was the flat bit going across the bridge after the big long downhill, my legs just didn’t know what to do. Past the boyos and their fire engine again and the final right turn towards the scout centre. How long is this road, it wasn’t this long on the way out surely?? There’s the turn at last, no wait, that’s only the car park!! On again, where is it, shut up legs, pass them few in front, it’ll be over soon enough you can rest then and grab a burger. I’ll even let you stand in the lake water if you like. Here we are, final push in the long entrance way, over the finish line – done!

Run splits and rankings:

John – 39:12 – 102

Mike – 39:23 – 109

PJ —- 39:45 – 116

Bill — 40:56 – 141

Everyone seemed happy with the run, but it was definitely short!! I’d no fancy watch to measure it but d’internet seems to have it at least 1km short. I also heard reports that a certain Bill Barry collapsed across the line, to be dragged away (against his wishes) as they attempted to give him oxygen. He was definitely hale and hearty when I left him in the car park afterwards though.

Into the lake to ease aching muscles and who do we meet only Padraig George’s two brothers. Turns out they’re three brothers in three different tri clubs!!

We were all happy enough with our times I think, again I just need to swim more but I’ve been talking about that long enough at this stage, either do it or stop moaning says you.

Final times and rankings were:

Pj Dunne ——- 02:30:59 -126 – 00:30:43 – 192 – 00:01:02 – 104 – 01:18:40 – 109 – 00:00:50 – 106 – 00:39:45 – 116

Bill Barry ——- 02:34:26 – 149 – 00:28:12 – 123 – 00:01:15 – 158 – 01:22:13 – 165 – 00:01:53 – 283 – 00:40:56 – 141

Mike Ryan —– 02:35:55 – 158 – 00:32:44 – 247 – 00:01:03 – 114 – 01:21:47 – 156 – 00:01:00 – 162 – 00:39:23 – 109

John Dempsey – 02:40:35 – 182 – 00:41:35 – 303 – 00:00:50 – 50 – 01:17:59 – 99 – 00:01:00 – 162 – 00:39:12 – 102

A great race again by Wicklow tri, only real complaint is that road surface from Laragh to Rathdrum and back.

It feels great to be back in the midst of it again after the year’s hiatus.

Full results

‘Two Provinces’ Sprint Triathlon – July 13th 2013, Lanesboro, Longford

Fintan, Dena and Paul in Lanesboro

[Report by Fintan Redmond]

Booked this race at the last minute and I have to say it was a good choice. Dena and Paul Hutton also made the long drive. The weather was great and the set up for the race was spot on, transition (grass), car parking and finish line all in one compact area.

There were two waves for the swim, which was in a lake and I think it was heated by the local power station (very hot) could possible have been a non-wetsuit swim. Dena was in the first wave with a time of 14:36 and myself and Paul in the second with 15:45, 15:15 respectively. I have to say this swim was a battle all the way, I got the sh1t kicked out of me, I thought at one stage Bressie had hung around for the second wave as there were a few rugby tackle put in. I think Paul had the same experience after almost falling asleep at the start of the swim J

T1 was good, grass all the way from the water, which is nice for a change. The bike route was nice, flat and fast which gave us all good times but noticeably Dena’s time 35:21, with the aid of her new machine which had a few minor adjustments made before the race.

The run comprised of a little trail run onto the road and back to the finish line with welcomed water spray hoses along the way.

All in all a great day out with Dena taking the day with a super bike time, giving her a race PB and good to see Paul back with an injury free day.

Swim/Cycle/Run/Overall Time

Fintan 15:45/ 33:21/ 18:41/ 1:10:01

Paul 15:15/ 34:24/ 20:14/ 1:12:42

Dena 14:36/ 35:21/ 20:44/ 1:12:52

Full results