Schull Tri 2016

It was an early start on race day as my alarm went off at 5:30am. My car was packed up the night before to save me a few minutes in the morning and I was glad I had it done. I had my porridge and set off on the road. It was nice and quiet on the way down so I got down in good time. I got a good parking spot and headed down to registration. The 1st year in Schull the weather was bad and swim was caught short. There was no fear of that this year as for the second year in a row the sun was out and the water was flat.

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I headed back to the car and got everything together. Excitement was beginning to build  and nerves weren’t bad as it was my 1st Tri since Dublin last August. There were assigned positions on the bike rack and I got a nice spot right at the end of one row which gave me that bit of extra space I practiced my transition a number of times making sure I had everything lined up perfectly and knew where I was going. It is a tough transition will uphill the whole way from the swim until the mount line on the bike. Good thing about that is you get some time to get your thoughts together and plan for the next leg.

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I signed up late but still found myself in wave one. After listening to the race briefing we headed down to the water. One last pitstop before zipping up the wetsuit and on with the hat and goggles. Now the fun part, head into the water and see how hot/cold it was. After the initial shock it was comfortable temperature and once I swam out to the start line I was settled in and ready to go. We just needed to wait until we heard the horn going off to get under way. I got into my rhythm quickly and just followed the splashes hoping they were going in the right way. I was struggling to site the 1st buoy but with it was easy to just follow the crowd, I eventually spotted the buoy and had to think about my approach. There were a lot of people going at an angle from the right and I was going straight but knew I’d be swarmed by a lot of swimmers. I took it wide to keep out of most of the mayhem and it started again trying to sight the next buoy. I followed a good line and the field was spreading out so there was a bit of room. I took the next buoy well before heading back for home. I felt I kept a good line there as well. It always feels a lot longer while in the water so wasn’t sure what time I had but a check of the watch showed 12:24, that was a huge improvement on last years time.  (2014 550m 11:53, 2015 750m 13:33)

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The long run up to T1 and off with the wetsuit and but on socks and shoes and off up to the road and over the mount line and time to jump on the bike. With this always being my weakest leg I was hoping I could be at least competitive during it and not give up too many places. After short flat straight it was into the 1st climb, and the last 2 years I really struggled on it but this year I felt better and moved up it at a steady pace. Of course any of the ups and downs on the way out will be reversed on the way back with this out and back course. It was crazy to see the leaders fly past as if they were out for a Sunday spin while if they looked at me they would see the effort on my face. Its all up and down on this bike route so there is never a settled speed for me. I had a lot of people pass me out on who would be strong on the bike, my advantage from the swim was well and truly gone. I was happy as I got to turnaround point, I was feeling good but now some of those good declines were to be tackled on the way back. My calf was pinching a bit at times to I took my time going up the hills and enjoyed the downhill. There wasn’t much wind which is always great. After I went down the last hill it was the straight to home. Off time bike and down the steep hill trying to hold on to the bike and myself hoping I wouldn’t fall. Overall I was delighted with my bike to finish in 43:19 which was a huge jump on my previous 2 times here ( 2014 48:35; 2015 49:26)

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Now to the run leg. I was getting a cramp in my stomach to begin with and felt dead on my legs. There is a small drag to begin with but I got into my groove and tried to settle down. I wasn’t really feeling my best on the run and just wanted to get it out of the way to be honest. I know in Galway the pace will be a lot slower than what I would be doing here. The one thing I can be happy with is that only 2 people passed me while running and I passed a number of people, so even though I felt slow I was still picking up some positions. I finished the run in 21:30 which was just faster than last year. (2014 23:39; 2015 21:37)

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Overall I can be very happy with my result taking 8 minutes off last years time. After 2 road races in the previous 6 days meant I did tire on the run a bit but the strong swim and bike was a huge confident boost. Now the build up to Galway can begin. It was great to get a tri out of the way after the disaster of Lough Cutra where I couldn’t even start due to an issue with my calf.

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Posted in Challenge Galway, Sport.

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