2012 was my first year racing the Rosses Point Olympic triathlon which was back on the race calendar after a couple of seasons where the young (2008) Sligo Triathlon Club held Sprint & Olympic races to reestablish themselves after years of lying in the shadow of the legendary 'Metalman'. At the time I remarked how wonderfully organised the event was and that I hoped the club would see this as a National Series race in the coming years. It definitely had the potential to be a great NS race.
My wife is from Rosses Point so this area is home from home for me.
Roll on 2013 and Sligo Triathlon Club are hosting a National Series Olympic Race at 'the Point'.
We drove up from Galway on Friday evening with the kids (being minded by Aunty Sinead) all excited about seeing their cousins and counting the number of 'sleep-overs' they would have. I hung a few Amphibian King banners on the balcony at the house and enjoyed a bit of banter on Twitter with @sligo_tri_club :
There was to be a reasonable crowd at the event with 220 individual entries and 45 relay teams. That's a huge number of teams (and until just now I didn't think of the skew that this would place on results) and a big indicator in the number of people coming into our sport recently.
With the race due to start at 1pm my/our (as Edel is racing too) race morning preparations were a little bit out of sorts. The late start is on account of the tides. So up early, as usual, breakfast and then lay out the gear. Not much for an Olympic race, trisuit, wetsuit, goggles, runners, bike, helmet and bike shoes. Race-number and goodie bags I picked up at registration on the morning of the race so all sorted and ready to go.
Edel dropped the kids up while I checked over the bikes & packed the gear away. We spun up the prom to transition and had a coffee at 'Hale & Hearty' where we bumped into a few familiar faces and make introductions to the Boards / Twitter crew. Dropping off the gear bag with friends we went out the course for a little bit of a warmup on the bike and to test the wind direction as its a big player in events around here.
Once back in transition, rack the bikes, lay out the shoes, place the helmet, elastic the bike shoes in place (need more elastics, almost out of my/our stock). I left arm warmers over the tri bars, if I needed them they were there, if not they could stay on the bars. Wetsuit on, Bodyglide and then possibly one of the most entertaining and relaxed Race Briefing I've ever attended!! :-)
The swim was to be the same as usual, starting at the 2nd beach and swimming out, along the shore and back into the slip on the 1st beach. There was no warmup swim on account of safety, the water is cold, but it was an 'in-water' start at knee / waist depth. We were told it's a shortened 1200m swim, but looking out at it (and having swam the course so many times last summer) it looked like it was more a middle distance swim.
Anyhow, I was racing this sans watch so I had no indication of time as we all headed for the start line. Right down the beach and lots of people chatting about the beach run and the dreaded ramps to come later in the day. For now it was time to fill the suit, wash the face and neck with cold water and wait for the hooter.
Quick hug and kiss for Mrs and 5,4,3,2..1 off we go!!
Straight out to the first buoy. Bloody hell this water is cold!! Brrr!! Rounding the first buoy in the middle of a bunch there were a few stray arms and legs but I found clean water to the left and I sighted a line straight to the next buoy using the Yacht Club as a land mark I could quickly spot the buoy when sighting. I'm not the best swimmer in the world, but I make up for it by swimming straight! I hate drafting as where I am is usually Z-Swimmers weaving back and forth and I'd rather trust myself (and blame myself when it goes wrong)
Conditions were into a headwind, little bit of chop, some found it tough, I liked it.
Nice steady rhythm from me but as I passed buoy Nr.2 my hamstrings went PING! like guitar strings. It must be the cold because I'm not a big kicker. It was so bad, I rolled onto my back and looked for a kayak thinking this is bad :(
A deep breath and I rolled front again, stretched out straight in the water and left my legs trailing behind. Mind over matter I 'thought' the cramps out of my legs by willing them to relax as I pull stroked my way back through the group that passed me whilst I floundered.
Around the last buoy and into the shallow water, seemed to be a bit of a current pushing back down the course as I needed a couple of adjustments on the way in and this would explain the swim times on the course if we were swimming into a current.
With no idea of my times, I was racing to see where I was in transition.
Disappointingly it was quite sparse (as usual) but I thought I had swam much better than normal and hoped for a few other bikes in there. Hey, ho, I'd just have more fun catching people on the bike :)
As bike courses go, this is a testing little number. Simple enough, 3 loops and back into Transition. But it often looks easy on paper.
T1 was sharpish, wetsuit off, helmet on, push button on Polar power pedals, 'Start' on head unit, de-rack and away! (NB rear mounted bottle cage is a great bike hanger). The mounting line was a bit cluttered so around the outside and run on for 3-4 meters, flying mount and onto the shoes. One lad stuttered and started and fapped about in front of me trying to get his feet into shoes near taking me off the bike with his meandering across the road.
Transition bike tip - get up to speed and then put the feet into the shoes once you're rolling.
Pushing down the prom there was a headwind which hit as you come around by Austies threatening unsteady front wheels then push out to Cregg where the left turn brings you up and around the rolling bit with technical turns. You really need to time your charges up the hills to get the best of the momentum then back down to the main road turning right at a well marshalled junction to hammer it all the way back to the turnabout at the top of the prom.
X3 times around the loop and then drop back into transition for a swiftish change to running shoes.
Apart from obvious drafting on the bike again (are people really that ignorant of the rules and etiquette?) one person I passed insisted on surging back up the inside of me to argue about me pulling in front of him (having completed the passing manoeuver). I advised him to cop himself on, read the rules and stop drafting off me to which he charged up the inside of the next person (after tucking his number over his belt).
T2 fairly sharpish, rack, helmet off shoes on. Feet and shoes were damp from the rain that had started so I struggled to get the feet in at first (I find talc just clumps, so need some other approach). Out of T2 and left to the ramp, down the slope and onto the beach.
Running up the beach we had to cross the stream at 14th which on a summer day would be lovely, but not today. Cold water into the shoes, thankfully, straight back out due to the holes in the bottom of the Saucony Fastwitch 6. Up to the cone where Sheila corrected me about my number call out and off in pursuit of my wife.
This is not a nice run route. The ramp up and down to the beach is an awful steep ramp putting quite a bit of pressure on the calves so I speed walked up and ran over the top. Up to the village green and around the finish area I was into the middle of the fist 4k loop when I caught up to Edel. As this was the first time I'd managed to catch her in a race having her tell me to race on and not stop with her was weird.
Leaving her to her own race, it felt strange dropping my Mrs. but I ran on to the 2nd loop. Down the ramp again across the beach and back, the day was getting miserable. Rounding the finish area again all that was left was the 1k to transition and back to the finish line where a welcome Kinetica Protein bottle, banana and more yummy Good4U sprinkles.
Waiting for Edel to appear, shouting her on to the finish it was my chance to welcome her home for a change.
Something tells me I'll have a tougher battle the next time though!
Great day out. Another cracking race organisation by Sligo Triathlon Club. The post race set up with cake, curry and showers is something else (I missed this as we went back to the house for warmup). Well done to all the organisers and sponsors on a great spread of food and prizes and I'll definitely be there for cake next year!!
Any problem areas? The only criticism (constructive) is the run route, it's a tough challenging route that's easy to manage from a logistics point of view, but very tricky for runners to find and maintain a rhythm. Also the ramp is slippy for descents and awkward to traffic manage.
Rosses Point Olympic 2013
Overall :02:43:49 (14th in Cat)
Back again in August for the Sprint distance race.