Thanks to Anne McGrane for recommending this one to me - I really enjoyed it! I arrived down in time to register just before the kids race started; well done again to all of the juniors who competed! You guys were brilliant!
As for the adult race, it went pretty well considering how mentally unprepared I felt going into it. I was in the first wave so at least my pre-race nerves were limited; as soon as the race briefing was over we were herded through into the surprisingly warm lake. Once in the water it felt like I was being attacked by slimy sea-weed from all directions - so much so that at the very end of the race I found seaweed stuck to my face still. Kevin had pointed out what direction the current was actually running in so that information came in really useful once we set off. The buoys were yellow but not that big so were difficult to see (thankfully our hats were white - I've no idea how the ladies managed to sight properly with their yellow hats!!). I took up a pretty decent line while those ahead of me veered left; they went so far left that after a while I started wondering if I was swimming towards a yellow boat/kayak instead until I saw them veering back towards the buoy I was aiming for. Once around the first buoy I again took up a pretty decent line while most people around me were veering all over the place. Once around the last buoy I made a line straight for the flag-posts by the swim exit and noticed that people were closing in on either side of me. Thankfully the Monday night open water swim sessions with Conor and John gave me the confidence to put my head down and power past them to give myself some room and get to the ramp first.
Into T1 at around 14 mins
and I'm happy with my start.
T1 is smooth and I'm running with my bike and getting a "Well done!" from Eamonn Tilley on the long, never-ending run out to the mount-line. It's
a very straight out-and-back route
, so not much to report here. I had a personal battle with some junior guy who'd beaten me out of the water but thankfully pulled away from him on the bike (after he'd come back at me twice) and was pretty pleased with myself when I spotted him later well behind me on the run. After the turnaround point I spotted that
Darragh wasn't far behind me
(and looked like he nearly fell off the bike when he saw me ahead of him) so I knew he'd catch me soon. Thankfully it wasn't until about the 16km mark when he did overtake me, telling me to keep it up. Dismount was smooth but had a long run back to the end of the rack before setting out on the run. One of the fantastic things about this race was the commentator on the loudspeaker announcing people coming into transition so it was exciting to hear "...and Michael Pearce from Wicklow Triathlon Club is into transition..." booming as I got ready for the run.
My target for the run was to give it my all and not feel afterwards that I could have given it any more. I started strongly, overtaking a couple of guys early on and setting a fast but just-about maintainable pace. The run starts with a lovely trail through the woods before you come out onto the main road, and from then on it's all on the road. Pretty early on I see the top 3 guys coming the other way,
followed closely by Alex
who looked like he was struggling to close the gap. I could see Darragh in the distance ahead of me but knew he's been running so strongly that I wouldn't catch him. I knew there'd be faster runners than me so just tried to keep the number of people overtaking me to a minimum and keep pushing the pace. On the way back I saw Ray and Dave coming onto the road (they were in Wave 2) before the run route brought me onto the main street in Lanesboro. The support was fantastic and I could hear the crowds at the finish-line so once I was around the corner I gave it everything I had left to get across the line as the commentator congratulated me on a strong run over the loudspeaker.
Average pace of 4:25/km and under 22 minutes
so I was extremely happy with that run.
At this stage it was raining but thankfully the carpark is right beside the finish line so I was able to get changed quickly and then spotted an ice-cream van. The only down-side was that I skilfully avoided all of the photographers during the race again - the only photo I appear in
is in the background after the race while I'm calling my wife
- after I've gotten changed.
Overall a really enjoyable race and definitely one I'd consider doing again. 4/5 National Series races done for me this year, last but not least is Caroline Kearney in August and I'm feeling excited about it. It'll only be my second ever Olympic but I'm going to give it everything.
Your skill exceeds your own estimation because I am not sure I spotted you either between the start of your swim and when I came across the finish!
I spotted or was spotted by what felt like dozens of Wicklow Tri members out on the course. Without doubt my outstanding memory of the event was the amount of support. The buzz and rapport at the event was great from the Kidathon through the adult race. Lanesboro and other participants and volunteers all clapping and cheering, all the Wicklow members on the bike and run leg (ahead and coming against me or the few I got on the swim passing me) who cheered me on and then spread all over the last 200m or so of the bike and run finishes our juniors and their families who really rallied us all home.
Personally I'm happy with my finish though I am not sure I did a great job of it on the day but the support, well it reaĺly made a fun day of it.
Great race report Michael - it's a really well run race. Pity about the weather but most people had great races. All the kids especially our WTC gang were amazing and watching them made me forget about race to come. KG.
Great report, Michael. Well done. It was indeed a very well rganised race and one to be recommended. Nice compact set up between registration, transition and parking which made life easy. Great crowd from WTC. So well done everyone - we made our presence known!!