Sarasota ITU World Cup Preview

How’s the form? I hear the weather back home is pretty crap. Up until today it hasn’t been much better here. Hurricane Michael missed us by about 80km but we still had a nice bit of wind, rain, thunder and hurricane warnings to keep us entertained.

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I’m here in Florida with Con Doherty to race a world cup tomorrow. TI Coach Michael Black is here too so its nice having some good company on such a long trip. The travel over ended up being just shy of 24 hours from door to door but it was easy enough. I’ve gotten pretty good at using travel days as sort of “off days” where I just switch off and recovery both mentally and physically. I’ve been up the walls lately between work, training, and I’m slightly (only slightly I swear mom..) drowning in college work so the day off was no harm.

We are staying a couple hundred meters from the race venue so we’ve had a good look at the bike and run course. The bike is 3x6k laps around a rowing lake with a total elevation gain of about 10 meters so I would guess average speeds will be close to 46k an hour if it goes full gas. The run is flat too so I would say that it will be fast, but I doubt it. Tomorrow is supposed to be around the 33 degree mark and 90% humidity (with a “real feel” of 38 degrees) and I can tell you from experience trying to run fast in these conditions is absolutely brutal. I generally deal with these conditions well so I’m optimistic and hopeful of a hotter rather than colder day.

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The water quality is “below acceptable standards” so the decision has literally just been made that it’s going to be a duathlon of 2.5k/18k/5k. Its a bit of a nuisance really, I came here for a triathlon and that’s what I wanted. But, its out of my control now so I’m going to race the same way regardless, as hard as I bloody can. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

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For the number nerds:

So how’s my own training been? I’ll give you a comparison of a couple of sessions I’ve done recently vs some I did before I started my season back in March. As I’ racing in Ecuador next week, and I expect that to be a triathlon I’ll include some swim info too.

8th March: Race Pace Swim

M/s:

2x
2 x 50 Breakout Speed (Fast) off 75
200 (750 Race Pace) off 3.30
2 x 100 FAST Back End off 1.50
400 easy swim recovery off 7mins

Set 1 with wet-suit

50s in 28.5

200 in 2:14

2×100 in 1:05.4

set 2 without wet-suit

50s in 31.2 200 in 2:27

2×100 in 1:11

This was a pretty solid swim looking back on it. Here’s one I did recently to compare.

20th September: Threshold swim

4 x 100 @ RP off 95
4 x 50 Free off 45
3 x 100 @ RP off 95
4 x 50 Free off 45
2 x 100 @ RP off 95
4 x 50 Free off 45
1 x 100 @ RP off 95
4 x 50 Free off 45

For this one I averaged 1:12/13s for the 100s and 38s for the 50s. Again a solid set but nothing special.

Both of the above sets were in the long course pool, I did the below set on Monday at my home pool in Nenagh so it was short course.

32 x 50 as

1 on/3 off x2

1 on/1 off x4

3 on/1 off x2

8 on

My sister was working so I got her to time me for these which was pretty handy. Averaged 31.7s for the on ones and 40-42 for the off ones. Solid for me.

Onto the bike…

13th March: Progressive bike

3 x 2 min Strong (threshold) with 2 min recovery

Rep 1 = 357 watts. Rep 2 = 373 watts, Rep 3 = 351 watts

10 min easy spinning

3 x 1 min high threshold (Vo2 Max) with 1 min recovery

Rep 1 = 409 watts. Rep 2 = 455 watts, Rep 3 = 469 watts

10 min easy spinning

3 x 30 sec strong (Hard but not max) with 1 min easy

Rep 1 = 541 watts. Rep 2 = 514  watts, Rep 3 = 543 watts

Did this one out on the road so the watts are higher outside, and I remember feeling pretty good doing this.

7th March: Track Session

3×800 w/2 min rest in 2:27, 23, 22
6×400 w/90 sec rest in 68-70
5×200 w/60 sec rest in 32

Pretty straightforward run set.

I’ve been doing mostly brick sessions lately so I’ll just stick up the data for one of them instead of a separate bike/run. These sessions have been done on the turbo and then transition onto the 400m outdoor track in UL. The facilities at UL Arena are brilliant for this kind of work. I generally find my watts on the turbo are about 40 watts lower for the same heart rate as a comparison.

13th September: Brutal Brick

12 Mins High Tempo Averaging 276 watts – 1km Race pace run in 2:52

8 Mins Threshold averaging 293 watts  – 1.5km RP run in 4:23

4 Mins Max averaging 326 watts – 2km RP in 6:08 (oh man did I die…)

About 8 min recovery between sets.

My bike numbers have gone up considerably in the last 4 weeks since I did that session. We did the course bike reccee this morning and I did a little sprint and hit a peak 5 second power output of 1202 watts so I’m literally in the shape of my life. Now to just go prove it.

All of the above sets are from my coach Aaron O’Brien at nlcoaching.ie so a big shout out to him for all the help this year! Hit us up at NLC if you’re up for a big season in 2019!

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Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the little insight into training.

Daz

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Sorry, I’ve been busy

As always seems to be the case, I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks at this stage. I’ve had a lot going on as usual! I’m more consistent at posting on Facebook/Instagram/twitter so keep up with me there if your keen 🙂

My last blog post was after the Lanesborough Super Series race so I’ll just throw up a paragraph on anything noteworthy I’ve been up to since then!

Tartu European Sprint Distance Championships

This was my first European Senior Champs so I was pretty keen on a good result. The swim in Tartu is complete lunacy. There’s 2 180 degree turns in the middle of a fast flowing river so its pretty biased. Either way I swam a bit crap and got out with not many bikes left in transition. Bike legs felt solid enough and had the 3rd quickest bike split of the day to head into T2 a few seconds behind front pack. I ran as hard as I could but I was pretty cooked from the bike and finished up in 27th. At the time I was pretty annoyed, and being honest I still wish I had ended up top 20. The race was a couple of weeks ago now so after some reflection a top 30 was a solid result on the day.

(Here’s the Training Peaks file from this one

http://home.trainingpeaks.com/athlete/workout/SJEP2SGJHBYC64CG4HBYXE6RFI)

 

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Challenge Prague 70.3

The following week I made the trip to Prague as part of a mid season break that was anything but time off. A group of my friends decided to enter challenge Prague and then stay for a few days after as part of a little city holiday. I hadn’t anything planned that weekend so by the end of March it had all been booked. I then ended up doing the bike as part of a relay with Michelle and Roisin for a bit of a laugh. In terms of a race, I ended up doing the first lap of two at tempo effort then just spun around for the second lap with a near dead Jack Malloy. Rolled through the first lap in 68 minutes for 45k which was solid being on a road bike. Enjoyed a few relaxed days post race before travelling home for a day.

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Malmo ETU Cup

I don’t really have much to say about this one. I picked up a bit of a bug on the trip home from Prague on the Tuesday and flew to Malmo on the Thursday. By the time race morning came around I felt pretty crap but stayed positive. After about 100 meters of the swim I thought my stomach was going to fall out of me. I kept the head down and swam hard to the end. There weren’t too many bikes left in transition once again so I knew I needed to bike well but ended up hanging on for dear life for the bike. Ran with my eyes closed for most of it just trying to get to the line. Chalk it down as one of those days I suppose.

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Glasgow European Olympic Distance Championships

Firstly I want to say thanks to everyone who messaged or text me and anyone who put the time aside to sit down and watch this race. The support for it was overwhelming and it was a special race for me. It was my first time in what was essentially a World Series start list and it was damn hard. I was still pretty worried because I was still a bit chesty from whatever bug I had picked up the week before but I just ignored it as best I could, I was going to race either way! I swam okay for the first lap exiting just at the back of the main pack but completely and utterly explode on the second lap. I think I just didn’t have the training done in the 2 months before it to get through the 1500 swim. I recognized the 2 guys that were getting dropped with me and knew they were uber bikers so I just settled into it since I’d already lost touch with the pack.

Once we hopped onto the bikes my legs felt pretty class and we just got straight to work. Between the 3 of us we managed to catch 30 guys by the end of the spin so it was a solid shift on two wheels. Running out of T2 the legs felt fresh but that was short lived. I’ve been struggling a bit with getting enough energy in on the bike without cramping on the run and made a mess of it. Pretty sure I bonked about 500 meters into the run and ran like a donkey for the remaining 9.5k. I ran as hard as I could regardless but it was pretty crap watching lads I’ve raced all year running their way into good results and me out the back wobbling around the road.

A serious amount of lessons learned at it. Although the reality is I got my ass handed to me on the day, I confirmed it to myself I can be competitive at WTS level, its just going to take another year or two. I’m having fun working my way to the top so I’m excited by the future.

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Karlovy Vary World Cup

I had certain expectations about this one. I gave myself three weeks from Glasgow to get ready for the race and Con had been there before and he warned me about how hard the bike course was. After biking well in Glasgow I spent the three weeks working on my swim and run hitting some pretty solid run work in particular. I genuinely cant begin to explain how damn hard that bike course was. It made Kilkee look like a dutch canal. (Here’s the power file – http://tpks.ws/A2BV7HNOYZSRZ6JPRJEBFGVYUQ)

I did manage to swim better in this one. I got to around 1200 meters in the pack but I was still short on some fitness and struggled over the last 300. I got out just on one of the swedes feet and knew I needed to get onto his wheel. I missed it by a single second. One second cost me around two minutes because I ended up in the wrong group. In all honesty I didn’t feel great on the bike so I’m not sure I would have been able to hang onto that group anyway. Again I ran a bit like a donkey, it’s going to take a solid winter to get the aerobic base up to the next level to handle the Olympic Distance ITU racing. Good banter.

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Whats up now?

Since Karlovy I’ve moved back into Limerick full time. I’m in final year of college (psychology and law) and with my Final Year Project and general college stuff its looking like a tough semester.

I’ve officially started my coaching career with Next Level Coaching!! NLC is run by my current coach Aaron O’Brien. I’ve known Aaron for years at this stage so its been a pretty cool experience learning from him. If you want to check out what we can offer you can throw me a message or check out the website! https://www.nlcoaching.ie/  🙂

I’ve also become the head coach of my home club Nenagh Tri. Pretty excited about this one because I can finally give something back to the club for the incredible help they have given me over the years. Thankfully because of all of this I’m only lifeguarding between 15 and 20 hours a week which is a good bit more manageable than 30+ hours at the pool.

Whats up next?

I suppose my mam will end up reading this so I’m gonna say first up is getting started on my final year project and getting my college work organised. The reality is I’m planning on racing a world cup in Florida on the 13th of October and another one the following week in Ecuador. They are both sprint distance races so I’ve basically just been smashing myself in training since there isn’t much need to focus on extended aerobic work with just two sprint distance races left before I take a break.

So there ya have it, a not so short summary of what I’ve been at lately. I’ll put up something before the race in Florida with some training stats and whatnot for my fellow number nerds 😉

Fair play to you if you made it this far, I applaud you.

Thanks for reading,

Daz

Saturdays are for the boys

Made the little trip up to Longford on Saturday for the second round of the 2018 Super Series. With the way my race calendar is going I wasn’t sure I would manage to get any domestic racing done but the guys in Lanesboro always put on a fantastic event so I couldn’t say no!

I did sit out Olympic distance national champs the week before which was a really hard decision, but I simply couldn’t manage 11 races in 11 weeks. Fair play to everyone who raced though, it sounded like a hellish day.

I had my mam for company for the day. Since I’m focusing on ITU racing this year my parents haven’t really got a chance to see me race so it was nice to have her around. The morning was pretty uneventful until the race briefing (Super Series had a separate briefing). All was standard here until Head TO Eamon Tilley casually slipped into the briefing that it was a non-wetsuit swim. I wont lie, I basically exploded in laughter at the look of shock on peoples faces. The room went silent until Ross Higgins stuck his hand in the air and politely asked “sorry, could you repeat that please” which sent me further into a fit of giggles. Having done 5 non wetsuit races in June alone I’m pretty used to them now so it didn’t matter to me, but I did feel a bit bad for those that were panicking about it.

I’ve been racing mostly the same group of lads for years now and I’ve raced in Lanesborough 4 times (I think) so it was nice to be back somewhere familiar and really enjoy the racing experience of the Super Series.

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Photo courtesy of @Stephen Kelleghan

Eamon was pretty clear that any false starts in the swim would be penalized, but that didn’t stop most of the guys on my right from jumping the gun. Standard I suppose 😛 I started beside Cillian Tierney and James Walton who I expected to be up at the front of the swim. I actually swam too close to Cillian’s lanky arms at one point and got my goggles knocked off but I got them back on quick enough so no damage done. I didn’t feel like we went out very fast and this was proved true when I got swam over countless times at the first buoy. There was more guys there than I was hoping for but soon after Cillian and Kieran Jackson put the foot down a bit and strung the field out.

Kieran decided to take us on a little detour but otherwise the swim went well, I sat on the feet and got out feeling fresh. Kieran pushed a fast pace through transition and got maybe a 3 meter gap on myself, Cillian, James and Sabian. I managed to ace the mount line getting both feet into my shoes before snapping my elastics. As the lads were busy getting their feet into their shoes over the first 200 meters I jumped around Cillian and up to Kieran and we stuck the heads down for a few minutes. Myself and Kieran basically did a 2 man time trial for the whole 20k and got a gap of a minute by the end over the lads. Pretty solid bike ride!

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Heading out onto the run and I felt a little sluggish so I wanted to make Kieran take the lead and drag me to the turn around to give my legs a bit of time to wake up. I led out of T2 and then slowed down hoping he would overtake me, which he didn’t. I slowed down more and started breathing really heavy hoping he would hit the front, still nope. I slowed down again and what did the fecker do? He attacked me! Took off sprinting haha. We had a good laugh about it after the race in fairness. I managed to catch up a minute later and we ran side by side until the 4k mark. We were both taking turns surging and slowing so it was a tactical run.

Having trained with Kieran for years I wasn’t keen on waiting for a sprint so I threw all my eggs in one basket at the 1k to go sign and managed to open a little gap which I held to the finish. Probably the closest finish there has been in the Super Series on the mens side anyway. Always cool to be part of an exciting race and now that Kieran is back on form I’m sure there will be plenty more.

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Photo courtesy of @Gordon Thomson

Big shoutout to Colm, Sean and Lanesboro Tri Club for once again setting the standard high for organizing a Super Series race + National Series race.

It was also my first race since I’ve started using the Kinetica products. I’ve had lots of problems lately with cramping during the run segment of races so I switched it up and used the kinetica caramel and oats energy bar in the build up to the race, alongside the Berry Electro C tablets. Running 16:04 in a tactical run shows things went well!

Now I better get ready to head to my race briefing here in Estonia for Fridays European Sprint Distance Championships.

Happy training

Daz

 

Wuustwezel + Holten ETU Cups

After Antwerp I was pretty much dead for 2 days. I don’t remember doing anything other than sleeping. I was a bit nervous because I had a lot of people telling me that 5 races in 5 weeks was way too much, but I felt I’d be fine. Once I got to Wednesday though I felt pretty good again and ready to rock for race number 4.

Wuustwezel is a little Belgian town to the north of Antwerp so it was just a short drive from where I was staying. It’s the hometown of Marten Van Riel who is currently 19th on the ITU World Rankings so there was a cool buzz around the place since he was racing. It ended up being a very high-quality race at the top with a lot of Americans, kiwis and Aussies based in Europe making the short trip to race.

he race itself was based around the town centre with an 8pm start time! I found the swim a bit hard because the sun was pretty low at this stage so I couldn’t really see where I was going. Running through transition and seeing the place nearly empty is generally an absolute disaster but I was with one of my Belgian friends called Tim who is an Uber biker so I was confident we could bike through a few groups. We ended up with the two fastest bike splits of the day after biking ourselves up to the front of the race.

The run was three loops around the town centre again and there was a big crowd out at this stage after Belgium won their World Cup game. I felt I ran pretty strong and I managed to pass 3 or 4 guys in the sprint which doesn’t usually happen me so I was happy with that. The fact that I ran 16:14 for 5.28k (=15:20 for 5k) and ended up 14th shows the standard we have to compete with when racing abroad!

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LAST STOP – HOLLAND

From here I ended up moving to Holland for the last week of my trip with two of the guys from New Zealand. We moved to Holten which is where my final race was. It was my fourth year in a row in Holten but my first time actually exploring the place. It ended up being a perfect location with run trails and a pool on site and a forest with some climbing a short spin away. The guys are really chill so it was a really good week of training.

Long story short, I had a really good start at the swim this time, and then proceeded to implode and then explode over the course of the next 200 meters. Woops. Thankfully I held it together somewhat ended up 20th out of the water which is a new PB position, and I was with a couple of good bikers so we caught up to the little group ahead quick enough and then it was just a case of waiting for the run.

I left T2 mid pack and had a really strong first kilometre to move up nicely. From there I was running with one of the guys I had trained with in Leeds from Bermuda and some Italian guy fighting for 10th place. I gave it absolutely everything I had to get 10th. It would be nice to come home with a top 10 and a little bit of prize money but it wasn’t to be. Still chuffed with 12th, my best ITU result to date. I put a good swim-bike-run together so it’s a race I can be proud of no matter where I finished.

Holten is a premium race, so a step above continental cups but below world cups, which meant there were more points on offer for it. After my trip I’m now ranked 229th on the World rankings and 6th on the domestic European rankings. It was a really successful trip and I enjoyed every second of it.

UP NEXT

Up next for me is another block of 5 races in 5 weeks, starting this weekend in Lanesborough at the Super Series race before heading to Estonia for my first Senior European Championships! A big thanks to everyone who has and still is making my season possible, Triathlon Ireland, Nenagh Triathlon Club, Kinetica Sports, The University of Limerick, my training group in Limerick and countless others.

Happy racing,
Daz

Weert and Antwerp Race Report

So, after Cagliari I flew to Amsterdam and stayed with my auntie and cousins for the night. My cousin offered to drive me over to Mechelen in Belgium, which is where I have stayed since. It worked out really well because it broke up my travel and I managed to recover pretty well after Cagliari with less travel stress.

The group here in Mechelen is really cool. Thomas Steurbaut is head coach of ‘Squadra’, a professional triathlon team modelled like a professional bike team. They have full time athletes, coaches, mechanics and physios. It’s been really eye opening seeing how they operate. The team have bike sponsors, nutrition, clothing, etc just like a bike team which is something I didn’t know existed in the triathlon world outside of the French Grand Prix system. The guys in the squad mainly race ITU stuff so I’ve basically been travelling with the same bunch of guys since Cagliari, which has been really nice. I’m living with a guy from New Zealand in a homestay near the city centre, so the trip has worked out pretty well for us both!

Training has been basically all easy to be honest. Since I’m racing 5 ITU/ETU races in 5 weeks there’s very little in terms of training that can be done in between races. It’s simply just a case of maintaining the aerobic fitness I have while using the races to improve my performance each week. So, after I got set up in Mechelen it was 4 easy days before heading over to Weert in the Netherlands for the race briefing. I linked up with fellow Irish athlete Ailbhe Carroll there and stayed with her the night before the race. It had been a while since I’d seen Ailbhe so it was nice to have a catch up. Brian Glynn was also racing so I had some company on race day!

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The swim is 2x750m swim laps with a beach start. It took me a good while to warm up into the race so I spent most of the swim chasing and just managed to bridge onto the back of the pack at the end of the second lap. A couple of gaps on the bike meant I had to chase hard to get into front pack but made my way safely over to it after about five kilometres. More guys came from behind to make a front pack of about 60 guys.

The bike course is essentially six laps going down one side of a canal, across a bridge and back down the other side of the canal. About as flat and straight as you could possibly make a bike course. We averaged 44kph but my Normalized Power for the bike was 259 watts which tells you pretty quickly that nobody was willing to do much work on the bike.

The run was 4 laps with a couple of technical bits but very flat again. I got off the bike towards the back of the group so it took a while to get moving past people but I tried to run a negative split and eventually moved up to 13th place. My best senior international result so far and my fastest 10k off the bike (32:25) so all in all it was a good day out! Ailbhe got unlucky with a puncture and Brian managed to go so hard he suffered a nice dose of heat exhaustion but they both have plenty of races left this season.

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From Weert it was back to Belgium for another couple of easy days. We hit some intensity in the pool and on the bike midweek to keep the engines turned on but again mostly just steady miles. Mechelen is about 25 minutes away from Antwerp so it was just a quick trip up the road to last weekend’s Antwerp ITU World Cup. This was my second World Cup so I felt more confident in myself and I knew I could hold my own on dry land. I was still a bit nervous about the swim as it’s usually where I get smashed.

Towards the end of last year, I kept getting obliterated in the swim in ITU races and I was beginning to doubt myself, but after last weekend the fear of being dropped in the swim has been removed from my mind completely. I started on the very far right (I didn’t really have a choice with this because I was ranked nearly last), beside Chris Mintern. Chris had a really good start and flew off. I decided to stick to the guy on my left and go at a pace I could handle. I got on some good feet and swam steady in the group for the rest of it. I got out beside Casper Stornes, who won WTS Bermuda, and 20 seconds down on Marten Van Riel who was first out of the water. Holding my own with these guys in the water is something I have never done before but something I feel I can do consistently now that I have the confidence from last weekend.

The bike course was 22.4k with over half of it on rough cobblestones and technical sections through transition. It was a super exciting bike course and an experience I won’t forget anytime soon. Leaving T1, I got onto the wheel of Jelle Geens and knew he would bring me up to the front pack, and thankfully I was right. We bridged up to the leaders after about four km. Once I got settled into the pack and had time to have a look at the names I knew I was on a good day. Seeing names like Van Riel, Jeens, Mislawchauck and other World Cup winners and Olympians was a cool feeling. It was made even better after being joined by another Irish guy once Con Doherty managed to bridge across with Kyle Smith (the Kiwi guy I’m living with) on the second lap. Con actually shouted “yeah boyyyy” at me when he caught on which was pretty funny.

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We worked pretty well as a group. I felt really comfortable for the first 15k on the bike and even took the 2k technical section through transition in the lead on the third lap. Going onto the last lap though, I got caught behind one of the Americans who dropped the wheel and left me chasing for the next two minutes. It pushed me into the red a little but I got back on okay and got settled before heading back to T2. (You can check out my power file from the bike course here https://t.co/HnfvianyeB).

Leaving T2 with the pack was short lived. I had some bad stomach cramps which pretty much ruined my day. Absolutely gutted to ruin such a good opportunity for a good result but there was nothing I could do. Big shoutout to Con for nailing his own race and bumping his world ranking even closer to the top 100! And to Chris and Ailbhe who fought all the way to the line in one of the toughest races of the year.

Up next for me is Wuustwezel ETU Cup this weekend in Belgium. Next week I’m racing a premium ETU Cup in the Netherlands before I fly home for a few weeks. I’m ranked 33rd this weekend so I’m slowly climbing up the ITU rankings. After my run in Weert and Swim/Bike in Antwerp its about time I put a race together, and I know if I do I’ll be up at the pointy end of the race so that’s what I’m hoping for over the next two weeks.

Thanks to everyone for the support so far 😊 I’ll have another blog post up in two weeks but you can keep up with me on my social media channels in the meantime.

Thanks for reading, Daz.

Cagliari ITU World Cup

Myself and Con Doherty flew out to Italy together on Wednesday morning. Con was his usual relaxed self while I was a bit keener on getting to the airport with plenty of time to spare. In this case I should have trusted Con as we were in no panic in the end. First up was the short trip over to London before flying from Heathrow to Cagliari, Sardinia.

                We bumped into TI Technical Official Karl Vekins as we waited for our bags in Italy which was a nice surprise. It was cool to have what felt like home support over the weekend. ITU organised the transfers so we found our way to the Air B+B without any hassle. It was a really neat little third story loft up one of the side streets near the town centre. Good job Con.

The race course looped around the town centre a few times, and as it’s such a busy town they couldn’t close the roads until race day which meant there was no official course recce. We decided to head out and have a look at the course ourselves and one thing I learned quick enough is that Italian drivers are lunatics. Road safety didn’t seem to be much of a priority to them! Few sketchy moments but I suppose nothing out of the ordinary these days.

Race briefing was a nice relaxed affair Thursday evening and the swim recce was simple enough, out for 325m, across for 100, back for 325. There was an unofficial bike recce Saturday morning before the race but it was a bit of a shambles as everyone just went off in little groups and did their own thing which I found to be pretty funny, much to the dismay of the organisers. The run course was the same as the bike with a shorter out and back section so it was all pretty close together.

Our race kicked off at half two so after the bike recce at 9 we just chilled for the morning. I actually got pretty nervous which is pretty unusual for me. We headed down to the athletes lounge at 12 and once I saw all the other lads my nerves settled. I’ve raced a lot of these guys over the years so I knew what to expect. The water temperature was 23 degrees so no chance of using my new Zone 3 Vanquish but swimming in saltwater usually makes you more buoyant anyway so I wasn’t too worried about it.

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Little pre race help from Russell Whites coach Ian O’Brien

I felt pretty solid during my swim warm up and for the first time all day I was actually looking forward to the race. A quick Hi-5 with Con and then we went off into the line-up. I was 2nd last onto the pontoon so just went into the first spot I could find which was bang in the middle. With the first buoy being so far out I didn’t worry too much about it. The announcer called sixty seconds to go, which was then followed by Alex Yee who was beside me shouting “hey look a dolphin”. Less than a minute to go before a World Cup and everyone looking up to see a random dolphin, not a moment I’ll forget. Its weird how relaxed everyone was at the start. At European Cup level you get a lot of guys who might never get the chance to race an ITU event again so things are more edgy. At World Cup level it seemed like everyone who was there knew what they were doing and were experienced triathletes. Everyone had a job to do and just went about it.

I nailed my swim start, the photos show I was one of the first to hit the water and I got clean water for the first 50 meters which has never happened me before. I hopped onto one of the Danish guys hip and had a look around. I could see no one had really broken away and it was all still together. From then on, I just settled into the pack and swam as efficiently as possible. It was the first time I got out of the water with a heart rate of anything less than max which let me pass a few guys on the run into transition. There were a couple of guys ranked together that I usually get out of the water with and they hadn’t reached their bikes as I was running past them so I knew I had put down a good swim. I could have done with being 5 or 6 seconds ahead in the water for comfort but a lot of the guys around me made front pack so for the first time in my career my swim put me in front pack.

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If you can spot my green arse over by number 33 there…

Here’s where I made a mess of things. The bike course is technical for the first 500m, then goes up a 10% climb for 800m. I was too slow getting through the technical bit because I spent a fraction too long getting my feet strapped in before the climb. Every time I move up a level of racing it gets less forgiving with mistakes. I probably lost no more than 2 seconds before the bottom of the hill, but it meant I just missed front pack. I could see them for the next 8k where I was still 5 seconds off. I made a call when I was so close that I would just keep rolling with the group I was in on the flat technical part and hope we bridged up on the hill. It ended up being a bad call as we ended up losing a minute to front pack over the next 3 laps. Hindsight says I should have smashed the flat bit and tried to hang on up the hill. Experience at these races is invaluable and it’s a decision I will make differently next time I’m in that situation. It was a cool experience passing Dimitry Polansky around one of the corners like he was crawling though.

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Into T2, shoes on and out the gap. The run goes straight up the hill for two 2.5k laps. I knew I was struggling from the off because I was simply smashed after the bike. Running up a hill that steep after such a hard bike is something you can’t replicate in Ireland. It was a different kind of suffering to normal. Running through fatigue instead of running through lactic. I ended up running a few meters behind Con the whole way around and just hanging on really. We both ran 16:37, which would put you on the podium in virtually every domestic race at home, whereas it left us with the 37th quickest run splits of the day. A pretty humbling statistic.

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My face when I realize its gonna be a long 5k.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the swim, and I think there’s still room to improve with it. My bike/run let me down a bit but I know with a bit more time as the season goes on they will come back around. For now, I’m on a flight to Amsterdam before heading to Belgium tomorrow where I will base myself for the next month. I head to the Netherlands again on Friday for an ETU Cup before back to Belgium for another World Cup. Hopefully then two more European Cups before flying home for National Champs in the start of July! It’s a packed month but I need to get my ITU ranking up so I’m looking forward to it. I managed to get some Olympic Qualification points over the weekend, and although its only pennies in a world of millions it’s nice to be on the list. Something to build on.

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Inseparable all weekend

Thanks for reading

Daz

 

So all you do is race yeah?

Contrary to popular belief I do actually do things other than race, like talk about triathlon, train for triathlon, think about triathlon, watch triathlon, dream about triathlon and write about triathlon. Something I’ve completely neglected on this blog is all of these other fascinating and riveting aspects of my life that have no link to racing whatsoever. Hmm, better fix that.

So here’s the craic (Be warned, this part is about racing, sorry). College exams finished, what to do with the summer? Where to go? A sure will I chance my arm and see can I get an entry into a World Cup? Yeah, go on sure! Oh wait, if I get an entry to that I might as well stay in Europe and do the European Cup the week after, ask for that one too. Hey hang on, there’s another three races around Europe in June, how many can I get to? Will I do all 5? No no don’t be doing that now, just do 4. Yeah 4 sounds like a good idea lets do that. Grand job that looks cool. Right lets go ask Tri Ireland can I get entries.

↑↑↑ All these notions happened in the space of 7 minutes. A single positive mood and a bit of confident optimism and now I’m doing 4 international races in June in what will be my biggest block of ITU racing to date. Good banter. So the plan for June goes something like this: 5 weeks, 4 races, 3 countries, 2 wheels and 1 objective, results. Simples.

Thankfully with a bit of luck the trip is starting to come together somewhat. Shoutout to Aaron O’Brien for putting me in contact with one of his Belgian friends who has a girlfriend who works with a girl who has a spare room for me to crash in for the month for cheap. He also happens to coach a group of Belgian athletes who race ITU full time so its the ideal setup for a month as they will all be doing the same races as me. Better go read my book on how to make friends again. Not even going to pretend like I’m going to learn Belgian, its not going to happen, end of story.

So this is the outline for the month!

May 30th – Fly Dublin to London
Fly London to Cagliari

June 2nd – Cagliari ITU Triathlon World Cup (Sprint)

June 3rd – Cagliari to Amsterdam (stay with my Auntie for a night)

June 4th – Train from Amsterdam to Brussels
Train from Brussels to my home-stay

June 8th – Train from Belgium to Weert in Holland

June 10th – Weert ETU Triathlon European Cup (Olympic)

June 11th – Train from Weert back to Home-stay

June 23rd – Wuustwezel ETU Triathlon European Cup (sprint) (Belgium)

June 28th – Train from Brussels to Amsterdam
Train from Amsterdam to Holten

June 30th – Holten ETU Triathlon Premium European Cup (sprint)

July 1st – Train from Holten to Amsterdam

July 3rd – Fly Amsterdam to Dublin and back home to Limerick

As of now I’ve only booked the first flight to get me to Italy and paid for an Air B&B there for 3 days. Not sure how I plan to pay for the rest of the trip yet but I’ve the home-stay sorted and the entries gotten so I know its happening and that’s all I care about. The rest of it is tomorrows problem really. All I know for a fact is I will be racing my first world cup in Italy in 13 days and that’s all I’m focused on. I’ve never been much of a risk taker, not really in my personality description. I have essentially now booked a one way trip to Europe and have yet to figure out how to get anywhere after the first three days, something I feel like is a big risk. And its about time I did something mad. It’ll be great craic and I’m buzzing.

In regards to the first paragraph, since I’ll be travelling so much I promise (pinky and all) that I’ll start doing some blogs that aren’t race related. Whether its training philosophies, my up and coming singing career or top tips on how to avoid face-planting during a handstand (yet to figure that one out actually…) just be ready, the blog is back.

Cheers
Daz

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When summer finally comes around