It’s an honest one, has a couple gradual inclines and rolling thereafter. Some nice fast and straight sections too so a nice course. I did an easy lap and a moderate lap as part of my training followed by a short run.
So race day arrived and nice to get up and be only a few minutes from registration. Arrived and met up with clubmates and set about racking bike. That's us on the left all set!
Transition was on grass and it was wet so tyres were covered in grass – mental note to take it easy first 1k on bike as tyres would be slippy as a result. – was no point drying tyres in transition as you run out with bike on grass anyway so same thing.
Going into this the main name I recognised was Rory Sexton – member of TI Junior Squad and as I mentioned I knew his 400m Swim was 4:30 and 3k Run as 9:10 at the recent Junior day. Those numbers are substantially better than mine so I had my work cut out and needed a strong bike to be in with a chance. I didn’t know anyone else but also knew that didn’t mean anything and chances were another couple of juniors were in it also.
Swim: - 7:34 – 6/163 – recorded as 950m on Garmin but a nice current so who knows.
Into the water and warm up for a couple mins. We were told to hold a line that some had gone passed. I stood up and had to lean backwards to hold myself steady. I smiled. Those that had swam past were now swimming back up and making no head way at all! Nice this looks good to me! Anyway, with us all starting to get further down they started and we were off.
I went straight out to middle of river to try get the best current. I got a gap from the bunch after 100m or so and had 2 fish ahead that I was trying to get close to feet but couldn’t quite. They pulled a little gap on me but not much. I swam a little wide at one stage but corrected early enough so not an issue especially in a river. Towards the end I angled in early to ensure I didn’t miss the steps. It was then I noticed 2 more fish in closer to the bank up ahead. The gap wasn’t as big as I expected so I was happy.
Out of the water in 5th, got a call of 50 seconds down and headed to my bike.
I was a little slow getting wetsuit off but other than that not the worst I felt.
Apparently there was a girl beside me as I was leaving who took some time longer. I know I've time to gain here and the slagging is shave those legs so the wetsuit slips off easier! I'll admit the wetsuit is a bit slow around the lower legs but I'm holding still... for now!
Bike – 29:41 – 1/163
Out onto bike with 2 others beside me and I was curious whether this put me in 8th now or still 5th. Careful mount especially with the wet tyres and into shoes easily. Passed the 2 guys by the second roundabout about 300m in so started putting in the work then. Course has a few turns and then a climb for first few k. No sign of anyone ahead. Head down and more effort but steady as I wanted to push the last 3rd in particular. I caught sight of someone ahead but it took a while to chase him down. I had a chance to ask a marshal what position and got a response 3rd. Ok, great now let’s get moving. I passed 2nd around the half way mark and was motoring nicely now. Got sight of Rory a couple k later and knew I’d have him on the back 3rd section where I wanted to push. The course is a main triangle basically, lots of straight sections, bit of rolling roads and other than the first few km is a nice surface. Bumpy at start. So I caught Rory around the 15k mark and closed in. Passed him with a decent surge and now had the lead motorbike for company. I put the head down, had no idea if Rory was pacing with me but kept up the effort. End of bike is a few turns, and back into transition. Nice to be coming into T2 as first off the bike for a change! I came in with around a 20-30 second lead.
T2 – 1:09 – 37/163
Not the worst however transition wasn’t neutralised. I realised too late at race briefing that it was in 1 corner and out the one beside that. I was at the other end so had a longer T2 to cover and noticed Rory was on the shorter route. 20 seconds lost right there!
Lots of shouts out from friends and family. James as always giving the splits and taking the photo's and Alison as well. Great supporters and club mates. Pretty handy with the camera too... James is rather partial to a bit of black and red artistic look as you can see!
Run – 20:53 3/163
Out onto the run course in the lead, pace feels good, legs feel good. Running at 3:35/3:40 pace and holding it.
Course is challenging, a couple climbs out a long straight and I actually had no idea where the turn point was. I thought it was by the Caravan park but realised we were only 1k or so in so it couldn’t be. Rory caught me just before this point and took the lead.
I held his pace and stayed on his back trying not to pant too hard.
I expected a surge or two here, and he did a couple but I held him and stayed on pace. So right behind him up to the half way marker at 2.8km. Down a narrow road and turn left onto the river bank.
They had warned us about a car down here and sure enough myself and Rory nearly took out it’s mirror! Aid station here and we both got water and splashed the head. He kept looking back so I wasn’t sure was he playing with me or suffering. At this stage I had it in my head to match him and try push the last km- that was the plan anyway!
So at 3km we’re now onto marshland, there’s a grassy riverbank and it was muddy and puddly from the rain. We both slipped and slided here but kept footing. I concentrated on keeping cadence high to minimise foot time on ground. This worked but Rory was better. He got a gap here of 15m before we were onto the footpath section. Ok, a mini surge by me and I’ve closed a little, surge by him and he’s opened gap a little more.
We approach the swim start and I clock the time as 4.8k. Not certain on this but give or take. I try to up the pace here but Rory seems to do also and he has a 20-30m gap now as we approach the finish.
He crosses the line 26 seconds ahead of me and raced well. He’s been training with the Junior squad in Dublin all week and we both went into this race with no taper as a training race. We had a good gap on 3rd and I did look back near the end to double check but no one in sight.
Overall 2/163 - 1:00:21
Run was 5.6km or so, and I averaged 3:43 pace. So a better run from me and I’m learning to suffer. Not an easy course by any means and I’d describe it as a fast swim, honest bike and nice with a little challenging bits run. But a great course all round. If my quick check of the swim start was right that would make the swim near the 950m as per garmin. A nice strong current then!
Strangely official results have my run as 22:xx. Almost like they’ve included the T2 time. I did point this out at prize giving but no change. No harm done. Shockingly I gave away 37 seconds in transitions to the winner.... oh dear! What might have been.
So 2nd overall and my second podium after Focus Ireland last year (3rd). Obviously not quite the standard of NS races but still a good one and a nice training race.
Back in the pool this morning for a 4k+ set. I’ve some hard work ahead for the next month with a couple races included in which I’ll hopefully learn to suffer more on run and get the balance right.
Next up, Galway Aquathon on Saturday, followed by a nice bike course recce (70.3) on Sunday with half the entrants I’d say! Now looking at adding Groomsport to the calendar also. It’s 2 week’s before Galway, but is National Half Ironman Champs and course sounds good. Be nice to get a half in before Galway too
I’d highly recommend the Carrick Sprint. It’s a good honest course all be it with a fast swim. Well organised and no messing around. Good prizes also I got €150 for my 2nd place effort.
A big congrats to Kim Hickey from Pulse who won the female race overall and raced very well.
Off the back of her 2nd place in Athlone sprint last week she's now taken top spot the week after! Fantastic racing Kim.
Well done to Carrick On Suir Triathlon club for hosting a great race and event. Enjoyed by all from what I can gather and has a great reputation for good reason.