Kevin Thornton closely behind on his feet.
- my first words to coach as I popped in on the way home.
"I just felt flat, couldn't up the intensity". No surprises there then as I haven't been focusing or training for sprints. It's all been about the Vegas 70.3 slot.
This race was a late addition to the calendar, and not a priority but still absolutely a race which for me means going as hard as I can on that day.
Now don't get me wrong, 5th place is a good position but I guess my goals and aims are higher, but it's more about the feeling during the race and of my performance.
Swim: - pic of exit to left (I'm in the background those aren't my guns!)
This was a beach start which was nice for a change and a chance to practice more dolphin dives. Starter horn went and we were all running into the water, very crowded and I didn't get ahead of anyone so entered the water with the big pack. I dolphin dived a few times and each time hit into bodies ahead and around me. Messy, started swimming and made progress through the field. Out to first turn buoy 100m ish and turn left. Few came together as expected at the buoy and then we turned and people started going offline. I sighted more and tried to stay online which meant losing feet. They were maybe 6-10 feet beside me or a bit too much ahead so I kept the effort and tried to catch feet. This didn't happen really and swam mostly on own from that first turn buoy.
Across to the 2nd turn buoy where we took a left again and headed straight for shore.
A few more dolphin dives and I ran for shore to calls of 15th ish and 2.5 mins down on leaders (fish).
Swim time may include a dash up beach into transition.
Garmin did clock it as almost 1k but that includes the beach running and up to transition, so maybe just a little long.
Overall, the swim was nice I must say. Calm waters, beach start, simple and nice course. Really enjoyed it.
Swim - 13:17 - 15/353
Into t1 with wetsuit around waist. Just a short dash to bike and get helmet etc and out to road. A nice small and fast transition area considering over 350 entries.
T1 - :46 - 35/350
Just a normal mount with no heroics. I have picked up a new set of Specialized Trivent bike shoes but haven't quite dialled in the cleat fit and never try something new on race day.
So on and feet in and away we go. Bill McCormack passed me in first 30 secs and I thought of going hard but wanted to hold for first 90 secs before upping intensity then. Bill got a gap of about 20-30m before I picked it up and started to make progress. Bill did pull away a bit from here, I had thoughts of pushing the back straight section anyway so said I'd hope he hadn't got too far ahead to try close down. He's a very strong biker and would have been hard to out split that's for sure. Turns out he punctured early on unfortunately - at least he's off on 2 weeks hols in the sun tomorrow!
So, back to race and I've made up a few places but not sure how many.
Road clears and I can't see anyone ahead, but also know I haven't passed Harris or Thornton yet so they are still way up the road. I catch Andy Kavanagh near end of bike and also Aidan Callaghan right at end and we enter T2 at same time.
Summary of bike would be a reasonable effort but didn't have the intensity level to catch any of the top guys today. I pushed as much as I could thought and made some good progress.
Bike clocked just under the 20k mark - I messed up buttons on watch but on my warm up lap I think it was 19.8k or thereabouts.
Bike - 29:43 - 2/353
Into transition 2 with Aidan Callaghan, bike racked, feet still numb from the cold water but get runners on reasonably fast.
Out then and onto run course just ahead of Aidan.
T2 - :34 - 32/353
Out ahead of run course and told I'm in 4th place.
I can see Brian Harris and Stephen Teeling Lynch up the road maybe 45seconds ish. Aidan Callaghan closes on me and moves ahead. I pace with him for the first 1k but he pulls away then. I try to go with him but struggle and in particular couldn't up pace. It wasn't particularly fast running at 3:45/km pace and this is the pace I've gone out from 70.3 bike's at. Had hopes of 3:30/km pace but legs had other ideas.
Past the 2km marker and saw Kevin Thornton coming against me with a good lead. No one was catching him today.
I did manage to pass Harris just at the turn around and had Teeling Lynch and Callaghan ahead in sights. I also had Alex Grey chasing hard and he came past me with around 2k to go. His stride is so long! I upped my cadence and was probably taking 2 steps to every one he did! Couldn't keep with him and he ran a great split.
Tried again to up pace for a strong finish but felt flat - I did gain on Teeling Lynch but he crossed the line in 4th 10 seconds ahead of me. The top 3 ran much faster and were 30 and 40 seconds ahead.
Kevin Thornton was over 2 mins ahead of 2nd place and raced very well.
For the record - km's went as follows
1st - 3:44, 2nd - 3:56, 3rd - 3:43, 4th - 3:36, and 660m at 3:40/km pace
Distance was short at 4.66km and I averaged 3:44/km pace.
Run - 17:22 - 30/353
Overall - 1:01:45 - 5th Place
A very nice course I must say. Reminded me of Carrick with the nice swim, fast bike loop and then run is different but nonetheless nice. I am biased being a Pulse member, but really enjoyed the race and anyone that did it seemed to also.
A nice dry day helped and closed roads complete with compact but spacious transition area made for an enjoyable race all round.
This was my 2nd Sprint for the National Series and now completes my 2012 NS points requirements.
That will leave me around top 20 overall. A decent improvement from 63rd in 2011 NS rankings. Considering it hasn't been a focus it's still nice to show progress and get some alright results.
Congrats to the winners, - Kevin Thornton and Jennifer Duffy. A nice trophy and plaque for them each to take home as part of their winnings.