Rachel finishes her season with 4th place at the Dublin City Triathlon
Monday, 25 August 2014 | Admin
Dublin City Triathlon 2014
On Sunday, I rose at 5:25 and set off to Dublin for my last race of the season, the Dublin City Triathlon. The roads were completely quiet as my boyfriend, Eoin, and I got to registration by 7:20. I was off in the second wave at 9:15 so I had plenty of time to prepare my gear and organize my spot in transition. I also had plenty of time to get a little nervous, as I hadn’t done an Olympic race since Hell of the West at the end of June. The race briefing got underway at 8:30 and I pulled my wetsuit on as the first men’s wave got going at 9.
I jumped off the pontoon at around 9:11 and spent a few minutes getting accustomed to the frigid water. We were certainly delighted to get moving when the horn sounded at 9:15. The fastest swimmers bolted off in a small pack that was immediately out of reach. I found myself facing open water for maybe two hundred meters, before another swimmer shot by. I tried to catch her feet but couldn’t hold on. I was very conscious of finding feet sooner rather than later as the course was so long. Luckily, a few minutes later another woman cruised by. I hopped in behind her and worked hard to stay with her throughout the rest of the route. I felt her pulling away a few times but I did my best to stay attached and managed to arrive back at the pontoon on her toes. My 26:27 split put me in 8th place out of the water, possibly my highest finish in the discipline this season. Still, it left around a six-minute gap to the leaders, which I was unable to cut into during the rest of the race.
Wave 2 Swim Start - About to walk the plank
I passed two women in T1 and hit the mount line in 6th place. I have never done a lapped bike course before so DCT was a very different experience. After a few seconds riding on cobbles, I emerged on the smooth roads of Phoenix Park and set about my five laps. I passed two more women within minutes, putting myself in 4th place. The route was quite undulating and involved two sharp left turns following fast descents. There was also a 180-degree turn to negotiate, as well as a collection of bends. I spent the first lap getting my bearings, as I hadn’t had the chance to explore the route before race day. By lap two, I knew which bends I could take on my tri-bars and which required some braking. The course was relatively empty for my first two laps (especially with the roads closed to traffic) but competitors from other waves began filing in after that. It took some bobbing and weaving (and loud calls) towards the end to pass other cyclists, none of who were actually in my wave. I successfully counted my five laps (with confirmation from Eoin), exited the park and arrived back at transition with a 1:11:08 split.
Busy road, but no cars!
The two-lap run course contained a mix of road, trail and grass. I found the surfaces quite draining, as well as the long climb to get back into the park. I focused on controlling my effort and keeping myself steady, particularly since it had been a while since I’d raced 10km. I started in 4th place and finished in 4th place, catching no glimpse of any females in front or behind me. My split of 45:18 wasn’t as fast as I would have hoped but was all I had in me on the day. Realistically, no run performance would have put me on the podium so I was delighted with my finishing position. I drank two cups of Coke (a precaution against the river water) as countless other participants streamed across the finish line. I then strolled back to transition, gathered up my gear and headed for home…
Well, that’s the 2014 season wrapped up. Overall, I am very happy. I feel like I got the finishing position I deserved in pretty much every race, which is rewarding. Obviously, I’d like to finish higher… but for now, I think my performances have accurately reflected my ability, which is all I can ask for. I certainly want to make vast improvements in the future, as I believe I can make gains in all three disciplines. Some days, I think I’m doing great in the pool, while other days swimming feels completely unnatural. The same up-and-down nature applies to cycling and running too. With a multi-discipline sport, it’s hard to juggle everything and be satisfied across the board. Luckily, that gives me plenty to work on. I’m certainly not thinking about that now though. I am going to enjoy some downtime before starting winter training. For me, that means going on holidays to the sunny south of Spain with Eoin and then starting a PhD in UL on September 8th. I will throw in a little laser eye surgery on September 5th as well, just to add some variety.
I would like to thank my parents, Sheila and Damien, for their tireless support and encouragement. Thank you also to my brother, David, who sends good luck messages each week from his new home in London. Special thank you to Eoin, whose presence at every race always puts a smile on my face. I want to say thank you to the members of Limerick Triathlon Club for everything they have done for me throughout the year. Mark Dempsey coached me throughout the winter and Lynne Algar took me on in March (with a brief period with Ed Coughlan)… so thank you to all for your expertise and guidance. Lastly, thank you to SwimCycleRun for their continued support and excellent service.