Tom Gagola: 2nd at Dublin City Triathlon

Monday, 1 September 2014  |  Admin

My Training leading up to the DCT
The training block in the lead up to the Dublin City Triathlon was one of my strongest I can recall. The problem for me is always the second part of the season, hence I have focused on a solid 4 week build with heavy emphasis on the run, along with higher than normal mileage weeks for the bike. Training in Dublin during the summer might be tricky due to Irish weather but we were lucky and all sessions went as planned. I incorporated extra brick session so now 2 bricks a week.

My build up consisted of (per week):
-          4 swims (approx. 8km)
-          4/5 bikes – long tempo, short tempo, relatively easy and  another short tempo (approx. 170/220km per week)
-          5 runs – hills, tempo run, short brick, long run and longer brick (approx. 55km)

That was 13/14 training sessions per week, nonetheless, no brutally hard workouts as I focused on endurance and just a bit of speed. Overall, I felt well prepared for the Dublin City Triathlon.


Dublin City Triathlon was a special race for me due to two facts:
-  that my dad decided to compete and have his international triathlon debut in Dublin. He came second in 60-65 category and 175 place overall.
- it was my final A race in 2014

It was fantastic to be able to do the race preparation together with my dad, as we used to do for many years back in Poland. Saturday morning we made the trip to Phoenix Park to check outthe bike course. We knew that 5 technical laps might be dangerous when wet. Thankfully good  weather was forecast for race day.
After two reconnaissance laps in park, we cycled home – it helps to live inside 10km from the starting line.
In the afternoon we made another trip to Phoenix Park to take care of registration, have another look at race brief, and visit the small expo. After receiving our goodie bags we decided to walk the run lap. It was great idea to walk look at the run lap and we shortly agreed that the running will be the key part of this race. With an up hill start for 2km and then two laps through fields…it could not any be any more difficult.

By the way – the goodie bag was something special. So many items including a marvellous cycling jacket. Fair play to all in Piranha Tri club for putting it together.

The race had a 9am start which was perfect.  We woke up at 6am, ate our breakfast and headed off to the transition.
Transition opened up at 7:30am, easy to access and very well marked out. The weather was looking good, still a bit chilly at 8AM but the sun started to shine and warm everybody up. With more and more athletes and spectators arriving, the atmosphere was getting electric.

SWIM: I was the first wave, so I was glad there was no waiting around so I could get going immediately so I jumped straight in to the Lify to warm up.  It was a mistake to jump into it so early, I did not expect water to be so cold.. As opposed to warming up, I was cold at the start. Deep water start... Boom! And we were off, the course was up 750m and down 750m and very well marked. Started going hard but was not even close to the speed of Aaron O'Brien and Brian Harris. Swam along in limbo for a while and then quickly decided– go back and swim with  the chase pack and conserve energy - it will be needed later on. Finished my swim inside the pack and after quick T1 went to have some fun in Phoenix Park. Swim time: 20:35 and 10th position out of the water.

Gagola Cycle Dublin City Triathlon

Gagola senior showing how its done!

CYCLE: I expected the bike to be challenging, but this ride was good. The course was absolutely gorgeous….I can honestly say it was the best cycle I can remember. 5 technical laps with some hills, wide roads, nearly no traffic and spectators encouraging athletes to go harder. The crew gave me splits after each lap…it helps a lot. As always first lap was the hardest for me - not knowing if I am making or loosing time on Aaron and Brian who were out in front. I pushed hard but still had the run in mind. On the second lap I finally saw that I put some time on other athletes, overtook Brian and with only Aaron in front I started to have good feeling. It is worth noting that I saw no drafting despite nearly 1000 triathletes cycling at the same time on 8km laps. I finished the cycling part just behind Aaron. Cycle time 1:04:46 but it includes T1 time for some reason. I  had excepted a better time, but it is what it is.

Exausted at the end of the Dublin City TriathlonRUN:
I had a fast transition, and got out onto the run course for a tough 10k. The course was two loops in Phoenix Park and it was tough! Running through fields,  many corners and U-turns on very soft ground. Most definitely not the best course to break your PB but a good test for all athletes. My plan was to give it my all and try to make up some time on Aaron and maintain the time gap over third athlete. It nearly worked, but was not enough. It is a great feeling when there are so many people around the run course shouting support and it must have been the tri-suit as I heard my name so many times from different spectators, thank you for all the support. I finished in 2nd place, 45sec behind the winner (Aaron O'Brien) cramping badly on the last kilometre. No other reason for craps than pure tiredness as due to the soft ground other muscles are involved compared to running on harder surfaces. 37:19 was my run time which was ok and judging by pictures from the finish line I gave it my all, finishing exhausted.

Celebrating with Erdinger was spectacular. I have had a chance to do it before and it was great fun. I then waited for my dad to finish and the day was done. Flushed my stomach with a few litres of coke provided by Piranha and it was time to collect our gear and drive home.

Overall, DCT was a great race and I would happily recommend it to anyone. I gave all I had on the day and held nothing back. My has dad decided to give it a go again next year and fight for the win, I think that's my plan as well. :)




Celebration Dublin City Triathlon Erdinger

Cooling off with some 'recovery' drink!


Thanks to James Shelley/TI Media for getting some pictures. Full set here!

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