Tom reports on his 3rd place at TriAthlone

Wednesday, 9 July 2014  |  Admin

TriAthlone 2014

So, it is time for my first race report as I just competed in Athlone in National Series Sprint Race (750m Swim-20km Cycle-5km Run).  I finished 3rd overall, 50sec behind the winner Rory Sexton.

This race made me realize three things:

1. I may be 33, but I’m racing as well (if not faster) than I did when I was 23!

2. I can still improve a lot

3. I love short distance triathlons (why no super sprint included in NS?)


Preparation: the race week is a bit special as I always use my gut feeling to judge pace and effort  (I don’t use power meter, do not run based on my HR). I had the tempo running session on Wednesday (4x1km/1km) and the rest of the week was used to taper with Friday off.


Before race: we arrived in Athlone with plenty of time to spare,  so no need to rush. Registration was very smooth and just 30 minutes after parking my car I had my bike ready, numbers put on and on my way to transition. I knew I was in 2nd wave and top guys were in 1st. Well, I had no choice but go hard from start to finish.


Transition: the longest I have ever seen and…the most un-fair as well. I had my bike close to the run exit which meant long run with my bike with no shoes on my feet. Talked to Mark and felt sorry for him as his spot was the worst one(first bike in the row). At least he couldn’t miss his bike :D

Showing my fighting spirit


Swim: it went rather swimmingly! I have not been swimming a lot since Athy but I'm still feeling rather fast. Not my best, not the worst swim on the day. It would have been faster if I had somebody else to swim with it. Not sure why everyone in my wave decided to use the middle of the river when going upstream where the current was the strongest?


T1: I pulled on my helmet, grabbed my bike and was out of transition in 1mins 30secs. Lots of running barefoot.


Cycle: Cycling is certainly my strongest discipline so I was aiming to make up some time. It was a bit dangerous due to amount of athletes and the narrow road. My low aero position helped to overcome wind and also my front wheel is stable in cross-winds. I am good bike handler and all the speed bumps, turns did not affect me but the road was just too narrow to have everyone at the same time. Being on my own, not knowing if I make or loose time never helps but I pushed hard and had the fastest time, 32:36. Happy with that and it was rather un-expected.

Looking good in blue

Run: going out on the run I had my wife’s advise in head “everyone in front is your opponent, go get him and get the one in front of him etc…”. Good motivation talk J Anyway,  first 1km in 3:25, I tried to push and keep pace under 3:30 however last km was a drag and lost around 10-15sec. Overall run with no history. 2.5km one way, and back.  I gave everything I had on the day. 17:44 for 5k.

Tomasz Gagola World of Pain Triathlone

Exausted but happy!

Conclusion: I am happy with my performance but some items need to be still improved (I am never happy even when I win J).  Overall great day and it was nice to meet the whole SwimCycleRun gang and compete against Rory and Con.

The race has a great potential but something's that could be improved:

  • Waves based on age in my opinion are wrong (if you want to have them, create extra wave for top guys to battle it out, let us race each other please!),
  • For Safety: Do not start the day with slower athletes, start with the fastest and end with the slowest. It is risky when you over take someone who is cycling 2 times slower,
  • Transition was just un-fair for no reason.

Next race: easy training during the week (tempo run on Wednesday as always) and I should be ready for the National Series  Lanesboro Two Provinces Triathlon.

Special thanks to Andrew Egan for the kind permission to use his photo from the race. More  great photos from Athlone can be found on the Andy Snaps Facebook page.


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