Tri the Hook: Rain, Pain and Runner Up again.

2 CommentsTuesday, 20 August 2013  |  Admin
Tri the Hook: Rain, Pain and Podium Again

I think we all had been prepared somewhat for rain on Saturday thanks to the well advanced warnings from Jean and co. at RTE.  Still, the strong winds and rain that greeted us as we arrived at registration for Tri the Hook were unexpected.  Hook Head/Fethard on Sea in Co. Wexford was the grounds for the tough battle between me and the weather gods.

After a short drive from registration to the designated parking we were told we had a further 1k to walk/cycle to transition.  Unfortunate for us transition was in the middle of a field at the edge of a cliff-(Hook Head), and a good ten mins walk from the car and any worthwhile shelter. After attempts to rack my bike without it swaying or falling off the rail I opted to rack by the handle bars, a first for me. It was too wet and windy to set up the usual gear so I tried to keep everything dry in my amphabia bag. The trip from the car to transition had been frantic trying to avoid the rain and move quickly with all the gear and the bike that I didn’t get to take in any of the route or where we were at. I should have known it was going to be a bad day then when the tail of my Kask helmet got caught in my spokes and cracked; still useable thankfully.  It was too wet to explore transition and on spotting the two portaloos I decided I would get there before the que and take refuge under a tree until closer to the start time. 

I stepped into the portaloo A and as I thought it was swaying a bit I decided to abandon and try B. I was more aware at this stage that the race organisers had placed both the portaloo up on a hill in the middle of the field with the winds blowing hard. Thinking B was somewhat sheltered I stepped inside. Now portaloos are bad in normal circumstances, but imagine stuck in the little blue box (with all the other stuff in there) with the winds blowing a gale in the middle of a field at the edge of a cliff.   Quickly realising my predicament I jumped out… one second later A fell over on top of B.  I had escaped being crushed in a portaloo by another portaloo by a matter of seconds.  Two other people outside weighing up their options had been equally as lucky as me.  I pity anyone who attempted to use later after the organisers had put back upright, I guess they were not so lucky!!!

Anyway, rain and winds aside and my near squashing by a portaloo I had to get ready for race start. I decided I would wear my cycle jersey on the bike as it was still too cold for my liking, so I placed it in my amphabia bag along with my runners beside by bike. Wave 1 was males under 40 and relays and I was in wave 2 with the other females and males over 40.  The swim went OK; I swam most of it on my own as we were all very spread out. I tried not to get too concerned with having no one to draft and swam as best as I could (swim 9mins 17 sec – more 600 meters than 750 meters). The exit to T1 was a long run uphill (again transition in a field at the edge of the cliff). I passed one or two females and on entering T1 I could see I was third or maybe second female. I tried to quickly put on my jersey which was hard with freezing wet hands (T1 – 1min 15 sec).

The rain had stopped thankfully by time we were on the bike. The winds though were still strong and after a few minutes I felt that my 60mm front wheel was not the best, in hindsight I should have used my training wheels.  I cycled the first 6 or 7 k on the base bar as between the poor road surface and winds it was not comfortable on the tri bars.  Abruptly I came to the first left turn of the 20k loop.  There was one female marshal directing us left however there was also an oncoming car indicating to take the left onto the same road. I was unable to take the turn wide without hitting the car so in a split second I choose to pull both brakes to try take it sharp. Although I fell fast, I could see myself going to ground, and instinctively put my left arm out to block my fall.  Initially feeling foolish I tried to quickly get back on my bike. I had to fix my chain first as it had come stuck between the crank and derailleur and next re adjust my helmet which I had hit off the road on impact.  I also noticed my jersey was marked and was concerned that I may have ripped it but also thinking it protected my skin from the full effects of the fall.

I managed to cycle a few meters before the pain in my arm and leg stooped me. Feeling very sorry for myself and thinking I couldn’t cycle much further I turned around to head back to the finish in the opposite direction.  I was passed by many including a few females.  Slowly making my way back, disappointment was all I felt; thinking about Galway 70.3 which I had raced for the most part with a broken hand, and, that even then, I didn’t DNF.  Believing I was just cut and bruised I decided to give it a go and try finish.  After a wobbly cycle in the right direction for a few minutes; I focused on my technique. Although I was still a nervous wreck and was taking every turn, corner and bump very slow I had managed to move back up the field.  Thinking we were coming into T2 I took my feet out of my shoes but I was way too early (lack or pre-race familiarisation with transition to blame) and lost a few places over the last k on the bike (bike – 45 mins 32 sec, closer to 22k than 20k).

Into T2 I felt slower than usual and I was unsure if I was able to run (T2 – 51 sec).  Thankfully all I felt was a little sting on my left side and the usual heavy legs.  I enjoyed most of the run and felt I was moving pretty quickly, passing many; the sun was even starting to shine.  On seeing the 4k mark things started to change; I knew then I had been over zealous, tying to recoup time lost on the bike. I felt so bad that I really thought I would have a DNF with 1k to go on the run. I focused on all the little techniques our coach Peter “shouts” at us during on run session and tried to keep my pace. Thankfully I saw the supporters a few hundred meters ahead, spurred on, I managed to cross the finish line (run – 21 mins 38 sec – 5.5k). 

I was feeling pretty awful. I forced myself to stay upright and get some water. At that point I vowed that I would never do a triathlon again.  After a brief recovery I chatted with some of the other female finishers. I was told that I was in the top three females. I wasn’t too concerned with my result, I was only glad that I finished.  Official results later put me in second place; it was a nice to be rewarded with a podium spot.☺ Unfortunately I didn’t make the prize giving as I was too unwell; hence no pics (Total time – 1hr 18 mins 32 sec).

I not only fought the wind and rain last Saturday, but a battle between my mind to finish and my body to stop.  I know now as I write this blog that I should have listened to my body and called it a day backwhen I fell off my bike. 

Until Hook or By Crook (hopefully I will stay upright)
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