Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Athlone 2011 (Irish Sprint Champs)

If anyone was to ask me what my favourite race is; I would have to say Athlone.

I loved the race last year when I raced the Junior Europeans, (even though I crashed on the bike), its just a great course and the atmosphere is brilliant.

One year on and it was now Irish Sprint Champs, I still felt rather sluggish and tired from my awful race the weekend before in Pontevedra (previous post) but really looking forward to it. I knew it was going to be really tough as it was going to be the best competition possible in Ireland. The start sheet proved it with the Elites racing in the form and Gavin, Bryan and Conor, as well as all of the top age-groupers.

The main aim for the race was to get a bit of confidence back after the shocker the week before, to finish top Junior and have a good solid run.

I was in the 1st of the sprint waves which was an incredibly strong wave. I had a good swim in my sailfish G-Range (picture above). 750m in a straight line is a very long way and the swim proved it, it just seemed to go on forever. I came out of the swim in 2nd with Conor on my feet so I knew if I could stay with him the whole way I would have a good race and that’s just what happened, we stayed together throughout the cycle, (a legal distance) but never too far from each other. I was really pleased with the bike leg, it was full on the whole way, a lot different than a draft legal race, I was pleased how I was able to hold my own against some pretty amazing TT bikes.

On to the run I was still with Conor, but he raced into a lead coming out of transition putting distance between us. Since coming back from my 8 months off running I have been pleased how well my running has progressed, but I am still missing that zip and change of pace needed. During the run I tried to close the gap on Conor but couldn’t, it remained the same distance throughout the run, but I was very pleased with that in itself. Conor is running very well at the moment and to be able to run a similar sort of pace gave me a lot of confidence that my running is getting back to where it needs to be.

I ended up coming 5th overall and 1st junior, by 9mins, which I was incredibly happy with. This has given me a great confidence boost going into my next challenge.

My next challenge being a European Junior Cup in Echternach, Luxemburg next Sunday, so hopefully I can put in a real good performance and redeem myself after the Europeans. It will be a very strong field and a few countries are using it as a selection race for World Juniors including GB, so it will be a tough day at the office, but I can’t wait.

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