Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Exciting news.

Finally getting around to posting a wee update, it amazing how you find time to do things when you are supposed to be revising;
Procrastination … Never!

So … What have I been up to; I suppose in race wise, I decided to give a Cross-country race a bash to get some single sport racing in and it is just a good hard session and great fun.
I raced Scottish University Champs; last year I came 5th and was looking to improve on that, unfortunately I came 5th once again. I wasn’t too gutted about it as the course was not suited to me, I know I am still not a physically strong runner so on such a wet muddy course I was actually very pleased with my performance and probably took more from it than the previous year.

That performance has also qualified me to represent Scottish University Sport at the Great Scottish International Cross-Country in January and also my University at BUCS in the New Year as well, so still plenty of Cross-country racing yet to come.

My big news at the minute is that I have just been signed for a Division One, French Grand Prix Team for the forthcoming season.

TCG79 Parthenay

I will hopefully race against the best in the world at the unforgiving French Grand Prix series gaining valuable experience through furiously fast racing.
So that is something extra to look forward to during the season.

In the nearer future I will be running another cross-country race on Saturday; the East District Scottish Champs, so hopefully I will be able to get a good performance out of that.
After that I will be heading to Aguilas, Spain, my usual warm weather training base for a 10 days intensive training before Christmas.

So hopefully I will be able to cram a few more updates before Christmas.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Lakeland Bikes Enniskillen

I am happy to announce that I will be sponsored by Lakeland Bikes Enniskillen for the 2013 season.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lakeland Bikes for agreeing to sponsor me and showing their belief in me as an athlete to perform and help promote such a fantastic shop.

They will be my main equipment sponsor providing me with all my racing and training needs. I will post photos and info on all that I receive from them, to give you an idea of the fantastic Bikes, Kit and Equipment that they sell, you can also have a look yourself on their fantastic new website
I very much recommend that you check it out and you will not be disappointed, the site is just new so will be rapidly updated so just keep checking back on a regular basis.

It has been confirmed that I will be racing on what has for a good while been my dream bike, I could not believe that someone would be willing to sponsor me one.

                                               A Cervelo S5

It is not only a fantastic looking bike, it is insanely aerodynamic, fast and stiff.

Have a look yourself it is a work of art.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Alanya European Premium Cup.

After not being selected for World U23 Champs, I decided to make this race the last one of the season.

It took place in Alanya, Turkey, a country I have never been so it was very good to have another country marked on my map of where I have been. I have fairly collected new countries this season. I will do a blog rounding up this season in the next week or so but I will focus on this race just now.

I am currently sitting on a flight home very tired and sore but looking forward to a bit of rest before hitting winter training and working on improving for next season, at the same time glad that I finished my first season as a senior/ U23 on a high.

Yesterday I came 14th in a very good quality field, and had a lot of positives to take away from it as well.

The race result was created by having a very good swim. I had a bad reaction time off the start but a very good dive that allowed me to gain half a body length on my surrounding athletes and allowed me a clean swim TI 1st buoy. I was the first person to get to the buoy from the left hand side and was almost too far left so lost a few positions to get on the right side of it.

I ended up getting a kick to my goggles very like I did in European U23's only this time I was in a very relaxed state of mine and was able to reassure myself that I could get back to pontoon and get them fixed before I dived back in, an that's what I did.
I found the second lap of the swim very easy but knew I was comfortable in front pack and in a very good draft so was content in saving energy so that I was not red lining running to transition.

Transition went smoothly and got onto the bike in front pack, the pace was fast with a high caliber of athletes such as Vasiliev, Supunov, and Bryukankov jnr  to name but a few.

The rest of the bike was hard, although the course was completely flat 90% of it was on brick style cobblestones and not Tarmac which required keeping the power down and taking a lot out of the legs. As well the bike pack was being dictated by the Russians as they made up half the pack, putting in large bursts to try and get away instead of us all working together.
Front Pack

I managed to stay in the pack by the end of the bike and on to the run safely. I felt incredible tired and flat on the run but pleased with my efforts so far but it was still far from over.
The run consisted of 4 laps. Lap one I felt flat, lap two I thought I was getting into it lap three was hell, and lap four I was able to pick it up a bit which allowed me to run my fastest 10km of a bike at 34.10. I know this is nothing special and not really representative of my flat out 10km time but that is all about adapting to this new distance. It takes time and thankfully it is going in the right direction.

Glad to see the finish line.
So all in all I was happy with my performance and achieved the targets I set out to, with the added bonus of picking up some points to give me the chance of starts next season and better start numbers in those races.

Thanks for reading and sorry it was rather long but it helped punch in some time on my flight home.

Cheers Russell.

Friday, 21 September 2012

European U23 Championships 2012.

Well this is a wee bit late but since coming home form Europeans I have had to get ready to come back to Uni in Scotland where I currently am now.

 The Europeans where in Aquilas; Spain, a place I know reasonably well as I have been a few times with both the Irish Squads and also the Stirling crew.

This was my biggest race to date, an the highest level of competitors I have raced against, with 4 2012 Olympics.

The race its self didn’t quite go to plan, I was aiming for a top 15 finish which I don’t think was unachievable but on the day that didn’t happen, I finished 28th, not too bad for my 1st U23 champs, (I will still have 3 more years in this age category) but it is not where I wanted to finish or feel represents where I am at the moment.

I started the day of with a bad swim, I lost my goggles on the 1st lap, at the best of times this can effect your swim, especially when the water is as salty as it was but it was even more detrimental when Varga was at the front setting down the pace.

Basically after the swim my chances of top 15 were over. With a group of 10 up the road working well, unlike my chase pack who were happy to give away 35secs per lap.

My pack consisted of the likes of Mola and Silva to name but a few who just didn’t want to chase but instead were happy to run it out for positions 10+, which I find hard to understand, because if they had kept a reasonable gap they could have ran into much better positions.

After the easy bike I didn’t have the run legs I should have had for some reason, I just felt very flat.

I was very disappointed with the performance, but that’s racing and races like this is where I must learn from my mistakes and gain valuable experience.

There is a quote I like that says;

            Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you!

Therefore I must reflect and learn from this experience and take it forward into my future races.

Next race is the London Senior Elite Triathlon on Sunday 23rd September.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Lord of the Lake 2012

A nice wee action shot. :) 
Hat trick in the bag.

3 attempts 3x Lord of the lake.

Camlough lake has to one of the nicest place to swim, I’m so lucky that is close.

The lord and lady of the lake annual competition is to swim the length of the lake, form one end to the other, a distance of 2.7km.

My times the previous years had been 30mins flat and 30mins21secs. So on top of winning the aim was also to break the 30min marker.

All went to plan and I managed to smash my time posting 28.14 which I was super happy with. We did have excellent conditions with the lake being completely flat.

Aileen had a great swim coming in second and claiming lady of the lake, and beating by previous time and getting under the 30mins in doing so.

It is a super event and can’t wait to do it next year. Might even try it non-wetsuit for something different ;) we will have to wait and see.

Monday, 30 July 2012

A run of bad luck.

Just to warn you this blog could end up sounding like a bit of a moan and I will probably go off on a rant but anyway here goes.

I will start with last weekends race; my first senior European cup in Geneva. This was always just a bonus race, with not having many ranking points I was never sure if I would get a start but after I returned home from Osaka I got an email saying I was in, I had actually forgot I had entered it.
I got put up in a homestay with Bryan Keane which was great fun and I learnt a lot just talking with someone with much more experience, it was a great relaxed environment running up to the race, I was feeling ok, just hoping that I had recovered ok after my trip in Asia and if my winter training was enough to carry me through a 4 weeks of racing and little training.

On the day of the race it was very windy causing the lake to be very rough. Ten girls got rescued from the water, 10 professional triathletes, I think that gives an idea of how rough it actually was. Due to this the organisers felt that our swim had to be made safer. At 1st they decided that the swim would be changed to 2x 500m loops instead of 2x 750 loops, but the guys complained that if it was safe for us to do 2 small loops why could we not do 3 small loops and keep it a 1500m swim, and that is what it ended up being.

With a strange swim start. A pontoon start onto a rocky beach start. The swim was hard with the water conditions, as the waves where being caused by the wind and not like sea waves which would be regular, these waves were very irregular and made for a tricky swim. The only benefit of this type of swim is that nobody wants to be near each other therefore no fighting but also no drafting. I continued my form in swim legs of late and exited comfortably in the front pack.

Geneva Swim Course. #rough
On to the bike, a 6 lap 40km with a hard hill each lap. My group worked very well and we put time into the other packs every lap. I was happy with my cycling I was able to copy with this new level of racing I just need to work on it more aiming to just be fresher come the run leg, unfortunately it wouldn’t have mattered what state my running was in because I didn’t get to make it that far. At the end of the 5th lap a spoke in my rear wheel snapped and my wheel buckled got jammed in my frame and I skidded to a halt. I ran to the wheel station, which was close by. But with not having any spare wheels I was hoping for a set of neutral wheels which are available at most races at this level … but not this one. I was assured that they would have them for next year, as if that would help me. I just stood at the side of the road with a bike that didn’t move watching the other bike packs pass by, that was the end of my days racing.
I was extremely annoyed as everything was going so well. A great swim, in a lead pack of 11 with a 2min lead over the next pack. I know my running still needs work but I don’t feel I would have lost 2 mins on the chasers. Should’ve could’ve would’ve, that’s racing for you.

I came home knowing that I had six weeks to get as much solid training as possible to be ready for European U23 Championships. 1st training session I was going out for a spin on the bike with a friend only to get to the bottom of the road, and without warning my rear hanger shredded in half, mangled my rear de-railer as it was pulled through my frame.

So a good start to a big block of training as I am now wheel-less and bike-less.

They say bad luck comes in threes so I was just waiting for the next one, that came today at the Lisburn City Triathlon. So on a borrowed bike and borrowed wheels what could happen now.

Thought I would give it a blast.
Pointing to my flat tyre :(
Swim was awful,  people that don’t let you past when you touch their feet at the end of the pool, and lapping athletes in your lane. I made it out and on to the cycle, to realize I had a very soft tyre, I decided I would just ride on it, trying to keep the bike as upright as possible and went around every corner with a foot unclipped.

There was one set of lights on the bike course that turned amber as I went through them so I gunned it to get across the junction as I didn’t want to slam on the brakes with the flat tyre and I felt I could make it, unfortunately the marshals didn’t see my rational as I got disqualified after the race.

Lisburn Run leg.
I made it back to transition and got a good run in, 14.19 to be exact, (something tells me it was a bit short) running well but not that well, regardless of time it was a good run and one I was very pleased with, ended up posting the fastest overall time by over 3mins 45secs.

Very disappointed with getting my first disqualification. A DNF and a DSQ in my last two races, seem to just be collecting letters rather than results. Disappointing after my good results in World Uni games and Osaka. 

Sport is cruel yes I know but I feel that I am just not getting anything easy and little reward for the hard work I am putting in.

I am finding it hard to get any sponsorship at the moment, fair enough I know I am new to the sport but I am competing at a very high level, and I have some good results to my name and showing a lot of potential.
Its times like this when things go wrong with my bike with nothing to fall back on that I need a helping hand.

When the Irish junior squad are all being giving bikes when I have only moved out of that squad this season and some of the recognition that they have got is through results that I achieved in the past two years, they are reaping the benefits, most of them are having to choose between current sponsors bikes and these new bikes. I would be happy with the chance of one.    

With all my kit and these past trips all being funded by my parents it just makes everything much harder. What more do I have to do???
Fair enough you can say just keep getting more results, well I have heard that enough times what more do I need to do, how about getting a break? A bit of help can help me get more results that bit easier.

Rant Over.