Sunday, July 4, 2010

European Championship Race Report, Richard Cattle

We arrived down the afternoon before for registration and to get the bike checked in. I let Catherine drive so I could paw my way through the athletes pack (I probably shouldn't have left it until the day before the the race to read it!). A quick scan through the competitors list saw that my old friend and nemesis, Sean Farrell was also down to race the Sprint distance. This added a new dimension to the race - doing well in the Europeans was one thing but beating Sean would now be my priority.

The alarm went off at 5:30am - no snoozing today as I was working to a tight schedule. I needed to get to transition and back in time for some breakfast around 6:30, approx 1.5 hours before the race. Any later than this and it would have been too close to the race to eat. By 7am everything was going to plan - I'd set up in transition and I'd had my bowl of porridge. I went back to the room to get into my tri-suit and wetsuit. I left the Hotel around 7:30 having to wear my wetsuit through the hotel lobby which drew a few raised eyebrows from the hotel staff. When I got outside I was glad to be wearing it though as it was cold and windy and it looked like it was going to rain.

The walk to the start area only took 10 mins and I arrived just in time for my section (the blue hats) to be called into the holding area and this caught me a bit by surprise. What, no opportunity to warm up? I normally like to do a few short sprints and a stretch, but I guess this would have been impossible in a wetsuit anyway. The nerves really started to kick in as we were ushered into the final holding area (a**se like a rabbits nose springs to mind). We watched the wave before us go off and we all applauded - thankful for something to take our minds off our own impending doom. 5mins later it was our turn, the 35-40 & 40-45 Age group, around 100 of us in total. We walked along the pontoon and dropped into the water. My usual game plan is to get into the water early and get a good warm up. However, this was not allowed and I was immediately summoned back to the pontoon. So with no warm up of any kind I new this was going to be a difficult swim....I still hadn't managed to calm my breathing down and the starters whistle was imminent. The next thing we were off and within a couple of strokes I was kicked, punched and swam over the top of. I knew this was going to be no walk in the park but the ferocity of the start took me by surprise. I tried to stay calm and get into a rhythm, however after around 200 strokes I couldn't get my heart rate down so I took a few breast strokes. I was disappointed as I knew then that my swim time was going to be 'pants' and any opportunity to beating my arch rival Sean Farrell was evaporating fast.

It was damage limitation time. I turned around the buoy heading back upstream with approx 400m to go and managed to get into some sort of rhythm. I was just hoping that this wouldn't leave me too far behind Sean.

I eventually exited the water and cries of 'come on Ireland' and rapturous applause filled my ears all the way from the pontoon and into transition. I wasn't wearing a watch so I had no idea of the time. I knew it was slow but not a disaster and maybe if I had a good bike I could catch Sean on the run. Anyway I had a reasonable T1 and set off on my bike. I was sporting some new rear wheel cover complete with Tri-planet stickers so my hopes were high for a good time. Within the first kilometer the weather turned very bad, with strong winds and rain lashing in my face. The first part of the bike was a gradual uphill climb - nothing steep but I found it difficult to get going. After about 5k an athlete in a British trisuit over took me, and this spurned me on. I dropped back around 10 bike lengths and used him to pace off. This worked great as I found a good rhythm and started to overtake people. At the half way mark I was still with him, and once we turned to come back the weather started to clear up and the wind was pretty much behind us. He gradually pulled away but I was going well and new it was a fast bike. Whether it was good enough to put sometime into Sean I would soon find out once I was on the run.

With about 2k to go I nearly had a complete disaster - my hands were gripping the bars only loosely when I hit a pot hole and it knocked the bars out of my hands. The whole bike wobbled and the front wheel started to disappear and my race was in the balance! Thanks to a split second reaction I managed to grab the bars and steady the bike, however I then realised the impact had knocked the chain off. Disaster! If I had to stop to put it back on any chance of beating Sean would be over. I delved back into the memory archives...there must be a way to put it back on without stopping... almost instinctively my left hand grabbed the gear lever for the big chain ring, and I managed to ease the chain back on. Phew, what a relief! I took a deep breath and looked up and realising I had only lost a couple of seconds so I ploughed on towards the end of the bike and T2.

T2 went well and I headed out on the run with a real bounce in my step. Within a few minutes I heard to familiar cries of 'Come on Richie' and it was great to see all the family cheering me on. Catherine said that Sean was 2 mins ahead - surely this was too much - last year he only had 1 minute and that was enough for him to beat me. Still I felt strong and whether or not I caught Sean, I knew I was going to have a good run. More cheers of 'Come on Ireland' followed me all the way round the first lap and support (esp Mark Doyle) spurned me on. After lap one I hadn't noticed Sean but Catherine said I was closing the gap.

On the second lap, and coming round the cone for the second time and I noticed Sean was around 45 seconds ahead - this was a good gap but not unsurmountable. I continued on towards the bridge where I noticed the family had moved to..they too we on their way towards the finish line. I kept going, over taking many British and Irish Athletes on the way and ever hopeful that come the final turn around the cone that Sean would be in my sights. So with some trepidation I rounded the cone for the final time to see Sean was only 30 meters ahead - surely this would be enough to catch him. I think Sean saw how close I was and increased his pace as there was only approx half a kilometer to go now and the finish line would soon be in sight. Meter by meter I started to real him in. 30m became 25m and by the bridge it became 20m. Coming off the bridge we could see the finish line and panic set in. I thought the game was up - I was exhausted with my efforts and I was starting to tire. There was not going to be enough time to close the gap as he still had 15m on me and the finish was looming fast. Come on Richie I said to myself , give it one last push...and so I did.

We were now both on the blue carpet with 25m to the finish line - surely my sprint finish would be enough. I pulled up along side Sean and put my head down and so did Sean - what's this I thought - Sean has a sprint finish too? Oh sh*te I hadn't planned on this! We both put our heads down and went for it - we engulfed a British Athlete on our way and he too took to the challenge so now there was 3 of us sprinting to the line. Every single muscle in my body was screaming at me to stop this madness! However the will to win kept these requests at bay and I ploughed on towards the line. Step by step, neck and neck we neared the finish line, and with one last effort I dived over the line hoping this tactic, one I had learned from junior school, would bring about success.

All 3 of us crossed the line together, but who was going to take the spoils? It was too close to call. I thought I had it on the line and the British guy thought so too. However Sean was confident too, as unlike myself who thought it was a photo finish, he had made sure his tag had crossed the line first. Anyway I collapsed in a heap and it took a strong arm from Sean to get me onto my feet. We were all enthralled by such an exciting finish to the race. Who won on the line didn't really matter as we had proved out mettle and that was what mattered. I was delighted! Having had such a bad swim and being approx 2mins behind Sean coming out of T2 I was thrilled I had caught him. We soon met up with Catherine and the kids and they too were enthralled at having witnessed such an exciting finish. She took a picture of myself and Sean after the race - it reminded me of Hamburg 2007. This time however I was shoulder to shoulder with Sean at the end.

After a brief stint in the athlete village we said our goodbyes and I headed back to the hotel still none the wiser as to my time or place. I bumped into Ellen Murphy and she said there was internet access in the hotel lobby so that was where I headed.

So I logged onto the Triathlone website and typed in our age group and there is was:-

Age Cat
19 Richard Cattle Ireland 1:12:15 (Finish time)

I had finished in 19th place in my age category but I was placed behind Sean and the British guy. I must admit I was gutted, but then I had to remind myself that I had just finished in the top 20 in the European Championships.

So, we headed home another race over, another fantastic experience. What would I do without Triathlons?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Niall Murphy Race Report Mullaghmore Tri

Hey Folks,

Please see below Tri-Planet's Niall Murphy Race Report from Mullaghmore.

I took part in the very sunny Mullaghmore Triathlon on Saturday 19th June along with about 400 others and we couldn’t have hoped for better conditions for the race.

This was my first full sprint Triathlon, my first sea swim, my first beach start and was getting a bit nervous when I saw how far out the boat was placing the buoy for the swim course

I was also looking to put into practice some of the tips picked up from the open water swimming sessions in Killiney … there was a very long run into the water, a couple of attempted (!) dolphins and then into the swim hitting the first buoy shortly afterwards and turning for a long straight run into the harbour. It was a calm day so sighting wasn’t a problem but for quite a while it seemed as if the harbour wasn’t getting any closer! Out of the water and happy with my swim time but was tired hitting transition and the bike. Settled into it and had a few hills and some wind to tackle before ending up back in transition. The run was one of the most picturesque that I have done around the headland of Mullaghmore which distracted me from my tired legs. A spurt into the finshing straight and then we were done! Overall the race was well run in a great setting so would recommend


PS. Have I caught up on Louise?!? Mullaghmore is my third Tri event now. J

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swim Camp Time Trial 15th June 2010

Hi there,

Please find below the results from your Time Trial on Tuesday morning and projected swim times. The image is best viewed if you click on it.

You may want to record these times in your Tri-Planet diary.

Any questions, drop me a line.


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Anne's Kilcock Race Report

Ode to Boot Camp

In Bushy Park late in Spring
A group of us assembled and began to do our thing
Running and pacing and work for the core
We liked it so much we came back for more
The following Monday and 6 Mondays after
We worked very hard amidst pain and laughter

To add to this torture we went to Terenure Pool
Where we giggled and laughed like kids in a school
But we also swam hard and did millions of laps
Guided and encouraged by the Tri-Planet Chaps!

We returned Thursday evenings – what were we like?
As we stood in our helmets and clutched at our bike
We learned about cadence and cycling up hills
Going up Knocklyon was worse than swim drills
We puffed and we panted and grinded our gears
Egged on by our equally exhausted peers

Why did we do it – this mad crazy flock?
Well we were training for a triathlon to be held in Kilcock
On a distant Saturday at the end of May
In the beginning it seemed so very far away
But as the date got nearer there were sure signs of panic
The thought of the canal made some of us manic

We all had got fitter but we still didn’t know
About transitions and wetsuits – would we be too slow?
But Richie and Craig they gave us the tips
They explained it all so we could get to grips
With stripping off wetsuits, and racking our bikes
Using lock laces and oh my God – Yikes!
Remembering our helmets and our race number
Would we hold it together and not fall asunder

‘Don’t worry’ the guys said ‘you will all do well’
They are the experts so I expect they could tell
That it wouldn’t kill us and we were sure to survive
To conquer the course and come out alive!

Well the end of this ditty is not at all gory
In fact we all lived to tell the story
We swam and we ran and we cycled like mad
We cheered on our mates and were ever so glad
That the guys and the gals of this boot camp flock
Conquered the course of the tri in Kilcock
The race didn’t kill us and we sure did survive
We conquered the course and came out alive

So thanks Craig and Richie the Tri Planet men
We enjoyed it so much we want to do it again!!!

John's Kilcock Race Report

Race Report!
A little note to my story..just going to refer to Craig and Rich as ....RICR

The beginning...

As we all floated in the canal (as taught by RICR for open water starts!) the count down began. Before I knew it I was off like the clappers.... until I ran out of steam 100 yards up the canal and got passed out by a couple of swimmers(Brian,Mick I'm looking at you)...suddenly between the mouth full of canal water I was swallowing a voice of training past came back to haunt me (RICR) watch out for the jitters and starting off too fast......Damit!

As I clumsily stumbled out of the water the voice of RICR came back into my head...(actually they were standing behind me encouraging me on) I fumbled to take off my wet suit.. I was like a dog chasing his tail. I couldn't find the string to unzip my wetsuit. After a few embarrassing seconds RICR pointed out that the string was dangling to the from of my suit. After finally fumbling to get the wet suit off (I was a lot better at getting it off in the shower the night before I promise) I was off like a bullet to my bike... well may be not so much like a bullet as more like a 90 year old man with arthritis.

On me bike... so to speak I thought I was doing quite well until I hit the first loop of Kilkock and coming hurtling towards me was Brian like a bat out of hell.... a good few hundred meters ahead of me...well I nearly fell off me bike in shock how far ahead he was. I kept my cool and thought well feck it if I dont catch him I hope he has a great race(luckily I did hehehehe). The sun was shining that hard I felt I had two shadows until I realized Mick the drafter was practically getting a backer off me. For a while I didn't realize who it was and the voice of traning past came to me RICR...'if someone is drafting you tell them to F off' which I promptly did only to a familiar voice shout 'Alrite John'. You know who you are drafter!

The funniest part of my race was on the second lap of the bike and I hear a voice cheering me on and when I look up there was Louise (who was having a great race but still managed to smile for the camera's) cheering me on and waving while still managing not to fall off her own bike. It epitomized the spirit of the 8 weeks with a great group of people.

Right...back to how I beat Brian..... only messing!

The scariest moment that haunted me on the whole way round my run was just as I was starting my run a voice bellowed down from the gods.... 'I'm coming for you John!' WTF went racing through my heat until I realized Brian was hot on me tail.... well I nearly sh..had an accident.

For the whole run I had visions of Brian and Mick passing me out. The fact that both my calf muscles cramped at the very start of the run didn't help. Off I went like the arthritic 90year old man I felt like.

The finish line was sweet.. the sense of achievement was second to none... I was buzzing for two days straight. Bit of a lull now with no training...hurry up guys we need another training course!!

Thanks for a great eight week to everyone. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Special thanks to Rich & Craig


Lou's Kilcock Race Report

Race Report!
We trained for 8 weeks and 24 training sessions, well maybe a few were missed on the way, and finally it was the big day, Race Day! Time to bring it all together and put into practice everything we had learned from the 2 bald super coaches!
After a Friday night on the couch and a tummy full of pasta, Saturday was upon us. We were off to Kilcock with the bikes loaded and the check list all in check. With the sun splitting the stones and the sunblock applied, registration was the first port of call. We received fancy yellow t-shirts and race numbers and headed off to transition to set up.
Watching the pros get ready beside me, my nerves started to kick in. With everything all set up and my tyres pumped to the max by Anne's helpful hubby, I got into the beautiful tri-suit and went off to the canal.
As we watched the sprint waves swim by I felt sick to my stomach and the murky water of the canal did not appeal. With Craig and Richie there we had our final group meeting and we all climbed into our wetsuits. We were already sweating and we had yet to even start!
Suddenly it was time to get into the water. Craig gave me a final few words of advice "Get into the middle and push it out for the swim!". Thinking to myself "What the hell have I signed up for?" I knew that there was no going back and into the water I went with a splash. It was GAME ON!
Suddenly it was ready, steady go! and off we went. The nerves kicked in and gave me a push and I managed to get into a steady swim, apart from a short detour into the reeds. I was soon scrambling up the ladder and trying to get out of the wetsuit. Finally free, I jogged off to transition and tried to get my breath back.
Into transition I went and into the runners - helmet on - with Richie in my head saying "Never touch your bike until you have your helmet on". Then I realise I hadn't put on my t-shirt! Finally ready, I ran out to the mounting line and scrambled onto the bike! As I headed off down the road I gulped down my drink. I settled into the bike and I soon come across Anne. I gave her a wave and a holler and I continued on the cycle. I spent most of the time on the bike looking out for my fellow bootcampers and Craig and Richie to give them a wave and hear a cheer!
Bike down and now to the run, the bit I have dreaded, and god the sun was burning! Along the canal bank it's really quiet but I kept waiting for Elaine to zoom past me. With one lap down, I was feeling totally drained and started thinking that this was a really, really bad idea, but then the finish line came into view and the tri-planet guys were cheering for me. With a final sprint it's all over and I have finished my first ever triathlon and I'm still smiling!
As we cheered everyone over the finish line and congratulated each other, we all had huge smiles of satisfaction and joy at our own personal achievement. It was a fantastic day and with the constant support from Craig and Richie from day one in Bushy park through to the finish line in Kilcock, it was a day I will never forget.
Thanks for helping me make my goal become a reality and for making it such a fun-filled event.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Swim Camp Time Trial 25th May 2010

Hi there,

Please find below the results from your Time Trial this morning and projected swim times. The image is best viewed if you click on it.

You may want to record these times in your Tri-Planet diary.

Any questions, drop me a line.