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Eireman long distance triathlon

Eireman long distance triathlon [caption id="attachment_5568" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Eireman "] [/caption] I met the race organiser Eoin back in March and for a number of reasons decided the Eireman would be my 'A' race this season. Some of my earlier blogs explain the rationale around limiting my race season to the UK this year, wanting to race some of the plethora of new events or races I haven't had the opportunity to already do. The Eireman appealed in terms of the bike course, set to take place on a closed motorway (potentially fast), in a really nice part of Ireland (County Wexford), and it seemed fairly sraightforward to get to (car & ferry). I thought it'd be a good chance to make a bit of a holiday out of the 4 day weekend, and found a great hotel to make the most of a few days off.... The old adage 'if something seems too good to be true then it probably is' came back to bite me pretty much all weekend So kicking off the adventure came the 4 hour F1 inspired drive by my husband in the fully loaded coupe, down the M4 and across Wales to try and make our pre-booked ferry crossing. Not going to happen due to the diabolical nature of our departure from Teddington.... So instead we waited for the next ferry while I tried to work out just how 'moderate to rough' the conditions could be that were showing on the info board at the terminal. Less than 20 minutes into the 2.5 hour ferry ride, it was pretty obvious that it was going to be as bad as it gets before they cancel the service. I was sea sick to exhaustion, and empty which didn't help my planned carb loading strategy that day. We arrived at the hotel, very late and relieved. Friday morning dawned lovely, sunny and clear. I had a light spin on the Stealth in the morning, before we recce'd the bike course by car along the N11 motorway section. Great smooth tarmac, nice metre high walls to protect deep rimmed wheels from cross winds and rolling hills to propel speed throughout the 4 lap course. The day was somewhat blighted by an unecessary trip to Dubin for nutrition products, but otherwise on track in terms of preparation for the race. Saturday, again great sunny weather. Having checked out the water temp at the beach in the morning, it all seemed pretty ideal... The race briefing brought the reality check about the weather front moving in from the Atlantic overnight and severe weather warnings. With contingency plans in place by the race organiser, we just had to hope for the best in the morning. I guess it was no surprise when, on Sunday morning 4am we were greeted by high winds and rain in the dark dawn. The forecast was spot on. Arriving at the venue an hour later it was clear we weren't going to be sent out into the foggy ocean where the waves threatened to take us back to England for good. Instead of a short run to 'spread us al out' we were let out of transition as a Time Trial start, 30 seconds apart in race number order. The weather was absolutely wild. Rain from all directions, and a strong gusty wind approaching 60mph at times. I have never ridden in a hurricane but I reckon this was close! The first two laps I felt pretty good, and worked strongly into the rain, wind and hills on the headwind stretch back. Just like some of the long alpine climbs and mountain weather I've experienced in my many alpine trips. Fellow Pro Donna Phelan caught me up and we exchanged a few words before she pushed on. By the last lap it seemed like many people had either given up and gone back to transition or been blown off the course altogether! I arrived back in transition, totally pummelled by the weather after a very average 6 hour bike effort. Rob had decided to call it a day as had many others. I'm not sure what drove me back out into the rain again, but I set off onto the marathon course with some optimism I would finish. After one 13 mile lap I felt pretty good, it was an interesting course through the forest, over a bridge, stairs, up a steep bank and then long laned/ road sections out to the turnaround and back to the race HQ. Rob relayed Spencer's encouragement for me to dig deep by phone. Understatement - it was survival by then! The last lap seemed convoluted and again, deserted. I was surprised and very happy to almost come in at 3:30 marathon pace (the course seemed long) and get to the rainy finish line in 9:58 in 10th place overall and 2nd female. There were just two choices on this particular day - go hard or go home! Nothing in between :-) Fi

26 August 2009

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