Here’s the first race report of the 2017 season. Congratulations to Martin on completing his first triathlon and well done to everyone else who took part.
North Tipp Triathlon took place on Saturday 15th April. There was a great showing from Belpark with eight entrants.
The day started with lovely weather and great organisation by Nenagh Triathlon Club. Briefing was at 8:40 and the first wave of swimmers was in the water shortly after 9:00. In total there were eight waves of swimmers, with six lanes and six swimmers per lane. Generally, the swimmers worked together with good lane swimming, resulting in some good times. Waves followed waves without interruption.
The transition area was well laid out and as a result transitions were fast with most competitors completing T1 in under 1 minute.
The bike leg was a fast out and back course. Early in the day it was sunny with light winds, but by the middle of the day the winds picked up and there was the odd shower. While the wind did mean the leg back was into the wind, this was eased by the fact that a lot of the leg back was slightly downhill.
Finally after very quick T2, often sub 25 seconds, it was off on the run. The course was a rolling run through country roads, finishing on the Christian Brothers School athletics track opposite the start area.
Jonathan Morris had a brilliant race, finishing 7th overall and second in his age category. His report on this great result is attached below.
The other competitors from Belpark were Niall Murphy (his report is also attached below), Ciaran Ryan, Philip Keyes, Grainne Forde, Jennifer Hogan and Mark Bennett.
This was my first triathlon and so I expected to learn a lot and this was the case!
Registration the evening before, transition setup, and race briefing was all seamless for me. I learnt a lot from watching other competitors setting up, with many offering advice.
I found the pool swim in Wave 7 quite a challenge, with one swimmer pushing me onto the feet of the swimmer in front of me immediately, so I let her through even though I was equally blocked (well she was repeatedly grabbing my ankle), which resulted in two swimmers going through. I then settled down at the back of the lane, but struggled to get into a comfortable rhythm and finished well short of where I thought I would.
I made it out of T1 as well as I could have hoped, chickened out of a flying start and got safely onto the bike, but managed to start with the shoes in the clips with elastic bands and all that – so was very happy with this.
Right from transition, the bike leg was well marshalled, with loads of encouragement from the marshals and spectators. The bike leg was quick and I settled onto the aero bars which I really found helped deal with the wind on the way back. This was the best part of my race and I was very happy with my bike speed.
T2 went as expected, along with a marshal explaining to me that it wasn’t a tea break. 🙂 c’mon, it took me 24 seconds!
I was surprised at how heavy my legs were at the start of the run, despite having being told of this many times. Around 1km into the run my legs loosened up and I settled into the run on the country roads. I took advantage of the water station and threw a cup of water over myself. Shortly after the water station the course turned slightly downhill and as I feared, about 1.5km from the end, my IT band started to seriously hurt me. As this was my first triathlon I refused to stop, and instead hopped my way along the final 1.5km as all the people I picked off on the cycle ran past me L
I hopped into the Christian Brothers running track and managed to cross the line with a semblance of a run.
All in all I found the event to be great fun, well organised, and, as I have fully found the triathlon scene since I got involved at the start of the year, everyone was very friendly and encouraging.
I am now looking forward to Carlow and the huge number of Belpark entrants.
Jonathan Morris’s report
This was a race that went as well as could be expected for me. Got a bit of a nasty surprise on arriving to Nenagh to realise that i had a flat front tyre and no spare tube with me. Rookie mistake! It was a slow puncture and luckily I was let in to transition just before my swim was about to start to give it a pump. This was extra motivation to get the swim over with as quickly as possible to get out on the bike before the pressure went down too much. I was in a lane with some decent swimmers and was more than happy to slot into 2nd last position in the lane. I knew i was going to have to bury myself to keep on feet, I started to fade after 400m and a small gap developed in front. Gary Cummins was still going strong behind me and had touched my toes a few times. He wasn’t actually indicating to me that he wanted to pass but i stopped at the end of the lane and he had to pass whether he liked it or not. This proved to be a good decision for both of us as he was able to pick up the pace and I was able to hold his feet. We ended up passing one swimmer up ahead before the end.
Out onto the bike, my next worry was how the flying mount was going to work out for me. It wasn’t seamless but I didn’t embarrass myself either so all good! I was 9th or 10th in the wave coming out on the bike course. I set a high tempo from the start and managed to pass the majority of them on the first and second drag, then it took me until nearly the midway point to reel in the rest. It was a lonely race after that but the thought of the times the stronger swimmers in wave 8 were going to set kept me pushing through the pain. This was utmost in my thoughts when I witnessed the top 3 guys from wave 8 coming in the opposite direction in a group, 10m apart of course.
Having completed the race last year, I knew to expect an energy sapping rolling hills run. I was pleasantly surprised that my legs felt quite good and I was holding well below 4 minute pace. It was nice to see a few young fellas hitting the sliotar around at the water station. Some future Tipp hurling stars for sure, fair play to them for the encouragement they were giving. It wasn’t a warm day so I didn’t bother taking on any water, I just stayed concentrating on maintaining a high cadence and trying to land on my toes. The fanfare I was hoping for at the finish line didn’t eventuate, not surprisingly nobody appeared to know or care that I was first back from Wave 7. I checked my watch and had a little smile to myself to realise I’d gone nearly 4 minutes quicker than last year. All in all, a promising start to the year coming 7th overall in a strong field of athletes. I enjoyed the day and was glad to have some fellow Belparkers to chat to while we waited for our waves to get going. Well done to Nenagh Triathlon Club for running a very smooth race.
Niall Murphy’s report
This year I decided to return to the North Tipp Sprint Triathlon in Nenagh after a break of a few years. It’s a well run race, commutable distance from Dublin (just about… probably a bit under 2 hours each way) and forms part of the TI National Series. While I’m not competing for trophies in the National Series it’s interesting to see where I stand in my age group and its also usually a good quality indicator for well run races and generally a good field. Today there were close on 300 registered to race. I hadn’t heard many club mates talking about this race in the run up so was pleasantly surprised when I kept bumping into various Belparkers throughout the day!
The swim in Nenagh is in a 25m pool organised in waves which means there is a bit of waiting around for your turn. The swim is a bit of a lottery – the last time I did this race I was in a wave where I was a bit faster than most of the lane and there was some jostling to complete overtaking which is only allowed at the turns. This year the opposite happened I was one of the slower swimmers in my lane but I also suspected this from our brief chat and made my way to the back of the lane. The first few lengths were bunched but then we spread out and apart from my goggles starting to fill with water! the swim went okay.
Happy with T1 – a bit easier with no wetsuit to take off! – and onto the bike. I was hoping to have a good bike after putting in a decent TT in Blessington recently but on the out and back course the return leg had a strong headwind which made the second half hard work. Felt a bit rusty through T2 probably took longer than needed and made my way onto the run.
The run is a bit hilly, looping onto some country roads and then back into the city for the finish. I’d missed some of the recent run training session due to work but still felt strong(ish) on the run thanks to the training session with Emmet in UCD. After the 3km mark its downhill back to the CBS school where registration took place. The run is a couple hundred meters longer than the traditional 5km and its always those last meters are the hardest. Still it was a good feeling to have the first race of 2017 under the belt and to blow cobwebs off some of the triathlon craft like managing transition etc.
Onto Carlow next for me and hoping to improve on the performance from this weekend!
Additional Photos from the day