I got a few things right this weekend, when we traveled over to Kilkenny for their annual Grand Prix Tri…
Travelling with Mike, was a good idea, he knew the lie of the land, Almost parked the car in Transition, we got that close. Cycling the route the evening before was another good idea. Checking the run route and the River, entrance and exit points all ensured this could be a really enjoyable Tri for me. Powder in my runners and powder in my cycling shoes!! (Mikes suggestion.)that was a brilliant idea. But the high light of the experience was that we got to use the Portaloos early in the day, when they were safe clean empty and queue free….it was like throwing a stone into a canyon and waiting for the splash…a long way down. I’d nearly risk eating a Mars bar and reading a news paper in one..It was that safe!!
Kilkenny was buzzing, we traveled over the evening before, cycled the route Spent an hour queuing to register in the evening sun, just to pick up a bag, a tee shirt, an energy bar, and a recovery supplement. The “rookies” were thrilled, the veterans were cynical. “I got a bag here last year and it fell to fkin bits in a week!”. But it was all worth while when we met a first timer,He had a big happy innocent head on him….. like Eddie the eagle…embarking on his first ever triathlon and signed up for the Olympic…he only learnt to swim three months ago, and intended doing the back stroke and sticking close to the wall..but was according to himself, “brilliant at the bike,” which he only took up a three months ago, and “Sur anyone can run.cant they”.I told Mike I’d sacrifice my sprint just to film this guys swim for You Tube….
Kilkenny was buzzing, Tourists and Bruce fans lined the walls of the quay as we entered the River. You get caught up in the feel good factor on the day. Linking in with fellow “Elite” 795’rs Louise, her fourth Olympic of the year, Adrian, hoping to have a better day out then in Athy, Raging Bill, recovering from Beast of the East!!, While Colm Mike and myself settled for the recreational sprint event.
Thanks be to jaysus I checked out the river the previous evening, otherwise I was a deadman drowning. Because once you enter the water there’s no going back. There’s no messing with the River Nore, its dark and deep and slow moving its high walls hem you in, you have no choice but to swim…(It was reassuring reading John Dempseys report on The Beast of the East and their collective experience of the swim). But Kilkenny was well organised, the swim waves were small and lacked the chaos normally associated with the swim section, The cycle route flat and fast, and there to cheer us on at the turn around Frank with his bike and 795 jersey and his gammy shoulder!!…well in the running for Club Fan of the Year at this years Christmas party. The only problem was traffic on the edge of town near the shopping centers, but the bike lanes gave you loads of room and a feeling of security. The run was a nature trail through the manicured castle grounds…passing bemused walkers and tourists…and me with me heart attack head on me…
At days end, tired and emotional, we all made it home, Adrian happier with his times and days work, puts his Athy ghost to rest. Louise, disappointed and hurting, after struggling on her run. But as Dena posted on Facebook, just put it down to a tough training session, and live to race another day. Raging Bill first home, gear bag slung over his shoulder, drifts of into the sunset happy and content, till we meet again at the next big event, Colm, under pressure heads home to put out fires and collect the child from the babysitter. And as me and Mike head for the car, we run into our hero Eddie, limping heading for the hospital, because a horse fly bit him on his open wound and he feared it might go septic…did his swim in 28 minutes!! Not a bother, As we parted I said something about swimming being like golf, you just need to practice. he laughed dismissively, and said golf is easy, “I gave it up three months ago and I was playing of scratch!!!!”
A legend in the making if ever I met one….