Club Notes

And so another season of Nenagh TC / CC training comes to an official end. Unofficially, I am sure there will still be plenty of informal training sessions going on (Facebook & Viber are probably the best places to find out about these sessions) but as far as the club is concerned we are signing off for the 2015 season.

Well done everyone on what has been a great year. The levels of dedication we have seen at training over the last 10 months or so have been higher than ever and this is reflected in the strong results achieved throughout the year. Training will kick off once again on Monday, October 5th.

Still a few events left…….

There are still some races left on the calendar like the Dublin City Triathlon, World’s End Triathlon, Wexford 2 Day, Charleville 2 Day and the no small matter of Rás na mBan. So for a number of ye there is no resting up yet!

Last club event – End of Year Swim + AGM: this will take place on September 19th. Our annual swim to the pub challenge involves a 3km or 4km swim from Youghal to Garrykennedy (you can make the distance even longer if you wish). More details will follow closer to the date. For those of you that don’t swim, we will be hosting an End of Year Cycle to the pub option too.

Darren ‘Donkey’ Dunne: now has his very own blog. You can visit his blog at – Keep up to date with his training, racing, rantings, poetry and sean nós singing. That’ll do Donkey, that’ll do.

Weekend Racing

Lough Neagh Triathlon: round 4 of Irish triathlon’s Super Series took place on Saturday in Ballyronan. Darren Dunne produced a very good performance up North, finishing in 3rd place against a top quality field. Darren put in a good effort in all 3 disciplines to beat many well known names at this race. As the year goes on he is getting better and better. Also racing was Nenagh CC member Rachel Clancy who came home in 5th place in the women’s event.

Ras an Spídéil: Barry Creamer and John Ryan continued their triathlon adventures up in Galway last weekend. Barry finished in 44th position in a time of 1:17. John finished in 65th in a time of 1:24. Great stuff lads.

Blackwater Triathlon, Fermoy: congrats to Michael Buckley down in Cork this weekend. Michael completed his 2nd ever triathlon in Fermoy. Michael finished the Try a tri event in 4th place in a time of 1:17. Nice work!

Nenagh CC – A3 National Champs, Mayo: The big race of the A3 season took place in Cong, Mayo on Sunday. The club had just one entrant at this, Kenneth Kennedy. Kenneth was in with a good chance of overall victory at this race but in cycling anything can happen. At this stage of the season, Kenneth probably should have been promoted to the A2 category considering his ability. However, his focus on doing the tougher events all year instead of chasing points meant he wasn’t promoted yet but now he had earned the right to go chase points.

Kenneth was familiar with the route of the race from competing in the Ballinrobe 2 Day the previous week. He decided to hover around the top 10 for the race and see if he could get in any breaks. Although riding strongly, Kenneth missed the two big breaks of the day. In the end, that proved a good thing as both breaks were caught and that set up a seriously fast bunch sprint finish into Cong. Kenneth was well placed coming into the sprint and finished in a fine 7th place. With points going for the top 12, this resulted in Kenneth getting 6 points and moving very close to promotion.

Race Report from Dublin 70.3 (courtesy of Greg Starr)

The inaugural IronMan 70.3 Dublin took place on Sunday 9th of August. The iconic triathlon brand had arrived in town, and with it all the pomp and ceremony that big scale events bring. For days preceding the event, we watched the weather forecast, anticipating the usual Irish Summer weather of dry with rainy spells, calm with gusts or warm with temperatures dropping to single figures. Saturday proved a calm and lovely day for the practice swim around the famous “Forty Foot”, with conversations in Transition all hinting at varying weather and differing nutrition plans. Realistically, nobody knew what to expect until Sunday morning.

For anyone who has never been to an IronMan, or large scale event of this nature, the whole setup can be a little daunting. Locations, time-frames, briefings, expo and the rules & regulations threatening penalties or exclusion for various offences… Friday’s briefing was beginner orientated and very informative. I must admit by Saturday it was getting a little bit much and the practice swim was the only way to calm my nerves. Run bag drop in Phoenix Park, Bike bag and bike secure in transition in Dun Laoghaire, there was nothing left to do but try and relax, while popping into every bike shop we could find for a “look”, hoping for some inspiration of any forgotten equipment.

Race day: Early start (4am) final gear check and breakfast (Curry Scrambled Eggs & Toast). Head for Park & Ride, on the bus for 5am. It’s amazing how fast the whole morning went. By the time my gels, bottles and bars were on the bike it was time to don the wetsuit and head up to race start. Nerves were kicking in, stomach churning and head spinning… Meeting a few familiar faces, along with some words of encouragement from some friends I had not seen in quite a long time really helped (right beside me in transition was no# 508 Adrian Ellard, who I grew up with in Tipp Town but had not seen in almost 20 years) Anthony Sherlock from Nenagh and Karl Henry from the TV.

Swim: Wave 3 entered the water at 7am. I deliberately waited at the rear, to avoid the melee that ensues. I learned my lesson in Dromineer at The Lough Derg Sprint, when a collision left me temporarily goggle-less. Sighting worked well, as the sea was beautifully calm. rolling over onto my back once or twice to de-fog the goggles and have a breather, and all I could remember was doing rotating drills in the pool over the winter with Shane Scully. Thanks Shane, worked a treat. At the first turn buoy (about 1km out) I actually realised that i could do this. All the months of panicking about the swim had brought me to this point. just over half way through and confidence was beginning to creep in. Surprisingly, this urged me to swim more and I relaxed into each stroke, slow and steady. After a few sighting issues (similar coloured buoys) and the finish pontoon was in site. Exiting the water proved very tricky, as going from horizontal to vertical left me a little dizzy, but the help from the Pulse Tri-club marshals and the cheers from the crowd, really help to urge you on…

Cycle: T1 done and on the bike. This is my most comfortable discipline (as in the one I’m the least bad at). With the amount of competitors leaving the transition area together it is practically impossible to keep the 10 metre back as per drafting rules. The rules are very clear that a rider must be at least 10mtrs or 20 seconds away from each other on the cycle leg, not possible up the hill out of Dun Laoghaire. Straight away competitors were pulling in with mechanical problems. It would be a long day, so I had packed tyre levers, spare tube, adhesive patches, pump (with CO² adapter) and 3 multi-tools into the spare bottle on my frame, with another tube velcro’d under my saddle. I had prepared well for the bike leg, nutrition in my tube box, and 3 spare bottle cages, this part of the event was going to be OK. What I had underestimated was just how much energy the swim had absorbed out of me. Eating on the bike was very difficult as my mouth was so dry, I had the first bottle of Hi-5 gone in no time. Energy started to lift as the crowds gathered along the quays in Dublin, but spits of rain meant watching the slippy surface and man-hole covers was the priority. Turn right after Hueston Station and into the first climb of the day – Infirmary Hill. This may not have any significance to most people, but competing in an IronMan 70.3 event, cycling up a hill, past St.Bricins Military hospital (hence the name – Infirmary Hill), where I had spent so much time recovering from my Rugby injury, was a slightly emotional moment for me. Not to mention the fact that the climb went fairly OK, confidence was really building.. I could actually finish this…

Phoenix Park and I witnessed my first crash of the day, as a guy lost control hitting a speed bump too quickly and collided with a fellow competitor. Bit of Road Rash and a bang on the knee (luckily) and they were soon up a flying it again. Passing Castleknock college and my legs were beginning to feel fresh again, I can really feel the effects of energy gels and bars on longer distance events. Settling into the bike, but finding keeping consistent pace very difficult. One minute I’m up at 35km/hr, the next I’m struggling to hit 20km/hr. The peaks and troughs of energy gels. In Maynooth University, just before the last feed station, the speed bumps claim another victim. This time it’s on a bend and appears the cyclist had a nasty fall. Luckily Ambulance was at the scene and the marshals were, once again, brilliant in controlling speed in this tricky section. The fast descent into Lucan was heavily marshaled and we were on the final stretch along the Strawberry beds. Second last climb, past the Anglers Rest and my calves cramped like crazy. Brief stop for a stretch and into the Phoenix Park. One small climb (and a chain-off) later and it was into T2. I have never been so delighted to see the Papal Cross before.

Run: Transition went smoothly (as a lot of competitors were already out on the run course at this stage) and out onto the run. The cramps in my calf muscles meant running for any period was almost impossible. Run – stretch – repeat. And so on for the next few hours. Throw in a toilet stop and you have the mundane, mind numbing experience that is long distance running. I don’t mean to make it sound all bad, but doing 3 x 7km laps of the Phoenix Park is as tough mentally as it is physically… running the final 100m stretch, looking at the finish line, but doing a U-Turn and heading back to face a further 7km lap (or two) is draining. Had it not been for the support from my fan club (wife Claire and son Eoghan) I think my brain would have given in to the endless cramps. Big thanks also to Carmel Finn and Denis Ryan from the Nenagh Tri-Club for their words of encouragement.. (and Anthony Sexton, who was packing up his car as I was doing my last lap).

Third lap round and the cramps began to fade, even my legs were finally realising that I was going to finish this no matter what. That last 200m down the final straight and finish chute were the fastest I ran all day. I couldn’t even bend down afterwards to remove my timing chip… I am far from fast, but I’m doing it. The feeling of achievement is unbelievable and I will be riding the crest of this wave for a long time to come.. the hardest thing you will ever do is start an event, once you cross the start line, the finish line is only 70.3 miles away…

Massive thank you to Willie Murphy, my wife Claire and son Eoghan (for all the sacrifices over the last few months, as well as doing a triathlon during our holidays, love ye) and to Shane Scully for all the swimming/triathlon coaching as well as Nenagh Tri-Club for their support and help to this Tri-Newbie….

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