‘Hell of the West’ Race Report by Eoin O’Connor

Alot of firsts last weekend…my first trip to HOTW, first Olympic distance but also my first tri of the year. Had a few injuries, so not ideal preparation.., but what are you going do! I crammed in as much training as I could in the last couple of weeks, so I felt I had enough done to get me around.

Arrived in Kilkee early Saturday morning…there is quite a bit of time to put down after registration, so we headed to the Pantry for breakfast. A few of the lads were offering ‘advice’ for the first timer, by telling me about how tough it was going to be, where I was going to struggle…Dunlicky hill this, Dunlicky hill that!!! Anyway..! Once they’d had their fun, we headed down to get set up in transition. All very straightforward, credit to Limerick Tri club.

On to the race itself, I was in wave 4 for the swim. I was hanging towards the back. It settled down fairly quickly, and felt I was going ok, keeping in line with the buoys. As I took the turn for home, the wave behind came charging through! Threw me for a sec, but I just put the head down and headed for the beach.

On to the bike then, felt ok, my pace was as good as it was in the few weeks training I had done, so satisfied enough. I probably heard ‘to your right’ called out/roared out more than I’d like, but I’ll have more training done next time round, so hopefully won’t be too much of that next time!

In transition, I was racked beside Eoin Woolley. I saw the picture showing Eoin as one of the first back to transition after the cycle, very few bikes in ahead of him. By the time I got back, the racks were quite full, someone even had their bike racked where my (old) bike should be! I had to just squeeze mine in and get started on the run.

The first 2km of the run were the toughest of the day. Coming off the bike and straight up the hill is tough. I missed the Dromineer events leading up to HOTW so had no real training done for it at all. A few of the lads were coming down the hill for their fast finish as I was just setting out, well done to all, some great times recorded. When you make the turn at 5km, there is a certain amount of relief as you know you are on the final stretch, but mainly because that final stretch is all downhill!

I was happy enough with my time, but there should be gains I can make next time out.

The fastest transition of the day came after the tri: everyone was dressed for the night and having a beverage in super-quick time! Thanks to Majella, Mary and Maeve for sorting out the accommodation and dinner, made for a great day and night!

Congratulations to Maeve and team on winning the relay!

Roll on 2016.


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