JP, my bro in law Richie and I didn’t claim the Irish Middle Distance title in Athlone on Sunday last but JP & I were happy enough with our day out (in the office!) as our preparations for Ironman Barcelona in October continue.
The event itself attracted a strong field with circa 500+ participants. We were bused off to the swim start from T1 for a fast 1.9K down stream race. As it was a mass start there was great craic at the first buoy turn around where the obligatory jockeying for position resembled the close workings of a washing machine. Straight down under the viaduct railway bridge (and its imposing cylindrical pillars) where the groups petered out, then leading to the St. Peter & Paul’s bridge you couldn’t but sight the church steeples and in left to the bank wall before the weir…… (31mins dg & 32mins jp).
Not sure what happened to JP in T1 (6 min+ there’s a race report in itself explaining that one) but it was onto the bike for the 90K loop – the ‘Tour Of The Lakes’! The heavens opened as we left Athlone and visibility wasn’t great for the first 4/5K. The bike route though was relatively flat on decent enough roads with a south westerly breeze which kept things interesting at times. Ballymahon, Lanesborogh, Roscommon and home….No excuses but lesson finally learn’t by both of us. Tri-bars ‘ESSENTIAL’ for these events to gain a half decent time [and a MUST for IM Barcelona]…..(2.56 jp and 3.03 dg).
Finally, the half marathon, three loops of 7K, which for the most part was through the streets of Athlone town. Despite all sorts of mechanical bike problems JP had a solid 7min gain on me going into the run (which I worked hard to pull back). The route was well populated and provided a great atmosphere for athletes to take full advantage of. You were greeted outside many a public house with cheers of encouragement and you couldn’t fault the marshalling either as on paper the run made for a convoluted, complicated one. Eventually the famous blue carpet and the finish line…..(1.34 dg and 1.50 jp).
Overall times dg 5:14:59 and jp 5:28:24 – both looking forward to the Nenagh Dromineer Lough Derg Sprint on Sat 18 July.