Bernard Runs Up A Hill And Comes Down A Mountain

Okay – for starters I now know why they call this King of the Hill instead of just the Kinsale Triathlon – what a bitch of a hill to have to run up and down – twice!! 

Anyway kick off time was approx. 5.30a.m. for this one and out on the road for 6ish. Weather was fine and road was clear so was ahead of schedule coming into Cork. After my much publicised issues with the toilet facilities in Athy I decided to take no risks and pulled into the Radisson Hotel in Little Island for a brief pit stop. Highly recommended, after using the facilities I was tempted to pick up a complimentary copy of the Indo from the front desk on the way back out but thought that would be a little bit too cheeky so left it behind. Back on the road and 5 minutes later I was heading up the Airport Road for Kinsale when I heard a bit of a knocking sound (kind of like if you had a puncture). Another quick stop, check the basics and drive on, the knocking becomes more like a banging noise with a bit of vibration thrown in and I’m not so cocky now, nurse it into Kinsale and into the field – feck it, can sort it out after the race. 

On entry to ‘the field’ just before 8am Peter and Shane are already talking tactics and looking psyched - registration is a breeze in the local tent and takes 2 minutes, transition is right beside us and all the club members are racked up together, Olive, Greg, Aubrey, Shane, Peter and myself with Aidan Mac (now of the Dungarvan Club) right beside us. I say the Dungarvan Club because I just can’t understand where the name ‘Tried and Tested’ came from, surely it was just started as a joke that went horribly wrong? Pre-race conversations consisted mainly of three topics (i) Helens ability to appear from anywhere with her camera (ii) Shanes suggestion that we change the name of the club to South Kilkenny as there is no-one from Waterford in it anyway (except Olive) – Peter plays Kofi Anan and suggests the ‘Viking Tri Club’ and (iii) My suggestion that we get new tri gear with zips at the front instead of the back. All excellent motions for Mr. Slattery to adjudicate on at the next AGM (or EGM!). 

So onto the race and after some serious blagging, both Shane and Peter managed to get out of the geriatric wave and into the first wave with the rest of us young fellas (i.e. Aubrey and me). Greg, Olive and Aidan Mac had to stay in with the scary, hairy shouldered, hairy chested, speedo clad brigade in the second wave (and that was just the female’s!). Meanwhile First impressions of the swim was that there was no way 150 lunatics were going to get around the first buoy that was about 100-150m meters from the start point without some serious carnage. Not being the fastest swimmer in the group I started off beside Peter and Aubrey but soon got dropped and got pretty mangled at the first buoy while the lads seemed to get through ok. After what was a very long 750m swim we hit the beach and I was happy to see Aubrey was still in transition when I got there (the two geriatrics were well gone), so I felt a bit better about the swim then. Out onto the bike and basically head down and ass up for the 20km undulating out and back route (undulating means hilly but no real hills if you know what I mean) Spot Greg on his super sexy Cervelo on the way back having made it out of the second wave alive. Off the bike, quick transition and out the gap at the top of the field to the first climb. Having done a brief recce before the race I knew the climb wasn’t very long so just like everyone else suffered to the top and once the hyperventilating ceased picked off a few guys going down the far side. Major blow to the ego shortly after the 1 km mark – meet Chris Mintern on his way back (he obviously took a shortcut) but then meet Trevor Woods and realised I was just shite.

Down past the water station, out to the turn around and back to the base of the climb and Holy Mary then did the suffering start – as per above – what a bitch of a hill. After shuffling up most of the hill after some chap that started about 30 yards ahead of me and crested the top about 31 yards ahead of me I decide to cruise down to the finish line. Low and behold as I started to gain on him out jumps Helen with the camera again, I can’t resist and give it socks, he then does the same and while I pip him on the line I blew a gasket on the way and can’t even speak to him when we finish, he probably thinks I’m a prick for carrying on like that but once I catch my breath we have a good laugh about it and I blame it all on Helen and the camera. He calls me a bollox and hopes he never sees me again. All in a days racing! 

Everyone gets in safely and while there was a small crew at the race from the club most of us brought our own little fan clubs and had lots of kids on hand to shout and cheer us all on. To add insult to injury the two OAP blaggers (i.e. Shane and Peter) both won prizes for their age group but all in all I think everyone was happy with their results. Great weather, great banter before and after the race, tough course and great place to bring the kids. 

Post race and while still waiting for the AA to arrive I meet up with the lads to watch them collect their prizes, just for the record there is no way I would have stayed for that only for the car was broke down, but God punishes us all in mysterious ways. After arriving down at 8am I finally make it back to the Outlaws at 6.30p.m. (i.e. Catherina’s parents house who only live 10 miles from Kinsale) with the diagnosis of the main bearing gone on my driveshaft. 

For all the misadventure to date on this National Series journey (lost timing chip in Athy, avoid the vomiting bug in our house for two weeks and pick it up the day after Athlone and then just about make it to Kinsale) I am feeling confident that I will actually get the National Series completed this year. Three down, two to go and we have to give the club championships a shot next year.

P.S best of luck to everyone taking part in the Shadowman next weekend – some serious bragging rights up for grabs there – can’t wait for the race report – no pressure now lads!

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