King Of The Hill – Part II ‘The Sequel’
King Of The Hill – Part II ‘The Sequel’
Here we go again, after all my bitching and moaning about having to run up and down that hill in Kinsale last year, the only obvious thing to do was convince myself that the pain wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it was and enter the race again this year. Like all triathletes, we sometimes suffer from selective amnesia, or possibly, we just have the typical memory span of goldfish and are just a select group of individuals who wallow in pain and torture and get a strange kick out of it (please note that for any of the club members who are in to either ironman or bondage type activities that is a totally separate type of pain and torture and we are clearly not getting into any of that stuff in this race report!!)
Anyway, back to the race. Taking no chances this year I travelled down with the family to the In-laws on the Friday night and rocked up into the field in Kinsale about 8.15a.m. on Saturday morning fresh as a daisy. Brian and Peter had already checked in after taking an early flight down in the Skoda Octavia from the Ramada Hotel (I believe the average speed was impressive) so after a quick and handy registration there wasn’t much else to do but shoot the breeze, discuss the goody bag (waterproof phone pouch and changing mat), go for the ubiquitous warm up spin and generally hang about in the glorious early morning sunshine. After spotting the usual Cork tri heads of Bryan Keane and Trevor Woods etc. we reckoned our chances of a podium finish were now possibly slim enough so once we were suitably primed (take a gel) and in peak physical race condition (do three to four token stretches) we decided to rack up our bikes. This proved to be a wee bit more difficult than anticipated due to the fact that you would have had a better chance of squeezing a pair of plums into a hanky than squeezing our bikes into the spaces that were left. Peter reckoned there had to be an overflow rack so we found it, moved our stickers and set up a new Waterford Tri Club transition area without objection from any of the other 300 odd competitors I might add!
A quick race briefing, brief chat and club photo opportunity (not to be missed) with Damien Jackson and off down to the beach for the water acclimatisation (run into waist high, duck your head, say Jaysus it’s freezing, quick pee and waddle back on to the beach). Having got slightly older since the last race I found myself in the much feared second wave this year with Peter and all his more mature (older) buddies. Brian still having youth on his side had no issue still qualifying for the first wave so we wished him all the best and watched them take off. In what seemed like thirty seconds we were told 3 minutes to go, and in what seemed like another 30 seconds we were tearing into the water from our beach start to give chase. Water was dead calm and thankfully the first buoy was a bit further out this year and got through the swim relatively unscathed. It might be my imagination but I have found the swim starts to be slightly less manic this year in my ‘new’ age group. Not sure if it is the calming influence of being mixed in with the ladies or the fact that most of the competitors have a limit switch on their pacemakers? Either way, made it out alive and felt pretty good legging it in to transition. As usual the club bikes around me were gone so a quick change of outfit and out on to the road to give it socks. The new bike route was a loop as opposed to out and back and had four (yes 4) neutralised zones for various reasons, after being unsure at one stage whether to pass out the bike in front of me or not I eventually decided (like most people) just to keep motoring and hope you don’t get a flag. Route was quite hilly which suited me and I arrived back in T2 after what felt like a decent effort but not really having any clue where I was position wise.
So on with the Asics and off up the hill. I tend to enjoy the latter parts of races as I start off with my weakest discipline and gradually get better as we move to the bike and then the run. However, I now know it is virtually impossible to enjoy either the start or the finish of this particular run! Once out of the field and on to the road, to my surprise (and enjoyment) I think I spot Peter towards the top of the hill, not wanting to get my hopes up I make my way up and once down the other side catch another glimpse as we come onto the flatter section, yep definitely him, race on! After a brief coming together near the turnaround point as Brian has also now appeared into the equation, we all grunt, groan and make hand gestures (polite ones) at each other before setting off on the return leg. Peter has now copped on I’m chasing him and starts to up the pace a bit more, I’m feeling pretty good but know we have that bitch of a hill still to come. I probably get to within 30 or 40 m of him by the time we reach the bottom of the hill and I decide to put a little burst on, big mistake, now feeling the puke starting to rise from my belly I decide against trying to pass Peter and possibly end up keeled over at the side of the road for him to just re-pass and laugh at me. He then starts to showboat by running flat out while regularly turning his head 180 degrees to see where I am but alas the gap doesn’t close any more and once over the top of the hill and still in front he cruises down the other side to take one of the most significant wins of his career (I made that bit up!). I cross the line 4 seconds later to immediately be called a bollox again by my friend I sprinted past on the line last year who is now a marshal and is never going to let me live that little transgression down. Brian soon joins us to enquire if Peter is OK as he is lying on the ground in a strange form of recovery position (which he claims is normal) and after the customary water, banana and brownie it’s down to the beach to soak the legs and recap on the day’s events.
So all in all a great days racing, the icing on the cake coming when we got the results to realise we had finished in 11th and 12th position and first and second place in our age group (40-44). Brian missed out on the prizes in his more competitive (younger) age group (35-39) but was happy to have honed his ‘top end speed’ for his upcoming 70.3 in Austria. Great race, great weather, well organised and great company from the club mates on the day…….what a difference a year makes!