Athletes put in an awful amount of time, effort, and passion to follow their dreams, to hit their target goals, to improve on their personal bests. It all comes down to one race. Months, and weeks of hard work to reach the top. The following athletes put themselves out there and turn up every day to do work.
Pic: Billy Mol - Flickr
Eve lined up on Saturday for the Red Hand Trophy cycling race, 112km, set up by the Ballymena Road Club. She had this to say about her race and one of her first outings on her Argon 18 Gallium Pro!
"On Saturday, I raced in the third round of the National League hosted by Ballymena Road Club. As expected Ballymena didn't disappoint and gave the women the exact same distance as the men on the same route. 112km. I hadn't raced this distance in quite a while (12 months) and to be honest, I didn't know how I would be in the last 20km. This was my first race of 2019 showing the National Irish Champions jersey riding for my new team Strata 3 and on my new bike Argon 18 Gallium Pro. So the pressure was on, only messing, no it wasn't this was a huge motivator for me I'm way passed putting pressure on myself. I love and enjoy racing. I enjoy it more now that I'm on the most comfortable and responsive bike I've ever ridden.
The course was very testing, quite a bit of climbing dead roads, classic style racing. I loved it and the wind helped. When I attacked 29km out I had no idea what lay ahead. I have to say the Argon 18 didn't let me down, I was straight into TT mode and felt like I was gliding along....well until I hit the hill that I didn't know was there. I have never raced with Di2 so the last minute gear change went smoothly. I am not the lightest of riders but the confidence I had going uphill on the bike was great. It saved me loosing a kilo. The last 15km were tough and I was brought back to 22 seconds. I just kept digging in, at that stage it crosses your mind right your on the best bike you have the best wheels so for god sake just keep going. So I did and I won. Massive thanks to Base2Race for sponsoring me this year and I'm delighted I could win on the Argon 18 maiden voyage wearing the National Jersey."
Pic: Challenge Heilbronn 70.3
Chris Mintern traveled to Germany 3 weeks ago, to get in a small race block where he would compete at Challenge 70.3 Heilbronn and two weeks later hit another, Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau. He's completed both and achieved unbelievable results. Showing the testament to his hard work and consistency.
went to Germany to race the best in the world. Here is a short account of both Challenge Heilbronn (19/4/2019) & Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau (2/5/19)
Swim: Initially sitting on the leaders feet, I looked back and saw the whole field still together. I was hoping to get a bit of a cushion on the swim, so I decided to push the pace for the next few hundred metres until the field started to break up. For the remainder of the swim, I worked with another German athlete Angert, we exited the water with about 60 seconds on the rest of the field, including Sebastian Kienle/ Andreas Dreitz.
Bike: After some recent testing with HupHup, I knew what numbers I could sustain on the bike and still produce a fast run. It took a lot of discipline to hold back for the initial 60 minutes, watching Kienle & others pass me out at ridiculous speed, however at around 50km I found myself at the back of a group of athletes and stayed with them until the end of the bike, with a focus on remaining hydrated/ fueled/ relaxed.
Run: I came off the bike in 14th position with confidence that I was ready for a fast run. I knew I would have to chase hard, but probably started too aggressively. I was hoping to run ~ 3:30/km but a few early km splits quicker than 3:20/km caused some damage towards the end of the run. I wasn't thinking about fueling, I knew I was running fast and my only concern was catching those in front of me. Top 6 get paid. I ran myself into 7th position and could see 6th just in front of me, then I started to fade. Drifting back to ~4:00/km for the final few kms. A combination of poor pacing/ under fueling. I crossed the line in 8th position with a split of 1:14:45 for the half marathon.
Conclusion: Probably my best ever result. Still not satisfied. 8th position isn't anything spectacular. I can't be losing 10 minutes on the bike, I don't care if I'm racing the best in the world, it's too much to lose. Despite that, it's positive, I'm going in the right direction.
Ironman 70.3 Kraichgau
Swim: There was a much stronger swim field in this race, including Lukas Wojt who swam in Beijing 2008 as well as Jan Frodeno who is the current world champion. Immediately Wojt opened up a gap, which was expected, and I found myself sitting on the feet of Frodeno. I stayed there for the remainder of the swim, trying to stay as relaxed as possible. We exited the water 50 seconds behind Wojt, averaging 1:12/100m for the 1.9km swim.
Bike: There was a strong group of 6 ahead of me, I let them go and settled into my own rhythm. I knew temperatures would be high, I took this into consideration with my approach to nutrition. However, I struggled from the start to maintain power which felt comfortable only two weeks previously. A combination of fatigue and heat possibly.
Run: I started the run in 10th position, top 6 get paid, I had to catch 4 athletes. But it was a complete struggle, 30 professional men started the race, only 15 finished. At 4km I was struggling to keep moving, the temperature had risen to 32 degrees, I did my best to stay clam, managed to gradually pick up the pace towards the end of the run, but it wasn't pretty. I crossed the line in 10th place.
Conclusion: Some athletes can race weekly/ every second week. I don't have the strength to do that yet, you have to try it to know. 10th position might sound good, but to be honest the depth of the field wasn't amazing. Yes, there was some top class guys racing, but the standard dropped off pretty quickly after that. I'm coming away from these races with a bit more experience, knowing which courses/conditions suit my style. I don't want to come across as negative, but these are just the facts. Overall I'm very happy with the way in which I'm progressing. Maybe I'm impatient, but either way, I won't be satisfied until I'm standing on an international podium.
Right now I'm back training in Wicklow, I'll be racing in Ireland for the next while.
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