Monday, 15 August 2011

Race report - Caroline Kearney Olympic

So onto race 11 of the season...

Caroline Kearney Olympic Triathlon is a lake swim around Lough Ennell in Mullingar, followed by 2 laps of a relatively flat bike course and a 10k run around again relatively flat.
So a nice course then, and a good one for my first race on my Tri bike I picked up recently.

I registered Friday to drive the bike course as there were a few turns to be aware of and I wanted to check road surface and how tight the turns were.
Nothing major to report so down Saturday morning to a slightly misty day.

The swim was uneventful and I started in wave 1 but went offline to the right on way out, and again to the right on way back. So taking the long way again and I know I must work on my sighting more often in open water.
Out of the lake and look back to see a few, check watch at 27odd and relatively happy. Into T1 and wetsuit a little slow to remove but out into the bike. Now I had put my sunglasses on as it was slightly raining. this turned out a waste and after first couple k I removed them and stuffed them into my mini side pockets. They had misted up and the rain was hampering my vision so I was better off without.
There was a slight wind and I felt a few gushes to the 808 front but nothing uncontrollable.
My bike went to plan, I pushed and had my gel at 10k and kept up a good pace. A club mate was watching and gave me 17th after lap 1, so I pushed some more and came into t2 around 12th from first wave. Now one of my goals this season was a sub 65min 40k in Oly race. This was achieved in around 1:03 but my bike split was 1:07 due to the extra 2k - total bike 42k.
So I took the few seconds to put on socks as it was a 10k and I had new runners.
Out on the run and my feet were a little numb to start but I was maintaining sub 4min/km's so on target. Blood flow returned and I kept up the pace. I got passed by some here from about 5k onwards as the fast runners took me out. I maintained my goal pace though and delivered a sub 40min/10k for the first time in a race so I was happy.
So that was 2 goals achieved, another was a top 25 finish in a national series and I had crossed the line around 16th from wave 1, but still wave 2 to finish with some fast guys doing well so it would be close. Luckily I placed 23rd so 3 goals achieved now.

I finished in 2:16 and some 10mins behind the winner. So solid progress made compared to the start of the season.
Comparing 2 top guys in particular to 2 previous races this season:

Valentia Sprint NS:
Mark Horan - 3rd - 1:04:30
Andy Kavanagh - 1st - 1:03:50
Me - 85th : 1:18:25

So down 14mins over a sprint in first race this year!

Athy Olympic NS:
Mark Horan - 4th - 2:08:40
Andy Kavanagh - 6th - 2:09:50
Me - 83rd - 2:28:30

So 20mins down over Olympic in early July.

Caroline Kearney Oly NS:
Mark Horan 3rd - 2:05:57
Andy Kavanagh - 5th - 2:07:01
Me - 23rd - 2:16:30

So now 10 mins down over Olympic distance.

So that's some measurable improvement since the start of the season for my first year. Now a Tri bike has definitely helped, but also more specific technique and run track sessions as well as other training.

This was definitely my best race yet and a nice course so I'll be back next year.

Hopefully I can stay on track or even better in Dublin City Oly Tri and then start off season training after a short break to see if I can increase my pace all round for next season...

So 9 triathlons done this season and just 2 more left now. Or 11 of 15 total races inc duathlon and runs.

Last 2 triathlons are Tramore this Saturday (did this last year and also local to home town Clonmel). Then last race at Dublin City in 2 weeks.

So I'm off to the track for a pyramid pain session now.

Cue rain...

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Tt/Tri Bike Research = New Bike!

Howdy all,
So since maybe my 3rd or 4th triathlon last September I've known it was only a matter of time until I got a Triathlon specific bike to use instead of my road bike.
The benefits are widely researched, more aggressive position enabling better power,
Better aerodynamics, saves legs for the run etc... Lots of articles to cone across like from bikesportmichigan, bike radar etc.
Now time improvements seem to vary from a couple mins to more depending on ability, and potentially same on run.

So I set about initial research, and have pretty much continued that for the last 6 months or so!
Now budget is always important, with Tri bikes retailing between €2k and €10k without wheels it wasn't going to be cheap. Some club mates suggested keep eye out for bargain second hand bikes as you can save a lot. This is easier said than done though and also a bike is a personal thing and you need to love it and want to train on it is my view.
So the shortlist then:

Cervelo P2C €2.5k

Amazing what a set of wheels can do for a bike..

Cervelo P3C €3.5k/€4k+

Kuota Kueen-K €4k+

Orbea Ordu Slt €3.4k

Felt B10 Di2 €4.2k

So some pretty good bikes there and in the middle range of pricing.
I was open to others if I came across any but that was my shortlist.
Mainly looking at middle range frames with Ultegra or similar components. Wheels would have to come separate as I want some Zipp tubulars.
So with test riding being very difficult, it would be hard to know I had made the right choice.
I decided to keep looking at second hand bikes and maybe test a couple to see what I could learn.
Firstly though I went to see if I could find some of my shortlist bikes to get a better look at them. has a great stock selection and had most of the felt range there. The b10 was there and I wasn't blown away, mainly as it seemed heavier than I expected. now felts are also very popular at irish races and everywhere so I was less convinced and kept looking. Despite the fact di2 was specced and I liked this a lot it just didn't float my boat.
I'm used to my Kuota Kharma being relatively rare at races and I like that.
I did up the numbers and the P2c was coming in at best value easily, and with good solid reviews and reports it seemed a safe bet. I got my measurements checked from Dom at who confirmed the P2 in a 51 would be bang on, as would an Orbea in a small etc. Orbea's had less reviews and feedback and I wasn't sure about it. But it was a nice bike and I continued my searches. So my shortlist remained unchanged and I continued looking for reviews and also checked a few sites for second hand bikes for sale.
Around here I came across a Cervelo P4 second hand for sale online. I contacted the seller for a viewing and it was in my size. This was exciting as it is a superbike and price was around the €2.5k mark so in budget.
I took it for a test ride and did have a couple issues - the oval bars were flat extensions and felt weird. Also the P4's hydration bottle was not the easiest to remove/replace.
None the less I put in an offer as it was perfect size, decent spec and a superb bike. I ended up losing the bid by €100 and that was a shame..
However, all clouds have a silver lining and the seller had a Ridley Dean that he was keeping over the P4. He said he may sell it at end of this season and would decide in a couple weeks and let me know. I could have first refusal if I wanted.
So after researching the Ridley, I arranged a test ride and was very very impressed. Both with the spec and the ride, not to mention the mint condition of the bike.
This spec is basically as good as it gets before DI2.
So he thought it over and decided he'd sell it. We agreed price and also negotiated on Zipp 808 Zedtech Tubulars which I was after so a deal was agreed and I paid the deposit.
This was always for the end of his tt season in August which suited me fine.

So below is my TT/Triathlon bike:

Ridley Dean xs
Zipp Vuka aero bars
Zipp Vuma chrono crank
Shimano dura ace rear derailleur
Campag record front derailleur
Shimano dura ace tt shifters
Prologo Nago ttr evo saddle
Zipp 808 Zedtech tubulars with zipp tangent Tyres

The crank alone is worth big bucks as are the bars, so I'm delighted with the price I got it for.
As you can see I'm a black red and White fan which matches the Tri suit too so all boxes ticked for me and I really love this bike.

I'll even get in 3 races this year before it retires to the turbo till next season.

Check out the lower bars and angles compared to my kuota road bike with Tri bars...

Now for more training to justify the purchase!!!

Update - it's taken me about 3-4 hours to get properly used to the different position. I was going to get a bike fit straight away, but figured I should get used to the position first and then see.
I had discomfort in the groin and arms area on first few attempts so figured I'd try adjusting myself first. A number of Tweaks to saddle and stem spacers and I'm now very comfortable and power is there. I could go lower but will wait till I'm fully used to it.
Very happy with the transfer to tt bike and it seems a decent bit faster and more comfortable. I've done a few bricks now and my legs do feel fresher..
Proof is on race day though so we'll see how I go this Saturday at Caroline Kearney Olympic Triathlon. This will be the Ridley's maiden voyage, Aka Betsy (the bullet)...