17th September 2017
This was my 4th time representing Triathlon Ireland abroad in my age group – I’ve been to Spain and France before competing in duathlon (read race reports here), so this was step up to include the swim. My other motivation to go to Rotterdam was to visit a city I lived & studied in over 10 years ago. I’m so glad I went. There were over 4,000 competitors from all over the world, plus all the pros racing the day before for the ITU Grand Final 2017.
Such an enjoyable day. Getting to the race, doing the race and celebrating after. I was delighted to have 3 great legs and finish my run without Achilles pain. I’d written my race preview, check it out here.
The day started at 5am. After breakfast, I caught the night bus to T2 to drop my runners. It was funny taking a bus with all the night revellers going home (back in 2004 that could have been me).
Getting to T1 involved a lovely ferry across the River Maas. The city skyline views of Erasmusbrug and Hotel New York were lovely. It was cold, about 8C so I was well wrapped up and happy to have gloves. With hours to kill, I chatted to Marijke in Hotel New York.
The build-up on the pontoon was nice, especially when they announce your name. No diving start like the pros, but only about 70 in my wave so lots of space. The swim went fine – 26 mins. No bashing or sighting difficulties.
Only trouble was I took off my wetsuit out of the water as we’d a 500m run to T1. Just as I had it off, two guys shouted at me that I’d get DQed, so I pulled it up from around my ankles and crisis averted.
The bike was the best part. Like playing a video game as someone said, with all the twists and turns, all the mixed surfaces (cobblestones, tarmac, bumps, ramps, tracks) and all the changes of pace and direction. Never boring – I was loving it.
Mixing it up with people from FRA, GBR, CAN, AUS, MEX, NED. After 2 laps, I was having such fun I thought about doing a 3rd lap. That’s never happened me before – perhaps I like cycling after all? Maybe it’s since I’ve hurt my Achilles and have had to cycle more all summer. Bike done in 1hr 6min.
Through T2 and onto 2 laps of Het Park. My Achilles felt good so tried to keep good form, fast cadence and pull from my glutes. I was making ground – only one Swiss guy passed me (darn!). Cheering on my fellow Irish competitors as I went.
One Cockney guy kept cheering “Come on Ireland, nice running.” Never have I been referred to in the name of my country. An Elvis impersonator appeared behind some trees and gave us all a laugh. Support was great. I was delighted with a 35-min run – about 36.5min pace as it was a bit short. My finish time was 2h14m, good enough for joint 52nd in my age group.
After was nice – people chatting in the sun. There was Kentucky man on the massage table, Sunderland dad there with this teenage son, recommending Dublin pubs to the Mexican group, the funny DJ, doing the Icelandic thunder clap. Getting hungry but happy with a few beers in the sun.
A quick turnaround to watch the All Ireland final, hoping Mayo could turn the tide. Alas, not to be. It was nice catching up with the Irish team – everyone enjoyed the day. Onto Maasilo for the awards ceremony. More t-shirt swapping. I wish I got those Mexican arm warmers.
Thanks to TI Team managers Blanca and Paddy. Such patience, energy and positivity. it’s nice to be part of a team. It’s nice to do your best at something you love. How lucky we are.
Learn how you could represent Ireland in your age group – next year there are races in Gold Coast, Glasgow and Ibiza.