Challenge Galway

Race Report

The plan for me in this race was to just go for it on the bike and get myself into contention starting the run. As well as that I also wanted to push some decent numbers on the bike to get a good confidence booster heading into Challenge Roth. Before I talk about this race I have to say a massive thank you to Emma Heavin for organising the race and also to her family as well who were all part of the Organisation behind it. They put a lot of the pros up in nice accommodation leading into the race, sorted out transfers and rental cars, and made everything really easy with the briefing two days before the event so you could really chill out the day before. The course was really good as well with a fast slightly undulating bike leg and a flat 2 lap run course. I would definitely like to come back next year and really hope it fits in with my schedule. I would also recommend it to any domestic athletes which are looking to make the step up to pro or who have recently started to race as a professional as the prize money is pretty good and you wont get looked after any better anywhere else. Also before I go on about the race, there’s loads of good cafes in Galway if you like a good coffee, unfortunately I haven’t been able to get on the cake until after Roth as I’m trying to get ‘lean’ and not look like a sausage roll!

The swim in the race was cut a bit short due to the wind on race day and the chop which we had to deal with. It wasn’t shortened by much though as I still had it as over 1700 meters on my Garmin and the time it took us was pretty similar to if it had of been accurate distance due to how hard it was to swim. I felt as though I had a good start in the swim and was on the back of the lead group for a good 200 meters and I thought it might actually be my day of staying with them, unfortunately the guy who’s feet I was swimming on let go of the group and they opened up a gap. A little while later I tried to go on my own as the pace felt like it had slowed a lot. I tried to see where I was going but couldn’t see anything and thought it would be pointless leading as I couldn’t even see where I was swimming so I decided to sit back in for the remainder of the swim. I got out the water 2m 50 down but felt like I had a very easy swim and there was a lot more in the tank. It would have been good to do the swim in calm conditions where I could get stuck in to see if I could exit wishing 2 minutes of Dylan. That would have been a very good swim for me as he’s an awesome swimmer and was first out of the water in Kona last year.

Out onto the bike and I just wanted to hurt myself really! I wasn’t happy with my rides in the last two 70.3s as I just didn’t think I went hard enough on the bike and I just wanted to go for it and get into the race. Unfortunately as it was so wet and humid I think it effected my power meter as I had data for the first 22 minutes which saw my power averaging 365w which I was very happy with as it felt good, I felt like I was working but that I could keep it up. Once my power went down after 22 minutes I just paced myself by wether or not it felt hard. If my legs felt like there was a bit of pain in them I tried to hold it and if it felt like it wasn’t hurting then I pushed it harder. Just before I caught the group my power meter started working again and I was still holding around 360ish. I caught the group about 6-7 minutes later and tried a few digs to get away but unfortunately it was to no avail as they had me covered. I decided then that I would conserve my energy and take my chances on the run. In hindsight I wish I had of just given it one really big attack and just gone with it but you learn each race and I was happy to have caught them. For the remainder of the bike I think I averaged around 300w which felt really comfortable, this gave me a lot of confidence as it felt much easier then this and I thought it Roth I could probably look to push around 310 and on a good day 320.

I had my bike time on my garmin as 2h09 minutes for bang on 90ks which in pouring rain and wind and with an easy last 30 minutes I’ll take that.

When we got onto the run David took off immediately and I was left in joint 2nd with Dylan Mcniece for company and Kevin Thornton just behind in 4th. My tummy felt absolutely terrible though, It was at this point I knew eating that 14 inch pizza with Jalepenos on the night before was not a good idea. Unfortunately I didn’t see any toilets and there was no where to stop to go to the loo. I had to make a decision do I take one for the team and make sure I get on the podium which I haven’t done before in a half distance race or call it a day and stop. Obviously I took one for the team and knew that I had to get 2nd after this. I stayed with Dylan for 15Ks and then made my move with 5ks to go on the run and then managed to put about 90 seconds into him by the finish.

I definitely felt like I should have taken more nutrition on during the race. I was relying on using mostly energy drink with 2 gels but as it was so cold and wet I only managed to drink one bottle which left me a bit hungry, I could notice it on the run and in future in colder events I will take more gels and bars for nutrition and in hotter events I will go for more energy drinks.

Overall happy to get 2nd place and a good confidence booster ahead of Roth in 3 weeks time. I’ve got another 2 weeks of training and then an easy week leading into the race. I know I’m in shape to pull off a good result so just need to get to the start line feeling good.

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