After the world student games in Turkey, it was back to business in preparation for Athlone. All was going ok, bar the odd session where I could feel fitness lacking in my run from hard treadmill sessions I USED to be able to do, probably due to foot injury and less running, but I got on with it.
Two days out from Athlone I start to feel nervous, something I haven’t experienced much before. Tummy dodgy for a few days I think its all because I know its in front of the ‘home crowd’.
The home crowd was amazing, so many people lined the streets of Athlone. Having watched some of my club members from North West Tri Club, and fellow Wheelworx athletes there s nothing much more I can do to prepare. With fantastic athletes including our own Olympic hopeful Emma Davis lining up to start again I must ‘get on with it’.
It seems my swim wasn’t great, and was in second pack on the bike. Our group caught a lone cyclist- Spence and we worked hard in constant rotation to try to make it up to the lead group with Spence yelling at us- fun.
They beasted the last lap, why I don’t know, but I was 10m off the back for most of that lap and it left my legs dead.
Running that first lap was painful but I managed to keep ahead of the Czech girl Jana, who oddly done the whole thing with big dangly earrings. At the finish I meet Rob and had a bit of a tearful moment. I think I thought I was capable of better, and so am disappointed with how much effort I put in and how I don’t think its reflected in my racing. Anyhow, Rob thought I was a weirdo and told me to wise up. Thanks Rob. Reality check- its my first season, and as I’ve said at every other race, if I think I can do better its only a good thing.
Limerick looms and I am soooo excited to be at camp with the rest of the squad. Over the week the girls – Myself, Rachel Boyd, Claire Connor, Elena & Katrina from Wheelworx work hard at training sessions designed by Chris, and helped by Mark Dempsey and Peter Kerns. We watch ‘the tour’ everyday and the girls try to out-do each others cooking and see who can buy the nicest dessert. Elena buys lovely toffee cake and Claire, Dairy Milk ice-cream, whilst Rachel eats two breakfasts every day. This wouldn’t be a problem only that Aileen sees the lovely breakfasts, and must eat more- ‘eyesbiggerthanbellyittis’, (Been there done that...Rob) Elena buys cake and doesn’t eat it (so I do), and Claire shares the lovely ice cream. Aside from this I also eat the food I had planned to eat before the girls sabotage my belly. The result- either the scales in limerick weight 5kg more or I’m the only person in history to go home from a training camp heavier!
The highlight of the camp was most definitely when the girls group kicked the boys skinny asses on the wed night 25k time trial. They were so surprised not to catch us after a 4min head start over 3laps that they actually thought we had cheated! It was possibly the hardest cycle I’ve done, but the reward was worth it, on the second lap the boys only managed to make up 15seconds on us!!!. Clearly some egos amongst the boys they failed to work together like us. We also had Mark Dempsey screaming at us for 1hour and 8mins, and I have to tell you in case he dosen’t, he struggled himself, Rachel had to shout at him once or twice to move on cos he was keeping us back.
Last day of camp we are all sad, Chris cannot come to Turkey for my next ITU race, but I convince Claire she is ready to race (she so is), and Chris asks Mark to go as a reward for his hard work over the week. Holy Mother of goodness, what are we in for? Anyone who knows Mark will know what I’m talking about- who’s going to be looking after who?