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18 September 2014

Dan Wilson recaps his weekend at the Sunshine Coast Ironman



Friday
The Wilson of 3 months ago was undoubtably an optimist. He never doubted the logic of racing a World Series race in Stockholm, jumping on the plane with scarcely enough time to wash the remnants of powerade off his chin, and traveling to Canada to race in the World Championships Grand Final. Additionally, the Wilson of 3 months ago thought nothing of then traveling another 30 hrs back to Brisbane, and try to a) get over jet lag, b) learn to ride a time trial bike, c) find a time trial bike with which to learn how to ride, and, d) figure out how to race his first 70.3 race as a professional.

The current-day Wilson is slightly more pessimistic, and is now somewhat wishing he could go back in time and have some stern words with the Wilson of 3 months ago, who decided to enter the Sunshine Coast 70.3, and explain to him the detrimental effects of traveling, racing, and jet lag. Never-the-less, I’m committed now, and with 3 days to go, actually quite excited about the prospect of trying something a little different after a long season of ITU racing.

My day starts with an easy jog before breakfast, trying with increasing desperation to loosen up my muscles a little, which have been an absolute abomination from the traveling and racing of the last 3 weeks. After that, I have my customary breakfast of fruit and yogurt while staring at my bag, convinced that I’ve neglected to pack something of vital importance. Preparations for ITU races are relatively autonomous these days, but this 70.3 business is a different kettle of fish. I’ve got a boatload of extra nutrition, an aerodynamic helmet I’ve never worn before, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that wearing socks is the go among the 70.3 cognoscenti, although I’m not entirely sure. I make a mental note of trying to surreptitiously ask someone before the race, without appearing stupid. Above all, I don’t want to look stupid this weekend...

I pack up the car, pick up Tash from uni, and we drive up to Mooloolaba just in time for the press conference, where I see some old sparring partners in Brad Kahlefeldt and Clayton Fettell. I haven’t seen the fellas in quite a while, but within 5 mins Fettell has brutally appraised my wardrobe and superficially judged the rest of the pro field, so it’s just like old times, and we sit on the couch and continue the banter until it’s time to answer some questions from the media. Taking advantage of the situation, I cunningly pretend to tell a joke, asking if it’s a good idea to wear socks for the event and everyone laughs, whilst I desperately hope that someone takes pity on me. Radka eventually comes to my rescue, and informs me that it’s a good idea, but with the jovial nature of the room, I’m still not quite sure. Looks like I’ll have to do some more undercover research...

Saturday
I enjoy a bit of a sleep in on Saturday morning, but still employ the services of a single origin espresso to expedite my awakening process, as I wonder down to lend a hand at the Ironkids event at the river. The kids are absolutely tiny, and are cuter than a puppy holding a ballon, so I have a whale of time handing out medals to the finishers. I cast a shrewd eye on the ratio of socks to no-socks being worn, although when one young lad crosses the line wearing sailboarding shoes, I decide that perhaps emulating the equipment choices of 8 year old first-timers might not be the most salubrious of decisions for my race. Never-the-less, I ask my sailboarding friend how his feet feel, and he tells me he is in a lot of pain, which surprises me, more so because of the broad grin on his face rather than my faith in the cushioning properties of his footwear.

Inspired by the youngsters enthusiasm, I head out for a ride myself, and spend half the time tinkering with my still-not-quite-comfortable-position, and the other half practicing taking waterbottles in and out of the waterbottle mounts on the aerobars and behind the seat, which is all new to me. By the end of the ride, I’m super-hydrated and have the bike-position in the right ball park, so I have a idiosyncratic pre-race lunch of an amalgamation of simple carbs, largely involving banana’s, white bread and honey. It’s a meal choice bereft of nutrients, but a good choice for pre-race as a precaution against unwanted gastrointestinal ailments for tomorrow, and strategy I use for my ITU racing as well. After lunch, I stroll down to the beach for a swim, and am pleasantly surprised by my arms, which feel vaguely fresh after spending the last 2 weeks feeling heavier than a Metallica riff. Feeling optimistic, I spend the rest of the afternoon prepping my race gear, and googling ‘70.3’ and ‘socks’, with ambiguous results. I start to ruminate about how sore I could be at this time of the day tomorrow, and raise the possibility with Tash of getting a small bell I can ring to alert her when she can bring morsels of food and drink to my position on the couch. Her reply is surprisingly polite, but get the impression that it is an unlikely eventuality...

Sunday
When the alarm goes off at 4:15 am, I seriously consider DNS-ing in favour of staying in bed. This is really early! I give myself a stern talking to, and partly because I envisage the future humiliation I would endure when explaining why I didn’t start, I extricate myself from the blankets and nibble on a few energy bars whilst thoughtfully eyeing off the socks sitting on top of my race bag. Still undecided, I saunter down to transition area, banter with Fettell for a while and note that everyone else has laid out socks in their transition area. Deciding that it would be overly paranoid to suggest the entire field was laying out fake socks to send me down the wrong path, I too put out my socks, then complete my warm up.

The start line is definitely a bit less intense than an ITU pontoon, with no helicopters or heart beat music to contend with, yet there’s clearly an abundance of nerves around, and I’m as edgy as a dodecahedron. The gun goes off, and we’re off and swimming. I’m sitting comfortably in third, and not interested in pushing the pace early. It’s a 4 hour race, and unchartered territory for me, and am trying my best to ignore Fettell’s ‘advice’ to race it like an ITU race. As I run up the beach, I come to the startling realisation that in all this constant rumination about whether or not to wear socks, I’ve neglected to consider which transition I’m supposed to put them on! Trying to see what everyone else does leads to me absolutely butchering my transition, first losing a water bottle and then realising I’m not sure if I can clear my rear water bottle when I leap on to my bike. Once I’ve mounted, the rest of the bike goes relatively without incident, the pace is pretty strong, with Fettell, Munro, and Bell putting out enough Watts to power a medium sized village. I come to the realisation that my seat height is a bit higher than ideal, and spend the 90 kms on the front 2cms of my saddle to try to reduce the effective seat height. Finished with 2 wheels for the day, we’re a group of 7 as we hit T2 and rip through transition, Atkinson, I note with interest, doesn’t put on socks...

The pace on the first lap is pretty strong, and it quickly becomes myself, Sticksy and Atkinson at the front of the race. I’m content to bide my time a little longer, still a fraction fearful of a Wilson-shaped explosion littering the course if I go on the charge too soon. Courtney surges up the hills at the end of the first lap, and Sticksy drops off the pace, leaving just the two of us at the front of the race. I decide the time is nigh to see what my legs are made of, and try to inject some pace over the next few kilometres. I’m feeling pretty strong, but Courtney is all over me like a rash, so I slow a little and hand over the pacemaking to him for a while. Or not. He’s not too keen to lead either, and, and doesn’t come round me. After the pace has slowed quite significantly, I’ve had enough of dawdling along, and start to push the pace again until the last turnaround. I’m aware that there’s a bit of a headwind on the way home, which I’m not particularly keen to lead into, and so I slow the pace again, trying to lure Courtney into taking up the pace. Once again he declines, and the pace slows and slows, and we jog along at little over 5 minute pace for quite a while. At this point, we’re both probably stifling a giggle at the ridiculousness of the situation, and even engage in some dialogue articulating this point. It fails to resolve the issue of who’s responsible for setting the pace, and I eventually blink first, reasoning that I don’t flog myself in training everyday to jog come race day. I vary the pace the whole way back, trying to drop a bomb big enough to rid myself of Atkinson, but we’re evenly matched, so with 1km to go, we’re still on top of each other. I keep throwing attacks in, before pulling the trigger with everything I have with around 100m to go, and lead right the way up until the last 30m, where Courtney gets a shoulder in front, winning by a purported 0.1 of a second.

It was an absolute cracker of a race, and although I would have liked to be 2 steps quicker, I had a ball out there, although much to my chagrin, it now means I’ve lost a 70.3 title, as well as two Australian titles to Courtney by a combined total of about a second! Dude’s got a sprint on top of an all-round package, and rightfully claimed a well-deserved win. It was a great weekend out, thanks to the guys for having me up at Mooloolaba for a fantastic event, I’m looking forward to having another go at another 70.3 soon! In the meantime, with all the experience of a single 70.3 under my belt, I’ll be happy to answer any sock-related queries anyone has for their next race...

Cheers,
Willy.

10 September 2014

Xterra Denmark Report by Louise Fox

I couldn’t wait to visit Denmark for the first time in 5 years, have a nice holiday with friends… and hopefully finish off the European Tour in style.

Happy end to the European Tour

13 years ago I booked a one-way flight from London to Copenhagen, for something silly like £29.99 on Ryanair. It was the first time I’d flown by myself, and I boarded the sardine tin armed with nothing but a massive rucksack and a rudimentary knowledge of Danish (which I’d attempted to teach myself in the university language lab in between taking my Geology and Ecology finals!) I had no idea where I would even sleep that night, but I was determined to find a job, learn the language, make friends, and live in Copenhagen for a year. Oh the fresh-faced optimism of the 21-year-old new graduate!

Needless to say this would be the greatest challenge/adventure I had ever undertaken. But the lessons I learned in self-belief, determination, resourcefulness- and sheer unwillingness to give up, still serve me today. I’d say all those skills are pretty darn useful in Xterra racing too ;)

So the minute I saw Xterra Denmark listed on the European Tour, I was in!! I couldn’t wait to revisit “Wonderful Copenhagen”, show my husband where I used to live, and catch up with some of the friends I made all those years ago.

Sightseeing in Nyhavn

So the holiday part of our trip was amazing- we arrived to Copenhagen at its best- in warmth and sunshine, enjoying the sightseeing and coffee culture, and I even did one of my old favourite running routes round the city lakes. I used to do km reps round there with my former athletics club! We had a couple of lovely “hyggeligt” dinners visiting old friends, and were feeling relaxed as we headed up to Tisvilde- the Xterra venue- an hour’s drive from the city.

The Viking weather Gods were unsettled up North, though, and it was under threatening skies that we met up with Mike and Shula- our friends from TVT- to recce the swim, bike and run courses. Or rather- Mike and I did the recce-ing; Simon and Shula had the far more important task of getting the beers, pastries and Cocio* in! (*Cocio = the best ever Danish chocolate milk!)

Pre-race viewing of Jaws before our sea swim!

Most athletes were staying at the nearby Youth Hostel, and it was pretty cool; self-contained apartments formed an athletes’ village- and of course this being Denmark, it had a nice cycle lane into town :-)
Pre-race pasta prepared, although I’m not sure “Jaws” was the best TV viewing the night before our sea swim. But it was the only English programme showing, and luckily none of us seemed to have trouble sleeping!

On race day we woke up to rain. While the bike and run courses were at the “easy” end of the scale technically, this would be a whole different story in the wet! The sandy soil turned to mud and clay- making the steepest climbs almost impossible on the bike without spinning out, and steep downhills on the run a lethal mudslide.
We actually saw one Pro lady get her bike out the car, look at the conditions, put her bike back in the car and drive off!!
One down...

Race briefing under foreboding skies! (Credit Camilla Hylleberg)

The sun tried to come out as we warmed up and racked, and everyone (except I’m guessing Conrad Stolz- who enjoys a good mud fest!) was hoping the course would dry off while we were in the swim…

But little chance of that- as no sooner the gun went, the rain started again. Our spectators claimed to be as wet as we were by the time we finished the swim! 

The sea which had been calm for 2 days was choppy and wavy today, making it tough to sight or swim in a straight line. I had a frustrating swim with age groupers zig-zagging across me constantly- it seemed I could never move forward in the pack because someone would just swim in front and I’d stall. Anytime I went wide someone seemed to follow and push me wider and further off course, so in the end I just gave up & settled into the group of red hats (=other Pro women) who I trust more to swim in a straight line and a steady pace. In the end I exited with Renata, Carina and Helena who’d had a great swim… Inevitably I wouldn't see them after T1 until the finish!

About to get very muddy! (Credit Martin Paldan)

The bike was super muddy and slick, I left my glasses in T1 as I couldn’t see anything through them, but soon regretted this as I spent the next 1:55h with mud and grit constantly flicking in my eyes- from my own tyres and anyone in front. Lots of hills we’d ridden in the recce were totally churned up and unrideable in the mud- especially when the person in front of you stops to walk there’s nothing you can do. That is the same for everyone, but most frustrating for me was trying to ride the downhills with my eyes closed or having to scrub off speed to try and minimise the mud flicking. Yes it sounds lame, but I literally can’t see when too much grit gets under my contacts as they move out of place. Its days like this I think I should save up for anti-fog clear glasses and laser eye surgery!!
And some trail shoes…

…I’d been apprehensive about the run having skidded on my arse testing one of the descents, and having only road shoes to race in. But actually I really enjoyed it- trail shoes or not everyone was skidding all over the place, grabbing hold of trees or just sitting down and sliding which was the fastest method in places! The final km of each lap was a tough slog running on sand, but I was gaining time on several of the girls in front. Sadly it wasn’t enough to catch anyone and I had to settle for 7th. Just enough for the final podium spot though, so I was happy!

Happiest on the run :-) (Credit Martin Paldan)

This left just the 4th discipline of cleaning endless muddy kit before it could be packed- thanks to Simon for cleaning mine and several of the ladies’ bikes! A well-earned dinner in one of Tisvilde’s many posh bistros, and finally calling in on the Swiss party house! We arrived just in time to watch Alistair Brownlee win the World champs in Edmonton (via laptop), and celebrate Katrin’s win today, Jan’s 4th place, Renata’s 5th, and Cedric and Franziska’s top AG results.

Everyone is looking forward to a few weeks off racing… then see you all in Maui!!

5 September 2014

Cat Benger: Account of the ÖtillÖ weekend adventure

Team number: 213
Team name: ABCpure
Athletes: Ben Webeck & Cat Benger
Results: 7th in the mixed team category
(20 mixed teams finished) and 51st out of 98 teams
Total time: 11 hours 42 minutes
Our ÖtillÖ 14 journey started on Saturday morning trains, planes and buses were used to ensure our safe arrival in Stockholm, Sweden. Saturday night we rested our bodies in the “Old Town Lodge” a Youth Hostel in the Old Town, although a Youth Hostel it had fresh white bed linen and white fluffy towels, hostels have certainly gone upmarket since I travelled or am I just getting older! We ventured out and had a lovely meal and cheeky glass of wine to settle any pre, pre-race nerves.
Stockholm Old Town for the night
Stockholm Old Town for the night
Sunday Morning our journey really started, 12pm sharp the Otillo vessels laden with kit and excitable athletes and supporters departed from outside the Grand Hotel, destination Sandhamn, 75km east of Stockholm and the start line. Sunday afternoon was the mandatory race registration, race briefing, dinner and lights out by 9pm.
On the way to the Ferry... no turning back now!
On the way to the Ferry… no turning back now!
The OtillO Ferry
The OtillO Ferry
Arriving at Sandhamn
Arriving at Sandhamn
Monday early, the alarm goes off at 3.15am, we could not have been blessed with kinder weather conditions, calm still water, no wind or rain and a forecast for the sun to come out and play.
4.10am breakfast.
5.00am time to get suited and booted in lycra and neoprene, not one’s usual outfit for a Monday morning!
5.55am to flair goes up and signifies the start of Otillo 14, asides from a whole load of running and swimming, what on earth lies ahead!
Quiet moment before the start... Go ABCpure!
Quiet moment before the start… Go ABCpure!
10km’s of swimming and 65km’s of running is a complete unknown for Ben and I, many may have anticipated nerves would be jangling and the heart rate pounding but my state was very different, calm, excited and up for it are probably more apt. Knowing Ben would be with me with every step of the way on this incredible adventure put a very different spin on things and I knew with him by my side we would be ok, I told myself and others “we will start together, run together, swim together and finish together”.
Throughout the day words that kept coming into my head which I thought I could use in my attempt to document, re-live a share what doing the Otillo is really like or what it requires from its participants:
Respect, Rhythm, Pace, Nimble, Agility, Caution, Insane, Epic, Amazing, Teamwork, Exhilarating, Tough, Painful, Brutal, “shut up legs” to steal the famous words from the cyclist Jens Voight the list could go on.
After our 1st run and swim we got a real taster for the terrain of the stunning Swedish Archipelago’s, little had I realised or anticipated I would be spending a lot of time on all 4’s hauling myself up and down rocks, face planting, flying through bushes, bracken & thorns, skipping over tree stumps, weaving a path that no one had probably trodden since Otillo 13 (ok so those in front of us!!)! If there is any day you would want to be a “sure footed mountain goat” Sept 1st is the date! The Swedish contingent / locals were by far the most represented nation in the event (people from 22 nations were present) and respect must be given where respect due their ability to quite literally float over slippery wet rocks and traverse the terrain was sublime.
Spotted the ribbon Cat... get your head out of the water!
Spotted the ribbon Cat… get your head out of the water!
Time to get wet again after a longer run
Time to get wet again after a longer run
Found their rhythm.... Keep up Ben!
Found their rhythm…. Keep up Ben!
Exiting through the rocks...this way, follow me!
Exiting through the rocks…this way, follow me!
I had been telling myself the Otillo was an event and finishing was our priority, but let’s be honest those who know me knew it would be a race as soon as we hit the start line and of course you were all right. I would be lying again if I did not admit to some mini internal fist pumps when we passed a pair of green hats. Green hats denoted mixed teams, red caps for the boys and pink for the all-female teams. I would also be lying if at times my mind did not wonder too… if I did this event again, so yes, and just for the record I would do the event again and we already know where seconds, minutes or even a hour could be shaved off. If there was ever any doubt this event has confirmed just how competitive I am!
We made it!!!
We made it!!!
Partners in crime!
Partners in crime!
Our chosen brands of kit were quite simply “top notch” and something I would not change. Huge thanks needs to be extended once again to the brands that showed their support in ensuring we got round in one piece Zone3 wetsuits, Reebok all terrain shoes, Greepers laces, Drymax socks, Compressport calf guards and Zipvit nutrition.
Like in all good post event speeches thanks cannot be overlooked and must be re-iterated to all those who made the journey possible. Family, friends, followers thank you, you were with us every step, stroke, slide and face plant of the way. Knowing we were being tracked really kept us going, you provided the momentum and motivation when reserves were running low. I know I am a very, very lucky lady to have been able to experience one of the “world’s toughest endurance events” (their words not mine) and to date one of the most incredible physical and mental journey’s I have ever been on with a very, very special person, my partner, Ben Webeck.
On this occasion he (Ben) does not get the final mention that is reserved for Warren Willis. For those not aware Warren was the instigator and inspiration between Otillo14, Warren and Ben were originally signed up to participate as a male team, a change in work schedule meant Warren was not able to race which gave me the opportunity of a lifetime just a few weeks ago. Not once did I use your name in vain Warren I promise (can’t promise Ben didn’t!!). Keeping strong in the last 5km’s of the 21km run about the 7-8 hour mark of our long day out was for you! Thank you Warren, I sincerely and earnestly hope one day you get to feel the pain, cold water temperatures, exhilaration and sense of achievement Ben and I have been so fortunate and privileged to experience. This race really is one for the bucket list and not for the faint hearted!
The calm after the storm...
The calm after the storm…
PS if any of you are thinking or ask what next, don’t encourage me!!!

1 September 2014

Balancing racing and exams - End of season race report by Sophie Alden

So with Nottingham being the last race of the season, I really wanted to end it on a good race. I'd prepared well and had inspected the course so I had no doubts about where I as going. My race was quite late in the day, being the second to last race, starting at 2.35pm. It was quite a weird day on the weather side: one minute it would be very cold and raining, then the next minute it would be beaming sunshine and boiling hot! I got there just in time to watch the ETU junior girls cup race. It was a great race to watch with such a strong field. I knew pretty much everyone in the race as the Italian girls who I’d been on camp with earlier in the year were also competing. I also got to see the tristar 3 race, boys and girls, which was good to see and cheer for Eastern region.



After 4 hours of waiting around, it was finally my time to go. On the way down to the start a thunder storm took over the sky. It was raining so hard, but luckily we saw no lighting. I quickly put my wetsuit on to avoid getting cold and kept jumping around. I was a bit worried about the pontoon start due to the fact that the previous night during registration, I found that I wasn’t on the start list. They missed the top few so the A’s and B’s were not there. So I happened to have to highest and last possible number in my race. I wasn’t use to this, normally being at the front with Alden! But in the end they drew numbers out of a hat, so I ended up being in the first third of people getting on. I lined myself up directly with the buoy and Livvy Mathias managed to find herself next to me!



Boom boom, boom boom. The heart beat started, but it was hard to get nervous when Livvy just kept saying how she hated the heart beat. They blew the horn so quickly after “On your marks”, I'm pretty sure I was the last to dive in. It was ok as I think I came up just on Livvy’s shoulder. Liv and I swam next to each other until the first buoy, breathing in time looking at each other for some f it. At the first buoy I had the inside line so Liv just dropped back onto my hip. The swim was so cold. I led out of the water and was really pleased with my transition, again leading out. For the first time this season I actually had a decent mount! It was just Emer and I for the first 400m but there was a large group of 5 or 6 that it was inevitable we were going to get caught. The bike was tough with a very unstable pace. So many surges occurred and also many drops in pace. But we still managed to gain over 1 minute on the chase group. Going into T2 me and Kate had a little collision due to a very tight corner. My T2 was terrible. My wetsuit was on top of my trainers, making it very difficult to find them. I went out of T2 in 5th. I was roughly 10 seconds down on Kate, Liv and Lizzy. With Georgia Hannam roughly 5 seconds ahead. The first half was agony. They just kept running further away. I was still in 5th at half way. Just after this point I caught Lizzy up. We ran together for a while but in the end she told me to go and gave me words of encouragement. Liv kept looking behind and I could tell the gap was getting smaller.  Only at 400m to go did I catch her and that’s when she asked “can we finish together?” I must admit I just kept running through, having no energy to speak.

So I was so happy with 3rd, after having to run myself into the position. Normally my placing would go the other way on the run, so it’s showing how much my running is improving by which gives me great confidence and motivation for a hard winters training and cross country season.  1st was Kate and 2nd was Georgia. Overall in the series I secured 2nd, with Kate 1st and Emma Clapton 3rd.

On top of this season I also had exams and GCSE’s to think about. I waited until I got home Friday night, rather than receive them on the Thursday like most people. I was happy enough Friday with the race but to come home and find I got; 6xA*’s, an A and a B: put me on such a high.

Overall its been such a great season and hopefully next season when I move into junior, it will be just as good. I’m especially looking forward to the longer distance!

More from Sophie here 

14 August 2014

If Carlsberg did World Cup Triathlon races... But if they did... TizzyWC.


Tiszaurjvaros World Cup.
If Carlsberg did World Cup Triathlon races... But if they did... TizzyWC.

It was my second time in Tizzy (as it is affectionately abbreviated to), and an amazing experience it is. Tizzy is in Hungary about 180km east of Budapest.  It's a Sprint Triathlon World Cup but it is held in n eliminator format, semi finals on the Saturday and finals on the Sunday.

In the men's race there were 3 semi finals with 30 men in each and the top 10 men in each semi went through to the final the next day.  I qualified in 5th place in my semi final, it was hard and fast but the key was qualifying for the finals but not to blow too much energy for the finals only 24hrs later.  I had a solid semi final doing all the basics right and qualifying comfortably.  On the Saturday there were about 15 races in all with Junior and age group races along with age group races taking place.

So Saturday evening was all about recovery and getting the body back to decent shape before the real show down in the final the next day (Sunday at 5pm).  I slept badly in the Saturday night after the race, as most probably did with the adrenaline still pumping and the humid conditions in Tizzy.  Next morning it was 30 degrees celcius by 9am and getting hotter, with our race at 5pm it was going to be a scorcher.  I did a 30min run with stretches and run drills to loosen up that morning then kept out if the heat and relaxed for most of the morning.

Pre race was the mortal routine 20min build cycle, 20min build swim.  I felt great and was ready to do a real good job in the race, then 15mins pre race, just a I was exiting the water after my swim warm up I stepped on a broken bottle that was submerged in the water, and my toe foot started pissing blood.  This was not good, it took about 10mins with a medic compressing my foot tightly for the blood flow to subside.  The rest of the guys were lining up for their pontoon call and I was lying on the ground with 3 medics seeing to the gash in my foot.

All said and done, the medics eventually wrapped my foot up in bandages and they advised me not to start the race as I've lost a lot of blood, (to be fair to the medics they had a point, there were pools of blood around where I was lying).  But I had a quick think, I was in too good a shape just to pull out, the medics had done a great job wrapping my foot, I stood up, took 2 energy gels as I was a bit dizzy for all the excitement of the cut, done a few hops, the bandages held in place and I said to myself I'll give it a go anyway. 

THE RACE

I was a bit dizzy again on the run down to the pontoon, but felt grand otherwise.  The gun shot and off we went , 3*250m laps, first turn buoy 115m away, I had a terrible start and got pumped round the first buoy.

See this vine of the turn buoy, I'm the guy dunked twice near the back, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, if I'd have swam faster this would not have happened.
https://vine.co/v/MVQPtMWWeiP

So I exited the water way down in the 3rd pack, in fact 20 secs slower than my swim time in the semi finals.  We got a small group working together and held the 2 nd pack at 15 secs for 18 km and then closed them down eventually with 1 km to go, our group didn't work very well together but we got there eventually, I hit T2 7 secs down on the leaders, significant amount of time lost but even more so a lot of extra unnecessary effort wasted on the bike.

I ran reasonably fast to finish in 19th but my technique was shocking and I wasn't holding good form even if I was trying, may be because I was red lined from the work on the bike, or my foot had started leaking more blood on the run or I just wasn't strong enough... Or a combination of them all.  All in all a great race and very enjoyable and a good time had by all.

I'm sure I'll be back to race Tizzy some time again, give it a go, highly recommended.

Final men's results, ITU race report and race video;
- Conor Murphy