Back to the future

The 2014 season was a successful albeit mixed one for me. I ended 2013 on a high with some big performances in the UK, 4th overall in the British Super series and a World Cup start.

I kicked into training for 2014 at the start of November. The body felt great and I started back into it in better shape then I ever had before. November ended up been a busy month for the other kind of sessions with my  mate stags and wedding , Pulse tri clubs 10 year ball and my scout groups 40th year anniversary Ball. Needless to say the body took bit off a pounding, but  I still went into December fitter and stronger than any previous year.

In December I was invited to join  TI’s winter camp in Aguilas Spain. I was delighted to be invited and it was nice to know my results during the summer hadn’t gone unnoticed. With some extremely experienced athletes on camp there was lots to learn. I was suffering for the first few days but progressed well as the week went on. Was great to get to know the other guys and girls on the team aswell as the coaching and background staff.

TI Winter camp
TI Winter camp

In February I went to Lanzarote for another 10 days training with cyclist Mark Dowling. It was my 4th time to the Island and its easily one of my favourite places in the world. There’s just something about the relaxed, outdoors way off life that I love. You also gotta love the 25 degrees, perfectly paved roads, endless trails, the open air 50m pools and countless Olympians/world champs casually strolling around the place. There’s always someone to train with down there, so was nice to get some group rides and pool session with new people. I came home form Lanza with a solid tan and a nice block off work in the body.

Lanza
Lanza

It was frustrating start to the season with not been given an entry to The Blenheim triathlon and then a disappointing 19th place finish in The Windsor triathlon. I raced very well in Windsor and was pleased with my performance. It showed I was in great shape and was on for another successful season, but 19th is 19th. I went over for a top 10, it didn’t happen on the day.

Windsor Tri

I picked up a small niggle just after Windsor. It wasn’t serious but was enough that I had to take  a step back in run training. I decided to scrap my racing plans in July, get it sorted and move my focus to the back-end off the summer.

With London City and Liverpool Tris a week apart the start off August was going to be busy. I love London City Tri, it’s where I cut my teeth into Elite racing back in 2010 and somewhere I race well. It’s always nice to go somewhere you’ve good experiences from. I’d a good race in Liverpool in 2013 and its an exciting race course with a top quality field so i was excited to head over to England for these two races.

I’ve gotten used to traveling and staying on my own for races so it was nice to have the Limerick Kiiaaad Aaron O Brian as a room-mate for the weekend. Been my 5th time to race London I know the course well, the schedule for the weekend and the general set up off the event. It’s just one less thing to worry about.
A solid swim put me comfortably in the main chase group, we worked well together but with power houses like Hayes, Hawksworth and Graves up the road we lost a little more time than id have liked. Neil Eddy, Steve Harrison and myself ran the 10km together, we pushed each other hard and clawed back a few guys from the front pack. The run course was a little short but thanks to Eddys garmin we were averaging sub 33 10km pace. Very pleased with that considering the drop in run training after Windsor. 9th place… RESULT!!!

A quick few days at home before heading back to England for The British Elite Sprint champs in Liverpool. At the Athlete briefing on Saturday there was a weather warning for Sunday. A Storm was due to blow in bang on Start time 5pm Sunday. The weather man was right!! As Sunday progressed the rain got heavier and the wind got stronger. 30mins before race start the call was made, RACE CANCELLED!!! Pissed off to say the least… Flights and Accom down the drain. It was the right decision to cancel as there was no racing in those conditions. Disappointing to end the British Super series with only 2 outta the possible 3 scoring races but another good year in the UK.

London City
London City

A few more physio sessions and lots of recovery work during August got my run training back in order. September was gonna be a busy month with 3 races in 4 weeks. ETU European Cup Constanta-Mamaia, ETU European Cup Madrid and Garmin Barcelona Triathlon.

Dad came with me, or should I say I went with Dad on his trip to Constanta-Mamaia Romania. He had his note-book with his tourist plans, id mine with the race schedule. Strong winds ment the swim was moved to the lake conveniently the same distance from T1 as the sea. Id a decent swim and exited the water in the middle of the 3rd pack of about 20 guys. 25kms off the group drilling it almost got us back in contact with the front of the race. A handful off seconds went back to the 1min mark as the group arsed around for the closing 15km. 1st from the group in and out off T2. The run was HOT and I just about held it together. A solid 30th and a successful European Cup debut.

Constanta Mamaia
Constanta Mamaia

It took a little longer to recover from Romania than usual. The race was a step or two above the Super Series racing and there was lots of traveling so it was to be expected. A few days at home, bike out of the box, bike back into the box and onwards to Madrid. Id the pleasure of the newly crowned national champion Carolyn Hayes as travel campanion for the weekend. My usual routine in the days leading up to the race went well and the body felt good. I felt recovered and ready to race. Since Romania id banged out some quality sessions in the pool so was confident going into the race. After we rounded the 1st turn buoy I knew i was in for a rough day. I quickly went out the back and could only watch the guys id comfortably swam with two weeks before put distance in me. Jumped on the bike with 3 others and struggled around 2laps off the bike course before calling it quits!! The body was empty. I could have been doing a local fun run and would have DNF’d, one-of those days where the body says no. The race may not have gone to plan but I gained more valuable big race experience.

 

Madrid
Madrid

Onto Barcelona. A few of the British guys were heading over to race and stay on for a few days of sun/sea and carnage. A room upgrade started a great few days. Race morning we awoke to thunder and lightning. The race was pushed back an hour to let it blow over. Pushed myself between Gomez and Mola at the start and when the horn went slotted nicely into the middle off the group. It’s a hard open sea swim with plenty of waves to keep it interesting. Out of the water in the front group, easily the swim of my career. The long run in and out off transition stretched the group, with 8 of us been the wrong side of a split jumping on our bikes. 6 of us chased hard keeping at around 7 seconds for 10km. We didn’t have the fire power and over the 40km lost just over a minute. Not bad considering who was up the road. Onto the run and the copious amounts of sea water I swallowed came back to haunt me. 5km in bits with stomach cramps crawling down the road before I could get into my stride. 21st not the result I wanted but proof I can swim, ride and run with the best of them. The few nights on the lash after the race…. well less said about them the better!!

For the 2015 season ill be focusing on the European Cup Circuit. It’s the level I know I can race and race well at. I’ll still race the British Super Series and will dig out and dust off the TT  frame for some domestic racing.

At the moment im taking a small break from structured training letting the body and mind recover and refocus. I’ve been using the new-found free time to get back into a bitta rock climbing, do a bit of surfing and get out onto the hills with the scouts.  Havent been on any mental sessions yet but its early days….. there’s a few awards nights that could put an end to that!

Surfs Up
Surfs Up

 

Peace and love,

Neil

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