Ailbhe Carroll: Olsztyn ETU Sprint Triathlon European Cup race report

Last week, Ailbhe Carroll traveled over to Poland in search of ITU points. Here’s how she got on…

They say you learn something new everyday… My learnings were a mixed bag this trip but I can confirm the saying to be true.

Thursday May 24th.

On my drive to Luton Airport at 4.30am, the radio enlightened me to the fact that Wayne Rooney plays for Everton. The last I knew he was still playing for Man Utd. Bit slow on the football news clearly. Also, it is clear that Poland has a keen love for a red roof and an eye catching bridge. They are also currently undergoing some serious road works that will make this race next year a dream to travel to.

Friday May 25th.

It turns out that Poland had some cracking weather on offer… But you should always always always check your weather app, and probably have a back-up app. The heavens opened and Poland gave us a thunder and lightening  storm that would win an Oscar for surprise and performance.

Saturday, May 26th.

I have learned what it feels like to have the fear from hearing that your triathlon might very well turn into a duathlon because of the weather. This emotion is not one I wish to experience for a long time again. Alas the show must always go on, and when your race is delayed by a further 30mins again, due to the weather, you just have to roll with it. When this is then cut from 30mins to 3 mins… Again, you just roll. One great big roll.

Sunday May 27th.

The biggest learning from the whole trip…fruit and veg are a far cry from a priority in a Polish hotel buffet spread. A very interesting finding. Very interesting. They do however make an incredibly tasty pancake for breakfast. Their choice of filling is a dubious one but maybe some people like cottage cheese filled pancakes… Who am I to judge.

Always learning.

The race?

I came to Poland in search of ITU ranking points. I raced well enough to claim some. But I did not race how I wanted to. Transition is the fourth discipline. And it was at this point that I shot myself in the foot. I swam well exiting with a group I knew would make the difference in the race. My ticket for a one stop shop to the front was there. I knew this. I knew it too well. Almost to the point where I hindered my own transition.

The run to transition was long. I ran to transition well, not loosing sight of those who I exited with. I got to my bike and started to strip off the Wetsuit and the simple act of undressing one’s self from Wetsuit to just trisuit was too much of an ask for me. All the time aware the train was getting ready to leave. I panicked when it wouldn’t come off. I looked to see what was happening whilst putting my helmet on. I saw them going. I was a handful of seconds behind them and this enforced another mistake…not getting into my shoes first before driving it on. I put my feet on my shoes rather than in my shoes and this was the real mistake. I rode at 305w to get back on. I was there. Dead turn.. Sprint out of corner with feet on top of shoes… It didn’t go well. Group gone. Anyway… The rain continued to pour. The road continued to flood. I got off the bike around 1.10 down and I felt good out on the run. I thought I was on for a decent run split. But when I read my 19min split I was disappointed.

I came for points. I got points. But I still walk away disappointed. I have another chance in 2 weeks. Olympic distance this time. There are plenty of process goal tick box opportunities to come from this race and I can guarantee my 4th discipline will be a new level for this race.

Until next time.

Practice practice practice.