I came to Nenagh with high expectations. This was also National Intervarsities championships and I wanted to defend my title from last year! A quick study of the entry list let me know there were a few athletes that would be fighting for the win. The plan was to be 5th out of the water behind Mike Yelverton, Ross Higgins, John Riedy and my coach Stephan Teeling Lynch! I knew Paddy Quinn was going well and he was in my lane in the swim. The plan was to get him off my feet and then worry about catching the rest on the bike. I knew I could win today, and I knew Steve would be ahead of me off the bike…. But did I think he could hold me off on the run. No Way….. Surely not!
The swim nearly went to plan. I exited the water 5th, but getting Paddy Quinn off my feet didn’t happen. He held on. Now the race was on. The bike was tough and John, Mike and Ross were soon passed. Steve was still out ahead and myself and Paddy were still in 2nd and 3rd. As we approached T2 I was told I was 55 seconds down on Steve. I was pretty confident leaving transition that I would catch him! Paddy Quinn though was only 15 seconds behind me so 2nd place wasn’t even secured yet.
The gap to Steve just closed too slowly. I was closing the gap but just not fast enough. At the top of the hill at the 3k mark I saw Steve was struggling at the water station. I have him…. But not to be. Around the corner and down the hill and Steve picked up the pace! The 4k marker, the gap still wasn’t closed, maybe 10seconds…… Was it too late??? I picked up the pace in the final kilometre up the hill. I couldn’t let my coach beat me. Finally the gap was closing and pretty quickly too. Yes, I have him, I’m on his shoulder, BANG Steve sprints away from me with only 300m to go… Disaster. I just can’t go with him, I have nothing left!
To be honest losing to my coach feels worse than losing to anyone else, but there will be more races this season. I will beat him next time!!! 2nd place in Nenagh and defended my Intervarsities title. A good result, but I need to work on my sprint finish!!!