Tag Archives: Team Ribble

WHY I TOOK UP CYCLING: How Jamie’s battle against serious illness led him to cycling and triathlon

By Jamie Fox

Recently people have asked me “Why did you take up cycling?”
My simple answer would be “for my health”, but let me explain further.

In 2014 I was having a really bad year health wise, the worst I’ve ever had in fact. I’d been in hospital three times and been off sick for nearly a month at a time for every visit plus multiple days off because I simply couldn’t do anything.

I had caught MRSA of the lungs and another bug (the name escapes me at the moment) and just couldn’t shift it or get it under control. The Cystic Fibrosis (CF) that I was diagnosed with at six-months-old was winning.

Another big factor that year was that I was finishing Gene Therapy Trials which I now believe is the reason my lung function had held on for so long because the drugs were helping to my lungs and keep me healthy. In 2013 my lung function had been around 75-80% and gene therapy was doing a really good job, but not long after I had finished the trials I was starting to get sick a lot and my lung function was dropping like a stone and infections were feasting on my lungs like an all you can eat buffet.

By the end of 2014 I was back in hospital for the third time looking for help, looking for answers and getting frustrated with the whole situation. I needed to try to stop my health declining, in hospital I couldn’t breathe and had to be put onto oxygen.

How cycling played its part

I had never felt so ill, so scared and so down mentally let alone physically, this was all new to me. I knew everybody who has CF is different and everybody’s fight is different but this was my first time experiencing this and I was out of my depth thinking I could handle it. I didn’t cope at all, it’s most likely taken me until this year and it was committing to a cycling challenge that played an important part.

It was the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 Ride that got me started in 2015 and this year I want up my game even further to tackle an Olympic distance triathlon with the help of Ribble.

During that lowest point three years ago, I sat with the doctor and said, “Once this admission is done I’m going to go away and assess things. I’m going to prove you wrong that this isn’t going to carry on and that I can help my health and my diabetes, if there’s no more that you can do, I want a go at trying something different”. I appreciated that the doctors were trying to help but I think my mindset was that “I’m going to take things into my own hands and I feel this is something I need to do, if the drugs can’t help then let me find out if I can do something”.

But what would I try?!

I had been looking into big, physical challenges where I could maybe try and see if that helped my health. I’d thought about the London marathon but, I didn’t think I could cope with running that distance with my weak left leg. What about a shorter distance? What about walking up a mountain like Kilimanjaro? I had been wanting to go there for a while but I had to be realistic. With 50% lung function walking up a mountain with the lack of air becoming more and more apparent – I wasn’t sure. What could I do?

I could cycle? I could do that. I liked cycling and I could go as fast or as slow as I wanted and it wouldn’t put too much pressure on me (well so I thought, how wrong I was!)

SO cycling it was. It had to be something big, something I would remember forever and know that I had done it starting from nothing. It had to be something I could say to the doctors “See I did it. Two fingers to your complacency”. I was trawling the internet and came across something that caught my eye.

The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100

I came across this ride in simple terms its 100 miles on closed roads through beautiful London and surrey countryside taking in the sights of world famous London. I mean 100 miles is big enough for the challenge to be big, catch people’s attention and maybe few a few pennies for the CF Trust. But firstly I needed a bike.

I was fortunate enough that my partner at the time offered to buy me a bike for my birthday (thank you) in November 2014. It wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t a carbon fibre, ‘go fast’ bike, but it was mine. My bike that I hoped would pedal me to great things. I had no idea how far it would take me and what challenges I would achieve, but I loved this bike from the first day I picked it up.

Starting to ride and falling in love with cycling

I went for my first bike ride a few days later (the picture above is me after my first ride) and it shocked me. I managed a measly six miles, just six miles and I was beat exhausted and my lungs hated me, but I had the bug, I knew I wanted to do this. I fell in love with cycling straight away, Lycra isn’t a fashion statement but knowing your dressed in it sort of gives me a sense of pride because I know I want to achieve something whilst dressed in my cycling gear. Over time I put my training gear on and I know I’m doing it for a purpose, to stay fit, to show others what’s possible and to help the CF trust and hopefully the money raised with help of you lovely people has helped made a difference to others in some way no matter how small.

That day I signed up to the RideLondon-Surrey 100 with the CF Trust and the rest as they say is history.

Since January 2015 I have cycled about 7000 miles and I’ve completed:

  • RideLondon-Surrey 100 Bike Ride 2015
  • KM Bike Big Ride 50km 2016
  • London To Brighton 55 mile bike ride 2016

And I’ve managed to raise around £3,500.00 for the CF trust along the way.

Reaping the benefits

Since I started training at the end of 2014 my hospital fortunes and health have stabilised. I wouldn’t say its improved as such as my lung function hasn’t improved since 2015 but it has most certainly slowed down in its declined and stabilised at around 50 to 55% for the last two and a half years. I am the fittest I’ve ever been even with my lung function and I’m still smiling look ahead to the future and what other challenges I can take on. I won’t lie, it’s been bleeding hard there been days still when I’ve not been able to do anything and my CF has affected me even on good days, but I feel better mentally knowing I’d rather be in pain training than be in pain in hospital or coughing. All the miles, pain, tears and falls have all been worth it.

Since 2015 my hospital visits have decreased massively with two admissions in January 2015 and September 2015. And that is the last time I was admitted to hospital for IV Treatment it’s been 21 months since I had a stay in hospital. It’s not been easy I’ve pushed myself like mad, I’ve still been really sick at times and I’ve still had infections and other problems and bugs have taken their toll on me at time and I’ve swallowed a lot of tablets to fend off sickness but I haven’t had to stay in hospital.

Positive effects of training

All the training has also had a positive effect on my diabetes. I now have much lower levels which I’m still working on to improve and I’ve got it under control and by having a good diabetes control it helps my chest and reduce infections because infections feed off sugar and can turn in to a vicious cycle of problems.

And now you know why I took up cycling, that’s the long and short answer but without deciding to get on two wheels and put my feet on the pedals I have no doubt I would be in that terrible place I had feared two years ago getting more and more used to hospital beds and going insane because I just wouldn’t cope. Thanks to cycling and maybe my stubbornness to prove people wrong, I’m here talking walking and still breathing through my lungs without any further grief.

And what next in 2017?

It had to be another big challenge. I felt it had to be a triathlon, an Olympic distance to be exact. On the 24th September 2017 I’m taking part in the Hever Castle Olympic distance Triathlon to in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust:

1500m swim + 40km bike ride + 10km run

One after the other, all in one go.

Thank you Ribble

I have to give a huge shout out and thank you to Ribble Cycles, I wrote to them this year asking if they could help me at all in lending me a bike and they went above and beyond what I expected. They kindly offered to give me a new bike to help me complete this challenge and my future challenges that I want to take on. The day I visited their new shop in the Birmingham Mailbox was amazing. They are all so lovely, so supportive and couldn’t be any nicer. Their offer of support will never go unappreciated, they have inspired me to keep pushing and wanting to achieve more. Without their help I could never have got a bike like this. So thank you thank you thank you to everyone at Ribble. You are all amazing for helping me and supporting me on this journey and I will forever be in your debt.

Triathlon training commences

I started training in in about October last year nothing too serious, the odd ride, the odd run but I didn’t start swimming until January this year and that’s when I started really upping my training and thinking seriously about attempting a Triathlon. I knew this would be big. The biggest challenge I’ve ever attempted. Hardest thing I’ve ever wanted to finish and the pain and training hasn’t disappointed in challenging me and making me doubt myself that’s for sure.

Training for this has been a whole different world to just biking and it’s getting harder every day. I’m swimming twice a week running twice a week and cycling twice a week plus doing short exercise at home. And not small distances either. I’m now swimming two to three miles every week, cycling 50 miles per week and running about 10km a week at present, I know that may not sound like a lot but I’m still learning still improving and still increasing my distances.

First a Sprint Triathlon

And so far I have managed to complete a sprint Triathlon in April as a practice run but that is nothing compared to the big one and I learnt a lot from that, mostly how hard and painful it is and that was only 250m swim 10 mile bike ride and 3 mile run. That is nothing compared to what I want to attempt.

I now have approximately a dozen weeks to keep training improving and hopefully dodging hospital until the big day. It’s already tough but I’ll write again soon about training progress.

What’s pushing me through this training is my health, my stubbornness and wanting to raise awareness and funds for the CF Trust. This is what inspires me to keep pushing.

Support Jamie

You can support Jamie in his fund raising for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust by visiting his Just Giving page JamieFoxCFChallenges and keep updated via his Facebook page Jamie’s CF Challenges for Charity.


These guys deserve a huge thank you for everything they have done for me and I hope to be able to return their generosity one day.

Bike to work, get fitter and make a difference with Strava

Now that more summery weather is here there are definitely a few more bikes parked in the Ribble bike shed every morning. Do you cycle to work? If you’ve not contemplated cycling to work it really is a great way to start the day, improve your fitness or maintain some base training miles. You can even see how your fitness is progressing if you record and upload your ride to a social website like Strava to compare your riding with friends.

Route Builder

Tips for your cycle to work

  • Research your route beforehand as the shortest distance is not always the fastest or most pleasant. You can plan routes in the Strava Route Builder (above) or websites like Garmin Connect, Ride with GPS or Plotaroute and route profiles will tell you how climbing there is.
  • Consider having a dedicated commuting bike which you can equip for daily duties. It saves wear and tear on your best bike and you can fit mudguards and lights.
  • Variety makes your commute more interesting so try a few different route variations. Ask any cycling colleagues for route advice as they may know some great, less obvious roads or cut-throughs.

Join us on Strava Global Bike to Work Day

Why not join us in making our cycle commutes count on Thursday 11th May by joining the Strava Global Bike to Work Day. Not only will we all be offsetting tons of greenhouse emissions by being pedal powered but our (anonymous) commuting data will be shared with planners worldwide to help improve cycling infrastructure.

All you need to do is make and record a point-to-point cycle journey during Thursday and upload it to Strava as a commute. You will be part of a global event and contribute to a better cycling future.

Here’s how to play your part and join the Strava community

The hashtag #CommutesCount can also be used on other social media channels in support of a better future for cycling. The challenge is already set to beat the 79,879 worldwide participants in 2016 so make your ride count.

Ribble CGR

How do you compare?

Strava Insights for the UK show that during 2016 an average of 223,376 bike commutes were uploaded to Strava every week, with cyclists logging an average distance of 13.5km (8.39 miles) and an average of 35 minutes in the saddle.

Bikes for commuting

If you’re looking to do more commuting by bike the highlight of our urban bikes is the popular, new commuting bike the CGR.

Versatility and practicality are at the core of the cleverly designed CGR – this is a bike that will not sit idle for very long. With the advantage of disc brakes, a carbon fork, mudguard mounts and pannier carrying capability this bike just ticks so many boxes.

The all-round practicality of the CGR does not prevent it from being a nimble and enjoyable ride and as the bike’s designer says: “We wanted a bike that was comfortable enough to ride every day, efficient enough to ride all day and even agile enough to take off road.”

EXPLORE THE CGR HERE

TEAM RIBBLE: Ailbhe and her Aero 883 all set to Tri

Team Ribble sponsored triathlete Ailbhe Carroll looks back on her 2016 and forward to her new tri season which begins on Gran Canaria on March 26th.

My last race of 2016 was in October and finishing racing that late made for a very long season, yet it was my first ever full season without injury or illness. I got to the end of a season absolutely whacked purely because I completed the season from start to finish. It was the first time I have ever felt like a proper triathlete!! Tick that box off!! Yahoo!

Team Ribble tri

I won one of my final races of last season in a new course record and was happy to represent Ribble on top of the podium. It was a non-drafting race and I was ever so proud to have the fastest bike split whilst on my road bike versus everyone else on TT bikes. Shows how awesome my Ribble Aero 883 is… fact!! My bike was my saving grace in 2016. I have documented all my races here on the Ribble blog and there has always been a pattern of my very forgetful limb packing. When I have rocked up to races and forgot to pack my bike legs, my Ribble Aero 883 has still got the job done. This is testament to the high standard of bike that Ribble put on show. Match made in heaven.

Thanks for all the support

All in all 2016 was a great year. I didn’t get half the results I was dreaming of, but 2017 is another opportunity to showcase again and alongside my wonderful supporters I know we will achieve together. Without my trusty bike I would have been lost. Ribble helped me out when I had no bike at all and the difference they have made to me has been extraordinary. A massive thank you to the guys at Ribble for everything they have done for me as it is simply amazing. Polaris Bike wear have been another high up on that list of wows. Protection of bikes doesn’t come cheap and these guys have helped endless amounts. The amount of times I travel abroad knowing my bike is safe is too many to mention. I made over 30 flights in 2016 and my bike has been safe from start to finish. Thank you for your support.  My feet and body have been laughing it up in Newton and Newline kit from the guys at New running gear. All conditions are catered for and I am ever so thankful for what they have done for me. A team like this makes achieving and living your dream a lot easier. Thank you thank you thank you.

str3tch

New Triumph Coaching team

Alongside everything else, I have joined forces with my boyfriend and two other friends and elite international triathletes to form a coaching business called Triumph Coaching. We would love for you guys to have a look at our website and get in touch if you have any questions. We are very keen to hear from you all and would love to know your goals and ambitions for 2017. We are happy to help you in triathlon or just single sports so whatever your needs are we would love to be involved. Just click the link and you can also find us on twitter, facebook and Instagram at team_triumph1

Progress and tri goals

2017 training began in the winter around Loughborough and it was quite ‘fun’ keeping track of how many fingers and toes still had feeling in them! Winter always brings with it a whole pile of laughter!

Run2

I am happy to report massive leaps and jumps forward in my fitness compared to this time last year. I have been able to reduce my working hours which is allowing me to train more and recover… something I didn’t have time for last year! This I know is going to make all the difference in 2017.

I don’t know whether it’s because I have gained a whole year to my life or not but my average heart rate is decreasing by a lot on all my runs. I have always been a high heart rate kind of gal – things are changing! Either I am over the hill or I am actually making use of this consistency in my training and finding fitness! A crazy thought!

My days are structured and planned down to the last millisecond – it’s not for everyone and can be annoying sometimes as you just feel like rest is a mile away all the time – but hey ho, one of life’s musts!

I have some nice goals set out for 2017 and I am very excited to get achieving these bad boys! I am aiming high and striving for more. I know what’s what and as I am my own coach, I know what I do day in and day out and what my stats and figures say I can do. My goals are big for 2017 and I am very excited to get going this weekend in the Gran Canaria European Cup tri (26th March).

I hope that everyone has had a good ol’ crack at winter training! Winter miles for summer smiles and all that jazz!

Happy pedalling everyone!

Ailbhe

TEAM RIBBLE: Dee Allen wins tough Helvellyn Triathlon

A one mile swim in a cold, but fresh, Ullswater (13 degrees)… a 36 mile (1,489ft of ascent) ride involving a 4.5km category 1 climb up ‘The Struggle’ (which averages 8% gradient and maxes at 20% in places)… followed by a 9 mile (3,118ft of ascent) run to the top of Helvellyn and back down… Those are the three reasons this is deemed as one of the toughest triathlons in the world.

Brutal ride leg

The ride leg alone is so tough that it was described as ‘brutal’ by some of the Tour of Britain riders who followed us up the next day on stage two of the pro race.

Team Ribble

As someone who loves a challenge this race was right up my street. I have to admit though that my training for this race had not been my specific focus for the season, my main focus was the middle distance, and to try and go under 5 hours at the Monster Middle a couple of weeks before.

However, there was no way I could pass on this challenge especially as it was on my birthday. I was confident that the strength gained from the middle distance training would get me through the race and if all went well would hopefully see me make the podium!

OK, so on race day my plan was simply to attack the swim, attack the bike and then hit the run as hard as I could. Due to the lack of ‘fell’ specific training I knew that I could not purely rely on my run, although this is often my best discipline.

Ready, Steady, Go!

The water was cold, but fresh and I was excited to get going – I had panicked at a race a month before where I had a disaster of a swim and I was determined not to let these demons get to me – I aimed to start hard and fast. We turned at the first buoy and I could see that I was mid pack and working through the sea of bodies and green hats. I breathed to my left and I could see that there was another female swimmer, so my aim was to not let her go and to try and get out in front. As we hit the final turning buoy to the finish I put in a spurt and managed to grab a few precious seconds getting out the water as 3rd female overall.

Team Ribble

Out of T1 the aim was to get my head down and push hard and never look back as we headed towards the famous ‘Struggle’ which takes you to the top of Kirkstone Pass from Ambleside. Although most of the bike route was TT/Tri bike-friendly I had decided to race on my trusty Ribble R872 as I felt this would give me a greater advantage whilst climbing.

The R872 sure didn’t disappoint, this bike really works with you and certainly holds its own when you really want to pick up the pace. Now I’m not going to say it made climbing up ‘The Struggle’ a breeze, but it certainly made easier work than if I had used my triathlon bike. Climbing can be quite awkward and harder on the legs and I needed every ounce of energy I could save ready to tackle the nine mile run up and down the mountain of Helvellyn.

It was only when I got the top of ‘The Struggle’ with its Tour de France type atmosphere – the support was simply epic and electrifying – that I got information from the crowd that I was the leading female and that there was no one else in sight. That was a very nice surprise as I had still thought I was in third and it gave me a confidence boost as I cautiously descended Kirkstone Pass (not taking any risks) and then pushed hard as the road flattened out to T2 thinking of every second!

Heading into the Helvellyn run…

Trail shoes on and a quick drink and I was ready to hit the run into the unknown world of how I would fare on the fells and not feeling quite as confident as I usually am when I get to the run stage. As I hit the steep ascent towards the ‘hole in the wall’, thoughts started creeping into my head… saying that I was going to be caught and that I would not make It to the top.

At this point I was briskly walking with no response from the legs to try to run, but as I hit the flatter section towards the summit I was able to get my legs moving and I soon found my running rhythm. I then gained a further boost of confidence when I saw my dad just before the final ascent and he informed me that I was still clear of the second placed woman. From this point I knew I had to make it to the top and then give it everything I had down to the finish.

Team Ribble

Rock climbing

The final ascent is up Swirral Edge which requires the skills of a rock climber more than a runner, but this all added to the fun and the challenge of the race. Finally pulling up with my hands I was relieved to reach the summit and from here I knew it was game on and time to attack the final descent and run into the finish. Pushing hard and back into my running rhythm, the negative thoughts of the ascent had well and truly disappeared and I was now starting to enjoy the moment! I ran towards the finish and even managed to muster up the energy to put in a little sprint finish.

Lifted by the cheers of the crowd I could not help but have a great big smile on my face as I crossed the finish line. I was so relieved to have beaten this gruelling challenge – with the added bonus of bringing home the win!

Team Ribble

Winning such an iconic race, it sure was a birthday to remember.

On reflection, I was pleased to see that I had taken the lead on the bike as coming from a run background you can still be seen as a runner playing at triathlon and just relying on your run. However coming out of the water in third place and then putting the fastest bike split in by two minutes it finally looks like I am becoming a COMPLETE triathlete!

So that was a wrap for my triathlon season, I’m now having an end of season break in Australia! Until the new season arrives – embrace… enjoy… and ride with a smile😉

 

 

Team Ribble: Ailbhe goes top 10 in European Cup Triathlon

Since my last tri race in Malmo, Sweden, I’ve raced in both Denmark and France. If only fitness was gained at the same rate as air miles, hey!

The European Cup round in Denmark coincided with the Nordic Championships and had only a small number of starters. I went into it wearing no. 9 on my arm and was ever so hopeful of ‘beating’ my race number. My original goal was a top 10 and my edited goal, closer to the race with the excitement building, was a top 5. On the day I managed ninth place and achieved my original goal and my first European Cup top 10 in a senior field. First international top 10… I will take it.

Bike1

I forgot my biking legs

Was I disappointed? Yeah. Why? Well… a trending pattern this year is that I seem to forget to pack at least one of my three abilities be it swim, bike or run. This race it was my biking legs! Will I ever pack them all for the same event? I do hope so!

The race went as follows: a sea swim with approximately 300 metres to the first buoy which meant not so much hustling and bustling to get to the front as soon as possible. I appreciated this and made it to the first buoy in fourth place sitting on the hip of Amanda Bohlin, who is currently ranked 64th on the World WTS rankings. I had her marked before the race as she also raced in Sweden and I knew how much faster she was in the water than me there. I got to the first buoy and was happy. I had a hip to swim on and I felt good.

BikeinTransition

Right hand turn around the buoy and it seems I maybe stepped out of the race for a few seconds… where did that hip go?! I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I put in a big effort to try and get back on feet, but it seemed I was swimming in a ‘30 mile an hour zone’ when the rest of the girls were cruising along the motorway… the feet were gone. Exiting the water in sixth place with an 11 second gap to the front pack, I was faced with the most difficult of T1’s I have yet to endure. There was a man made scaffolding structure put in place to get us from sea level to the road… it was steep! The picture below doesn’t lie!

Prerace montage

I suffered… a lot! Anyway, onto the bike and I thought – with my biking usually being my strongest discipline – that I could get on to the back of the front pack. Rich shouted the time gap to me and I could see the girls just there. ‘Just there’ became a little more with every wincing glance. Legs – shot. Engine – empty… Uh oh, this is gonna be a hard day!

I chased as hard as I could, for as long as I could, before hearing the group from behind coming up behind me… Okay Ailbhe, settle yourself because your now in the main chase pack with three girls up the road (such a dream number for a breakaway group, but anyway, next time!). I knew two of the girls in the break, one had beaten me in Sweden (Bohlin) and the other I had beaten so I was hoping that I could stay in the chase pack – sit quietly – and catch that girl on the run… dream world – BANG – back to reality.

Sitting in the back of the chase pack when I was already suffering was silly because the course had corners and a lot of them. I didn’t like having to get up and sprint every few seconds and in no time at all, after yoyo-ing for a little while, that elastic went pop and I was in no man’s land… oh god Ailbhe, what have you done?

Bike2

After a couple of more corners two other girls from that chase pack had the same experience as I had earlier. They came back to me and we had a group of three. In the blink of an eye, I had lost them too. You are kidding me! Looking down at my legs wondering if they were actually still attached, I just closed my eyes and pedalled as hard as I could and I eventually got back on to the two girls. A second wind maybe? Who knew? I was ready to work though.

We rolled through on 20 second efforts until the last lap where for some reason the two girls wanted to play tactics and decided they didn’t want to roll through… ok, great. I flicked my elbow numerous times, but there was no sign of anyone pulling through. I looked back – I had a small gap. Ah! That explains that. I moved right over to the side and ushered the girls through. I couldn’t trust that my run legs were packed based on my bike legs being a no show. I needed them to pull their turns. Up the final hill and into T2… the girl in front of me came crashing down.

Thankfully I had a bit of trouble getting my feet out of my shoes and a gap bigger than I would usually like had grown between us ended up being a blessing as she fell and took up a considerable width of the road! Thank god for my god knows what number mistake of the race so far!

Bike3 crash

On to the run and I flew out of transition – faster than usual… uh oh, was I going to suffer?! We hit the hill on the run which we would do twice and wow oh wow were my legs on fire. Oh god Ailbhe please, please, please come on! Crested the hill and suddenly started to feel ok – ish… The girl just ahead of me was a different girl who I had beaten in Sweden but we ran very similar run splits so I was aware of how level pegging it might be. She had a gap out of T2 and it stayed that way. Although I feel like my legs came back a little bit, they were just not really in the mood to race. I hurt a lot during the race but I wasn’t hurting because I was breaking speed limits, I was simply hurting because my body was just not feeling race day! It happens.

I passed girls from the chase pack and finished up in ninth place. Upon analysis of the race it actually looks that had I just stayed in the chase pack, never mind the front pack I was actually running to battle for a podium spot. That’s an encouraging outlook on a very topsy turvy performance but people don’t always see the ifs and buts of racing because it doesn’t really matter most of the time. You judge a race on the result not on the ‘if’.

On to a French tri

I had a week before my next race which was with my French Grand Prix team Brive Limousin Triathlon in Quiberon. Quiberon is the fourth race of five in the grand prix Divison 1 league. I was very excited to get over there and race in France again as I hadn’t raced with the team since Dunkerque in May – which was my first race of the season. I was all set and ready to rock and in the days before the race I was feeling very springy and everything was looking food. Bike legs felt like they were present on the bike warm up. Run legs felt like they were present on the warm up. Shoulders and arms didn’t feel heavy and I felt happy in my nappy and ready for what was to come.

Down to the beach start and one look at the starting pens had my jaw dropping! It was such a long run-in that the race format all of a sudden had changed. It was now a run-swim-run-bike-run race. There was a lot of beach running to be done in Quiberon with entry and exit in and out of the sea. My run-in left a lot to be desired and its sad to say that that was actually the best of what was to come in the next ten minutes.

My swim – pffffft – just didn’t happen. No reason behind it – it just wasn’t there. I would have been quicker aqua jogging through the 750m than swimming it like I did! Absolute no, no. Out on to the bike and the chase was on. There were single bodies all over the place and I knew the chase had to be hard or this was really going to be an awful day. I could see two groups of two girls up the road and I absolutely drilled it as hard as I could on my Ribble Aero 883 and I bridged that gap by myself and we were now a group of five. Ok, time to work. We could see the chase pack up the road. They were just there.

Drilling it

We had one really strong girl in our group who was organising the turns and drilling it as hard as she could. I did my bit and kept on her good side. With two laps to go she decided she wanted to go and see who would go with her on the technical bit of the lap coming into the transition area. I had just taken my turn on the front and had slotted in at the back when she went. The girl behind her went with her but the girl third in line didn’t want any of it. I came from fifth wheel back and chased it down and got on their wheels again.

My legs were feeling strong but that gap wasn’t closing. 45 seconds was the call. As a group of three we rode the last two laps and came into T2 only to hear the group from behind hot on our heels. All of that work for just six or seven seconds advantage? Oh no!

Run

Out of T2 I went in third position and the legs didn’t feel half bad. Ok Ailbhe – run with these girls, just run with them! I was passed by four girls, I think, on the run and I passed three girls but at that stage it was a little too late. It turned out that the front pack was huge and it was a case of running for a spot from around 45th onwards… yikes what had happened? Bad day at the office… what on earth? One day all three will go smoothly and I won’t know what to do with myself – I dream of that day!

Anyway, next up for me was a race in Ireland. Maybe all three disciplines will go to plan there… who knows? The suspense is a killer! The season is drawing to a close now so better make the most of the evenings and weekends.

Stay safe and happy pedalling,
Ailbhe