Team Ribble: Ailbhe tackles National Triathlon Champs


A month has passed since my last blog and I can safely say that is has been one very bumpy road this past four weeks! Nothing worth having comes easy and no travelled road is ever traffic free with smooth surfaces. These hurdles and challenges are what make sport so exciting and they make life thrilling. If there’s one thing I have learned over the last while it’s just how important true friends and good humans are to your own health and happiness.

My boyfriend Rich went to the World elite duathlon champs in Spain earlier this month. As a double world champion already he was heading into this race with high hopes. With big prize money on offer, the thought of winning enough to relieve some money stresses was a very welcomed vision. A couple weeks out from the champs and he unfortunately came off his bike in training. Left wounded and in the unknown about a fracture maybe two, we did all we needed to with x rays and the wait was agonising. Thankfully nothing broken but the 2-3 weeks after the crash were tough. Mentally, physically… everything.

Juggling training, and life
As we are both invested in our sport and each others careers, what hits one of us, hits the other. Alongside working close to 40 hour weeks and juggling training, I also had a big stress which I didn’t see at the time,  but worrying over Rich was toll taking and not the kind where you just pay your fee and drive through. It was a long process. We battled through and got rich to the start line. Although he felt amazing and his engine was on fire leading the first 10k run into T1 in a shade over 30.40, his calves seized up massively on the bike due to the lack of a stochastic nature in his build up to the event. Calves gone. Championship over.  Mental battle number two in place. A lot of mental demons came his way but we battled through and did what we could to keep consistent albeit at a very low intensity in the weeks after.


We knew our trip to Ireland was fast approaching.  Two races within a week and some down time at home. The first race, draft legal, round 1 of super series, and a qualifier for me for a chance to make a world relay championship team.  All to play for. My race was a dream come true and although my run didn’t shine on the day it was enough to keep me in 5th behind Aileen Reid, who is weeks away from becoming a two-time Olympian. My Ribble Aero 883 did her work that day and she enjoyed riding in a bike group of such class for sure! We’ve seen recently how important the bike leg has become in draft legal racing. It’s being used as the weapon to get away from those faster runners coming through. Ribble has been AMAZING for me in helping me ride with the  best in the races.

Where I fell in love with triathlon
A nice five-hour journey down the country to a week at home started with some fabulous home-cooked mammy Carroll dinners. Stuffed and wrecked after the race and travel we hit the hay good and early and got ready for the week ahead. During our week at home we visited Limerick, a place where I fell in love with the sport of triathlon. It was nice to be able to show this all to Rich.

The following weekend saw our Irish national Olympic distance champs in the west of Ireland. Hell of the West the race is called and it’s no joke… to hell and back you shall travel. I really wanted to target this race. A race close to my heart as it’s such an important race to those who train in Limerick. Two weeks out from the champs we got an email saying it was no longer a draft legal race. Cue the sad face. My training has been  draft legal focused with more emphasis on running not long TT steady state efforts on the bike. Hell of the West won’t let you get away with a lack of specific training. Cue the ambulance story. I hopped out of the water in 4th and was holding the pace of the girls on TT bikes around me. In doing this I was having to put out a higher power wattage than what I was used to in this position I wasn’t used to.  My hamstring really didn’t like it and to avoid a more serious issue I decided after 35km that enough was enough.

“My body was going through hell”
I got picked up by the broom wagon very quickly and was dropped back to transition where I, within a matter of milli-seconds, became very cold. Within moments I was in the ambulance chattering in a foil blanket with a body temperature of 33.6 and an apparent blood pressure reading of 216/68 and a heart rate of 48. My body was going through hell. Once temps and heart rate values and blood pressure readings came back to normal I was allowed out. What a day!! The national champs I dreamed of never happened but a whole other story was in for an exciting finish.

Back home again and refuelled with some more home cooked meals and we were well back on the road to recovery.  Where would we be without excitement?!

Be ready for the unexpected as it will catch you off guard.

We spent three days after the race at home and then made the journey back outside of the European union… is that a whole other blog post?  Probably.


Ireland was a bag of mixed emotions with the first race being amazing although not originally on the plan, and my first targeted race going flop. New block of training now. On to the next focus. It is all go!!

I hope everyone is in good form and their Ribble rides are rocking. I know mine is.  Check out some action shots of the noble steed in action here. Until next time,  keep her lit and always always strive for more. Standards are there to be broken. Moulds are there to be remade. Untravelled roads are there to be taken. Do what makes you uncomfortable because it’s these actions that  lead to the most rewarding of prizes.

Happy and safe riding.

Ailbhe 🙂

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.