Sean McAree (Head Coach) provided the following race report.
Katie McAree enjoyed this race so much last year she immediately said she wanted to do it again this year. Given Saturday’s weather was incredibly hot (28 degrees plus) it was a slight relief it had cooled down on the Sunday morning a little.
Dorney is a good venue with ample parking and it’s around 40mins from St. Albans so quite easy to get to. The waves run all through the event so there is not much waiting around if you time it well.
On arriving we noted the water temperature was 22.2 degrees so we’re a little surprised to see some of the younger competitors wearing wetsuits as they should have been banned according to BTF rules.
If you plan on doing this event when they say it’s a long walk to registration they are not joking the car parking is about 1.5km from registration and transition so leave plenty of time and don’t leave anything in the car you might need!
Registration was easy collected the swim hat, bike stickers and chip and went off to watch some of the younger competitors first before Katie ventured into transition by which time the sun decided to come out.
Katie and Antonia swam the previous Saturday morning at Merchant Taylor’s and when Antonia got out Katie took the opportunity to remove her wetsuit and practice in the open water with just her trisuit which was great practice for this race as the water was a very similar temperature at 7am that morning.
The girls waves were split into two with 12 year old T2 competitors going first followed by the 11 year old T2 competitors around 5 minutes after. I did not see anyone in Katie’s wave wearing wetsuits though I did see some of the boys in both of their waves.
Katie said she got forced a little wide at the start and it was quite reedy so it took a little extra effort to get going there were some weaker swimmers and unlike at Merchant Taylor’s this time she did get more ruthless and just swam over them as they blocked her route.
There were some very strong swimmers in this wave and the field was quite spread out Katie came out in the top third of the first wave. The bikes were racked quite close to the swim exit and quite close together so it was carnage with people getting run over in transition Katie did say she ran over another competitors hand with a bike wheel but the girl decided to sit down in the middle of the isle in the way!
Katie by far prefers the bike and had a good ride, she was using a new bike for the first time with only a couple of practice rides and managed to take over a minute off last years time. The bike is a single loop of the rowing lake so just over 5km and Tarmac all the way so very fast.
I was watching for Katie close to the dismount line and saw several crashes with some of the leaders hitting the tarmac hard. The bike in is on a downhill section and the bike was running away from the competitors and they invariably stumbled as the started running off the bike. Katie did the same but recovered well.
Katie will openly tell you she does not like running it’s not that’s she is slow she covered the 2km in just over 10 minutes it’s just the others are a lot quicker. She complained after that she went passed loads on the bike only for them to go passed her on the run.
Overall compared to last year she took over 3 minutes off her time we did get a text at the end of the race with a time but it was wildly inaccurate and had to check the results at home later on to confirm the time. Katie came 106th out of a huge field of 152 competitors which is an excellent result as the standard of competition was exceptionally high with 4 regions using the race as their IRC qualifying event. It’s a big improvement in a year and if she decides to do it again next year the distances will increase further on the swim and run so maybe she might decide against it.