I love racing at Wimbleball because its remote location makes it very different from any other Ironman race in the world and also means that the course is super tough which suits me down to the ground. The bike course is hilly and hard and the run is even tougher. I was really looking forward to racing as I wanted to defend my title and to make it my 3rd win at the race. In previous years, the race has attracted a strong field of athletes but this year the pro field was very small so I knew it could be a very different type of race for me.
My race got off to a mediocre start - I didn’t feel like I was swimming very well - but I kept moving along and came out of the water with small gap over the other professional woman. I jumped on my bike and set off on the bike course which is my favourite part of this race. I started steadily up the first hill and rode the first lap quite conservatively then pushed on a little for the second lap to extend my lead before the run.
I usually get off the bike and go as hard as I can to the finish line, either chasing people down or being chased, and on a course like Wimbleball it’s a tough way to run. This time, with a comfortable lead off the bike, I was able to take it all in and really enjoy the run. The conditions were great, the off-road surface was solid underfoot and the support from the crowds was amazing.
It felt really great to win here for the 3rd time and it was great to catch up with all the familiar faces and with my old training buddies from Bedford and Milton Keynes.
Wimbleball was a great way to prepare for my next race just 2 weeks after at Ironman Nice/France. I went home to Ireland for a week and then headed off to France just before the Ironman. I had the privilege of staying at Stephen Roche's apartment with some friends who were on holiday there.
I finished 4th at France with a solid swim and bike but this time my run was well off my usual run form. I was trialling a new nutrition strategy which obviously didn’t work for me as I had a lot of stomach problems on the run. It meant that my run was slow and very painful and though I was disappointed not to make the podium as always I learned a lot from the race and from the problems I encountered.
The few days following the Ironman felt like a real holiday and I had great fun cruising around on Boris bikes, biking in the hills with Stephen Roche, eating some amazing French food and chilling out by the pool