With the recent return to outdoor group training, the Blackwater Triathlon Club was able to stage our first cycle time trial event of 2021 last Friday evening, the 21st of May. Time trials are very popular in the club, allowing members to track their progress over the course of a season as they cycle a flat (ish) route, usually over 20km, as fast as they can. Traditionally the club hold these events on the road between Kilbehenny and Cahir about once a fortnight over the course of a season. This time we decided to start thing off with a slightly bigger challenge, changing the distance to 30km. The time trial competitors started at Kilbehenny and cycled 15km to the roundabout just outside Cahir and back. One of the biggest challenges of the evening was organising the event in a manner that kept within social distancing guidelines. We had 36 cyclists starting on the evening. The riders were all asked to travel separately and to park up outside Mitchelstown. They then cycled individually from Mitchelstown to Kilbehenny as a warm up, aiming to arrive at the start line as close as possible to their allocated start time. There was no gathering of cyclists at any stage. They started at 30 second intervals and when they finished they didn’t stop at the finish line but cycled on back to their cars and went home. While the social aspect of the time trial was absent on this occasion, the competitive side of it was still very much in evidence as our members strained every muscle and fibre to get a little extra speed on the night. While primarily competing against oneself in the time trial, there were still plenty of internal club rivalries to be going on with. Weather conditions on the night were far from conducive to good performances with unseasonably wet and windy conditions. At least the rain eased off for most people on the return leg back from Cahir, although most of the competitors were convinced that the wind was directly in to their faces on both the road out and the road back. (While this may seem meteorologically unlikely, most cyclists will tell you that when you’re out on a bike, all winds are headwinds) The fastest male athlete on the day was Liam O’Brien who completed the course in 45:17, an average speed of a hair under 40km/h! This is even more impressive when you take into account the fact that Liam is only 16 years old! Obviously Liam is someone to keep an eye on in future. Next fastest were Dave McCarthy and Richard O’Brien who managed the 30kms in 47:09 and 47:42 respectively, averaging approximately 38km/h. The fastest female athlete on the night, and ninth fastest overall, was Deidre Morrison, who powered across the finish line in a time of 52:15, averaging approximately 34.5km/h. Ashleigh Byrne O’Brien was the second fastest female athlete on the night, averaging just under 32km/h in her time of 56:31. Gina Lyons was next in the female rankings coming home in 58:18, an average of just under 31km/h. Very impressive times for all of them and also for the other athletes who came out on a very unpleasant evening. Well done to everyone who took part on the day and special kudos to the organisers. Dave Harte and Shane Collins managed to wrangle all the competitors in a safe manner and get them to the start line on time and Frank Kiernan managed to actually time them as well.