(report by Phil Woods)
A small number of Invictus squad members (and their support crews) made the long trek to Sligo on the second May Bank Holiday weekend for the Rosses Point olympic distance National Series race.
Rosses Point is situated north of Sligo on a headland so strong winds were guaranteed. The day started brightly but any initial optimism about weather conditions was misplaced as the light drizzle turned into persistent rain.
The swim is an unusual point to point from the top of the beach to the bottom. Due to the water temperature the organisers promised to reduce the swim duration to 1200m. How kind we all thought until we realized that this was all a sadistic game as they actually extended the swim to 1850m in water that would have made a polar bear reach for his Blue Seventy Helix.
First out the water for Invictus was Cormac McGarry with an excellent swim time – fourth best overall. Hot on his heels were Lochlainn Connolly and Ciaran Williams who were also impressive on the swim. Then on to the cycle which was a three lap affair with a long drag along the seafront followed by some undulating hills. Weather conditions were getting worse but they didn’t spoil what was an enjoyable but testing course. Cormac moved further up the field posting the 5th best bike split of the day.
The start of the run was a deceptively easy trot up the beach. It was only at the dead turn did competitors realize that they had been luxuriating in a strong tailwind on the outbound leg so the remainder of the run course was into a horrendous headwind made all the more challenging by driving rain. Phil Wood started to make his way through the field but was unable to catch a rampaging Cormac who finished a hugely creditable 3rd place with Phil in 4th. Unfortunately Cormac was denied his place in podium photo as the original winner was disqualified. (However if you look closely you can see him spilling his guts on the grass in the background).
Lochlainn came home in 22nd (3rd in his age group) with Ciaran in 67th (5th in his age group).
Mark Diamond made a sensible decision to withdraw from the race on the run with an achilles injury in order to recover for the European Championships.
Note from the Author: I just want to say a massive thanks to my wife (Karen) and daughter (Ashtyn) for standing in the wind and driving rain throughout the race to support the Invictus team. Their encouragement and enthusiasm makes all the difference in tough races like this one.
Full results here