Piranha National Series Strategy: Jailbreak Cobh (Race 4) Handbook

July 19, 2018 Leave your thoughts Posted under

Cobh, Jailbreak Olympic Distance Triathlon is the next Club Race on Saturday July 21st.  This is also a Club Weekend Away, with many Piranha Competitors staying in the Bellavista Suites. The race itself is quite iconic, Ireland’s answer to Escape from Alcatraz…A swim from the previous prison Island of Spike Island.

This will be a tougher challenge than Sprint events, but hopefully the weather will be more clement than the recent scorching temperatures for those who raced Harbourman. There is an epic swim from Spike Island back to shore, (1700m). Boats will ferry you out and then they only way home is swim! The bike is out and back (40k) on a scenic undulating course past Fota Park. The run is 4 loops of 2.5k along the waterfront and in the town – There is a small sharp hill.

This note has the following sections:

  • Who’s racing?
  • Final Schedule and Race Briefing
  • Pre Race Advice
  • Getting There and Car Pooling

Who’s racing?

Athletes from Piranha are registered to race:

Ciaran BarryShay PhelanMarie MoranJason McFetridge
Carl ByrneFintan PhelanVanessa FentonEnda Traynor
Colm Fitzsimons Noel KellyRoisin PakenhamCaoimhe Costigan
Ava Whela n John KearneyCathal O SullivanIvan Eustace
Trish EadieDave HattonCormac O BrienJamie Olden
John Walnutt Susan Wylie

Final Schedule and Race Briefing

As at the time of printing, the race schedule for the weekend is:

Fri 20th July, Registration 6.30pm-9.30pm
Sat 21st July Registration 7.30am-9.30am
Transition Open 7.30am-9.45am
Race Briefing 10.00am
First boat 10.40am
Race start 11.45am

In particular note the following:

  • Please DO NOT BE LATE.  Once the boats are gone they are gone!
  • There is only one wave, so all will start at the same time.
  • This is a demanding swim, being both in a deep channel and 1.7k long. Staying on course is thus important!
  • On the upside, it is great to have such a challenge. There are few triathlons in Ireland that afford the opportunity to traverse so much open water. You can feel proud of yourselves once again on terra firma.
  • The bike course is out-and-back, past Fota Island zoo (well worth the visit……but not right now!) and back towards Cork city with a slight drag outward. It is also a few km short of 40k, so there is scope to push a little harder than normal.
  • The 10k fun features 4 out-and-back laps, so there are plenty of opportunities to gauge your position and react accordingly. There is a small hill on each lap which is steep but only about 150m. (Will seem a lot longer as each lap goes by).

Pre-Race Advice

Race Week

In the week before the race, being well-rested is vital. Triathletes have a (good) habit of being very committed to training and often find it hard not to train! However, the week ahead of a race is one of those times when you should take that break and not feel guilty about it. The training that matters has been done already and flogging yourself a few days before a race is not wise! However, tuning up in the form of short and sharp intervals across all three disciplines is generally recommended. Eat good and nutritious food and stay hydrated.

Make sure you have everything you might need for the day! Of critical importance is your TI card or one day licence – no licence, no race! You should know yourself what items you need, but as a guide, see the sample checklist below:




Other Options

Race Day

Outlined below is a comprehensive warm-up that incorporates all three disciplines and requires a decent amount of time. What is arguably as important as the physical side of warming-up is the logistical and mental preparation. Make sure that you have everything positioned where you want it (the logistics), ideally as early as possible, so that you can then prepare (mentally) prepare. Assuming you have allowed sufficient time, this should incorporate familiarising yourself with the course, in particular, in and around transition. If you have any particular concerns, try to limit these. For example, nervous swimmers might walk to the turnaround point to get the measure of the course and note landmarks that might be reassuring during the race; if your bike handling on a TT is rusty, navigate a few corners. Make sure your bike is roadworthy and operating smoothly (faulty bikes cause anger, anger leads to hate, hate causes suffering………..and we know where that leads!).


Before you rack your bike, try to get 10-15 minutes easy cycle- this will give you a feel for you race position, changing gears and pedaling technique. Keep this cycle at easy intensity- This can be a couple of hours before the race start and the purpose is to give you a feel for the bike (Use run/swim as warm up before race).


When racking your bikeDo a couple of jogs through the transition and visualise where you have to enter and exit for T1 & T2. Know exactly where your bike is – memorise how to get to your bike quickly. Placing a ridiculously colourful towel on the ground by your bike is sometimes useful as it can be easy to spot as you run along a row of bikes. You can place your runners, gels, visor, sunglasses etc. on the towel so you can grab them before you head out on the run. Alternatively, note a fixed landmark (not a bike!) and practice making your way to \ from the entry \ exit point.


After racking your bike and setting up your transition completely, do a run warm up next – complete 10-15 minutes jog with 5x 10 strides seconds at intensity of 7/10. Aim to finish your run warm up approximately 20-25 minutes of starting your race, then get wetsuit on for swim warm up below.


Try and get into the water to allow time for the body to acclimatize. While you don’t want to get cold, acclimatising as best you can is very important. Dynamic movements of your arms and shoulder are suggested (e.g. circling your arms and practicing the swim motion). Start with some aerobic swimming and add 4 x20 seconds at race intensity, with 1 minute easy between each.

Getting There (and Car Pooling)

Registration and race day parking details are outlined in the Race Briefing. Presuming that most, if not all, will be arriving on Friday evening, try and register then, so you’ve one fewer thing to do on race morning.

Since there is a large number heading down to race it makes sense to try and minimise our carbon footprint and carpool where possible! If you are interest in giving or getting a lift please post up on the forum and take it from there. The more information and flexibility you can offer, the greater likelihood of getting a lift! If you are taking a lift please take it as read that you should offer to contribute to the cost of the journey for petrol / diesel and tolls, if applicable!

For a Non Triathletes view here is Sonia O’Sullivan’s article about the race.


Don’t read when you are feeling nervous, but do remember she did get through it!

Wishing you all a Good Race.

Any questions then please do not hesitate to contact of us.

Good Luck!

John, Ivan and Siobhan

John Wallnutt, Ivan Eustace and Siobhan Forman,
National Series Coordinators.



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