Aileen Reid's World glory bid up and running
Published 25/04/2014 | 11:00
Aileen Reid returns to action when the second leg of the World Triathlon Series touches down in Cape Town this weekend, the eight-race series making its African debut.
The Ulster girl was last year's WTS Grand Final silver medallist and will go for glory at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Aileen will take on 50 of the world's best triathletes tomorrow at the foot of Table Mountain, battling it out in a 1500m waterfront swim, a 40km city centre bike ride and 10km run.
"I'm excited and nervous," said Aileen, who has fought back bravely from injury.
"At one stage I didn't think I'd get much racing done at all this year. I had a struggle with various injuries so I'm just glad to be fit and well enough to return to my training group.
"I really have to thank the physiotherapists at SINI, especially Chris McNicholl, for the support and getting me going again."
Aileen's training group includes the likes of WTS Auckland winner Jodie Stimpson and Olympic silver medallist Lisa Norden, meaning she trains with the very best on a daily basis.
"This is my first time in South Africa and I'll get a good look at the course before the race, though I expect it to be a wetsuit swim, flat but technical, and windy bike and a flat run," said the Derry ace.
Ireland is once again well represented in the most prestigious series in triathlon, broadcast in 160 countries worldwide.
Joining Aileen will be Armagh's Conor Murphy and Cork's Bryan Keane, both looking to build on the superb start they made in the series three weeks ago.
Keane and Murphy got off to a flying start in the series opener in Auckland, the former 16th and latter 22nd.
Their early season results give them a good ranking going into the race as they line up on the start pontoon in 15th and 17th respectively.
Murphy, though, feels the start will have little bearing.
"At World Series level the start ranking makes very little difference to the swim effort needed," he said.
"Everyone is so close in swim ability that no matter what happens it will be stacked at the turn buoys and ballistic from the gun."
Following the Auckland opener, Murphy travelled back home to Armagh for a training block before flying over to Cape Town.
"Home was awesome. I train and race in some of the best places in the world but there's something special about training at home," he said.
"It can be hard getting over the jet lag and fatigue from a World Series race and all the travel but everyone is in the same boat so we just have to get on with it and manage our recovery."
With Britain's London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee a late withdrawal, citing lack of fitness, his younger brother Jonathan and Spanish duo Javier Gomez and Mario Mola should be the leading contenders along with hometown hero Richard Murray.
The women's race is live tomorrow (2pm) at www.triathlonlive.tv and on the BBC Red Button, with the men's race on Sunday (2pm).