The 5am start from Edinburgh wasn’t particularly enjoyable, I must say, but I’m glad I made the effort to head up to the Aviemore Triathlon on Sunday morning. Mike Lynch had persuaded me to enter a couple of months ago, and when faced with the “Long” or “Short” options I decided to be brave and do the long course, seeing as I’ve already done a few short triathlons. The long course is 1500m in Loch Morlich, 18k technical mountain bike, and 9km trail run. The short 750m in Loch Morlich, 12km technical mountain bike, and then a 6km trail run.
Mike went for the short, seeing as he’s only recently got his armbands off. I don’t blame him, it’s a big step, effectively doubling the distances, including a dreaded open water swim, a fact that I was very well aware of and also the cause of some recent bowel problems I’ve been having. The “long” also doubled as the Scottish Cross Tri Championships, so the fast folk will be out in force, and there would be no flattering finish position if I survived. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement, and I tried to hide it from people by speaking continuously in a frantic and unintelligible way. I’m not sure how successful that was.
At the start I was racked beside Jacqui Higginbottom, my alphabetical neighbour and Carnethy clubmate, who managed to help resolve my problems with baby powder, and also politely laughed at my jokes about pee and lubricant. Her relaxed and helpful company soothed my mood, and calmed me down for the swim ahead, so I was very glad she was there. Like me, she’d taken to triathlon after doing a fair bit of swimming when injured, and it seemed like a waste to not do anything with that swim fitness. Alan Renville was also at the start, but only in a supporting role for his mate who was doing the race too.
So, the swim! I’d decided beforehand that I would try to enjoy the swim, so set off quite gently and try not to get flustered. The water in Loch Morlich was quite warm, the day bright without much wind, so the swim round two triangular laps of the loch proved to be quite pleasant. I was pleased that I could see some people behind, but looking at the results from the swim it may have been the race leaders about to lap me. Ah well! The Short triathaloners were waiting for us to finish, so they could get into the water for their start, so I got a wee cheer from Mike and Alan as I hobbled across the rocky beach.
The cycle was initially good fun, with fast forest trails interspersed with the odd bumpy bit. This was ideal for me, and I picked up lots and lots of places, despite careering past some very good route marking and backtracking a bit. However, the final section was a technical section, and it seems I’m pretty rubbish at technical sections, and promptly lost lots and lots of places. Much of the technical cycle was really just me pushing my bike, apologising to others, and occasionally getting on the bike just to fall off again. My face was grateful that the ground next to the trails was quite mossy and soft, most of my other injuries were from the bike landing on me.
Finally the run appeared, something that I was vaguely comfortable with. A fairly straightforward 9k mainly along forest tracks, and then popping up to the trig point at Creag a’ Ghreusaiche, and then back the way you came. The start and finish of the run were both a bit trickier than the forest trails, but were short enough not to cause anyone any problems. Mike was already at the finish having done his tri, as the race organiser had managed to stage both events simultaneously without any problems, a rare feat and one to be applauded!
Mike got round very well in the short race, finishing 22nd out of 160 (and 7th MV), I did pretty well too finishing 28th out of 100 in the long race. With hindsight, I think I would have fared better in the short race and Mike even better in the long race (his cycling is much better than mine), so maybe next year for that. Star of the show was Jacqui, competing for Perth Triathletes, who finished 1st FV40, and crowned Scottish Cross Triathlon Vet Champion 2015! Well done to her! I guess if there’s anything to learn from Jacqui, it’s that whenever you get stuck for something to do when you get injured….simply train to become the Scottish champion at another sport!
A great day out, thanks to all the marshals! Also, thanks to Mike’s wife for (unwittingly) loaning me her mountain bike for the day! Surprise! Results here, a view from the front here, and some photos here (eventually).