The battle continues! Saturday saw the restart of the Hardie-Lynch triathlon duel, with a sprint triathlon on the bonny banks of loch Lomond: The Beastie triathlon. With good weather on our side, Mike and I made our way to Balloch for the race. BTW – I’ve no idea why people don’t include the place names in the event title, “Beastie” doesn’t actually mean anything, but there ye go. I’d borrowed Mike’s wife’s bike again (thanks again, Mrs L!) for the cycle leg, and we both cycled from the parking to registration in Balloch Country Park. Things didn’t bode well for Mike, as his chain slipped-off three times on the way – this will feature again later, but for the time being it seemed to sort itself out and things were looking good. The park looked great, the water lovely, the weather good – it was all shaping up for a fine day.
For the swim we’d got into our wetsuits and took a dip in the loch whilst watching the earlier (faster) waves head off. During the warmup we amused ourselves by farting in our wetsuits and trying to work the bubbles up to our necks. What fun! After a short wait, we were off for the 750m swim of a diamond-shaped loop. The water was warm, and clear, so pretty much ideal conditions really. It was pretty choppy at times though, and occasionally you’d get a wave hit your face as you were taking a breath. We were well prepared for it, as Mike and I have been doing a bit of outdoor swimming on Monday nights at Threipmuir (anyone* welcome!), so we were both pretty comfortable in the water. I have a slight speed advantage over Mike, but in recent times that advantage has reduced by quite a bit. I did stay ahead though, and we were both out of the water within a couple of minutes of each other.
The MTB cycle took us both by surprise, the video of the course on the event website did suggest something very benign so we were both expecting smooth forest trails throughout. Not so! The majority was very much smooth, as expected, but some twisting muddy tracks later were tricky to traverse. Mike is a considerably better cyclist, especially offroad, and I expected him to eat into my lead, and pass me with ease…but that didn’t happen. Perhaps my cycling had improved? I doubted it. Something wasn’t right!
Onto the run, which was a slightly confusing 5k hilly route round the park. From last year’s times, it looks like the 5k run wasn’t quite 5k, so I think this year they may have added loops for extra distance. There were two out-and-backs, and on one Mike and I passed and we went for a high-five (go team!). Mike’s bogging, oily hand was raised and it was clear that he had problems on the bike. Unfortunately for me, it was too late to withdraw from the high-five…my hand took a greasy slap and I spent the rest of the run trying not to wipe it on my top. In fact, I just started high-fiving other competitors instead. A problem shared, etc. Go team!
We both finished strongly. Afterwards Mike explained that his chain slipped off several times at the start of his cycle, and that crushed any chance of catching me and adding several minutes onto his finish time. Out of around 170 starters, I sneaked into the top 10 (9th position) and, despite the mechanical problems, Mike still finished 34th. A cracking race! Fantastic, cheery marshals! Great organisation, and a great day out! Many thanks to all involved!
Results (I’ve no idea why we’re “Ayrodynamic Tri Club”)
*On the understanding that you will definitely die.