Triathlons and Duathlons
Like many runners, members of Carnethy Hill Running Club will touch on many things outside of running. Sometimes climbing, sometimes swimming, maybe road cycling or MTB, or perhaps just rhythmic dance. It’s nice to dabble, after all, we’re not hillrunning robots. Not road running though, that’s a step too far. For those that occasionally cycle and maybe a little splashing round a pool, there’s a wonderful world of triathlon out there.
Triathlons can sound a little daunting, and most people fear the swim part in particular. I wouldn’t worry too much about that as the swim sections can be as short as 400m (8 lengths of the Commonwealth Pool) for the “Come and Tri” events. Obviously the cycle and then run sections are equally short (around 10km cycle, 3km run). At the other end of the spectrum there’s Iron-distance triathlons consisting of 2.4mile swim, 112mile cycle and 26.2mile run. Between these events there are many flavours of Triathlon, consisting of varying distances, along with onroad/offroad cycle, onroad/offroad run, indoor/outdoor swim. There’s even some events that are even more mental than iron-distance, but that’s for another day. For now, all you need to know is that we have a wee section dedicated to the reports from Triathlons, along with any nuggets of info that may help you on your exciting new sport!
I didn’t enter the Craggy Island Triathlon this year. Last years race was moved by a month at late notice and I had to carry the entry on to this year. Well that was the decision made to 2017, Fraser and Helen decided to join me. Then it turned out to be the day before the Pentland Skyline, and also the day before Cathi’s 60th Birthday Meal (and 2 days before her birthday). Well something had to go, and it was The Skyline.
After a night at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, at 6:30am, Helen, Fraser and I got into the car and headed to Oban. Three hours later we were parked in the mizzle opposite Kerrera and after unloading the car there was a quick innertube change before we cycled to the queue for the boat.
There was a bit of a wait before we got to transition to set up the bikes the cycle and running kit and get into the wetsuits, then we were back queuing to get back to the mainland. As we stood on the slip for the best part of an hour chatting in bare feet (and no glasses) we were discussing the event with Joan Wilson and Jean Bowman Lomond Hill Runners). Fraser was worried about the swim , Helen was worried about the bike and I was worried about the run. Joan was worried about her shoes and Jean was fed up waiting.
Eventually it was time to start and we discovered why the slipway is so named. Falling into the water we lined up and after a couple of minutes we were off. My plan to swim on the right to avoid my normal left deviation worked well and I managed to get to the other (aptly named) slip in 4th place. After slithering about and skating up the concrete and a bit of a run on the carpet I was in transition and ripping the velcro off the wetsuit and trying to get my socks and shoes on. I was out of transition without seeing my wee boy and Helen.
I was on my Carbon Superfly 29er (my “Elsie” Bike), perfect for this race. It was lovely weather, almost sunny and the views were stunning. I was trying hard but not eyeballs out, and I was losing places regularly. I dont think I am quite brave enough on the bike, but i managed all the descents staying on the bike. There were the odd mud baths on the way, some so deep that the bottom bracket was under water, others were just gluey gloop. I had to push some of them, getting going again was harder work. As I pushed up a grassy slope I heard the “Hi Dad” and then Fraser was past. The last 2 miles was on fast road and then the bike was dumped.
I was better than last time, but running was still hard work as we did the first bit of track. Once on the Hill i was more at home, and again the weather and views were great. The descent was grassy and fun and as we reached the coast we ran through a natural arch. The soft sheep shit was joyful underfoot and after another bit of nice grass were back on track and tarmac for 2 miles of pain to the end. I was only 3 places behind the lad. Joan was 5 minutes behind and Helen was in about 3 minutes later the Jean finished 10 minutes later.
Sitting eating burgers and Coffee in the sunshine was the perfect ending. After all the worries we all had a wonderful time and we will be back!
Another queue to get back to the mainland and a while to pack the car and by 8pm we were back to Roslin knackered but happy, happy to be missing the Pentland Skyline!
Thanks to Gus Bowman and Andy Upton for the photos and to the Craggy Island Team for all the fun. It was great to have ridden Elsie Scott’s bike again in her favourite race , we miss you Elsie.
|Position||Name||Age||Class||Time||Swim||Swim Posn.||T1||T1 Posn.||Bike||Bike Posn.||T2||T2 Posn||Run||Run Posn.|
Back in June Billy and I signed up for the Applecross Duathlon – the price (£6) and the timing (Edinburgh September weekend plus our 20th wedding anniversary!) were right. But we all know what happens to the best laid plans. Billy ended up doing the timekeeping for most of the handicap races rather than running them due to injury over the summer and only managed a few runs out with Willie’s old and broken group (Willie’s words not mine!) prior to the race. I on the other hand completed all the handicaps bar Arthur’s Seat as I developed a dodgy knee just days before. So when race day arrived Billy dropped from the race to the challenge and I became support crew.
The duathlon comprises a 9 mile (471m ascent) off road run followed by a 15 mile (538m ascent) road cycle and is a well organised low profile race, although many folk had travelled quite a way to get here. The campsite we were staying in was waterlogged. It had seemingly rained every day for the previous 3 weeks. Conditions on the run promised to be interesting! But Billy was upbeat and set off at 12.30 with our friend who is a professed road runner and was definitely out of her comfort zone.
There were frequent rain showers but the sun did shine at times and at least the cycle wasn’t straight into a headwind as is often the case. Only the junior record was broken and as Stewart Whitlie wasn’t taking part this year there were no Carnethies on the podium! We did spot one other Carnethy but he wasn’t listed as Carnethy in the results so I didn’t get his name!
Cakes and tea were held In the village hall afterwards and a good time appeared to have been had by all. We will definitely be back.
Question: Apart from some running, what has the Aberfeldy Triathlon and the Edinburgh Marathon got in common?
Answer: neither happen in their named town! Names can be deceptive.
Would you run the Pentland Skyline in the Moorfoots?
With a few niggles recently, some cross training seemed a good idea and entering a triathlon seemed a way also to learn to swim better and ride a racing bike, at the same time as resting pains. Previously, my swimming skills were limited to breast stroke and splashing about with the kids, and biking was limited to mountain biking rather than rolling along on tarmac which always seemed bit dull. The running bit should be straight forward apart from the niggles and the Monday swims in the local reservoirs gave me water confidence, even if my direction finding is poor and technique even worse. So, I bought a bike and got a few rides in to get a feel for those funny handle bars.
I met Maggie Creber the night before at registration who I had swam behind a few times at Gladhouse. It was her x7th Birthday weekend. Folk were busy getting expensive campervans stuck in the mud or preening space-age looking ‘bikes’. One guys front crank and gears alone cost more than my shiney new Boardman. Sunday had us awake early in KENMORE at the end of Loch Tay (6.5 miles from Aberfeldy) for a 1900m swim in lovely fresh (ecoli free) water followed by a stunning 90km bike ride over the hill and around Loch Rannoch and back to the start. The half marathon run took a reversed ‘h’-shaped course with three laps around the golf course in the grounds of Taymouth Castle.
All these 3 legs went better than expected. Due to my zig-zagging, my swim distance exceeded the 1900m and while finishing in the last third of the third wave, was a bit quicker than I expected. For me the bike went really well. With so many targets there was plenty of overtaking and for the first half I played cat and mouse with racer 100 and Dave 120. A shout – ‘is that you Mark?’ said I had caught Maggie alongside Loch Rannoch. The descent back toward Loch Tay disappointed as I didn’t quite hit 50mph. Must try harder! The run turned out to be quite tough due to tarmac and wee hills to sap you, repeated 3 times. No PBs for me but the weather was great and the scenery lovely. Maggie seemed to be catching me as I saw her at each out-and-back, although to her I was getting further ahead.
Most importantly, the birthday girl came First Female Senior Vet and stood proudly on the high bit of the podium for Carnethy, then had to go up again for the prize as 3rd FV40.
I came 15th MSV which I am quite happy about, beating Mr 100, but behind Mr Dave 120 and settling for an alcohol free beer.
Result here: http://www.aberfeldytriathlon.com/aberfeldy-triathlon.html
On Saturday Chris H and I made our way to the sunny Borders for the St Mary’s Loch Standard Distance Triathlon. I’d bullied Chris into entering a couple of weeks ago, dismissing his claims of not being an experienced enough swimmer to do it. He’d been to a couple of swimming lessons a week prior, so I figured he’d be alright for it. Triathlon can be a little daunting, I think, and sometimes you just need that little push from…em…a caring buddy that only has your very best interests at heart. So I pushed in my usual overbearing way. You’re welcome, Chris! On the drive down I was hoping that the weather would make it all seem worthwhile, but the relentless rain and drizzle made us both wish that we hadn’t entered at all. It really was a day for sitting under cover, drinking tea, and snoozing. It certainly wasn’t a day for splashing around in a loch, then skidding around on your bike, and then sploshing around on a run. The only kindness shown by the course was a warm water temperature – a surprising 16°C, exactly the same as the air temperature.
The race started well, the warm water certainly making a difference. It feels like breathing is easier, that my lungs feel less tight, but that may just be my imagination. I managed to sneak to one side of the main group which kept me away from the stramash of bodies, flailing arms, and feet looking to kick your face off. Easy breathing, steady swimming. It was relaxed! In fact, it may be the first triathlon swim I’ve really enjoyed. I can only put this down to an increase in the amount of open-water swimming that I’ve been doing. Anyway, no sooner had it started then the 1500m were all over, and I was gingerly trying to haul my sorry carcass over the stony waterside.
The bike was also alright too, strangely. I was concerned that I was going to get cold just cycling in a tri-suit, but the air was mild and made for an enjoyable cycle. Well, not cold, at least. The cycle heads south west-(ish), out then back, along the quiet roads of the A708 to Moffat, 40km in total. At the heart of the cycle is a hill passing by the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfalls. On the outgoing leg it’s a fast, winding descent – it’s just the right descending angle to lift your fingers off the brakes and let yourself fly! It was glorious! St Mary’s loch is essentially at the top of this hill, so on the way back home it’s a long and desperate grind. The flying outward leg soon turned and I was facing the climb back, and I quickly realised that the headwind that I thought I was pushing on the way out was actually a tailwind. Aaaargh! All I could do was just keep my head down, wobble my way back uphill, eat fistfuls of ShotBlox and drink some juice.
Finally the run section, along the Southern Upland Way beside St Mary’s Loch. No real climbing, just undulations and thin trods for the outgoing 5km and then turn around and do it all again in the opposite direction. I think all the eating at the end of the cycle paid dividends for the run. It felt quick, for me at least, passing lots of people on the way.
Once over the line, I spotted Chris standing, fully dressed. I automatically congratulated him on beating me in the race in true Scottish form – by insulting him and generally calling him names. Not so! He’d taken 4 strokes on the swim, and decided that he didn’t fancy the race after all. He then turned for the tea tent instead, got a brew, found some shelter in the car, and then went for a snooze. I really couldn’t blame him.
All that was left for me was to analyse my stats, get a burger and juice, and then head home to maybe get some beer. Looking deeper into the numbers I was 25th overall out of 150 finishers. It seems my swim is pretty rubbish (25:18 – 82nd), my cycle was pretty good (1:16:53 – 27th) and I’m really happy with my run (41:28 – 6th). Chris also got a PB on his tea drinking, so it wasn’t a wasted journey after all!
All in all, a nice wee diversion from hillrunning, which can be nice sometimes. A grand day all round!
The 2017 Celtman Triathlon took place on Saturday 17th June up in Torridon on Scotland’s magnificent Atlantic Coast. It’s a unique event, oversubscribed several times over each year, attracting triathletes from all over, with quite a strong contingent of racers from Sandinavia (as the race is part of some ‘Extreme’ dude series of three: The Norseman, Swissman and Celtman.
As Mark said in his report (here), it all went well, I came 5th and whilst I would have loved top 3 I do appreciate that if you want top Iron Man distance results then one’s training needs to be focussed on very long steady efforts and working to a low power (sorry but running and biking up and down hill is more fun, isn’t it?). Basically, the swim was rough and cold, and Mark literally did T1 for me. He was so quick in stripping off the 7mm of rubber off my chest that I’d already caught up about 20 lost places before getting on the bike. The bike was fast, cross and tail winds for the first 100 miles, and hence pretty exciting. 21-22mph average, mainly down again to Mark and Jim’s incredible support throwing fuel and encouragement at me from the van and side of the road. The head wind for the last 30 miles stopped everyone, rather frustrating, but T2 again performed by Mark put me straight into about 15th for the run. The big upset was that Torridon mountain rescue didn’t let racers up onto Beinn Eighe for the MTN run which is what it’s all about, so we had to do a lower level but still pretty rocky run. We ran much of this as a three and that was the most enjoyable, although hardest, part of the day, to take us into the finish in 5th overall.
Having two such great pals supporting is what made this a special race. Jim Hardy and Mark Hartree I won’t ever forget the support you gave me that day. Also the race atmosphere is pretty unique. If anyone fancies this event then please get in touch so I can pass on maps, info and my own support!
Some folk aspire to do the Celtman which is rated as an Extreme Iron Man. I’d done several Bowhill Duathalons with Nick Williamson (the Teacher one) and knew he was a machine. He had podium aspirations for the Celtman and completed it on Saturday in the worse conditions ever and convinced his support team comprising of Jim Hardie and myself that they would give the Celtman a miss in the future.
The swim was cold, very choppy and full of jelly fish. Nick was mid-field at Transition 1 meaning a lot of work was needed. The bike was hilly, often wet and cool, and the 45 mile head-for-home leg all into a strong wind was brutal, even sitting in the warmth of the support wagon. Nick was quite amazing and focussed, reeling in place after place to be in around 15th place at Transition 2 from bike to run.
Jim Hardie stepped in to run the finishing marathon and a very quick change took a few more places. I was going to do the Beinn Eighe hill section (hoping he’d be knackered by then) but the high route was cancelled due to high wind and rain so after a minor faff, Jim ran on and I supported from a new place.
Nick and Jim spanked the run reeling and dumping more places to bring Nick to the finish in 5th place. An extraordinary achievement in Jim and my eyes. A faster swim and a medal was certainly likely.
Results will be up soon on the Celtman Website. An awesome race for machines.
Mark Hartree / Jim Hardie
I took part in this on Sunday. Didn’t do particularly well. Struggled on the run especially. Need to up my game for ArranMan and stop watching Netflix.
Results here: https://www.stuweb.co.uk/race/1Bf
Three Carnethys ventured into the mudfest that was the final long race of the three series of races at the Bowhill Estate near Selkirk. I keep saying I am going to stop doing these races since the courses don’t change, but keeping on doing them as a mountain bike race and a run make for a good day out. After the recent rains and snow, the course was probably the wettest, most boggy and slowest I had seen, and that is saying something.
I had an average race not helped by not doing anything on a mountain bike since the short race in November, and not realising that my back brake lever was about to fail after the first time I needed it. The bike section had with three quite gnarly technical single track descents which were not the best place to be with only a front brake. At least I had one brake, but had to let folk past regularly and run down the steep bendy sections.
Nick Williamson managed to go the right way (for a change) and despite my encouragement to get the guy in front as he passed me on the out and back run, and held onto a creditable 2nd place. Chris Boustred had a good race coming in 11th. I came in 42nd out of about 130 racers, despite starting near the front…
So, if you like mountain bike and running combos as a Duathalon involving varying quantities of mud, gloop, ice and snow, lookup the Bowhill Duathalon Series from Nov – Mar next winter and get Durty.
Results here http://www.durtytiming.com/race-results.html
Is there a better way to open the New Year than by taking an invigorating dip in the Commonwealth Pool and then whizzing three or four times round Arthur’s Seat, with the sun abetted by masses of bemused spectators to encourage you and a northerly breeze to keep you cool? At least seven Carnethies were amongst the 400-odd who thought not and cheerfully lined up for the New Year’s Day Triathlon.
Mike Lynch was the fastest Carnethy, in a respectable 25th place, followed by three first-timers separated by little more than a minute and a half: Chris Henty (66th), Mary Lye (79th) and Matthew Jones (81st). Mary was second in a very tight F40 category, the first five in it finishing within a couple of minutes of one another. The Nimmos started trailing in twenty minutes later, led by Anne (second F60), just managing to hold off Ailish (who took ten minutes off her PB) and with Ian fighting his customary rear-guard action (second M70 of two).
For once the seniors didn’t take the main prizes: the race was won by an M40, Stephen Clark, and the first woman (27th overall) was a junior, Lauren Dickson.
Results here. Bob Marshall’s photos: here.
So, you like a bit of hill running and you like a bit of mountain biking, but the loch or sea water is a bit cool for swimming in winter and indoor pools just don’t make the grade for a proper off road Triathlon. So, hunt out a Duathlon and skip the swimming lark! The Bowhill Duathlon Series takes place about 75 mins south of Edinburgh just past Selkirk. It forms 3 races over the winter with a short, medium and long race around the Bowhill Estate (ssshhhhh Secret Scotland…). Today’s Short race gave us a surprisingly dry romp around the estate tracks, trails and forest, probably the driest I’ve seen it for what is usually a Durty mud fest of a race.
Three Carnethies featured and maybe starred amongst the 172 starters on what was a magically glorious day carpeted in valley frost and bathed in bright winter sunshine. Not icy, but firm under tyre and foot, we would have got a team prize if there was such a thing. Nick Williamson is notoriously fit and fast, but patently incapable of following a marked route around Bowhill, giving up a winning chance to come in third overall after missing a turn on the bike (again). Chris Boustred, who recently joined the club, showed me his heels on the run out and came in a strong 11th. I managed a pleasing 30th having had a blast on the running descents and the technical bike sections to regain a few places.
Paul and the Durty team put on well organised events and this one has great support from bike, tri and rotary clubs from the area giving ample marshals and great support. Give it a go sometime.
Full results and info here
A year of niggles and lately sore knees
Meant alternative training might help them to ease
But not learning the crawl because water in ears
As a child had a history of reducing me to tears.
Willie G and Mike Andrew offered swim advice from afar
The pool training progresses and moved to Threipmuir Reservoir
With Pete B and Jim Hardie treading water patiently waiting
The Craggy Triathalon idea was in the making.
The swim went Ok, water clear, could be warmer
Getting out of a wetsuit gave 3 minutes of trauma
130th position meant last third of the field
The bike needed fury and many to yield.
‘Coming on the right’, many many places made
On a mountain bike I can nearly make the grade
Even HBT Don Naylor was taken
I’m sure, if I’m not mistaken.
An so to the run from a faster transition
I couldn’t make out my exact position
But the trails and green trods suited my style
To the top and bottom of the island with a track for the last mile.
I overtook some groups then lost a few places
That is the way in most of my races
A few jelly babies and another HBT vest to catch
Crowds cheering with the timers, sprint finish to match.
From last third in the swim, to finish in 26th position
The Craggy Island Tri could be a new tradition
With a swim, bike and run as a pretty good prequel
For the Pentland Skyline tomorrow, 3:40’s my target to equal.
Foxlake is primarily a cable wake boarding centre. They also host other events, trail runs and the Durty Events Night tri. The same team puts on Craggy Island and Aviemore triathlons. It promised to be a bit of fun, demonstrated by the fact – you drink a small quantity of beer and have 30 secs deducted for each of three possible refreshment opportunities. I did Gullane Beach tri and finished hobbling with a sore calf. I was uncertain until the day. It was 10 minutes ride from home and something a bit different on a Saturday night, decision made. First time I’ve asked for an on the night entry.
The floodlights made a modest impact. However wasteful the glow sticks were, they were colourful as I watched the first wave splash up the dark water. Only 200m, but decided on wetsuit, it was chilly waiting in the water. A few went without.
The additional tactics of making your bike visible in transition and avoiding navigational errors in the dark added to the experience. I left my back light on ready. Straight into trail shoes and flats with pins I sped off from transition onto familiar trails for a 5.7km ride. My rigid 29er mtn bike was just the job for the almost entirely flat course. The variety of lighting options made for quite a spectacle as the participants cycled and ran around the lake. My “Mary” bars made for tricky light mounting, I was glad for additional helmet lighting. Embarrassingly at the start of the 1.8km run I managed to choose a different path from everyone else, giving me incentive to run a bit harder.
I avoided the beers but having been put in the second wave with the women and the vintage was unsure of my position, it being dark added to the uncertainty. I was happy my calf held up and it certainly helped knowing the local trails.
Recommended for a fast and furious outing. Make a day or an afternoon and visit Dunbar, John Muir Birth Place.
I’d entered the Aberfeldy Middle Distance Triathlon on a whim a few weeks ago, after some gentle goading on a Monday night swim. Last year I finished the Standard Distance, and this year I was hoping to do a Middle Distance but things didn’t really work out and forgot about it. So, after seeing that there were still spaces available for Aberfeldy I signed up, and hoped that some last minute cycle training would be enough to get me through the race. The middle distance is also called a half Ironman, or “70.3” (total miles covered), and consists of: 1900m swim, 55mile cycle, and a 13.1mile run. This was the Scottish championship race, too, so lots of serious faces would be attending. I wasn’t quite ready for it, but eager I suppose, and hoped to improve…em…everything in the three weeks remaining. Unfortunately for me, some hydration training with Graham after a Wednesday night run resulted in me flying over my handlebars whilst searching for a kebab shop at 2am. The bruised ribs and cuts persisted until race day, which wasn’t particularly ideal, and also caused problems for my last minute training and kebab eating. No matter, fortune favours the brave, or so they say.
Come race day, I met with new Carnethy member Noel, and also Blair from a Monday night swim a couple of weeks back. Noel’s done the race before, but Blair and I were Aberfeldy newbies. Last minute hiccups with forgetting my race number belt was quickly solved by cutting apart my pants and using the waistline as a replacement number belt. This actually worked well, albeit at the cost of one of my favourite pairs of pants. So, pants aside, to the event…
The swim start was on the banks of Loch Tay just after sunrise. The water was cold, but calm and clear, the air was warm and the weather forecast looked great for the upcoming day. Starting the swim in waves, we set off on a single lap of a triangular route near the Crannog Centre. The swim was picturesque, but unremarkable, and featured lots of splashing and colliding with people who ping-ponged round the course with only a general feel for where they were going. Well…either they were not swimming straight, or I wasn’t. Or maybe both? I dunno, it didn’t seem to matter too much I think. I think there was a girl who deliberately punched me in the face, it seemed too good a punch to be accidental. I probably deserved it though, I wasn’t paying that much attention and was maybe weaving around. A stunning left hook, though!
For me, the cycle was where it all happened. Or didn’t happen. At the start I thought I was cycling well, I really did, but within seconds some guy flew by, wearing a complete time trial outfit of Aero bike and pointy helmet. Then another a few seconds later. Then another. Then another….and so on, for 55miles. It was clear then, more than ever, that three training rides and using a cyclocross with road tyres was not going to cut it in the competitive world of triathlon. Sigh. To be fair, things weren’t so bad after about 30 miles, when the headwind round Loch Rannoch was replaced by a tailwind on the return, but it didn’t matter that much. People still cruised by with ease, but at a lower frequency than before. With hindsight, tri-bars would have been wise, and maybe a proper road bike, but it was too late by that point so I just had to pootle along and take in the (rather beautiful) views. Also, my backside wasn’t used to the saddle, and so spent the majority of my afternoon cursing every bump and shifting myself around, and occasionally eating sweeties to cheer myself up. So not all bad, really. The roads were very quiet, practically free of cars, which made the cycle route even more spectacular, and as enjoyable as it could be! The best part was certainly the descent towards Aberfeldy, a fantastic winding ride down from Schiehallion, as fast as you dare!
The Aero bikes, pointy helmets, cycle experience and tri bars are all very good, but they don’t help much on the run. Finally something that I could do! I was lacking in food, and a wee bit dehydrated, but made good progress on the run and got by a good number of folk. The half marathon out and back was well marshaled with a good number of aid stations, so at least I got some support, and the cola at the turning point made a massive difference. The aid stations all had powerbar gels, which I can’t cope with, so didn’t have anything until the cola. What I would have done for a jelly baby, just one! Anyway, I managed to catch Noel, and spotted Blair when running back on the return leg. We finished in that order, but Noel had a later swim wave so despite me finishing ahead he had the better time and won the honours for the day (5hrs 35mins), with Blair (6hrs 08mins) not far behind me (5hrs 37mins).
A fantastic day out, in a beautiful part of the country, and really well organized with a great army of volunteers to help out. Thanks to all involved! I’d strongly recommend it to anyone.
This was a fall back event due to Craggy Island being moved to Skyline weekend. Because we are all hard-as-nails hill runners we opted for the Long event, a 1500m swim in Loch Morlich (surprisingly warm), an 18km technical mountain bike (surprisingly bad-ass gnarly in places) and a 9km run (surprisingly easy).
Now, first of all, come on guys if we are to sustain the hard-as-nails reputation we actually have to, you know, turn up? I think there were seven Carnethies entered at one point, but on the day, down by the wind swept shores of Loch Morlich there was just myself, Kathy ‘the Champ’ Henly and Graeme ‘the quiet one’ Dunbar.
Loch Morlich was being blown into a choppy frenzy. I’ve done a few triathlons in my time and it was one of the toughest swims I’ve ever done. At least the water was mild. The high wind made buoy spotting tricky, and keeping a line near impossible. I made it out of the water in 33:45, Kathy in 38:14 and Graeme in 38:35.
The bike was straight forward gritty Cairngorm trails for about 12km, with a brief detour into the BMX park. Then it turned down hill on trails that were unridable for most (think all those unmarked suicidal routes through the trees in Glentress). Lots of pushing ensued. Graeme passed me in the later stages, finishing in 1hr08, me in 1hr17 and Kathy in 1hr27.
The run turned straight into the woods. Just when I thought the run was going to be really interesting, the tussocks and bog ran out and it was wide dirt road for the whole out and back, apart from a short offload section at the turn around. Graeme’s run leg was 43:39, Kathy’s 48:48 and mine a leisurely 50:15. Finish times were 2hr59 for Kathy, 2hr47 for me and 2hr37 for Graeme.
Kathy ended up on the podium twice, as 3rd female vet, and second place female vet in the National Cross Triathlon championships. Not bad for a road runner!
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.
This event was a transfer from my original entry for Craggy Island, which now clashes with the Pentland Skyline. They way things were lying it was going to land AFTER the ArranMan Middle Distance Triathlon, which is not the order you want, but in the end injury forced we to defer that anyway. So my first Standard (or Olympic) distance event was upon me and, predictably, I wasn’t fully fit. Since running at Dechmont Law in June, what turned out to be a lack of warming down on a cold and wet day, has turned into a few weeks of achilles problems and I’ve hardly run at all, save for a couple of 5Ks on the back of two sprint triathlons in the meantime. However, the upside was my swimming was coming along, and the Monday night sessions with kindred spirits (bestpartday.blogspot) have seen me become pretty confident in the water, albeit I’m not the fastest.
I traveled down with Noel Tomnay who has recently joined the club (but was competing for Edinburgh #3) and we arrived in good time. The weather had started to turn, however, and it looked like we would be getting on the bikes in poor weather, and so it proved. The swim waves were divided in two, with various mixes of male and female and age categories lumped together and we were last out, along with the senior men. The swim was two loops of a circuit (1,500m in total) and the water was a comfortable 14 degrees. I settled in to the swim well and felt pretty good as I dragged myself out and was pleased to see there were still some swimmers behind me. Transition was the usual faff for me (must improve here, but on longer events it’s less of a factor) and we were on the bikes. The bike course was 12 and a bit miles out then a turn and back the same way. It was undulating with a few bits of climbing and also some nice fast sections. I had the aero bars on (newly purchased from Joel) and I was able to get down on them a reasonable amount. This was my strongest leg and I managed to overhaul a good number of riders (despite the hailstones – Scotland!) before heading back into bike-run transition. I wasn’t looking forward to the run, but it turned out that the achilles was a sideshow as I’d decided not to wear socks and my feet were ruined by the finish, with blood literally dripping through the soles of my shoes. The course was scenic, out and back along the edge of the loch, but with a fair amount of rough and muddy underfoot conditions (only 1 athlete managed a sub 40 out of 189 finishers) and it was over fairly quickly.
A great event, well organised (as usual) by Durty Events. Next up, the Beastie this weekend at Loch Lomond with Jim.
Results here: http://www.durtytiming.com/uploads/9/4/4/5/9445925/sml2016_draft_results.pdf
The danger of competing in a race with a small field is that the chances of coming last are significantly high. Add to this that the race is also a triathlon, with the majority of participants being affiliated triathlon club members, and the odds for us Carnethy runners weren’t looking good for the swim leg. United as four runners, we stood on the beach at Threipmuir Reservoir for the start of the Pentland Solstice Triathlon, trying discreetly to mingle with eighty triathletes. On dry land we managed to blend in well, it wasn’t until we hit the water was it apparent that we were different! Joel defended Carnethy pride by putting in a great 750m swim and leaving the water with the fast guys. Mark, Mike and I were left thrashing around out there for longer. In fact I was last but one to exit the water, preceded one place by Mike. Despite our bad swim placings I was happy with my time, as was Mike who was over a minute faster than last year. The rest of the field were just better.
The three good things about being last out of the water are that you can’t stop smiling for the rest of the race when you are back in your comfort zone, there are lots of competitors ahead waiting to be overtaken and most importantly your bike is easy to spot in transition as it’s the only one left dangling!
The 15km bike leg was fun, places to be gained. The 5km run was short, more people to be caught and passed.
Despite being last out of the water, we weren’t last to finish. We had all made time on the stronger swimmers but as Mike pointed out, in a sprint triathlon, the distances and time involved aren’t big enough to do significant damage to the faster swimmers even if you are a ‘tidy’ biker and runner. Only standard distance for him from now on.
We enjoyed Carnethy support and encouragement from Graeme Dunbar and Kate Crowe at transitions and the finish.
A fantastic local event, organised to precision by Pentland Triathletes. We are now looking forward to Aviemore Triathlon together in August.
Results are here.
Sunday saw the last of the Bowhill Duathlon Series down near Selkirk. For those who like a bit of mountain biking and a run, this is a great series of races over the winter that are also reasonably good value at £16 per race if you do all three. I only saw Nick Williamson with me sporting any Carnethy colours – the rest being in all manner of Goretex and Lycra outfits – or expensive mud protection as I think of it.
And what a glorious final day to race in. Hard frost, bright sunshine and cloud inversions all made the courses around Pernassie Hill as dry and as clean as I have ever seen it – even though it was still a muddfest in places. Some minor tweaks (improvements) to the bike route gave a fabulous fast descent enabling 29mph to be hit on the bike while avoiding frozen ruts and icy puddles. Gripping. Some equally gripping technical forest sections also gave me a chance to catch a few people before transition. The out and back run started slowly and gently for me with a still sore knee which seemed to behave ok after a while thankfully. A long climb to the top of the hill for a Lollypop also included squirming through a wet tunnel during the descent – somewhat easier for us small but perfectly formed types compared to the tall folk.
Nick Williams was up for a podium finish for the race when I saw him on the run return leg in 4th place. He slipped a few places to finish 6th. I managed 38th out of 141 starters Nick’s partner Mary got a piccy of us at the end and might be able to send it in. Race results here: http://www.durtytiming.com/uploads/9/4/4/5/9445925/bowhill_long_2016_results.pdf
Overall result for the series is due out – but my calculation puts Nick on the podium in 2nd MS.
While many Carnethies ran either the cross-country in Broxburn or the Feel the Burns race in Selkirk, a mile down the road on the Bowhill Estate two brave Carnethies braved the semi-frozen, snow covered tracks, trails and bogs to complete the medium duathalon of the 3 race series.
Having missed the first race with various whinges and having had a pretty rough Xmas I didn’t have great expectations that my lung capacity was up to much for the effort involved. Nick Williamson made some similar lame comments about illness, but I didn’t believe him at all. Last year he got lost; this year I told him to follow the arrows.
This duathalon is arranged by the Durty Events Team who also do Craggy Island and other things. It is a mountain bike and a run combo. The bike section for the medium race is just under 5 miles and takes in a gruelling climb to start with and plenty of interest to follow. It has a few technical bits and plenty of scope for epic crashes in the semi frozen mud, ruts, puddles and a slippery bridge. The run section also takes in the hills of Bowhill and while a bit icy and muddy, has a lovely finish around the frozen lochs.
I did better that expected, but much worse than last year coming in 41/156. Nick Williamson said he got lost again (somehow) and his ‘illness’ put him in 3rd place – 28 seconds behind the winner Oleg Chepelin.
Results here. Sorry if other Carnethies there were not mentioned!