Aberfeldy middle distance triathlon, Perthshire, Scotland. 1.9km swim, 56 miles on the bike and a 13 mile run.
Two very damp nights wild camping, one very good curry, a purple and red pub, no vegetables, one banana, empty supermarket shelves, four ticks to bring home. Scotland in all its glory. Beautiful ….but
This race was maybe more of an adventure than a race. I entered late, looked at the B&B prices and decided to camp. Also decided I didn’t need a campsite. Arrived in the rain and ate a very good curry in a leaking bus shelter to avoid crowded spaces. This took me back in time. Comfortable – yes, I was dry and warm and fed. Don’t need much more than that.
I found a quiet forestry car park and had two beautiful red deer as neighbours for a while. Luxury of a different type perhaps. I had bothered to check I had tent pegs but hadn’t checked all the poles – so getting in through a collapsed porch was an extra challenge. Our tent has seen better days which meant my feet received a bath from soft Scottish rain water.
Breakfast was relaxed and smart in Thyme restaurant and delicatessen. So smart that they gave me a free coffee for making too much noise moving tables. Lovely.
The day flowed by, I drove the bike course, which was a good move. Pre-race wet run followed by pre-race wet bike and I then completely avoided pre-race wet swim. Why is it that getting ready to swim in the rain always feels such an effort? You get wet anyway. This had more to do with not having anywhere to get warm or dry anything. Another night in another forestry car park, no deer this time.
Up at four for a warm up ride, with lights I’d remembered to pack. Lots of time to faff in transition. They had warned us there might be mist on the lake and it might be a bike/run, but the day dawned clear, and rapidly got worse. Lake water temperature 15.4, really? I’ve never had ice cream head in 15 degrees before. Refreshing, I felt I had a good swim but it was very slow, maybe the cold and sighting difficulties. Judged clothing right on the bike though. Some good climbs and I realise I am very out of practice at them, also lacking the confidence. Work to do there next season. It would have been very beautiful if we had good visibility, but the one view out of the cloud turning onto the edge of Rannoch Loch was spectacular. So spectacular my bike nearly followed my eyes into the Loch. Was looking forward to the descent but lots of marshals waving red flags followed by police and ambulance ensured it was a slow and somewhat nervous decent. We heard later that Nathan from Cardiff had a catastrophic crash which did put a damper on an already damp weekend.
(Loch Tay below)
On the up side I was cheered by two friends from Kendal cheering me out of T2 who I hadn’t expected to see. That was a great little boost. The main aim of this race was to manage the run well and come back positive. Within this I was trying some new things – a new drinking bottle which worked, increasing my hydration and nutrition, also new shoes which caused no problems. I managed to go slow for the first couple of miles, always a challenge, then held pace. It was all on road, but very pretty road along the River Tay. For the final third of the run the sun came out and positively baked the wet roads.
Slow swim, very slow bike, adequate run, 8/11th in Scottish and National Championships, good race, well organised, recommend. I had a great adventure.
The shuttle buses laid on to take us back to cars at T1 were a little inadequate for the people needing them. Reckoning I wasn’t going to make it home before Christmas using the shuttles I went back in time once more and hitched back to my car in bare feet and a stinking tri suit. 🙂