Printer Friendly

TRIPLE CROWN RACE; RECORD MAN JAMES TRIES HIS LUCK AT THE NATIONAL LONG DISTANCE TRIATHLON.

Byline: James Moncur

WHAT better way to enjoy some of Scotland's finest scenery than by cycling and running through it after a refreshing loch swim?

And that's exactly what more than 200 madcap athletes did at the National Long Distance Triathlon Championships in Aberfeldy last Sunday - including me.

The day dawned bright over Loch Tay with not a breath of wind and the sun burning through the morning mist to greet the racers and the three-man teams lining up to tackle the course.

And what a course it was. The first leg involved a 1.9km swim in the balmy 13c water of the loch, followed by a hilly 56-mile bike ride, topped off with a half-marathon in the shadow of JK Rowling's palatial country pile.

I did the race to keep my hand in for next year's triathlon campaign and as a build-up to the hellish 94-mile Bealach Mor cycle race in three weeks.

But my swimming hasn't improved much since last year's Ironman event - twice the length of Sunday's effort - at Challenge Barcelona.

The race started near the Croft-na-Caber watersports centre in Kenmore, Perthshire.

There was the usual bunfight in the first 100m as racers swam for their lives like seals trying to get away from a hungry great white shark.

The pace quickly settled down and, apart from a numb head, hands, feet and nether regions, I clambered out of the water none the worse after 40 minutes of frantic thrashing. The first transition from wetsuit-clad swimmer to cycling speed-freak is normally quite simple.

But trying to clip a helmet strap together with frozen fingers isn't the easiest and I lost valuable seconds dressing myself.

Once I'd finally sorted myself out, it was on to the bike and straight up the side of the 3553ft Schiehallion.

Race organiser Richard Pearson wasn't lying when he said the bike course was a bit "sticky".

Once I crested the top after the four-mile grind, I thoroughly enjoyed the spin downhill, then around Loch Rannoch before scaling the flanks of Schiehallion for a second time and heading back to Aberfeldy.

On the way, I passed the spot at the bottom of a viciously-tight bend where fellow Record reporter Mark McGivern took a tumble in last year's race.

There's a little white cross marking the spot where Mark broke his bike and left most of the skin from his elbow. It was one of the darkest moments in triathlon history. At the second transition point, and left most of the skin from his elbow. It was one of the darkest moments in triathlon history.

At the second transition point, at Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy, I dumped my beloved Kuota Karma bike and slipped on my Asics running shoes.

A niggling calf injury has meant my running training has taken a dip in recent months.

But I managed to shuffle around the half-marathon course, which wound its way past the town's impressive golf club and JK's house to the turning point at Strathtay, in just over one hour 50 minutes to finish in five hours 55 minutes.

ON one of the warmest days of the summer - which isn't saying much - I finished 117th overall and was 33rd in the veterans' category.

Not a bad effort considering my injury issues and increased girth.

It was yet another superbly organised event from Richard and his team of marshals.

The weather was kind in that there was no wind for the bike leg but the heat made the run a real test.

The team event is a great way into triathlons. All you need is a good swimmer, bike rider and runner and you can enter.

It's in a great part of the world and the local community really buy into it, which makes for a great atmosphere.

The Aberfeldy Middle is fast becoming the flagship long-distance event in Scotland and is a great advert for Scottish hospitality and organisation.

The race was won by rising star Craig Dale in four hours 28 minutes 17 seconds. He was only beaten by one team, a staggering achievement.

World duathlon champion Catriona Morrison, one of Scotland's finest sporting ambassadors, was just four minutes behind Craig and comfortably won the women's race.

Cat is one of the strongest triathlon runners in the world and recently made up a 45-minute deficit to win Ironman Lanzarote. She's heading to Hawaii for the world championships in October.

strongest triathlon runners in the world and recently made up a 45-minute deficit to win Ironman Lanzarote. She's heading to Hawaii for the world championships in October.

Meanwhile, I'm back in training. Again.

For more information on the race, visit www.liveactive.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

IN THE RUNNING: James crosses the line and, below, in action CYCLE PATH: James pushes on through the Perthshire countryside
COPYRIGHT 2010 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 23, 2010
Words:801
Previous Article:They said they were giving me my own TV show.. I thought, yeah sure; TEENAGE COMIC'S RISE TO THE TOP: Daniel is telly and stand-up star.. and he's...
Next Article:HORMONE CHANGE HITS MEN.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters