Craggy Island Off-Road Tri

This triathlon has the best setting and concept of any I’ve done!

When I first planned to do this race, I intended it as a bit of post-Aberfeldy fun, a chance to get back out on my mountain bike and, if I was lucky, maybe my fitness would be enough to carry me through to a championship (Scottish off-road tri) podium.

It turns out I only got two out of three,  but I had a great time anyway!

If you’ve seen my Aberfeldy report you’ll know I got ill the week before. Somehow this one just wasn’t letting go and it was still lingering for this race. And no, I don’t really think the racing made it much worse as plenty of people in the office toiled with it for an extended period too!

Coming up in the car from Glasgow, Elizabeth didn’t sound too good either, but she’s a stalwart and brushed it off.

Here’s an idea of what the race is like. You actually swim to an island with no roads, mountain bike around for a while on some proper single track paths as well as wider gravel tracks. Then you have to ‘run’ to the top of the island. I say ‘run’ because I was using my hands to help me up at one point!

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I was determined to have a good swim, because Aberfeldy had been so bad. In training the week before we had done a drill where we sprinted in a pack for 50m before easing into race pace. That’s what I did in this race – really went for it for a minute or so then settled down. I had to breathe to the right the whole time because the chop was quite bad. Three quarters of the way over I had a minor panic as I couldn’t see anyone, but it turns out I was 7th out of the water (with 6 men in front), which explains the lack of company! Really pleased with this bit of the race.

Thanks to Bob Millar for the photo

Thanks to Bob Millar for the photo

Onto the bike and my friend Caroline was chasing me down right out of transition. When she came past I tried to keep up, but she edged away gradually and then took big leaps away on every technical section. I was actually now in third as the eventual winner had nipped past when I was messing about in transition. My legs weren’t responding enthusiastically to the little uphill digs. I reminded myself that this race wasn’t a target and I was supposed to be here for fun. Then I relaxed and enjoyed the riding a whole lot more! After a while off, I was reminded how mountain biking can really put a smile on my face. The support of the spectators and marshals was great – they cheered and yelled a lot! Even when Marie sped past me on the hardest bit halfway round lap 2 I couldn’t respond, but I didn’t stress.

Thanks to Bob Millar for the photo

Thanks to Bob Millar for the photo

The run was not only a test of fitness but also of my dodgy calf, playing up since the half marathon. Luckily it held up fine. I could see Marie as we climbed and I thought I was gaining ground … that is, until the ground went downwards and she ran away! 😀 I just stuck at a good pace, though it was hard to get past slower people from the shorter race, who were now in front.

A reminder of my day

A reminder of my day

In the end I came 4th. I was a teensy bit disappointed and had all my excuses ready. But to be honest, I was just well and truly beaten and it was great to see friends in positions 2 and 3! Kerry MacPhee was the deserved winner. Results.

We headed to Fort William to stay with Marie for the night, and the next day went mountain biking at the Nevis Range in the drizzle. Marie raced around like an over-excited rabbit, while we tried to keep up. Elizabeth fell out of love with her bike (turned out the frame / suspension was bust!). We enjoyed the company and I headed home satisfied with the weekend :-).

Marie gave me these amazing socks to say thank you for lending her a wetsuit a few weeks ago. Thanks Marie, I love them!

Marie gave me these amazing socks to say thank you for lending her a wetsuit a few weeks ago. Thanks Marie, I love them!

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Posted on 14/09/2013, in Adventure Racing, Race Reports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Another brilliant wee report – you could try sending this with a few changes to 220.I am sitting here still knackered from Gullane contemplating turbo session or a run in the woods or maybe both! I am pleased that I emptied van and washed kayaks and tied them up at the side of the house. Hope you are ok after Gullane. Have a rest day today.well doneScott

    Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2013 22:47:50 +0000 To: scottjamesbalfour@hotmail.com

    • Thank you Scott! Like you, I was glad I had done some ‘jobs’ before I sat down and got too tired to move – shopping for the week all done before it got dark! Rest day now duly completed 🙂

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