This is an off-road sprint distance triathlon, (distances are roughly 400m swim/20k bike/5k run) and is aimed at the novice and not-so-serious triathletes (the tone was set by Frazer the race director at the briefing: ‘anyone caught taking this too seriously will have penalty points added’ and ‘activities such as stretching will be frowned upon!’) It’s a very popular event, and with Saturday already full I turned up on a gorgeous sunny highland Sunday morning to race my first tri of the season.
The swim took place in the newly refurbished and swanky Lochaber Leisure Centre, where competitors ranged from very accomplished freestylers to more leisurely breaststrokers; heats were run in lanes (none of the usual rough and tumble of open water swim starts) with a very civilised break between swim and bike. Times duly noted, (I finished 14th, 4mins30 behind the fastest swimmer) we got changed and cycled to the bottom of the Glen Nevis road, ready to set off according to our swim times.
It is truly agonising to watch 13 cyclists get a head start on you and disappear off into the distance, but over the 20k mix of tarmac, fire road and single track (including a couple of climbs that had me reaching for the granny ring and one white knuckle descent) I managed to catch a few and by the time we got back to transition I was in 6th place. Using my signature move of overtaking one person who was changing her shoes, (I’m not proud of it but it all counts!) I set off back up the Glen, this time on foot. By this time the sun was out and the views were stunning across the Mamores, taking my mind off the akwardness of running straight off the bike.
Some ‘interesting’ offroad climbs and a furious forestry descent later, I now found myself in 3rd place with number 2 in sight; with the gentle easterly wind at my back I managed to reel him in slowly and finished in 2nd place, 1st SVet. Congrats to Race leader Martin Steven who won by nearly 5 minutes, and to Saturday’s winner Ewan Thorburn who was over 7 minutes quicker still. Very glad not to have been in that race!
Once again, No Fuss conjured up really nice atmosphere, a great course, big medals and bobbly hats. If anyone fancies it, they run another triathlon in September, although it’s slightly more challenging: a 1.9k swim in Loch Lhinne, a 90km offroad bike ride, finishing with a 21k run to the summit of Ben Nevis and back. Details. Go on, you know you want to
Report from Hamish