If the Alpe d’Huez epitomised France with its mountains and cheese, then this triathlon in Aberfeldy epitomised Scotland with its lochs and Scottish mist. After a rather long journey over 3 days, involving 3 front wheels, I finally made it to Pitlochry where a large group of ex-EUTRI members were slowly assembling. In total we had over 12 people from the club coming together from far and wide and a few more along the way supporting which made for a great atmosphere.

In the early morning of the race, the Scottish mist was hovering over Loch Tay and we arrived to a hive of activity with everyone assembling at the transition zone outside the Scottish Crannog Centre. After the small distraction of forgetting my goggles and having to find some, it was time to get in the water. We were warned at the race briefing the day before that the water was going to be cold and they wern’t lying! At a rather chilly 12.9°C it took a while for me to be able to feel my face and toes again but just as I was getting acclimatised the gun went off and everyone started swimming. The first lap of the 1.9km swim was closely packed, and I narrowly avoided a few kicks to the face, but the swim was relatively straightforward.

An old image of Loch Tay

As I left the water, the rain had started and everything in transition was soaked through but at least it still relatively warm. The 90km bike course consisted of climbing over to the next valley and completing a lap of the loch before climbing back over and down into Aberfeldy. It was a beautiful course over relatively quiet roads and due to the number of people we had entered it meant that we passed each other quite frequently. Before climbing over to Loch Rannoch the rain had stopped and the sun was starting to come through before being out in force well before the end. It took me just over 3 hours to complete the cycle which was pretty fast for me and before I knew it I was out on the run.

Map of the bike route

The run was the least enjoyable section of the race for me as I’m not that good at it and the course was quite undulating. It consisted of a 1/2 marathon, running along and back the side of the River Tay which gave another great opportunity to see everyone we had entered in the race (and how far ahead of me they were). Before finally coming back into the town and finishing at the school.

In total the race took me 6h 19m and unfortunately there was not chip timing so I was unable to get my splits but it was 4.5 hours quicker than Alpe d’Huez! I was happy with the time but know I need to work on my running.

In the evening we had a meal with everyone and drank whiskey in the local pub before calling it an early night as everyone was exhausted. We met up again the following day in Edinburgh to soak up the festival before starting the long journey back to the South Coast the next day.

That’s me done for all my long races for this year, it’s definitely been an experience, and a tough challenge which leaves me plenty of food for thought over what my big challenege is for next year.