Etape Caledonia May 8th 2016 and Isle of Bute (novice) Triathlon May 15th 2016

Well it’s been a busy couple of weeks, but very rewarding, (and a little tiring), I must say.

Firstly we had the Etape Caledonia. Quite a few of us did this. In fact by the time we finished registering in Pitlochry on the Saturday, I was a little concerned about who was looking after the general population of the West of Scotland in case of any sort of medical emergency as we seemed to have bumped into virtually the entire staff of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Our party consisted of me, Dad, my sister Catriona, her husband Neal, the Spenceleys (Julie and Neil) and their friend Les (real name Blair). Plus all the non-cycling family members. We were all staying just up the road from Pitlochry and were shined upon by glorious weather all weekend (unlike last year when apparently it was appalling) and the whole thing was really rather splendid.

Everyone did very well, especially Les who was an astonishing 25th overall (he beat Chris Boardman). Dad and I were unsurprisingly last of our lot to cross the finish line, but fulfilled our ambitions of:

a. Finishing

b. Finishing before the sweep up bus

c. Not dying

And on top of that we actually had a lovely day, if somewhat of an early start (i.e. middle of the night quite frankly). I only really had one mishap when I fell off my bike due to extreme slowness at the top of Schiehallion. Putting a mountain at 40 miles into a race seems a bit on the mean side to me but proper cyclists seem to relish in that type of thing. Dad as ever stayed with me the whole way round when I’m sure he could have finished in half the time and I suspect we may find ourselves signing up for next year……

And then a week later, while my legs were still groaning, we popped on the Wemyss Bay ferry and hot-footed it over to Bute for our first ever (albeit just a wee novice distance) triathlon. Paul and I were both doing this, as was Lindsay, my trusty year of running buddy. Once again, the weather smiled upon us (this is most unusual – I am used to doing all of these challenges in some sort of hurricane type of weather) and surprisingly another lovely day was had by all. It was a very social affair with quite a few of the Glasgow Triathlon Club members there which was really nice during all of the milling around. Paul and I were in the very last heat to go, which didn’t help the nerves, but once we started we settled into it a bit. The pool swim went better than expected but the cycle was tough (more hills and my legs were still protesting from the week before). By the time I got off the bike, both my calves had cramped up so I think I looked most peculiar when I tried to run. And I’ve never been so flat out for a full hour before. But we finished, and for the first and I am totally sure, last time, I won a wee prize – 2nd female veteran. There were only 4 female veterans in the race (we checked – I initially thought there must only have been two of us) but I am thrilled. Exhausted but thrilled.

So now my concentration turns to practising open-water swimming. The Loch Lomond triathlon is 2 months away and I think that will be a different kettle of fish entirely. But we may have caught the triathlon bug…..

Finally, here is a wee photo montage of the two events……

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