It was clear that the shores of Loch Lomond was the place to be this weekend, every time I opened my phone up there was more chat and photos from Fusion members racing there this weekend, it was great to see. Some of them have kindly spent the time writing up their thoughts on their respective races and have shared them with us. Thank you all, enjoy……
Andrew Grant (Standard)
So I did Loch Loman today. I was previously too scared to enter the standard as I thought the loch would be too cold at this time of year. However, armed with hat, gloves and booties, it was surprisingly warm and a really lovely swim. The booties also helped protect my poor feet during the fairly long run from loch to T1.
The 1st part of the cycle was pretty tough, very hilly. There was a long, beastly hill at the start of the return route but then it smoothed out a bit, and that road was a joy to ride (old Glen fruin road). I think that after 3 years trying, I’m finally getting the hang of the bike!
The run was almost completely flat, a there and back along the river. Pretty nice, and helped by seeing lots of other Fusioneers crossing paths on the way out and back. Great support too, all in all a fun day out.
Emma Lamont (Standard)
I raced Loch Loman Standard yesterday and it was good day out with a big representation from the club. Very cold swim followed by cold and wet bike followed by a fun run with lots of support from all the Fusioneers en route. Well done to everyone that raced and also thanks to all of the supporters that came out to encourage us all!
Gerry McConvile (Standard)
My brief race report: – Good, warm enjoyable swim. – Got lost on the bike (2km detour) – Few cramps on the run but pushed on through and finished 17th ! Exact same position as last year. Great event and would recommend to all. Happy with my result considering training has been very sporadic.
Ally Anderson (Standard)
10th at Loch Lowman Standard distance. Both cycle and run completed wearing socks !!
Chris O’Neil (Standard)
First race of the season for me. Loads of Fusion athletes racing in all three distances made for a great atmosphere pre and post-race and some good craic and encouragement all the way round the course too.
The pre-race chat was all about whether the water would be warm enough to allow swimming without gloves hat and boots. Anything below 12 degrees and they would be compulsory. Having never swam with these things I thought I’d better give it a shot beforehand. Nothing new on race day! A quick test swim at Pinkston confirmed that swimming with gloves and boots would cost me three minutes over the 1500m. Ouch. Luckily the temperature reached the required 12 degrees and while we were strongly advised to wear them we could swim without if we chose to. It’s a long way to transition from swim exit and not going to be kind to bare feet. Bit of a conundrum there. No worries, just leave a pair of trainers at the beach to run up in. Sorted. Kind of.
Having missed the briefing while queuing for the loo for a last minute w/kg boost I found the Fusion team by the waterside and asked about the swim course. Bit of confusion going on somewhere but the swims instructions had been given and understood by all as middle distance; – two laps of a triangle, standard distance; two laps of a square (the triangle plus another buoy). Something not right there we think. As we watched the middle distance athletes from the shore they started moving the first buoy while some athletes were still swimming towards it. We are all thinking oh dear this isn’t looking good at all, who knows what distance we will end up swimming. As it turns out some of the middle distance folks reported swimming up to 3kms. Ooft. We were re-briefed by Allan the race organiser before entering the water and to his credit we swam what felt very close to the prescribed 1500m. Allan has also now offered all middle distance athletes discounted (half price I think) entry in to all of next years series races too which is a great touch and more than many other organisers wold have done.
Finally, we get in to the water, it’s cold but not too cold. A few minutes acclimatising then it’s lining up on the start line waiting for countdown to begin and the nerves are going mental, preparing for the usual chaos of the mass start, jostling for position, trying to stay calm and collected as people swim over you, clatter with wayward hands, trying not to get kicked in the face and then to find a way back through the crowd as it inevitably slows down after the first 50 metres or so. It was nothing like that. I looked around, Richard TB, Ally Anderson, Emma Lamont, myself and a handful of others I didn’t quite recognise spread across the start line with almost everybody else seeming to be wanting to start a few metres back. We set off, I kept waiting for the washing machine but it never happened. In the first few metres I tucked in behind one of the best kicks in the business and kick and managed to follow the bubbles all the way round the course and back in to the beach. No bumping no pushing and the first turn buoy being so far away that the field were fully strung out before we got to it. Quite possibly the nicest and easiest triathlon swim ever. Thanks Emma :-). It didn’t even feel cold once we got moving.
Back on to the beach and realise that hands are a bit numb, it’s going to be quite hard to put trainers on so decide to run barefoot up to transition. Mistake. The face says it all I think. Plus side of the long run though was that by the time transition was reached the hands were warm again and made for a quick transition. Feet are sore but glad I don’t have to prize size 5 booties off my feet!
On to the bike. Yaaas. The best bit. Nervous about the flying mount as haven’t practised it since last year. No bother. Feet in and cruising up to the roundabout. Bottom of the hill up to the A82, change down gear for the climb. Nothing. Try again. Change down a gear for the climb. Still nothing. Sh1t. What’s wrong? Doesn’t matter, keep going. Halfway up the hill it’s not getting better and realise it’s not going to be possible to ride the whole way single speed. Stop. Decide that somehow I must have drained the battery of my fancy new gears despite being fully charged the night before. Nothing for it but to head back to transition pack up and go home. Devastated. Get to transition, hand my timing chip in, hang up the bike, walk of shame to the changing tent. After some extra swearing kicking of my bag and some soul searching I think, hang on go and check the bike properly to see if it’s anything that can be fixed. Sure enough, a simple disconnected cable. Plug it back in, now have working gears. Yes. Collect timing chip and let’s ride…
Glad I did now. What a brilliant bike course. Great road surfaces, fast flats and super fast descents that weren’t too technical. Long ascents great for a bit of banter on the way up, top scenery and a bit of Techno at the top of Glen Fruin. What more could you ask for? Spent the first ten minutes of the bike cursing myself for the lost time but after that managed to smile and enjoy it as I slowly made my way back up the field. Only one athlete came past me which was a strange feeling, that was Alan Holmes who came past at the speed of light and disappeared in to the distance. Had a chat with another Fusioneer on the way up Glen Fruin, who told me he had taken a bit of a wrong turn and lost some time as well. I think I spotted a post from another one of our athletes that ended up running a considerable way with his bike too. “Never, ever give up”. I like that manta.
Through transition and on to the run. Love the run course, nice and flat and the straight out and back gives a great view of the field ahead as you make your way to the turn and a chance to cheer on the Fusion folks ahead, great to see Emma Lamont as first female and Ally Anderson high up the field not far behind. Then after the turn spotting a couple of fast looking people making their way towards you adds a bit of needed encouragement to the tired and cramping legs. Seeing the results posted not long after getting home and spotting the brilliant performances from Fusion athletes in all three races rounded of a brilliant day out. Thanks Alan Anderson and thanks team Fusion.
Clare Blue (Sprint)
So, a week after my first pool-based sprint event I found myself on the shores of Loch Lomond at an ungodly hour for a Sunday morning ready for my first open water sprint. After numerous communications from the race organisers about how cold the water was this time of year and how full body cover would likely be essential I was slightly concerned I was out of my depth entering an open water triathlon. However, I dipped my feet into Loch Lomond and did a few Pro Endurance Pinkston sessions in the weeks leading up to the event to help me prepare and on race day I was feeling brave so went to the race start without gloves. It soon became apparent that almost all participants were wearing gloves so I decided I wasn’t so brave and headed back to the transition area (300m away from the swim start/end) to get my gloves. This was 5 minutes before the scheduled start time for the sprint event but we had been informed that all race starts were delayed by at least 20 minutes. Thinking I had plenty time I also took the opportunity to go for a last minute toilet break, not realising quite how long this takes when you have to get back in/out the wetsuit / trisuit combo. When I arrived back towards the start line I could no longer see the huddle of yellow and blue swim caps that marked the sprint participants and instead saw a group of swimmers well on their way out to the first buoy. In a moment of total panic I thought I had missed my race start and that I would have to jump in the Loch to start the swim 100m behind everyone else (I already had the fear of being last for the swim). Luckily, as I started running down the beach to the Loch ready to jump in and start swimming I noticed that the blue and yellow caps had moved round the corner for the Sprint race briefing and those in the water were actually the Standard participants who had just set off. Following this initial panic the rest of the race was thankfully uneventful.
The water temperature felt a lot colder than I would have liked when I first got in but once the swim was underway it didn’t feel cold at all and I really enjoyed the open water swimming. It took the entire 300m run from the Loch shore to T1 to try and get my gloves off and my upper body out the wetsuit (maybe that’s why this section is so long?!). I didn’t take my snickers bar into the transition area this time and I left the hybrid at home and ventured out on the road bike, just as the rain started.
A good part of the cycle route was along the A82 which lacked the stunning scenery of Bute and some of the other road users were a bit impatient and less forgiving to cyclists. The sun also stayed hidden and the last few miles were wetter than the swim so my toes were numb and tingling by the time I got off the bike.
The run was a relatively flat out and back route with the last 20 meters up a slight incline that felt like a Munro but this then gave way to a tiny downhill over the finish line. The support at the swim start/end and transitions / finish was great and provided a good boost. For those considering open water events I would say go for it. I loved being out in the open water, it wasn’t as cold as I expected and there’s the added benefit that you don’t need to count lengths…
David Crosby (Sprint)
The swim course felt long as the times even for the fishlike juniors were not as rapid as might be expected. The water height is low so may be playing havoc with way points. The run between the swim and transition is a good 350m and with neoprene socks was sore on the odd stone.
The cycle route is very fast but traffic held us up as we went off a bit later than expected.
The run was good and on a very quiet flat route.
Great day really as there were loads of Fusion folk there which made it really good fun. Fusion did really well too proving that the club is a great place to learn the craft of triathlon. Credit to Crawford who has been instrumental in getting my times down across the board. Managed 6th overall and 3rd Senior.