Aberfeldy Middle Distance – Ally Anderson
The Aberfeldy race is a firm favourite on my calendar every year as it is a fantastic location for a middle distance. This year, due to a “toys out the pram episode” with Tri Scotland and the race organiser the event disappointingly lost its “championship” standing. Not a huge issue for Tail end Charlies like myself but pretty crap nonetheless.
Rosslyn and I headed to Aberfeldy looking forward to a child free weekend having “milked” the grandparent generosity scheme for all it was worth. A nice relaxing weekend away with a wee triathlon thrown in on the Sunday (my birthday) for good measure…….
The nice relaxing weekend unfortunately ended abruptly on the Saturday when Rosslyn had a rather nasty incident with a water slide and we ended up in Perth Royal Infirmary on Saturday evening. I know that as you read this you are wondering what idiot sustains a nasty injury on a waterslide and what type of injury could it possibly be. All I will say is that Rosslyn needs to learn to duck quicker. I will leave your minds racing with scenarios on that one……….
In the waiting room of the Infirmary, I began to secretly suspect self-harm. Had life with me finally become too much for her to bear? I was also getting some strange looks and I presume that I looked like a firm favourite for a domestic abuse charge. My dinner better not be late again!!!!!
Onto the race and an early 5am start. We were staying at the Taymouth Marina apartments which means that you literally fall out of bed and start swimming. The apartments are the best located of any race ever. A quick breakfast, walk the 40 yards to the transition area, rack the bike and head back to the digs.
The buoys were put in position in the morning and standing on the shore looking out into the water I was conscious that 1900m looked a long way. My lack of swimming over the past months due to injury has certainly knocked my swim fitness and it is very apparent that there is a direct correlation between fitness and distance perception.
The water in Loch Tay is never very warm but upon entering the water I was pleasantly surprised that the horrible sensation of the cold water running down the back of the suit and between the bum cheeks wasn’t as bad as I had been expecting…….
I started in wave two which was eight minutes after all the “young ones” of the first wave. If anyone has ever swum with the limpet aka Claire Coey on their feet at Pinkston, they will know the feeling of a constant tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap……….. A sensation probably similar to someone typing a novel on your feet. Unfortunately, I had this at Aberfeldy and it drove me bonkers. I tried speeding up, slowing down, changing direction, playing dead, getting aggressive etc etc and nothing worked. I eventually decided to swim almost 90 degrees to get away from this complete pain in the Ass. I honestly thought that Stephen King was composing his next best seller on my toes !!
Overall the swim was ok. A bit slower than I had hoped for but solid enough. 00:33:37 (33rd Place)
The bike which you all know is my favourite part leaves loch Tay and heads up over Schiehallion, round Loch Rannoch, back over to Schiehallion and returns to T2 at Loch Tay. With the exception of the two trips over Schiehallion, the bike route is pretty flat and fast and ideal for a TT bike. The cycle was pretty uneventful and I overtook a few cyclists on the way. I kept checking the race numbers so I could work out whether they had started in the same wave as me. Passing wave one starters was a bit of a boost knowing that they had an eight-minute head start. Heading back into T2 I was happy with my cycle and really looking forward to my easy half marathon !!! 02:37:17 (17th Place)
One of the changes to this year’s event from previous races was a change of the run route. Normally it is an out and back course which I would describe as undulating. This year’s course was a 3 loop affair that was in the grounds of Taymouth Castle. The run is the easiest part for me to write about and I can complete my description in only 3 words………. Horribly, hilly & slow. 02:16:25 (59th Place).
I always really enjoy the Aberfeldy race although this year it was an obvious case of a half marathon too far. I think that I need to wake up, smell the coffee and admit that middle and long distance racing is not for me. I look forward to returning to Aberfeldy next year although I want to try it as part of a relay. Guess which part I want to do ????
I was disappointed that I was the only Fusioneer at this year’s race (as far as I could tell). Where have all my compatriots gone? I really enjoy racing when there are a good number of other club members involved and it is always great to see them on the course and offer mutual encouragement. Where are you guys?
On a final note, if you ever get the chance for a wee romantic weekend away with the other half it is essential that you take protection…………….Obviously I am talking about a hard hat !!
posted by Ally Anderson on