Of all the places I expected to be last weekend, the Applecross Duathlon wasn’t on the radar until very recently. Long story but Friday afternoon saw the long drive north and thanks to some of the most inconsiderate driving (the polis really should do folks who insist on driving too slow as they do for folks who drive too fast) arrived at the famous Bealach na Ba in the pitch dark.
Safely installed in the hostel, there was however time enough for some beers prior to catching some sleep.
Saturday dawned perfect – blue skies and light winds. Nipped round the coast from Applecross itself to the bike transition point at Arrina and enjoyed awesome view over to Torridon and Skye.
The race has an off road run of 14.3km with 471m of ascent and the cycle is 24.1km with 538m of ascent.
Back round at registration, Katherine opted to take part in the challenge event with goes over the same course but starts off an hour earlier in order that all finishers arrive at around the same time. Met up with Gibson, Sheila, Val and Sam …had a bit of chat about the course with Sam which only led to me being more nervous than necessary. Noted that the HBT trotter types were out in force.
Waved Sheila and Katherine off on the challenge and faffed around for a while before the 2nd wave of runners started up the track. Will save a step by step account but suffice to say, it was one of the most beautiful courses I’ve ran. No huge climbs or descent and plenty good single track to allow runners to enjoy the surrounding landscape.
Down onto the road I pushed a wee bit harder than comfortable to enter the transition in about 1:14. More kit faff with a change of top, shoes and a gel before stumbling out and onto the bike.
The bike section was great …again no significant hills to cause issues but enough downs to create type 1 fun. Ended up in a wee battle with a guy on a carbon bike and tri bars – I was quicker on anything remotely uphill and he was quicker on the level and evenly matched on the descents. Fair play to him as we dropped towards Applecross Bay …he span past looking very comfortable (whilst I was dribbling to ma beard in pure agony). Quick look at my watch and as I realised I might nip under the 2:10 mark led to panic and very un-gentleman like sprint past Sheila a few metres before the line.
Rest of the weekend for me was pretty much spent in the pub.
The trotters took the prizes with Al Anthony winning in 1:45:35 and Claire Gordon in 1:59:51 (taking the wimen’s record from Angela Mudge no less).
Awesome effort from our Sam Alexander with 3rd place in 1:55:45
A top event indeed and highly recommended.
Val (racing with broken ribs …ouch) 2:37:03