Phil Holden, last years Vet 40 Trophy Series winner went up to Braemar, Scotland to do the Deeside Triathlon – Bike 35, Run 9.5 and Kayak 15miles (with grade 1 rapids). Thanks for your report Phil … certainly sounds challenging!
I had fun last weekend at the Deeside tri – thought you might be interested in a wee update!
Spending the week before walking in the Cairngorms (with even a hard won ski up Ben Macdui on 1 May) maybe wasn’t the best way to taper into this long event. Also, after a cold but bright week, the race day on Sunday brought steady rain all day, with temperatures of 2 degrees up to about 6 later and a stiff easterly headwind. I have never raced in so many clothes!
There were around 30 in the bike-run-bike duathlon, but only three entries in the bike-run-kayak Tri, of whom one didn’t show up, so just the two of us! I had the novelty of being first off in the one minute interval time trial start to the bike leg. With sweeping straights and a general downhill trend till the climb right at the end, the 35 mile ride from Braemar to Shooting Greens felt quite fast (till I later saw the impressive times others were doing). I started the 9.5 mile run still second on the course, but other speedy duathletes passed me running along the river to Crathes. A long transition followed here, with welcome dry clothes, and then it was into my trusty (but not hugely comfortable) old touring kayak for the fifteen miles down to Aberdeen. This took 2 hrs 47 mins, and I more or less lost feeling in my hands after about two minutes. A dozen or so grade 1 rapids spread along the leg added a dimension of route choice and a bit of technicality – a new experience with wing paddles in a long boat! At last the Bridge of Dee at Aberdeen came in sight, only to find that under this was the bumpiest wave on the whole paddle. One by one the five bridges in the city were passed and it was time to land at the Boat Club and attempt to stand up. Andrew Aitken, the other Tri paddler came in with Colin the kayak marshall not long after, and slightly better dressed for the weather in a full wetsuit.
What a great event, but a shame that more people didn’t take part. Hopefully it will carry on, and others will travel up and give it a go. Big thanks to the Fleet Feet team and all the marshalls who must have got nearly as cold and wet as the racers.
Phil Holden SYTri.