Being new to the cross triathlon scene in the UK I found it strange that there aren’t a plethora of events to race. One of the first I came across was Durty Event’s cross tri in Aviemore so got an entry straight away. The timing of the event was great for me, 2.5 weeks out from the Age Group World Champs and what sounded like similar trails. �
Making the long drive up to Aviemore on the Friday night gave myself and husband Pete a chance to take a look around the area and race venue on the Saturday afternoon. Having never been to this part of Scotland before I can only say how impressed I was, there looked to be plenty of mountain bike and trial running routes to explore, something we both want to return to do.
Race morning came and it was another first for me with it being a split transition. T2 was up near race HQ at the Badaguish Centre and T1 just over 1.5km away on the shores of Loch Morlich. I had been pre-warned that the Loch is a cold one so it wasn’t such a shock getting in and luckily, unlike previous races, we weren’t held for a long time in the water before the start. The swim was pretty clean, plenty of feet to swim on and I felt like I got into a good rhythm early on. The swim was advertised as 1500m but it felt much shorter and I was soon out into T1. Coming into T1 I was aware of two other women and, unlike many triathlons the bike leg in a cross triathlon is draft legal, I hoped I would be able to make use of them on the bike course. The bike course was 1.5 laps of a mostly gravel road and then onto another loop which was mostly technical single track. Having already identified a couple of women I was very happy to join up with them and work together. Once we joined the single track section I was in second place and was unable to hold the wheel of the lady in front who was able to open up a minute lead into T2.
The run leg was very straightforward, 9km out and back on forest roads with the turnaround point being on top of a small peak. I felt strong running off the bike and was able to hold position all the way to the line.
The event was really well organised and supported and anyone looking to give cross triathlon a go should definitely head north of the border. (Sarah Jepson)
Photo credit Andy Upton