I’ve always thought Loch Ard would be a great place for a triathlon. It is one of the best places to swim near Glasgow (https://twinbikerun.com/2020/08/26/outdoor-swim-review-loch-ard-iain/) and it is next to some great bike and run routes.
I’m not the only person who has thought this. There has been rumours race organisers have tried to set up events here, but nothing has ever come to fruition. My guess is that the remote location, the lack of parking and lack of facilities makes it logistically difficult to bring in a large number of competitors to the area.
Instead of waiting for an official race I decided to do my own event. A friend of mine created the route. It starts with a 1500m swim in Loch Ard, then a 50Kish bike ride around Loch Katrine and then a 9km run to a viewpoint overlooking Loch Ard.
Swim – 1500m
At 10AM on the 29th May 2001 Three triathletes entered the water to start the inaugural Loch Ard Triathlon. Only two of us would finish….
That sound quite ominous but it was because TwinBikeAndrew had to be back home by midday to have lunch and a walk with his baby daughter. He was only here to do the swim.
We decided to swim to an island. Stand on the island and then swim back. We thought this would be approximately 1500m. It was for two of us but TwinBikeAndrew took a scenic route – he did 2000m. He claims his googles were a bit foggy which prevented him from sighting properly. Its a massive island, how hard can it be to spot it?
Bike – 50K
At 11am on the 29th May 2001 three triathletes got on their bikes and began the bike leg of the inaugural Loch Ard Triathlon.
At 1101am on the 29th May 2001 three triathletes got off their bikes and stopped the bike leg of the inaugural Loch Ard Triathlon. As one of them couldn’t get their Garmin watch to start recording. And, as everyone knows, if it is not on Strava then it didn’t happen. Therefore we had to wait whilst he fixed it so he could have it on Strava later.
The route was busier than usual. There was a lot of cars on what is normally a very quiet road. I think people were out enjoying the freedom of travel after travel restrictions had eased the week before this.
We choose to first head to the only major climb on the route – the Dukes Pass. My friend had a new bike. I joked he’d need to get a personal record for the climb otherwise the new bike would have to be sent back as faulty!
Thankfully he PR’d.
It was a nice morning for a ride. We took it easy and even stopped (unsuccesfully) at a cafe at the far end of Loch Katrine. We couldn’t buy anything as the cafe had a sign saying “cash only.” We had no cash. We weren’t the only ones. In the five minutes I stood near the café many folk wandered up to the front door, read the sign and then shouted back to friends or family “I haven’t any cash. Has anyone got cash?” Not many did.
Run – 9K
At 1PM on the 29th May 2001 Three triathletes got off their bikes and began the run leg of the inaugural Loch Ard Triathlon. Only two finished….
I think triathlon runs are commonly quite boring. They tend to be loops or out and back runs to nowhere in particular. For the run we decided to run to a viewpoint overlooking the Loch. I thought it would be about 10KM.
On the way out I spotted this guy.
I think it was a snake not a worm. I poked it with a stick. It slithered off in a very snake like way.
One of my friends stopped before the viewpoint as she didn’t fancy running up hills. Two of us carried onto the top
It was very warm!
On the way back down to the start I spotted these weird creatures. It took a few looks before I realized they are naked Alpacas.
Which reminded me of the time I overheard two men looking at Alpacas.
Man 1 – Its a llama
Man 2 – Its an alpaca
Man 1 – NO. ITS A LLAMA
Man 2 – ITS A FUCKING ALPACA!
Man 1 – STICK YOUR APLACA UP YOUR ARSE!
I wish I cared about anything as much as those men cared about alpacas/llamas
When we got back to the the start we noticed it was only 8.9K. We run around in the car park until the distance said 9K. No-one likes finishing at .9 of a km.
Its been a year since my last Triathlon. That was the epic Toddman race https://twinbikerun.com/2020/06/19/toddman-2020-iain/ and nearly two years since my last official race https://twinbikerun.com/2019/07/29/hebridean-triathlon-iain/
I really enjoyed the chance to do combine the sports I love on a great course.
I thoroughly recommend you should not wait for a race to do a triathlon. Do your own!