All posts by twinbikerun

Twin Running Cycling Swimming Scotland

Film Friday – The Real Mo Farah (Iain)

Film Friday is a weekly recommendation of one video to watch this weekend.

A fascinating insight into Mo Farah. Someone I previously wasn’t too bothered about due to all the rumors about his performances. But this does a great job in showing his origin story that by the end of the show I had gained a lot of respect for him.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001977f/the-real-mo-farah

Watch to find out…

Celtman 2022 – Run Kit (Iain)

The celtman has a mandatory kit list for the run. These are the items I used. The item I would definitly recommend is poles. They made a big difference when I was tired.

Shoes

I’ve worn Hoka’s for years. I find them very comfy and great for trail and long distance events. The down side is that they are expensive and they are not the most long lasting of shoe.

I try to by mine from sportshoe.com as I can usually get a good price for last years version of the shoes rather than the lastest version. Hence for this race instead of the £135 Speadgoat 5, i was able to get a pair of Speadgoat 4 for £80.

Hoka Speadgoat 4 – https://www.sportsshoes.com/

Walking Poles

I never use walking poles for hills but I thought in this case I’d make an exception. If it even helped a tiny bit then it would be worth having.

These carbon poles are super light and fitted in my backpack. The only negative is they are tricky to put together if you don’t read the instructions first. They were fine once I went read the instructions.

Backpack

I normally use a salomon vest but in this case I decided I needed a bit more space so I could carry more stuff. This is super lightweight and very adjustable. That meant I could easily set it up so that I could run with it on.

Jacket

My only goretext jacket was big, heavy and 10 years old. It’s great for walking but not great for running. I decided to treat myself to a new jacket. One that was designed for running. This is super light, easily pack-able and water proof.

Trousers

I’ve had these trousers for 10 years. They are lightweight and keep the rain off my legs. I didn;t bother getting new ones as my old pair are still working well.

Whistle/Compass

I bought some cheap ones on Amazon.

Head Torch

I have the older version of the Petzl 900. Its comfy and the light it produces is very bright. Battery life is excellent.

Pants

When running a long distance I like to be comfortable. These are great for wearing underneath shorts.

Hat

I normally wear a cap if the weather is bad. I like to keep the rain off my face. I thought this would meet the requirement of the race. It didn’t.. They wanted a woolen or cloth type hat instead. Luckily my brother had a spare so I showed them that instead. Although on the day I wore this. But I kept the other one in my bad so I could pass the kit check.

Celtman 2022 – Swim Kit (Iain)

The average temperature of the water in the swim is 12-13C.

I wanted to ensure that I stayed warm, and if there were Jellyfish present that I would be protected from their sting.

Wet Suit

I’ve been using the same wet suit for about 6 years but a couple of months before the race my zip snapped. I treated myself to new wet suit on the Huub Sale. The website claims this suit is about £500 but I think I only paid around £250.

I bought it because it looks like it could be from the film Tron.

My old suit was quit thick. This feels allot thinner which makes it easier to swing my arms. its allot more comfy than my old suit and I’d recommend, if you have an old suit, that you upgrade. it does make a big difference.

Swim Cap

A full hood rather than a cap is good for keeping my head warm and it protects my neck from jellyfish. The only downside is that it makes me feel a little bit more restricted than a normal cap.

Swim Vest

A vest adds an extra layer of warmth to my core. I went for lomo as its cheap. Its not as if a more expensive version would do anything better. It did an excellent job of keeping me warm but it does add a but of exra buoyancy which can take a little bit of getting used to.

Gloves

I’ve tried lots of gloves and these are miles better than any other I’ve tried. They are warm and feel great. Swimming with gloves does take a bit of getting used to so make sure you practice with them first. They provide great protection from Jellyfish.

Socks

Similar to the gloves. I’ve tried various types of socks but these are the best. Some can feel very draggy in the water but I’ve never had an issue with these.

Swim Googles

I used the tinted version of these. They provide good protection from Jellyfish. The wide field of view means its very easy to sight and see where I’m going.

Drying Robe

Every man and his dog had the proper dry robe but I prefer the towel version. I can dry myself and warm up. The proper dry robe is very difficult to dry with.

Outdoor Swim Review: Loch Maree – June 2022 (Iain)

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Loch Mareee is famous for its islands. It has more than forty and they contain the nearest thing to natural woodland left in Britain – fragments of the original Caledonian Pine Forest.

Because of the islands its a popular spot for kayak-ers and canoeists. I was staying nearby in Kinlochwee and I fancied a swim before my breakfast so I thought I would give the Loch a try.

I found this game in the hotel. think it is true for all wild swimmers.

REVIEW

Ease of Access: I parked at the Bein Eighe car park beside the Loch. There are toilets and you can get down to the shore easily.

Water quality: Cold! Even in June it was only 13.8C. It was a tricky Loch to get into from the shore as its very shallow and rocky. The rocks were very slippy. Its OK if you have swim shoes/socks on or if you just drop to your back and float out to where its deeper.

Swim Quality: Excellent – there’s beautiful mountain views all around.

Other People: The car park can be busy. I went early in the morning but there was a number of camper vans parked there.

Would I go back: Yes. Its such a beautiful spot to swim in.

You can see Loch Maree in this video

Celtman 2022 – Run (Iain)

I headed out of T2. I had 17km and 2 hours 45 minutes to reach T2a so that I would be allowed to complete the course using the low route. What I didn’t realize was the run starts with a 5km climb.

The last section of the run has a high and a low route. The abysmal weather meant there was no chance the high route would be open. So all competitors were on the low route.

The low route is easier than the high route but its not easy. It is a very technical path made harder if the weather is bad.

I had assumed the run from T2 to T2a was easy. It wasn’t. It was muddy with a lot of off road sections through heather. I thought I would cruise round but I had to work quite hard to make it to transition in time. A few people behind me were walking as they thought they had time but none of them made it to transition before the cut off.

The weather at T2a was bleak. It was wet and windy. I was supposed to have a medical check here but that seemed to comprise of someone asking if I had my bag with me. I said yes. They said ok, you are free to go then.

I changed into a full rambler outfit of waterproofs and a pole to help me walk.

There was no time pressure to complete the race so we walked all of it until the end. It was a long slog and at times the weather was horrific but I never felt tired.

Towards the end of the walk I opened a can of Pepsi that I’d been carrying for nearly 30km. What a treat!

My aim was to do the run in less than six hours. I wasn’t too far out.

At the finish line, one of the volunteers said “Congratulations. Now hand over your GPS unit or you’ll be fined £25!”

They need to work on their end of race speech. It’s no “Iain, you are an Ironman!”

PS – if you look at the first picture of me on the run you will see I have a blue cap on. I don’t have it on at the end. That’s the third blue cap I’ve lost whilst running! If you find it in Torridon then give it a good home but don’t wear it when its windy or you won’t see it again.

Outdoor Swim Review: Carron Valley Revisted – July 2022 (Iain)

Previous reviews here and here

It doesn’t feel like summer has really got started properly. May and June have been a lot less sunnier than recent years. What happened to Global Warming? The weather has been poor every since the climate convention in Glasgow. I blame Greta Thunberg 🙂

Thankfully the water has been warming up and it is now nice enough to swim without a wetsuit. The water isn’t peaty like last year which meant I didn’t come out looking like the creature from the black lagoon.

Check out the video to see what a swim in Carron Valley Reservoir is like.

Ease of Access: https://goo.gl/maps/vkcjfRm5cx6dYWt7A Park at the gate next to the loch. Its 10m to the waterside. 

Water quality: Warm and shallow at the edge of the loch but it can noticeably drop in temperature the further out you get. 

Swim Quality: Excellent. Lots of things to sight against. Water is choppy but that makes it more fun!

Other People: A couple of folk out walking and the odd car/cyclist going by. 

Would I go back: Yes. It’s my default swim location. 

Celtman 2022 – Bike (Iain)

Near the start of the bike leg

The forecast for the bike leg was wet, windy and sunny. A typical Scottish weather system – it couldn’t make up its mind what it wanted to be.

It was straight up hill from Sheildaig onto the main road. Thankfully, I left the bike in transition set to a low gear but from the sound of gears clanking and competitor muttering “FFS” a few others had not.

The first section was nice. It was slightly uphill and there was a nice tail wind. The route went through Torridon valley. It was very pretty. I felt good. I had brought my TT bike intending to use it but due to the windy weather I’d made the decision to switch to my road bike. I think I was one of only three people who did the race on a road bike with no tri bars. I knew it wouldn’t be quick but I felt safe and comfortable.

A few competitors came flying past me on the early stages of the bike course, before I settled in to a group who would see each other on and off over the next 100K.

My brother had gone back to the house to pick up his wife and daughter so I knew it would be about four hours into the bike before I saw him again. I was ok with that, i had enough water and food to last.

The section down past Loch Maree was straightforward. A few wee climbs and few bits of head wind but nothing too bad. The only issue was when I reached a narrow bit of road and discovered it was blocked. A supporters vehicle and a bus had got stuck.


I used it as opportunity to drink and eat whilst they tried to sort it out. Which was tricky as the bus driver only spoke German and the bus driver only spoke gruff Scottish. A very hard to understand dialect even for me.

There was a few heavy showers after this. I was glad I was wearing a Gore-tex top and shorts. It meant I never felt cold even in the worst of the weather.

After four hours Andrew turned up. This was a boost to my morale. Biking is easier when I know I’m not completely on my own. He had some Hula Hoops with him and they went down a treat.

There was a very fast down hill section alongside little Loch Broom. I hit 75km/h at one point. Which went down to 10km/h when I reached the bottom of the Loch and I had to turn into an uphill head wind. There was about six miles which felt like I was cycling in treacle with a puncture.

I was not looking forward to the Ullapool road as I though I was going to have a headwind all the way along it until I reached Garve. I was wrong. There was a tailwind and the sun come out. I also got a boost as my brother told me that a friend of mine who was also doing the race was only 5 minutes ahead of me.

I took off all my Gore-tex and raced off down the road. Determined to catch and pass my friend.

I caught him and passed him which gave me a mental boost. I didn’t want him to catch up so I concentrated on putting a good performance down until it would be time to turn off the road at Garve and head back to the start.

At Garve I turned into the headwind, and knew there were over 40km still to go. The wind was brutal but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. So that was a small positive.

I got my head down and battered through until the end. My aim for the bike was to average 25km/h to reach the end in less than 8 hours. I managed it….just.