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Fiona at the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon!

After swimming almost a mile across the freezing waters of Loch Tay in Perthshire, walking and running seven mighty mountains known as Munros, and kayaking seven miles in a heavy, non-steer-friendly sit-on kayak, Planet X sponsored rider Fiona Russell knew that her legs would be wrecked.

But we still had a 35-mile bike ride around the shores of Loch Tay to do to compete the mad event known as the Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon.

Thank goodness then that my bike for this final section of the race on July 12 was my Planet X N2ADespite exhausted quads and very little energy I felt like I was flying as we pedalled the undulating roads around the loch.

I did wish that I had a few "easier" gears, for even the slightest incline had me speedily descending the gears to the easiest ring so that I could push my weary legs round and make it to the top of the hill. I squealed out loud on several hills as the exertion made my legs scream and my head spin.

On the flat sections I did, on a few occasions, get up into the harder, larger front ring a few times and when this happened I could feel the speed mounting. But each speedier section was followed by yet more hills.

There were times when I shouted out to my partner and team member, G, that this section was worse than childbirth. In retrospect I am not sure that it is, but it certainly felt horribly painful at the time.

I was amazed to find that we were strong enough to pass many other competitors. The Kindrochit Quadrathlon has many components to it but to achieve a good time you need to be able to endure many hours on your feet and have good navigational skills. Speed is good in the short-term but a steady pace over the many, many hours, while also eating at regular intervals, is far more likely to achieve success.

It looked like numerous competitors had made it to the bike section only to fall apart. Too many men seemed to be struggling just to make one revolution of their pedals, let alone the thousands required to ride the 35 miles to the finish line.

I know I was not going fast and it took at least 20 mins longer than normal to ride the 35 miles but I did feel good on the super sleek and nicely stiff N2A. Looking at the bike times, my partner and I did pretty well against the rest of the field.

We were also fortunate to meet up with another team and benefit from some 20k of drafting along the north side of the loch. I can't tell you what the views were like here because it took all my determination to stare at the seat of the bike in front and stick like superglue to their back wheel.

I can't say that the Planet X bike sealed our placing as runners up in the mixed team or my fourth lady position but I do know that after nine hours of racing, when I climbed on to my bike and took the first pedal turns I realised that we would make it to the finish line.

However slow we were riding, I felt as fast as Sir Chris Hoy on a velodrome track after the hours of swimming, hiking and kayaking. It is all relative but I felt as good as I could have hoped for.

Our final time was a very respectable 11 hours and 16 mins of total racing to bring us home as the 17th place team. We will be back next year to go sub-11 hours!

Read more about Fiona's event here

Photo courtesy of Marc Turner

30 July 2014

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