The Isles of Glencoe is alright, if nothing special. For some reason they were running a special dinner menu for Rat Racers that was pretty rubbish. But however average it is, it's still a welcome bed for the night. That bus journey back to Nairn is bad enough the day after, can only imagine the misery of being on it straight after the finish.
The trouble is that the bike route is tailor made for a cyclo-x bike. You don't need to be on a MTB for the off-road bit and so it doesn't make a lot of sense to slog up the road section on one. If you can't get access to the right bike then stick the narrowest semi slicks you can get away with on your MTB.
hill on my arse and remember thinking "sweet, that's 20 yards less I have to run".
We hit the road at the bottom and were directed to turn right and run about a mile along to the last kayak start. We kept up what felt like a decent pace along this section but what in reality was probably a crawl. But we just kept going and it was a bit of a blur climbing into the boat. Here again my technique let me down but I was a bit better than the first time round and we got into something of a rhythm. By this point my back and hip flexors were seizing up and I had to stop for a couple of strokes a couple of times. Once we came within earshot of the finish-line tannoy and realising that people were able to see what we were doing I knew I just had to keep paddling. Then we were at the shore being literally dragged out of the boat by the marshals. My team-mate tapped me on the shoulder and said "we've done it mate". Four simple words that sounded so good.
We jogged the 50 yards over the finish line to be welcomed with a mars bar and some water and a pretty decent medal. You get an immediate print out of your time and a breakdown of your splits and I was made up to see we'd made it in 10 hours and 58 minutes. With 20 mins wasted up front on puncture repairs, that was way beyond my expectations.
It's been a week since that moment and I still haven't decided how I feel about it. There's definitely a sense of achievement in completing something that I haven't done before. It wasn't as hard as I expected, which I put down to a combination of some reasonable training, proper feeding, decent weather and the fact that actually it was awesome fun. Finally some advice for people thinking of doing this in the future; 1) take the one day option, it's really not that bad, 2) try to get a cyclocross rather than an MTB, 3) cycling SPDs are a must, even though it means carrying your running shoes on the bike and 4) never stop eating and drinking as you go.