Cairngorm Adventure Triathlon - the CAT
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Race Report 2011
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Many thanks to Mum On THE Run Siobhan Evans for putting this race report together – I think it captures the spirit of CAT 2011 perfectly …

The excitement mounts, the day is nearly upon us and agitation is rife amongst those budding competitors chomping at the bit  . . . but hang on, it’s only May! For the first time the CAT committee ventured down the road of online entry… and were overwhelmed with the response!! Rumour has it that some computers were switched on at ridiculous times in the morning, fired up and ready for the bleary eyed triathlete to hit the ‘ENTER’ button at 0700hrs on the day entries opened.

Within a day and a half, the Cairngorm Adventure Triathlon 2011 was full!!!

Why the popularity?? Those who were there this and in previous years need no explanation to that question.  The fantastic effort that the CAT committee put in is reflected in the success of this event and in what appears to be it’s ‘tickety-boo’ organisation. Add to this the magical setting of Loch Morlich and its environs, the camaraderie amongst marshals and competitors (most of whom are repeat customers!) and the general feeling of grown ups doing something that makes them feel like children again and you have an event that just gets better each year … whatever the weather!!

(Tickety-boo:adj. Brit. Old fashioned informal. As it should be; correct; satisfactory
a very dull explanation for a great sounding word!

This year Mother Nature was extremely kind to us … a letter of gratitude will certainly be flying her way to say ‘thank you’!! The weather is out of the organisers control and, up until 0730hrs on the day of the event, (as those who braved camping/caravanning on the Friday night will know), it looked like it had the potential to be a washout. BUT . . miraculously it stopped and the sun appeared for most of the day.  Now that the event is over we can talk about the weather and claim we had near perfect conditions.

As in previous years, challenge number one was the canoe section. (Thanks for this bit and the well received bbq must go to Keith and his team of ‘better than baywatch’ assistants at Loch Morlich Watersports. Techniques amongst competitors varied somewhat but there were no disasters. Indeed a favourable tail wind combined with a revised route for the canoe resulted in times being a tad quicker than in previous years. Some of the children (a.k.a.: support crew) playing on the beach were quite vociferous in their thoughts regarding their parent’s canoeing capabilities: “that’s not mum and dad back already is it … yes it’s them … that was quick!” It is nice to know that parents can pleasantly surprise their children sometimes!!

The ensuing bike route, a great mix of … rough track, forestry track and road, posed a suitably demanding but exhilarating challenge.  The rain had resulted in slippery conditions that had to be ridden with care at some points … notably the infamous Sluggan section … where reassuringly ‘St John’ was suitably positioned!!

And finally to the run … a fairly flat but very scenic 5Km round Loch Morlich. Here the camaraderie was visible between competitors. On the small section where runners met with cyclists, high fives, ‘well dones’ and ‘why are we here’ looks were exchanged. Mud splattered adults running around a Loch must look rather odd to those who were enjoying a civilised afternoon stroll, taking time to enjoy the view . . . .but would we swap places…….NEVER!!

Major thanks must be given to Henry Trotter for the chip timing. Last year his chip mats were soaked and he vowed never to come back ... but he did and he was rewarded ... they were only damp!! The CAT is also very grateful for help in kind, donations and loans of equipment from many local businesses and organisations, and to the fantastic team of volunteer marshals whose words of encouragement make many a weary competitor smile.

As for the results (which are almost incidental to the fun competitors have) … Tim Pott, Chair of the CAT committee commented:

It was great to see Scott and Calum Irvine competing with their dads to make up father and son teams. Both teams smashed previous CAT records with Scott and Mike Dixon first male team in 3.38.12 and Hamish and Calum Irvine closely behind in 3.39.44. Scott’s individual time of 1.44.02 was also the fastest yet with Calum taking second place in 1.46.12. Forres Mums On THE Run Siobhan Evans and Jackie Nicol came back to defend their title as first female team and improved their efforts by around 12 minutes to secure First Female team in 4.26.28. We also had a new time to beat in the Mixed category with Tom Jefferson and Christine Cufflin shouting “Oot the Way” to finish in 4.05.11.  At the less elite end it is great to see so many of all abilities taking part and remain smiling (through gtitted teeth!) often for many different charities such as clic sergeant”

The CAT generates funds that are then given to promising young athletes. The 2011 recipients have yet to be decided but when it has it will be posted on the CAT website . . . watch this space.

Now you've read the Race Report take a look at this year's photo gallery - click here
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