Event number 3 for me in 2019, the Artemis Kindoichit Quadrathon.
Anyone looking for the antidote to IM, this is the event for you. It is tough, but not silly tough, probably not as hard as and IM, but still a great challenge… but where an IM can be dull, this event just has a massive wow factor
You do this as a team of 2 so you are only as fast as the slowest person. I did this with my brother, who if a former GB Rower, and is still in good shape, however, with 5 kids age from 1 to 10, he doesn’t get too much time to train.
The event is limited to 350 people, competing over, the Gold, Silver or Bronze course.
Gold - 1.3km swim, 7 Munros, 11km Kayak, 54km bike
Silver - 1.3km swim, 6 Munros, 11km Kayak, 54km bike
Bronze - 6 Munros, 11km Kayak, 54km bike
People with slower predicted times start at 0600, faster athletes start at 0700
On 6 July, the Scotish weather was perfect, 9 degrees at 0700, warming up to 15 degrees, around 4 degrees on the mountain tops, moderate breeze, clear and sunny.
At 0700 I joined the mass start at from Loch Tay, the water was 14/15 dgrees and chilly, but not too bad. As you swim, a scotish piper, plays from a boat alongside the swimmers (all the more reason to be quicker). I was in the very unusual position of being very near the front of the swim, meant that I needed to look where I was going. I came out of the water in 6th place, changed, sorted out my brother’s kit, he came out 3 minutes later.
From the Loch, it is into the first climb up Meall Greigh, 5km and 1000m. We ran the first KM, then started a fast hike, only passed by a couple of people. It wasn’t long before we were passing the poeple who started an hour earlier. The following 5 Munro’s, Meall Garbh, An Stuc, Ben Lawers, Beinn Ghlas, Meall Corranaich have some pretty steep descents and steep climbs, there are almost no flat running sections. You then descend to a reservoir, where there is a flat 2km run on tarmac. This brings you to the first feed station, where there is soup, chilly and tacos, cakes, fruit, tea, coffee and energy drinks.
Leaving the feed stop, it is straight up Meall Nan Tarmachan - the summit is 1km horizontally and 500m vertically, there are not pathways up, unless you want to take a big detour, so it is a case of find your way up. It is a brutal climb after 18km of hiking/running. Eventually we got to the top, and were faced with the challenge of a 1000m descent to Loch Tay - I basically came off the path and let rip through the moss and vegetation, flying downhill in a mad, uncontrolled dash, while getting cheers from people as I passed them (they were all from earlier wave). The final section is a mostly flat / gradual descent 4km to the lake. total run 28km and 6hours.
At the lake, there is another feed stop, with pasta and cheese, as well as all the other things one would expect to find. I had a 5 minute wait, for my brother, who was more restrained on the descent, then we jumped into the Kayaks.
Having an ex GB rower in the Kayak certaily helped. We set off a couple of minutes behind 3 other Kayaks, and passed them pretty quickly. There were 2 other Kayaks about 1km ahead of us, so we set off in chase, and caught them just before the end of the Kayak leg
The final phase was the bike leg, a 54km ride round Loch Tay, it is not flat. The first part of the bike course is on single track roads, with barely space to squeeze past on-comming cars, it is constantly up and down, with lots of gravel spread accross the road in places. The second half is much better, on a typical British A road, with rolling hills. I was borrowing my brother’s TT bike, and was probably the only person using a TT bike, however, it was fine, and ultimately probably faster than a road bike. Unfortunately my brother was completely shattered, even drafting me the whole way round, it felt like a slow ride at just 28kph average, I was somewhat surprised to see on Strava that we actually set the 5th fastest ever time on the bike course segment. It was a very lonely ride, as by that time we had passed most of the people who started in wave 1. As we approached the finish I got a puncture with 500m to go, so ended up with an impromptu BRICK session
Overall we came in 17th and 18th place (9th pair) about 1h20m behind the winner.
In the week following the event, I had very sore quads… however, we had friends over from the US for a week of hiking, luckily they had kids so it wasn’t too stressful, but still climbed 3 swiss mountains.
Now back to proper training