4000’s Duathlon – Saturday 30th June 2001
Supported by Specialized, Lowe Alpine, Nevis
Range, Off Beat Bikes & Glenmore Lodge
An exciting new event to challenge experienced mountain
runners who like biking!
The historic route links the bridge
by Glen Nevis Hostel and the Norwegian Stone by Glenmore Hostel. The summits
of all the 4,000ft Munros must be visited along the way. In the early
days it was completed on foot and is an 85-mile run with 17,000 feet of
ascent. Members of the Rucksack club first attempted it in the 1960’s
as a walk and later as a run by Alan Heaton in 1979. In June 1980 Alan
established a record of 26hrs 5mins in bad conditions.
In July 1980 when a number of us
lived in London, I paced one of my earliest running friends, Chris Dodd,
when he set a record running east/west of 23hrs 14mins. At the end of
August 1981 when still relatively inexperienced, I made a solo-unsupported
attempt east/west and completed the route in 26hrs 31mins. My then KIMM
partner, Stan Bradshaw, of Clayton-Le-Moors Harriers lowered Chris Dodd’s
record to 22hrs 33mins running west/east in 1982. Finally, on 4th July
1986, with the experience of many more miles behind me, I set the existing
record of 21hrs 39mins as a solo-unsupported run west/east. Since then
Colin Donnelly has completed a solo supported west/east crossing in 1993
of 23hrs 19mins.
Since then the route has become
popular as a road bike/run duathlon. The first attempt I was made aware
of was by Gary Tompsett and here is a selection of times achieved. Angel’s
Peak was only upgraded to a Munro in recent years.
Gary Tompsett 15:30 1994 East/West (not Angel’s Peak)
Mark Seddon 12:59 1996 East/West (not Angel’s Peak
Mark Hartell (RECORD) 12:35 1998 West/East (not Angel’s Peak)
Alec Keith 13:46 1999 East/West
Paul McClintock & Duggie Gillespie 13:20 2000 West/East
John Coyle 12:41 2000 West/East
It is excellent news that all of
the above apart from Mark Hartell and Duggie Gillespie are able to take
Paul McClintock was telling me
about their day out on the 4000’s and said what a good race it would be.
So – when your climbing out of the Lairig Ghru onto Ben Macdui at tea
time on Saturday 30th June, suffering from the bonk and hating every minute
of it, you know who to blame!
Details of the Duathlon
The distance is 32miles/13,400ft
ascent on foot and 61 miles by road bike. The event is only open to very
experienced endurance mountain runners who preferably have Elite MM experience
and who are capable on road bikes. To enter you must feel certain that
you can complete the event within 50% of the expected winner’s time –
ie within 18 hours. It may seem elitist but this will be a very low key
event in its first year with minimal backup, no manned mountain checkpoints
and we don’t want our resources to be stretched too far. If you decide
to retire we are not offering a 24-hour emergency recovery service and
you will have to do your best to sort out the problem. We really don’t
want anyone out on the hill alone after 23.00hrs.
M Hartell Times
Glen Nevis Hostel Bridge 128 718 00.00 Start
Ben Nevis Munro 1344M 167 713 01:25
Carn Mor Dearg Munro 1220M 178 721 02:04
Aonach Beag Munro 1234M 197 716 02:49
Aonach Mor Munro 1221M 193 729 03:07
Aonach Mor Gondola top station (East side) 188 757
Nevis Range Ski Car Park - Arrive 172 774 03:49
Nevis Range Ski Car Park - Depart 172 774
Glen Feshie Car Park - Arrive 851 985 07:08
Glen Feshie Car Park - Depart 851 985
Cairn Toul Munro 1291M 964 972 09:26
Angel’s Peak Munro 1258M 954 977 10:06
Braeriach Munro 1296M 952 999 11:15
Stream Junction Lairig Ghru - Manned 973 997
Ben Macdui Munro 1309M 989 989 11:50??
Cairngorm Summit Munro 1245M 005 040
Cairngorm Ski Car Park 989 061 Race Finish
Norwegian Stone – Glenmore 977 098 12:35 Record Timed
At each of these locations you
will record your arrival on your electronic card using the Sport ident
timing system. With a bit of luck we’ll be able to provide you with some
splits after the event. Don’t forget in the heat of the moment to punch
at all these places – also both on arrival and departure from Nevis Range
and Glen Feshie so we can time the transition and in case we have to group
These have been generously donated
by Specialized and Lowe Alpine. Off Beat Bikes at Fort William have provided
special downhill bikes for hire at extremely preferential rates. Nevis
Range has provided special gondola, dining and biking packages at preferential
rates. To all these organisations we extend out grateful thanks for supporting
a relatively low-key race in its inaugural year.
Men: 1st – 5th, 1st V40
Women: 1st – 3rd
Fastest road bike from Nevis Range
–> Glen Feshie
There is definitely NO prize for
the fastest descent by Mountain Bike!
Except in the case of an emergency
such as an accident, competitors may only receive assistance at the 3
transition points – Nevis Range Ski car park, Glen Feshie car park and
Cairngorm ski car park. At Nevis Range and Glen Feshie, the race organisation
will make the competitor’s bag and bike available at the transition, also
water. Anyone who is accompanying a competitor to the event will be asked
to help out with the organisation of the event rather than support an
individual competitor. The entry fee will be £25 and will be payable when
you register. It will include camping at Fort William and Glenmore Lodge,
also support for the group. Transport back to Nevis Range on Sunday morning
for competitors who are leaving cars there will work out at about £12
per competitor, also payable at registration.
On Both Mountain Sections:
Lightweight raintop and bottoms, section of map 1:50,000 scale or larger
(including escape routes), compass and whistle, small first aid kit including
plasters and small roll of bandage+safety pin, sufficient food for the
section, thin balaclava and gloves, emergency survival bag (not an orange
poly bag but a very small ultra thin bag specifically manufactured for
one use only). From Glen Feshie onwards a small torch with batteries to
last 4 hours and an extra lightweight thermal top.
On All Bike Sections:
Lightweight raintop and bottoms, small first aid kit including plasters
and small roll of bandage+safety pin, sufficient food and drink for the
section and cycle helmet. A spare tube, pump or gas and simple tool kit
are required for the long road bike section.
Friday 29th June
Proceed to Nevis Range ski car
park to register from 15.00 at the ski hire/bike hire and leave your labelled
road bike and helmet (if not using it for the MTB descent) at registration.
You can also then deposit labelled kitbag containing everything you will
need at the Nevis Range and Glen Feshie transitions - a few clothes, food,
and torch. We will provide suitable labels.
Option to Mountain Bike down from
top of the gondola:
Nevis Range and Offbeat Bikes have
kindly agreed with a plan to offer an exciting option to the competitors.
A new custom-made MTB track has been constructed all the way from the
col by Sgurr Finnisg-aig at 630M down to the main car park at 100M. Until
20.30hrs on Friday you have the opportunity to ride up on the gondola
with your own mountain bike or one hired from Offbeat Bikes and leave
it LABELLED & WITH HELMET ATTACHED, by our sign underneath the top gondola
building. We will position it on Saturday morning at the checkpoint so
that you can jump on it as you descend Aonach Mor during the race and
ride it down to the car park. Those of you who are arriving late on Friday
evening and are starting in the 07.00hrs start can have your bikes taken
up to the top on the first gondola at 08.30hrs Saturday morning.
There are various special options
that you pay for on the Friday. All helpers will receive complimentary
tickets on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning for the gondola:
- £9.25 - Carry bike up on gondola, test ride
down, carry bike back up on gondola, leave it there, walk or gondola
back down any time after 17.00hrs.
- £15.00 – The above but with multiple trips down
on Friday afternoon from 14:00hrs.
- £13.00 – A “Ride and Dine” option for bikers,
which includes the £9.25 bike option described above, and a main meal
course at the top of the gondola restaurant. If doing multiple descents
on Friday afternoon, pay for a meal separately.
- £10.00 – Very special bike hire charge from
Offbeat Bikes from Friday 17.00hrs to Saturday morning – Tel: 01397
704008 and ask for Nicola. From Saturday 30th June Offbeat Bikes who
are based at Fort William should have a Summer presence at Nevis Range
ski hire where we are registering competitors. They have 7 proper downhill
bikes and come with full-face helmet, body armour and gloves. However,
only your own helmet is compulsory for the event. The bikes come with
ordinary pedals, no SPDs or toe clips. I think these bikes are all now
already booked but I suggest you ask them to add your name to the reserve
list. The reason for this is that we expect a few people to go out for
a practice at 17.00hrs and decide that the bike descent is not for them.
So we will probably find that the odd bike becomes free from about 19.00hrs.
If you are practising the descent,
you must bike with EXCEPTIONAL care, as at this time of day the track
will also be frequented by walkers who take priority. Please don’t forget
There is a café at Nevis Range
that stays open until about 17.00hrs and the restaurant at the top of
the gondola will stay open until 20.30hrs, serving puddings, cake, beer
etc. as well as main meals. The last gondola down will be at 21.00hrs
or earlier if all is quiet on the hill. Registration closes at 22.00hrs.
Please ring 07767 653191 if you are going to be late.
When you have finished at Nevis range you can either head off for more
food in Fort William or go to a campsite with whom I have made special
arrangements. Loch Lochy Caravan and Camping Park is situated behind the
High School at GR126764, 1st right off the A830 Mallaig road. At registration
we will provide a plan of the campsite. When you enter the site, if it
isn’t too late visit reception and tell them you are with Martin Stone’s
group for the race. I will settle up for the group. Pitch your tents in
the bottom left corner of the site and before you go to bed it is essential
to move all cars off the site and park them in the nearest school parking
area about 150M along the road from the camp site entrance. We are not
allowed to drive any cars around the site on Saturday morning and must
be very quiet. You’ll have to carry your kit back to the car, which could
temporarily be brought back to the main gate.
A convenient place to obtain a
decent (so I’m told) bar snack is the Lochy Bar at Caol. From the campsite
go to the A830 and turn right. After a mile turn left over level crossing
and you’ll soon see the bar on the left.
Saturday 30th June
EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBE
If you retire during the event, you must get a message to me on mobile
07767 653191 to explain the situation. Failing that, you must report to
Nevis Range or Glen Feshie transitions and ensure that they understand
your movements. If you cannot contact the mobile number, you can in an
emergency leave a message at Glenmore Lodge reception on 01479 861256.
It is essential that at the end of the day we know you are safely off
You can start from the bridge opposite the youth hostel at any time from
03.00hrs until 07.00hrs. When you register we will ask you for your intended
start time and to avoid us hanging around at the start unnecessarily,
please be punctual. We expect those of you who hope to be in with a chance
of winning to start in a mass start at 07.00hrs. We expect those of you
who may be out for 18 hours + to start nearer to 03.00hrs and carry a
torch on this section.
Some competitors will have friends
who are delivering their vehicles to the finish and you can be dropped
off at the start. Those who need to leave their vehicle for collection
on Sunday should either park it at Nevis Range on Friday night and cadge
a lift to the camping spot and in the morning to the start or drive it
to Nevis Range early on Saturday morning and we will give you a lift from
there to the start. We will be pleased to transport a labelled bag of
kit and a tent for the evening to Glenmore Lodge. We will arrange disinfecting
facilities at the start and note your number before you set off.
DESCENT OFF AONACH MOR
When you descend off Aonach Mor you must take the NNW ridge and from approx.
the 900M contour you may head directly for the checkpoint approx 25M to
the east side of the station at the top of the gondola GR188 757. If you
have chosen to descend by MTB your labelled mountain bike will be in position.
The track contours NE gently down to the col from where the fun starts.
There are no prizes for setting the fastest time on this descent and I
will be “very annoyed” if anyone gets close to the record – 4 minutes.
Those of you who are running down can join the MTB descent route at any
point but please be aware that descending bikers have ABSOLUTE PRIORITY
at all times.
NEVIS RANGE TRANSITION
You must record your time both when you arrive and when you leave the
transition. You will find your kit bag by your road bike and it is up
to you to sort yourselves out and make the transition as efficiently as
possible. For the helpers and those in less of a hurry, the café should
be open at 08.30hrs to do breakfast. All mountain bikes that belong to
people who will not be returning on Sunday lunchtime will either be placed
in your car or if that is being used elsewhere it will somehow be moved
on towards Glenmore Lodge in another vehicle.
THE LONG ROAD BIKE
The A86 is a fast road and care needs to be taken, especially on the narrow
and twisting section at the east end of Loch Laggan. The record for the
duathlon was set by Mark Hartell without the assistance of another cyclist
and the style of John Coyle’s attempt was identical. For the men who wish
to attempt the record or wish to try for one of the prizes, the rule will
be NO DRAFTING or riding with another rider. If you overtake, it must
be done cleanly to introduce a gap. I am not so sure about the ladies
as I think a number of them would like to attempt the event in pairs.
We’ll consider each lady’s performance on its merits.
The A9 (T) is out of bounds and
in view of the Foot & Mouth sensitivities, you must enter Glen Feshie
from Feshiebridge on the road up the east side of the valley.
CLASH WITH THE CORRIEYAIRACK CHALLENGE
This is a little unfortunate but at Laggan you will join the route of
the Corrieyairack Challenge, which is taking place the same day. The cycle
route is common until the centre of Kingussie where the CC turns right
on the B970. Most of you will probably carry on along the B9152 and turn
right at Kincraig. On this 2KM section of minor road the CC cyclists will
be travelling in the opposite direction to you. This is a potentially
hazardous situation and I have agreed with the CC organisers that we will
always obey instructions from their marshals and give way to cyclists
in the other race. PLEASE EXERCISE EXTREME CARE on this section
The cut off time at Glen Feshie will be 16.00hrs. Unfortunately the farmer
at Auchlean has a reputation for being really miserable with walkers and
so SNH have built a car park about 1KM north of the farm on the east side
of the road. This will be the transition point and you must continue from
here on foot. You must record your time both when you arrive and when
you leave the transition.
This 21mile mountain section to Cairngorm is high, exposed, crosses wild
country to Cairn Toul and has a Mcknackering climb out of the Lairig Ghru
onto Ben Macdui. What do we do if the conditions are foul? The equipment
specified is the minimum in optimal weather and I expect your experience
to help you to determine what is safe for you. I have decided against
anything other than voluntary grouping. If you decide to wait for some
company at Glen Feshie, the clock will keep ticking. If you are the last
competitor to leave Glen Feshie and are on your own, you will have the
company of the grim sweeper. We will have a compulsory manned checkpoint
at a stream junction in the Lairig Ghru and this will confirm that competitors
are safely off the western Cairngorm plateau. We do not want anyone to
arrive at the Lairig Ghru checkpoint later than 20.30hrs. If you set out
from Glen Feshie and after reaching the plateau you subsequently realise
that you are running out of time, please do not go to Cairn Toul or Angel’s
Peak but head directly for the summit of Braeriach. This will save well
over an hour and hopefully bring you back on schedule. Our sweeper will
collect the controls on each peak and our marshals will not leave Lairig
Ghru until everyone is accounted for. If you wish to retire at the Lairig
Ghru checkpoint, our marshals will indicate the track you should use via
the site of the old Sinclair Hut to retrieve your bike at the Cairngorm
Road bikes (with helmets attached)
will have been transported round to the Cairngorm car park from Glen Feshie
ready for the final descent but we will not provide your kitbags. You
should be able to cycle the short distance down to the Norwegian Stone
without cycling shoes – it’s almost all downhill.
ROAD BIKE DESCENT TO NORWEGIAN
I expect you are confused as to why the race finishes at the Cairngorm
ski car park and yet the route is described as continuing down to the
Norwegian Stone beside Glen More Hostel. The simple reason is that I don’t
trust you guys to not go mad and race each other like lunatics down the
incredibly fast descent which has sections of hairpin bends on it. So,
when any competitor arrives at the Race Finish at the ski car park there
will be no overtaking on the way to the Norwegian Stone. To do so will
incur disqualification from the race! If you arrive at the ski car park
together, you can cycle down the road together but you will both be credited
with the same time in terms of setting the record.
ACCOMMODATION SATURDAY NIGHT
It is only a gentle 1KM up the road to Glenmore Lodge GR987 094, which
has kindly allowed us to camp in the grounds. I will settle the bill for
the camping. You are welcome to use the showers in the lodge and a bar
will stay open till as late as you like, serving bar snacks until 23.00hrs.
We will have a short presentation at about 23.00hrs. You can book B&B
at the lodge for £18 per person but it costs £9 more if you want a single
room. To make a booking for B&B, telephone the lodge on 01479 861256.
When you check in at reception (which is manned until 23.00hrs) you have
the option to book and pay for a breakfast for £4.50. For those who don’t
have cars at the lodge, road bikes can be locked in the trailer that will
carry them back to Nevis Range on the Sunday.
Sunday 1st July
After a leisurely breakfast, transport
back to Nevis Range for those who need it will leave Glenmore Lodge at
Any Questions Not Answered Above?
or if you don’t have email, Tel: 01931 714106, Mobile: 07767 65319