Chain Reaction Cycles


Ronnie Smart

📁 OTC Triathletes 🕔14.March 2017









What inspired you to try a triathlon?

To celebrate his 50th birthday, my brother wanted to do a triathlon. He roped in about 10 of his friends and I reluctantly agreed to enter too. At the time, the only cycling I did was commuting to work, my swimming was poor and last time I’d run was to escape a chasing rhinoceros.

Where and when was your first triathlon? What was the distance?

The race I entered for my brother’s birthday was Tighnabruaich Sprint in Argyllshire in June 2012. It’s a fast course with good views of Arran and Isle of Bute. My mission was to beat my brother.

The swim was in the Kyles of Bute. I thought the swim was going well until I looked up and realised I was about 200m off course. The rest of the race went well except I ran pass finish line and missed it. However, mission accomplished!

One piece of advice you would give a triathlon newbie

Make sure you know where the finish line is.

Do you have a favourite race?

Blacksod in Country Mayo was my nemesis and one I was determined to defeat.

The first time I competed was a disaster. I struggled in the swim. The race officials were getting so concerned about me that they offered to pull me out of the water. I declined. I was one of the last competitors out of the water. I managed to pull up a few places on the bike but on the run my legs gave up and I hobbled around the rest of the course. I finished last.

I had to defeat Blacksod. I returned the following year after better training. I wasn’t last and knocked off over 1 hour 20 minutes from my time.

Where’s your favourite place to ride your bike?

I enjoy cycling in the Pentlands and Lammermuir Hills whenever I’m in Edinburgh. There is a good cycle route from Edinburgh to Berwick-upon-Tweed. There’s one steep hill just outside Edinburgh then downhill all way to Berwick-upon-Tweed. And then get the train back to Edinburgh.

Ironman – Yes/No/Again?

Not yet. Bill Rafferty has told me that I will be doing Barcelona next year.

What do you do in the real world, outside triathlon?

I like to travel. I tend to go to remote and wild places. On previous trips I’ve swam with piranhas, hitched hiked across Canada in a kilt and had a face-to-face encounter with a grizzly bear.

What’s next for you in 2017?

In September, I ‘m competing at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, TN, USA. My warm-up event will be Edinburgh Ironman 70.3 at the start of July.

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