Husband and wife Steve and Claire Stubbs are no strangers to endurance events - but even they weren't prepared for what was coming at the Alpe d'Huez Long Triathlon in France.

The pair, both members of the Tenby Aces, took to the start line in July amidst a national heatwave, encountering temperature of 44 degrees centigrade as they tackled a 2.2km swim, 111km bike ride, and 20km run.

The latter leg included the 21 bends of the iconic Alpe d'Huez hill.

And sure enough, even just getting to the starting point to begin the event wasn't simple.

"Before actually starting the race we had to ride over seven miles to T1 where the lake swim starts," Claire told Telegraph Sport.

"Usually it's cold but it was 18 degrees that morning."

Both were out the water by the 50 minute mark, before conditions really hit home during the cycle.

"The heat was horrible," added Claire, a former competitor at the World Ironman Championships in Kona.

"People were in the side collapsed or sitting down and getting medical help, or had given in and were trying to hitch with their bike home.

"All the way up people were at waterfalls putting water over their heads while riding.

"There were times when I honestly thought I didn’t care if I finished the bike or not as I knew I had a hot hard trail run to do if I made it in time."

There was however, one consolation.

"The feed stations were amazing they did have everything - cheeses, meats, fruits, nuts, and much more. You could have stopped and eaten dinner if you wanted to."

Claire eventually finished in 10:26:48 (split of 49:12, 7:02:11, and 2:28:33 plus transition times) and Steve crossed the line in 11:16:42 (41:18, 7:38:53, 2:50:06).

Although despite their epic efforts it seems unlikely the pair, 43 and 46-years-old respectively, will be doing the event a second time round.

"It was the hardest event I've done and never, ever again," added Claire.

"I trained on Wiseman's Bridge hill going up and down ten times but nothing could have prepared me for those nine mile hills - with no let ups."