THE T:ZERO BLOG
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Now in its 37th year, the Noosa Triathlon Festival is the largest triathlon event in the world, and one of Australia’s most loved celebrations of all things multisport. Participation in the hero event itself is also virtually a rite of passage for budding triathletes everywhere and if you haven’t already, one to add to the bucket list!
Later this week, over 12,000 athletes will make the annual pilgrimage to the triathlon mecca of Noosa Heads. There’s something special about Noosa that attracts professional triathletes to train, live and race, and entices the masses to return year after year to participate in this iconic five-day festival. Here are the five reasons we’ve got a giant soft spot for one of Australia’s most iconic events …
1. The Atmosphere
It’s big, it’s bustling and it’s busy, but Noosa Triathlon Festival is one hell of a celebration. Sure, you’ll probably come across an ego or two (or more) throughout the weekend, but big heads aside, the atmosphere and festival vibe is nurtured and encouraged by the organisers and embraced by the local community and athletes alike.
Timing-wise, it couldn’t be more perfect. It’s November – it’s Noosa Tri and it’s basically Christmas holidays thereafter. Work is winding down and everyone’s in the mood for a party. And there aren’t many after-parties bigger or better than Noosa’s, with a perfect combination of seasoned Noosa Tri veterans, elite athletes, newbie individual debutants and happy-go-lucky team participants just keen to have a good time!
2. The Complementary Events
he Noosa Triathlon Festival is just that – a festival! We love a good celebration of all things multisport and the five-day festival showcases so many awesome events to perfectly complement Sunday’s main race.
Keen athletes can participate in variety of lead up events including the Noosa Run Swim Run, Breakfast Fun Run and the 1000m Ocean Swim. “Super Saturday” features the Noosa Superkidz Triathlon for all the aspiring junior triathletes and finishes off with the classic ASICS 5km Bolt and Australian Open Criterium races which are always fun to spectate.
A steady stream of other events and activities across the weekend ensures there’s not a dull moment to be had, no matter your interest or ability.
3. The Course
Even if large-scale races aren’t your thing, the one beauty about Noosa you’ll surely appreciate is the event planning and organisation. After more than 35 years running the event, its organisers execute with precision.
The race itself begins on Noosa Main Beach, which is generally calm and clear (breathe guys, last year was an anomaly!). No doubt veteran Noosa Tri athletes will be happy to wave those canal mud moustaches and monobrows of yesteryear goodbye!
The bike course is technically described as “undulating” but it’s generally flat (minus Garmin Hill, about 10km in) and traverses some beautiful hinterland scenery. If you’re fit enough, you should have a few spare breaths to appreciate the views.
A flat, one-lap out and back course through Noosa Sound, the run leg is a dream … provided you can get yourself onto it before the sun starts to heat things up! Crowd support is crucial here and there’s plenty of it, with spectators lining almost the entire distance. If you’ve been here before, you’ll have (not so) fond memories of that charming last-ditch detour through Dolphin Crescent we all love to hate. The only saving grace here are the friendly locals who voluntarily provide cooling services to struggling athletes via their garden hoses!
4. The Noosa Sport & Lifestyle Expo
No Noosa Tri Festival is complete without at least one decent wander through the impressive Sport & Lifestyle expo. It’s hard to avoid too, given registration is in the same location at Noosa Woods.
For triathlon nerds and gear buffs, a stroll through the exhibitor displays to chat to product reps, sample the latest nutritional supplements and potentially nab a bargain or two is a must. One of T:Zero’s major sponsors Clif Bar will again have a great set-up so be sure to stop by and say hi to their friendly crew.
5. The Destination
s far as local race locations go, there’s no doubt Noosa is an impressive destination. For athletes and their families, it provides endless options for food, activities and entertainment catering for a variety of interests. For most, local accommodations require minimum nights’ stay (generally 3-4) so taking a few extra days pre or post-race is a good idea if your circumstances permit. Whether you enjoy Hastings Street with its countless shopping and dining options or prefer to escape to the trails of the National Park, everything you need for a good time is within walking distance.
The location itself is also very spectator-friendly – on race day family and supporters can choose to find a space close to the finishing chute and soak up the excitement of the finish line, or avoid the hustle and bustle and instead opt for a shady spot along Noosa Parade and beyond (they are plentiful) guaranteeing a view of their athlete twice on both the ride and run legs, if they’re eagle-eyed enough!
Good luck to all our T:Zero athletes racing at Noosa this weekend, and remember to keep an eye out for Coach Scotty who will be handing out Clif Bars in the recovery area on Sunday with the Clif Crew!
When it comes to Ironman, it doesn’t get any better than the World Championship. Held every year on the Big Island of Hawaii in Kailua-Kona, it is, quite simply, the pinnacle of our sport.
As we speak, athletes from all over the world have started to descend on the Island and in a few short days, they will take on an incredibly challenging course that pushes wannabe world champions to the brink of their physical and mental ability year after year. We’re getting tingles just thinking about it!
There are so many reasons why triathletes everywhere continue to put themselves through their Ironman paces every year in the hope of cracking a spot at the biggest dance of all. Here are five reasons we can’t get enough of the Ironman World Championship …
1. “The Vibe”
In the immortal words of Dennis Denuto*, it’s just the vibe. This one is hard to explain but trust us, when it comes to Ironman mecca, there’s no competition. As soon as you step foot in the town of Kona, there’s no denying the fact it is the epicentre of endurance sport for that one week. This is the world championship - the day of days - where every athlete (from professionals to 17-hour specialists) arrives tapered and ready to race what is likely the biggest, most significant event in their athletic life.
An incredible calibre of athletes from all over the world roam the town by foot or bike, at the absolute peak of their fitness, many of whom are preparing themselves to fulfil a lifelong dream. Professionals and age-group world champion contenders aside, there are also Legacy Program athletes and Ironman Global Ambassador athletes who are represented - people who have achieved or overcome incredible health or other personal feats to participate and live their own potential on race day. Witnessing these athletes cross the finish line and the moments that precede and ensue often rivals and surpasses even the most impressive professional performances.
The Big Island. From the Mountains to the Lava Fields, the pristine ocean and everything in between, there’s nothing quite like it and no way to replicate that extraordinarily special feeling that fills you from head to toe as soon as you step off the plane. And how could there be? After all, it is the spiritual home of Ironman.
2. Location, Location, Location
From the moment you land at the airport which is flanked by lava fields, you know you’re somewhere special. Kona really is quintessential Hawaii. And there’s no place on earth like the Big Island. Rent a car for the day and you can drive the Island, passing through no less than four of the five major climate zones that exist on our planet. It is truly one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world.
It’s also a relatively handy flight from Australia, all worldwide destinations considered, which may be one of the reasons our country is so healthily represented at the Ironman event each year. The locals for the most part are incredibly welcoming and wholeheartedly embrace race week which is no doubt a key contributing factor to its enduring success.
In terms of all your race-related requirements, everything is centrally located, so although a hire car is handy if you’re hauling a bike(s) and other equipment, it’s not a deal-breaker provided your accommodation is close to town. Should you choose the car-less path however, just a word of warning - the free shuttle bus and its incredibly loose schedule certainly sing from the Island Time hymn sheet!
3. The Course
Picturesque location aside, this Ironman course is a unique beast. Nothing gives you all the feels quite like a conch shell and cannon fire do, signalling the start of the race. Athletes set off on the swim leg in ridiculously warm (no wetsuit) water, often escorted along the way by dolphins, turtles and a myriad of other marine life clearly visible in the pristine waters of Kailua Bay.
The ride is generally fast and fun, but the hills, the heat and the trade winds still need to be battled and managed. Finally, the ultimate test for athletes is the lumpy and insanely hot run, including an extended stint in an infamous section called the “Energy Lab” – notorious for siphoning energy from athletes, rather than providing them with any.
Whether you’re a professional, age-group contender or just out there to make it under 17-hours, on race day all athletes are equal, each one battling the same course and conditions as the next. Being the World Championship, spectators and supporters abound, but they’re mostly concentrated closer to town which is understandable. After all, spectating in the middle of a lava field doesn’t seem all that appealing!
4. The Expo
For spectators and supporters, a trip to the epic expo during race week is essential. And to be fair, even as a nervous athlete with the best intentions to keep unnecessary “noise” to a minimum, it’s probably still unavoidable. With two decent setups spanning a road, sponsor freebies and bargains abound and with a steady stream of professional athletes turning up throughout race week for signings, product promotions and interviews, the expo is heaven for tri-gear nerds and groupies alike. If you do indulge in any pre-race purchases however, just remember to avoid committing the cardinal sin of christening them on race day!
5. The Extras
When all is said and done and race day has been and gone (or for a few treats in between), nothing beats the iced coffees of Lava Java and ice-cream sandwiches of Huggos on the Rocks, flanked by a cocktail or two at sunset. If you’re taking travel notes, these are essential stops. And an acai bowl from Basik Acai (the Kilauea is our recommendation) is the breakfast of (world) champions!
For a break from your food coma, or for non-triathlon related activities, options abound. Swimming with manta rays and spinner dolphins, or indulging in a spot of snorkelling in various locations around the Island should tick a few boxes. A Kona Coffee tour or trip to Kona Brewing Company also come highly recommended. And no visit to the Big Island is complete without stopping in to Volcanoes National Park.
With so many athletes arriving a week or two early for pre-race acclimatisation, the post-race exodus is generally swift so if you’re keen to holiday after the big day, stay a while longer on the Island and enjoy everything this little town has to offer, once its Ironman hosting duties have concluded for another year.
While few of us have managed to reach the “holy grail” of Ironman this year, we can still watch with bated breath on October 13 (Australian time) and cheer on our T:Zero athletes with gusto. In all honesty, it's virtually impossible not to be moved and motivated by this incredible event.
* Do yourself a favour and download “The Castle” for essential wind trainer viewing 😉
As triathletes we’re pretty fortunate to have the opportunity to race in some amazing locations all over the world, but sometimes there’s no place like home. Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast race week is upon us and there’s no doubt we’ve got a soft-spot for this race. Here’s why …
1. It’s our “local” race … kinda
T:Zero delivers customised online training programs to athletes all over the world, and while we’re not bound to a specific location, a number of our coaches and athletes reside right here on the Sunny Coast. On race day itself, 9 of our 12 coaches will be representing - supporting, participating or both, and over 30 T:Zero athletes will be out in force competing too. We absolutely cannot wait to see everyone giving it their best and we all know there’s nothing like a bit of home-town support to motivate us up and over that final gruelling hill on the run!
2. The swim is pristine
With any luck Mooloolaba Beach will be as flat, fast and clear as it was for the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival earlier this year! Even if it’s not quite as brilliant, there’s no denying the beauty of Mooloolaba Beach with its crystal clear water and mild temperatures pretty much year-round. With any luck, a few sneaky waves will be around to lend a hand, offering athletes a welcome boost back into shore. A rolling start to kick off the swim leg will also help to spread out the field, calm the chaos and relieve some nerves for those of us who are less confident in the water.
3. A fast, flat bike course - primed for a PB…
Beginning from transition on Beach Terrace in Mooloolaba, the bike course heads out onto the Sunshine Motorway which is largely smooth, flat and fast with a few minor undulations. Typically we find there’s a pretty good tail wind in one direction which is counter-balanced by a not-so-nice headwind so keep this in mind if you find yourself flying out of town! Disc wheels and aero helmets are often the weapons of choice for more seasoned campaigners but this course is just as easily crushed by athletes with confident aero positioning, considered pacing and the right attitude!
4. A run leg with a million dollar view
Let’s be honest, if one must run a half marathon, is there anywhere more picturesque to do so? The two-lap run course takes athletes along Mooloolaba Esplanade, which is always lined with an incredible number of enthusiastic spectators, over Alexandra Headland and out towards Cotton Tree. The return presents an enviable view along the shoreline which may be lost on you if you’re suffering, but is spectacular if you’re cruising! While the Alex Hill is long and the run can be hot with no real respite from the sun, the T:Zero team tent and cheer squad will be one (yes, the best) of many lighting the way to the finish line, providing all the motivation and thunderous support you need to bring it home!
5. It’s the perfect destination race for everyone!
Whether you’re local, semi-local or live a little further away, Sunshine Coast 70.3 serves as the perfect destination race for all athletes - singles, couples and families. There’s a huge selection of restaurants and accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets as well as a number of local attractions to keep any non-triathlon loving family members happy too. The location presents a perfect opportunity for athletes to add a few extra days either side of race weekend to kick back, relax and enjoy the rest of what Mooloolaba has to offer.
Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast will see T:Zero’s second biggest athlete representation and we’re so excited to embrace this weekend in the company of our awesome athletes, friends and supporters! We’ll even be bringing along our professional photographer and videographer to capture some of the day’s highlights so make sure you’re wearing your T:Zero gear and we can’t wait to see you all in the T:Zero team tent on race day!
An amazing collection of training and racing advice from the T:Zero Multisport coaches- with the occasional guest blogger! Read this blog to help you live your potential!