THE T:ZERO BLOG
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On March 7th, over one thousand adrenalin-fuelled athletes will gather on the start line of Ironman New Zealand 2020. Taking place in the picturesque town of Taupo on the North Island, Ironman New Zealand is the world’s longest-running Ironman. With so many of our T:Zero athletes and coaches partaking in this event over the years, it’s fair to say our love for IMNZ runs deep. Here are five reasons it holds a special place in our heart …
1. The swim is “unreal”
… in the immortal words of Coach Scotty, who knows this course so well. Other words often used to describe the swim include “magnificent” “breathtaking” and “magic”. Set in the pristine waters of Lake Taupo, one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes, the swim course is crisp and clear; and golf balls lining the bottom of the lake offer swimmers a nice, novel surprise, as do the friendly scuba divers waving from down below! Combine this with the haka at sunrise and the starting cannon sending athletes off from a deep water mass start … it’s enough to send chills down your spine. Be warned - the swim transition run to T1 is significantly longer than normal, although the fact that it’s lined by a red carpet eases the pain somewhat…
2. Community support is second to none
One of the universally-loved aspects of IMNZ is the incredible support athletes receive from the local community. Crowds of locals line each leg of the course to ensure that athletes are never left alone with a dark thought in a dark corner for even a moment. And they never stop cheering. Campervans, cars and people abound, and the ability of the locals to embrace the visiting athletes and make them feel at home makes all the difference. Local school children even pen letters of encouragement to distribute to athletes which provides a unique gift and a welcome boost too!
3. The volunteers are awesome
An extension of #2, the volunteers make this race incredible. Consistently voted as one of Ironman’s most well-run events, Ironman New Zealand’s 2000+ volunteers provide an army of support for athletes, ensuring the day runs as smoothly as possible. Time and again, professionals and age groupers consistently mention the incredible support provided by the volunteers, who sure know how to throw a party (particularly at the aid stations), making themselves a memorable highlight for many athletes.
4. Taupo itself … is a gem!
Taupo offers visitors spectacular scenery and a relaxed small town feel, because it is, in fact, a relaxed small town! Despite the small population, Taupo has plenty of shops (great coffee shops!) and restaurants and is brimming with culture, rich in local Maori history. The town is packed with sights, attractions and activities for athletes and their families to enjoy, pre or post-race - whatever floats your boat. And if you're struggling to move on the Sunday, you can rest up and enjoy the lake and mountains that surround the town - natural beauty is plentiful here.
5. The bike and run courses keep you honest
Nail these two legs and you’ll know you’ve done an Ironman, that’s for sure. The two-loop bike course is technically described as “undulating”, providing a good challenge for athletes who’ll enjoy some spectacular scenery (think farmlands and forests) while battling the potentially interesting headwinds amongst other things. The run course is a three-looper so you can get into your groove here, taking in lakefront scenery which eases the pain of some interesting changes in terrain on the run (which, incidentally is described on the Ironman website as “flat”). The run course also takes athletes through town three times which helps if you need a boost of support from the amazing crowds (refer #2, above).
All in all, Ironman New Zealand offers spectacular scenery, a challenging course and incredible local support. It’s certainly one race in the suite of Ironman events that’s best placed on your bucket list now if it’s not already. Good luck to all our T:Zero athletes racing IMNZ 2020!
On the weekend of February 7-9, Goondiwindi will host its annual ‘Festival of Hell’, which encompasses the infamous Hell of the West triathlon (a 2km swim, 80km cycle and 20km run), now in its 29th year, and a number of additional complementary events the day prior on what is now known as ‘Super Saturday’. Described as one of Queensland’s most iconic long course triathlon events, HOTW is certainly one for the bucket list if you haven’t dared to attempt it already. Here are five reasons why we love this laid back, local long course race …
1. The diversity
Uber competitive age groupers, professionals and social triathletes - this race attracts them all! Every year, some of Australia’s very best triathletes and a contingent of internationals descend on Goondiwindi to compete side-by-side with locals and amateurs, toughing out the relaxed but competitive long course event in some of the hottest, most challenging conditions of any triathlon in Australia. According to the HOTW president, the prize money on offer isn’t what attracts professional athletes, but the history of this iconic, community-centric race and the desire to ensure its survival in the “very corporate” IRONMAN world of triathlon. If you’re looking for a decent long-course hit out but need a break from the all-consuming M-dot, HOTW is for you!
2. The course
HOT HOT HOT. The Goondiwindi temperature in February (up to 38 degrees) is what sets this race apart. A 2km freshwater swim in the Macintyre River, followed by an 80km (40km out-and-back) flat cycle along the Barwon Highway, topped off with a 20km run back along the river (3 loops - perfect for spectators!), presents athletes with a formidable challenge, undoubtedly enticing to athletes who love to race in the heat. Due to the timing of the event, it’s a great early-year race if you’re ramping up Ironman training or even looking to compete in a team as a warm up for whatever is on the agenda for the rest of the calendar year.
3. The community feel
Nothing beats local hospitality, and Goondiwindi offers it in droves. With an average of 500 competitors, HOTW is big enough to warrant a well-organised and professional event, but still small enough for race morning bike racking! The relaxed and casual approach to this race helps to curb many a pre-race jitter, as do the local volunteers, assisting as ushers, aid station attendants and in a variety of other roles. The location of race transition - in the centre of the town at Goondiwindi Town Park - means the race (racking, transition set-up etc.) is also easily accessible for athletes and equally handy for spectators and supporters (no huge line ups to cross roads for better vantage points etc.). The race attracts a strong and loyal following amongst age groupers, with many competitors embracing the community event and returning to compete on a yearly basis, only adding to the laid-back and familial atmosphere.
4. The weekend “festival”
Recently rebranded as the “Festival of Hell”, events now span the entire weekend, and athletes of all abilities and their families can participate in additional races on ’Super Saturday’ including a 5 or 10km charity run “Gundy Inferno”, an enticer triathlon “The Firestarter” and “Hell Kids” - a kids triathlon open for ages 6-11. These events really encourage more local and family participation, adding to the festive atmosphere and offering the opportunity for an even larger contingent of athletes to descend on Goondiwindi without having to commit themselves to the formidable distances of the iconic HOTW race.
5. Its “feel good” factor
When you participate in local events like HOTW, the impact of both your time and money spent in regional areas like Goondiwindi cannot be overstated. Each year, this event benefits the Goondiwindi Region’s local economy significantly - every dollar spent by athletes on accomodation and local services helps to support the community, which is particularly important during these times of drought. In fact, HOTW is run as a not-for-profit incorporation and donates a significant amount of money back to the local community groups, sporting clubs, schools and charities who volunteer their time over the weekend. What could be better than knowing you are making an impact on a local scale, while doing what you love? Surely, this “feel good factor” will help to keep those mental demons at bay during the last 10K of the run leg… :-P
Good luck to all our awesome T:Zero athletes racing Hell of the West next weekend! Remember to stay hydrated, have fun and give it hell!
This weekend marks the 16th year of Ironman Western Australia. Held just south of Perth in the seaside town of Busselton (or “Busso” as it’s affectionately known) against the iconic backdrop of the town’s famous jetty (fun fact: the longest timber-piled pier in the southern hemisphere!), there are few Ironman races found in more idyllic locations. There are so many reasons this race should be on your bucket list if you haven’t ticked it off already, but here are our top five …
1. The town
Busselton itself is a picturesque little seaside town, of which its residents wholeheartedly embrace the Ironman event year after year. And what an appealing factor this is! Big enough to have everything you need, yet small enough to establish familiarity quickly and get around with ease, Busso is the kind of host-town that athletes dream of. Must-do’s include pre-race practice swims at the jetty foreshore in Geographe Bay, breakfast at The Goose and a coffee at Fat Duck Cycles & Espresso!
2. The swim
Prior to 2018, the swim course took athletes on a 3.8km jaunt around the jetty, however a “too-close-for-comfort” shark sighting during the 2017 event led race organisers to revise the course which is now 2-loops, closer to the shore. While the “cool factor” of the swim leg may have suffered a blow (and sharks aside), the swim is still hands-down one of the most stunning that athletes will ever experience. Crystal clear turquoise waters with views straight to the ocean floor, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better. The new course also has the added benefit of more protection and more favourable conditions in the bay.
3. The bike + run course & conditions (generally…)
Ironman Cairns in December would 100% be a no-go. But Busselton in December? The weather conditions are generally perfection, if a little on the cool side. A wetsuit swim and mostly sunny but cool conditions on the bike and run will serve most athletes well, provided strong winds stay at bay. The race is renowned for being one of the flattest and fastest around, guaranteed to help foster a PB performance or two! The two-lap bike route along coastline and through bushland provides the perfect combination of distraction and protection, and the four-lap run course along the waterfront and through the crowds of support crew and friendly locals serves as both a source of motivation and a simple way to break the marathon down into four mentally-manageable stages.
4. The flies …
Okay, so this one is a bit tongue in cheek (and may prompt a smirk or two from those in the know who’ve been there before), but you won’t find a better motivator (or bigger annoyance) on the run leg than the thousands of incredibly persistent, sticky little flies that flock to Busso to lend their support to athletes on race day. While this kind of fly torture may not be appealing to everyone, their presence sure does serve to speed up even the slowest shuffle on Lap 4 of the run. Prepare yourself. You’ve been warned.
5. Its proximity to additional perks!
Wine tasting, anyone? When race day has been and gone and all is said and done, there’s nothing like celebrating all your hard efforts and months of training than with a few days of rest and relaxation in the Margaret River wine region. Busselton itself is a gem, but drive just 30 minutes south and you’ll find yourself in one of the world’s best wine regions too. Stay, play and unwind if you can find some time - and enjoy all the perks of a slower pace on the west side!
Good luck to all our awesome T:Zero athletes racing this weekend - Australia’s last Ironman event of the year! And athletes don’t forget to catch up with Coach Rich and the rest of the crew for pre-race coffee and chats at Fat Duck Cycles & Espresso on November 30 at 8am!
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!