Saturday, June 30, 2012

Favorite 5 from the last year.

I’ve been asked by a lot of people what my favorite race is and why. So for this blog I have picked my favourte five races of the past twelve months.

1. Julia Creek Triathlon. Queensland, Australia.

This is my favorite race of all time. Its not just a race, it’s a weekend festival in a small country town out the middle of nowhere with real country spirit.
The main events include the triathlon, Horse races with a redclaw lunch, Bull ride and a concert that finishes well into Sunday morning.
It excites me just writing about this weekend.
After registration on race morning all the bikes are placed on a cattle truck and driven out to the water hole, from there we ride back into town and do a couple of laps around the main street to finish the run. Being a sprint race its finished pretty early and by the time you have a shower and something to eat the horse races are about to start. So basically you go from one activity to the next usually with a few beverages in between!
A lucky few people get some rooms at the hotel but the majority of people camp in part of what the organizers call tent city under the stars.
Everytime I have been to this race I have walked away totally refreshed looking forward to the next year, I missed it this year as it clashed with another race I had but hopefully will be back there in 2013.


2. Gerardmer Triathlon. France.

The French love their tough races and this is hard core stuff. A half Ironman with a high quality field and hardly a bit of flat road. 2300m of climbing over 90km means your either going up or down on the bike. And the descents are testing to dangerous. Most of the run is around the lake on a mix of trail and road.
Race presentation is a big event and everyone attends with the hope of winning the lucky number draw. The big prize is a car!
The fastest non professional bike split wins a $10000 bike.
Most people just compete to say that they finished the event and survived. I really enjoyed the event here last year.

Cooling off in the lake after the race in 2011

3. Alpe D’Huez Triathlon

Another one of these tough French races over a weird distance of 2/120/21.
Anyone who has had anything to do with cycling knows Alpe D’Huez and this is the final climb of the day before you get off and run around the snow fields at the top.
My most memorable part of this race was the final km’s of the bike as I climbed Alpe D’Huez reading all the artwork and graffiti left behind from many years of Le Tour De France.

Some of the hair pins up Alpe D’Huez

4. Ironman Wales

2011 was the first year of Ironman Wales and we had the worst conditions for the whole week. Cyclonic winds, rain and cold weather just added to the difficulty of a tough race.
No huge mountains on the bike but constant up and down. 2500m of climbing over the bike followed by a hilly run really sorted me out.
I liked this race though it was a fair course and a bit of a novelty for all the locals, we had thousands of people out on the course to cheer us on even through the bad weather.
I was caught with about 300m left to run in the race and finished second so this race will stick in my memory for a while.

The crowd at swim start! 6.30 on a Sunday morning!!

The first km of the run and the crowd is huge.

5. Challenge Wanaka. New Zealand.

I love the atmosphere of Challenge races but Challenge Wanaka had everything and I won the race so this one is definitely a favorite.
During the winter Wanaka is the place to go for a ski in New Zealand and there are still a couple of glaciers visible from the town during summer. It really sets the backdrop for a beautiful race.
Once again it is a fair course with strong winds and lots of hills.
The support from the local town people is great. From a town of seven thousand, one thousand volunteered to help at the race and I am sure the other six thousand were out on the course cheering us along or helped the athletes out with homestays.
The after party was great as well!
Hopefully I’ll be back to this race a few more times.


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