Sunshine Coast Australian Cross Tri Championships by Hoff and Chris Moore @ 27 Feb 2017
Lead up
Hoff - Raced around all week trying to find a bike bag as Rosi was now coming and I had planned to borrow his. Hit Ang up to borrow his only to find out he’d sold it a few days earlier so I was in a panic. Borrowed Stu Lamble’s bag and had no idea how I was going to pack a mountain bike in a road bike bag. Eventually Pete from Top Gear Cycles came to my rescue and gave me a mountain bike bag. As it turned out we’d see a lot more of Pete as he was on the same flight up as us and spent almost all of the weekend with us. Can’t speak more highly of Pete as a bike mechanic but also a person. He certainly helped us quite a few times over the weekend with putting bikes back together when we arrived (just quietly I’m hoping he’s in Canada too!) Flew up Friday, put bikes together, had a ride of the course and it was really good, fast and flowing, was pretty excited.

Chris - One of the best and worst parts about off-road triathlon is that travel will be required. This season there aren’t any off-road triathlons (or none that I know about) in Victoria. The flip side is that I get to travel with great mates to some pretty amazing places. This time we found ourselves travelling to the beautiful Sunshine Coast to take on the Australian Cross Tri Championships. Unfortunately for us we hit the end of a heat wave and we were sweating as soon as we were off the plane. We also got lucky by travelling with our very own mobile bike mechanic Pete Hepworth from Top Gear (a great guy but he kept giving me a hard time for riding a Norco and not a Specialized).

Race morning happened in a flash and before we knew it, we were cramming our bikes into a very tight transition area...we may have been a bit late due to an unnamed party not wanting to get up early... He knows who he is.

Swim
Hoff - Race day arrived, did the usual set up of gear. Was a little concerned with the temperature and my lack of fluids I was carrying on the bike (1x 600ml bottle), left an extra bottle in transition to have in T1 and T2. The 1500m swim (2 x 750m laps) started with a wave of about 50 men, it was a non-wetsuit swim as the water was 29 degrees!! Started on the left hand side as a week earlier I’d come of mountain bike and had three stitches in my left elbow for my trouble so was trying to avoid it being knocked in the swim. Couldn’t find any feet to sit on for the first lap, didn’t find a whole lot of rhythm either. Got out of the first 750m lap and round the turnaround marker on the beach and spotted Chris 10-15 seconds ahead. Let two guys come past me and jumped on their feet and got pulled along nicely. Chris was swimming solo and we were slowly making inroads. Came out of the water around 5 seconds behind him, pretty confident as usual I’d get him in T1 as he’s always a bit slower!

Chris - So in true Queensland fashion, we began our race without wetsuits. It was mostly uneventful, I tried to sit on some feet as I seem to be quite challenged at doing this but the guy in front of me seemed to be more challenged at swimming in the right direction. So I decided to let him explore the lake on his own. I kept an eye out for Hoff but didn’t see him until the swim exit.

Ride
Hoff - Ride was good (30k as 3 x 10k laps), as hoped I picked Chris off in transition but he was right on my back wheel out of T1, decided I’d take it a bit easier to start with as the first 4K was tight single track and he couldn’t get past me. Exited the single track and he wasn’t on my back wheel which was surprising. Up the short fire trail climb and back onto the single track, legs started to come good. The latter part of the bike lap had a few sections where you could spot those behind you, spotted Chris and thought he was maybe 20-30 seconds back on me, was quite happy about this. Finished lap one and again spotted Chris around the same margin. Lap two saw a few slower riders on course who must have been starting lap 1, with plenty of single track you had to be patient and bide your time to pass, thankfully if you use your manners and be sensible you find a spot pretty quickly. I always make sure I say thanks and good luck with your race as you pass as it’s not much fun for the slower riders being passed regularly and some guys make some silly moves at the wrong time when they’re impatient. Finished lap 2 and had no sight of Chris and lap 3 went the same way, it was really warming up though but happy to be leading at this stage.

Chris - T1 was intense, there was next to no room to move as there wasn’t enough space between some of the racks. I needed to run my bike out on its rear wheel otherwise I wouldn’t have got through the labyrinth of bike wheels in front of me. In keeping with tradition, Hoff left T1 in front of me, but this time I sat on his wheel for the first half of lap 1 (of 3 laps) until he started to pull away. I wasn’t interested in expending all my energy just trying to keep up with him on the bike and not leave anything for the run. On a side note, I had my first hit out on my new mountain bike (Norco Revolver – third ride), I had a ball and really enjoyed the flowing single track and the small amount of rocky sections (hoping for more of this in Canada later in the year).

Run
Hoff - The run course was 10.5k as 3 x 3.5k laps. They’d promised three drink points on course, one straight out of transition, another 500m around and then the third was the back of the first drink point at around the 1k mark. So three drink stations in the space of a kilometre, not sure whose bright idea it was but it just didn’t work on a 35 degree day. To top it off the water cups would of held 100ml if you were lucky when they were full, which they were not. Started the run well, the course was mostly shaded, all on dirt, very windy and generally flat. Finished the first lap ok, hadn’t seen Chris yet, but was really feeling the heat. Stopped at the first water station on lap 2 and had a few drinks of water and tried to splash a few over me as well. Skipped the second drink station as I figured I’d stop 2 minutes time at the third station. Got to the third station and it was nowhere to be found, bugger.

Trudged through the rest of the second lap and was really feeling it, still no sign of Chris so tried to stay positive and keep moving. Stopped at the first aid station on lap 3 and had a bit more to drink, but was starting to feel dizzy. Stopped at the second aid station and Chris came flying past. Hereafter things started going really pear shaped. Couldn’t get running again and was dizzy, so just walked. Got about half way round the lap and Pete came past. Not too long after Rosi came past and he put an arm around me and walked me to the finish. In the end I lost 20 minutes on Chris who had a great run. I finished up in the medical tent cooling off with ice down my back and water.

Chris - No Hoff at T2, I thought he must have been 3-4 minutes ahead of me at this point. Like always, I had my work cut-out for me to catch him. The heat was really starting to kick in now and issues with understaffed aid stations and their questionable locations would soon be an issue. Luckily, I had 2 litres of insulted cold water on the bike (which I completely drained) which put me in good stead for a strong run (albeit not overly fast). By the time I got to lap 3 (of 3) I was starting to get quite hot, but when I caught sight of Hoff having a drink at the second aid station, my competitive nature kicked in and I started to push. Little did I know he was in a bad way and was on a hard road to the finish (but as always, Rosi was there for a mate in need... The club is lucky to have him around).

Post-Race
Hoff - Wasn’t the race I was hoping for, I was going ok until half way through the run but the heat and a lack of water on the bike cost me. Chris had all 2L of his camel back on the bike, I had a 600ml drink bottle. Full credit to Chris he raced well and the rivalry of ours keeps going! The aim for the weekend was to qualify for World Champs in Canada in August and by finishing 4th and 8th Chris and I will be comfortably on the team. It was a really enjoyable course and I love racing the cross triathlons as it’s always a challenge and tough. The race was good, especially the bike course and was great to get away with Chris, Rosi and Pete for a few days! Now to start training for Canada!

Chris - I crossed the finish line in a fairly unstable state, I was struggling to stand on wobbly legs and really needed to cool down. I waited for a couple of minutes at the finish as I thought Hoff would be close behind, but I needed some shade and to get off my feet. I got some water and lay down under a tree for five minutes to try and bring my temperature down. Once I had done this, I met a very nice vendor who allowed me to stand in the shade, in front of his fan, he even gave me a tea towel soaked in ice water. This added with a can of Coke, some more water and 10 minutes made the world of difference. It was at this time that I found out how Hoff (and many others) had suffered from the heat. This event was a good reminder of how important the right hydration is. Well done to Hoff, Pete and Rosi for gritting through a tough race which should see Hoff, Pete and I qualify for the world champs in Penticton, Canada in August - what a great place to get to race with mates!