Celebrating 25 awesome years
AN ICONIC race on the calendar, the Mooloolaba tri is a great first race for the beginner and also a true test of an athlete’s form for top age groupers.
The surf swim can throw up its obvious challenges if the conditions aren’t favourable and not only for the swell and potential chop, but for swimmers that aren’t confident in open water, sighting can play a role also.
The old saying goes you can’t win the race in the swim, but you can definitely lose it.
The bike on paper looks great – flat and on a slick motorway, but if we have a wind like we saw last weekend then the trip home is straight into a block 20kmh southerly.
Avoid cruising down to the turn-around thinking you are on fire only to turn and struggle to get above your average Saturday morning easy ride pace.
Or worse still, don’t go too hard with the tailwind and then blow at 30km and in turn cook yourself for the run.
The run scares most people with the undulations, but if run smart it can be a quick run. Go into it spent after the bike then it will be a long day and even more so if you have a later wave start.
On a side note, your wave start will affect your race if it is a hot day, so race to the conditions. Someone starting at 8.30am will be running in a lot harsher conditions than someone starting at 6.30am so keep this in mind.
Exit T2 with purpose, but not too hard. Wait until you get over Alex hill before you gauge how your legs are feeling. Use the momentum of the downhill to get you to your goal pace and settle into a rhythm. The toughest part of the run is when you turn the northern end for the last time with about 3km to go.
Have enough left in the tank to run this the same speed as the first 7km and you will definitely pass people and pick up a few extra spots.
For the first timers you will only ever do your first Mooloolaba once so enjoy it. For the seasoned athlete to win the Mooloolaba tri you don’t just have to be talented and well trained, but also know the course and execute all three disciplines well.
Ahead of next week, I spoke with Commonwealth Games gold medallist and 2007, 2010 and 2011 Mooloolaba ITU World Cup winner Brad Kahlefeldt (he came second in 2008 and 2012, and third in 2009) on how to win Mooloolaba on the main stage.
“Back in 2007 I prepared really well all summer for this race. It was my main focus and was a great chance to see how the training is going,” he said.
“To be honest I had a couple bad races in Mooloolaba as a junior and an up and coming pro.
“It was a brutal course and I just didn’t prepare well enough. 2007 I left no stone unturned and did a lot of hard training especially in the hills for this race.
“You have to respect the course and it’s a race you cannot be underdone.
“I knew i had to be off the bike with the likes of Javier (Gomez) and co to have any chance of doing well. We pushed hard and from memory we picked them up towards the end of the ride.
“I headed out on the run and pushed the pace on the first lap until Javier put the foot down halfway through and split up the front group. I managed to catch him on the last hill and it was nice to beat the champ this time. The following year in 2008 he beat me and I was second. I always enjoyed racing Javier as he continues to raise the bar in our sport on many levels.”
Brad’s tip: Once out on the run course build into the first hill, try not to spike the heart rate too much as it’s flat and fast the other side for the age group race so you can certainly wind it up, especially
if you have a southerly.
If racing for the podium, you need to be patient. The last climb up before you descend into transition is a great place to make a move but use the momentum over the top of the climb as it’s almost downhill from there.
Tip for first timer: Enjoy this race, it’s one of the most iconic races in the world. It’s a fun course and there are many other athletes out there to push with.
Use the people around you to help lift you. Pace yourself well, but most importantly have fun.
Brad Kahlefeldt on his way to Mooloolaba victory in 2011.