ITU Winter Triathlon, New Zealand.

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This was the first of what will hopefully be many ITU Winter Triathlons held in New Zealand (N.Z). This looks a great idea and should keep a few multisport/endurance athletes fit through the Winter months.

The field was short on numbers but by no means short on quality. Those who fronted up to the challenge on the day included overseas competitors as well as some of the better known local multisporters. The locals included the likes of Eric Billoud, Murray Thomas and Nat Anglem who took the mens open title on the day

The race started with a 6.5km run followed by a mountain bike section. The mountain bike was sensibly shortened by the ITU technical official and the triathlete support crew, from 12km to 8km due to high winds and soft wet snow conditions on the day. The 7.5km cross country ski made up the 3rd and final leg of the Winter Triathlon.

 

   

 

The Australian Cameron Morton led the pack for the 3 lap run course, however Nat Anglem (N.Z) kept within good striking distance. It was on the two lap mountain bike section that Nat Anglem would make the decisive break from Cameron. It was notable that Murray Thomas was also challenging hard and making good time on this leg.

The womans race was intriguing in that the overall winner Karen Messanger went out pretty easy on the run, and followed this up with a very good mountain bike and cross country ski. Natalie Corby was the second woman overall and had the winning run and cross country ski technique, but looked to be struggling on the bike.

There were a few good spills on the challenging mountain bike section but that didn't seem to deter the enthusiasm of most, and it looked like Geoff Small was even relishing the tough conditions.

Having been involved in the racing side of multisport/endurance for the most part, it was interesting to see up close some of the work the volunteers put in, and it impressed upon me that they were doing a great job.

I had been very tempted to compete in one of the two earlier races myself, so was very pleased to make it along and see how such a race would unfold.

Cross country ski-ing is a great sport from my experience, and back in 1998 and 1999 a group from my work competed in a teams section of ‘Merino Muster'. For the first race our team went up for a day prior and had lessons in both the classic and skating styles. This was enough for all to have the basic technique to cover 5-10kms .

More challenging in my view is the mountain bike section, and am sure there are a few gear setups such as tyre type/pressure that will make a difference here.

Bruce the ITU technical official made some brief but useful comments to everyone after the prize giving, including holding the Winter Triathlon a few weeks earlier next year, when the snow conditions are likely to be firmer.

It would have been good to see a few more people taking part and I understand that in the 2 shorter pre-races held on the course, there were 30+ locals taking part. With a bit of thinking the organizers will no doubt make this race a success in future, as they certainly have the credentials to do so.

 

Cameron Morton, 2nd Open Mens.

A teams competitor.

 

 

 

Race organiser Geoff Mathews, 3rd Masters Men.

 

Anna Gillory, 3rd Open Woman.

 

 

Antonie Arcard, 3rd Open Mens.

 

 

2nd Masters Men, Eric Billoud.

 

 

 

The downhill section and place of a few good mountain bike spills.

 

 

 

 

1st Masters Man, Murray Thomas.

 

 

Geoff Small just before a big spill on this slippery downhill.

Loyal supporters.

 

One competitor pushing the race rules by ski-ing the bike section and carrying his bike.

 

A replacement ski pole please. You can replace one ski but there is no limit on replacement poles.
Mary Lee competing in the teams section.
 

Geoff Small; good fitness training for his main sport of big mountain ski-ing.

Just Finished , 1st Open Mens.

 

 
The relief and ecstacy of crossing the finish line.  
Karen Messanger,1st Open Woman The mens open winners speech.

 

A well earned rest in the Waourau Snow Farm bar.

 

 

 

 

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