Mooloolaba/Triathlon UniGames - Nick Thompson

Mooloolaba/Triathlon UniGames - Nick Thompson

After catching a morning flight, Jonney and I arrived to a pretty wet and dark Brisbane afternoon. Soon after we landed, we bumped into Oggi before catching a ConXion bus through the traffic up to the Sunshine Coast, transferring into a smaller minivan for the last part of the trip. It was a pretty long trip in the end, as we ended up arriving at the accomodation at around 6pm. We were pleased to find that it was right next to the start of the bike course, and was only a 5min walk to transition and the event expo. The balcony also overlooked the ocean, so we got an early glimpse of the rough swim conditions we were to expect on race day. Later in the night, we were informed via the event Facebook page that disc wheels had been prohibited due to the potentially damaging wind conditions. After some frantic messaging the event page, we ended up calling Grant midway through his dinner. Thankfully he was flying out the next day and was able to bring myself and Jonney over some non disc race wheels.

The day mostly consisted of some easy swim, bike and run miles just to get the body moving again after the flight. Grant and Channa arrived in Mooloolaba on this day, so we decided it was time to head down to athlete check in to register and collect our race packs. The race expo was pretty lively, with many apparel stalls set up within the marquee area, including Ironman Champion Luke Mckenzie’s company WYN Republic. We spent some time on our foot, walking around the finishing area to try and figure out the technical parts of the course. In hindsight it may have been a bit too much walking, as my pesky quad injury was starting to rear it’s head. Jonney came to the rescue with his magic painkillers which worked a treat. The next day Oggi and I tried to get some at the pharmacy but we needed a prescription 😂.

The day started with a bit of a splash and a body surf on the swim course. The conditions weren’t choppy at all, but when the set was in, the waves were quite sizeable. As we had seen much calmer conditions cancel swims, it wasn't a surprise when later on in the day, it was announced that the swim was shortened and moved towards a more protected area of the bay, around 1.5km further down the beach. After a final spin in the bikes and a short, sharp run afterwards, we checked our bikes into transition, the rest of our equipment would be set up on race morning. The day finished with us spectating the elite ITU Males and Females racing through the streets of Mooloolaba for the opening World Cup of the season. It was great to watch and motivated us to go just as hard and fast the next day,

We woke up at around 4:45am in order to get to transition at around 5:45-6ish. My leg was pretty sore but I knew I had one painkiller saved for 30mins before race start at 6:45. After a contested set up in transition with over a thousand others, we started the 1.5km walk down the beach towards the new swim course. I got there with around 10 mins to spare and found Jonney, Oggi and Channa all in the zone. After a short dip to get the mind and body ready, we were on the start line. I was right behind Jonney’s big frame when the gun went off, but the pace was too hot to handle. He led out of the swim and ended up monitoring the bike, averaging close to 50km/h in the first 20km. He was leading a small pack of 3, while I was chasing solo. We both paid for the hard work on the bike but managed to get through a tough, hilly run leg. He ended up finishing in 3rd (and was also Australian University Champion) while I was a couple minutes back in 4th. Although I didn’t experience their respective races, I do know Oggi and Channa had smashed it as well. Oggi clocking a 18 min PB and Channa powering through on the run after some pain developing on the bike. It ended up being a really festive event despite all that was happening in the lead up; the winds, the waves, the coronavirus. Although I was quite annoyed at the disc wheels call, credit to the event organisers and team for putting on a great race. Post race went something like: collect bike, pack bike, load bikes in Grant’s minivan, drive to airport. Other than Channa who was staying back with Denny for a few weeks, we all had flights that evening and were back in Perth before 9:30pm. Thanks to Grant for volunteering his time to come along and keep our heads screwed on straight and also thank you to Shannon Eagland from UWA Sport who sorted our accomodation, travel and uniform.