My first exposure to Triathlon was like many others, on the road.
1986 in Lake Macquarie NSW as a 16 year old aspiring Surf Ironman I was suffering on what seemed an indeterminable distance at the time that was later to be named the Olympic distance!
From that day forward I considered Triathlon an important part of my Multisport Journey, a journey that would become a career and a career that has become a Lifestyle.
Further cemented by watching Mark Allen and Dave Scott battle it out in Kona on the Wide World Of Sports.
Through out my 13 professional Surf Ironman seasons from 1988/2001 I used cycling as a form of cross training and soon became addicted to the feeling of riding snaking valley roads, cutting through fresh cane fields and sucking lung fulls of crisp morning air on mountain climbs.
Later in my career I realized I could satiate my competitive nature in the off season my racing in the remaining Triathlons late in the summer calendar resulting in a win at the Australian Olympic distance Tri and Duathlon championships for the 25/29 age group in 1999
I retired in 2001 from professional sport as a Surf Ironman and quickly found myself racing in a range of multisport, adventure races and Triathlons.
Cross Tri events made a bit of an appearance in Australia in the early 2000’s and never really took off. I have often wondered why and made some observations.
In recent years Mountain bike technology has gone ahead so far with bikes being far safer, lighter and affordable.
Local government and community groups and the private sector are spending enormous amounts of Money and time building sustainable, safe and fun trail networks.
The roads are becoming busier and although recent efforts with the ‘meter matters’ campaign roads are becoming better but can still be a scary place at times.
Off road training and Cross Triathlons are fast becoming a popular option amongst cyclist and Triathletes with Cross Triathlons showing a strong resurgence on the Australian Calendar.
The TREX Cross Triathlon series has been running for a number of years in South East Queensland and is at the forefront of Off Road events in Australia now with a Triathlon Australia sanctioned series with six events in Three States offering over $40,000 in prize money to the Pros.
Lifestyle is the key word when you’re considering going Off Road. As impressive as the Pro Purse is these events are about the experience, forget the rush, the quick get away back to facebook and insta. A Trex event is a weekend of experiences from flowing single track, clear water, mountain air, quiet meals with friends and time to just enjoy the essence of Triathlon Freedom, health, mates and good times and some friendly rivalry.
I have found my on road Triathlon ability has improved through off road training as an unexpected bonus. Bike handling skills have improved, hill strength and time trials all going forward partly due to the Cross Training effect and also that I enjoy riding my Giant Anthem so much I’m always on it!
Join the off road evolution.
Triathlon Australia Level One Coach
Former 3 time Uncle Tobys Ironman series winner