Text nd images by "george-bob"
Like many of us, my first exposure to Australian triathlon was the old triathlon F1 Gran Prix series, the fast paced, relentless racing, often around local landmarks, televised live with Tim Bailey inevitably commentating. When I saw XOSIZE had launched a TriF1 event for age groupers I was excited, but had a number of reservations. How would such a short race work as non-drafting? How can three races of thirty minutes each take all day? How do you even race such a short distance?
Age Group mens final prepare to hit the water.
On the Monday of the Labour Day long weekend I went to have a crack at this new/old racing and see how TriF1 works as an age group race.
The format of TriF1 is simple: two eliminator rounds of 200m swim, 10km bike and 2km run, where only the top ~75% of the field continue to the next round. Those eliminated go on to the ‘B’ final, while those that hung on qualified to go to the ‘A’ final.
The 1k looped course for the Elites made for a great spectacle.
The final is an “enduro” format: 200m swim, 5km bike, 1km run, and then straight on to another 200m swim, 5km bike, and 1km run to really test out those tired legs. Everyone races at least twice, with those who make it past the first eliminator racing three times across the day.
Smaller wave sizes meant drafting wasn't an issue.
Between the age group races there was plenty of time for rest, upwards of an hour- to eat, drink and enjoy the elite’s draft legal racing. Unlike the age group race (that used the 5km lap of the Regatta Centre for the bike leg) the elites race a 6x1km bike course, keeping the action centred on transition. The racing was excellent and made the breaks between the age group waves really interesting. To top it off the organisers had even arranged for free massages throughout the day, which helped loosen tired legs between races.
Draft legal females approaching the finish.
My biggest concern going into the race was how would it work as a non-drafting event? Surely a 200m swim wouldn’t break up the field enough to enable a clean race? I was pleasantly surprised that even in the first eliminator (with almost 40 age group men) drafting was a non-issue from my perspective. The pace of the riding meant keeping a 7m gap was easy, and the slightly technical part of the course past transition helped to string people out a little more.
Draft legal males coming to the finish.
Overall the event was excellent, well run and a lot of fun. It is a great day out for any triathlon fan. The short races and spectacle of the elite racing even made it tolerable for patient partners and families. The race had some small teething issues- the live feed didn’t work, and the timing could’ve been tightened up (a three hour wait between the second eliminator and final wasn’t ideal). But these issues are minor and Scott Hollow, the race director, is approachable and keen to hear suggestions. The format is fun, challenging and inclusive; I look forward to racing TriF1 again!
The event had a great relaxed atmosphere while still providing competitive racing.
So on to race two for biger and better things and hopefully we are witnessing the birth of a new, sucessful and ongoing series to give us all more optionsfor racing and a new opportunity to showcase our sport. Ed!
For more information see TriF1.