Hansen's on top of the world
IT seems Maryborough teacher Pete Hansen is like a fine wine and is improving with age.
Well, when it comes to competing on the world stage he certainly is.
The 45-year-old has just returned home after wearing the green and gold of Australia for the second time in his career during the World Triathlon Championships in China.
He produced two impressive performances in Beijing.
Held on the course used for the 2008 Olympic Games, Hansen finished 21st in the sprint age group championships, an event he finished 43rd in on his debut last year.
He backed that effort up by finishing 16th in the World Aquathon Championships in which he finished 25th 12 months ago.
But what was the key to Hansen's improvement?
"I lost a bit of weight and that helped me run faster," Hansen said with a laugh.
"Seriously, that (losing weight) did help but I've trained really hard since I came back from the event last year and that paid off.
"I've been doing three lots of swimming a week as well as four sessions each on the bike and road running.
"It has been intense but it has been worth it - I am very happy with my improvement."
As for his performances, Hansen said he was thrilled with them given the conditions.
"The bike course was very technical with tight turns and some hills," he said.
"It became treacherous and very slippery in the wet conditions we had on race day and lots of people fell off.
"It was also cold and wet for the sprint event - they were far from ideal conditions."
But it wasn't all work and no play for Hansen.
"I travelled with some of the Aussie team on a tour after the event and I got to climb the Great Wall which was just as strenuous as doing a race," he said.
Next year's world championships are in Auckland in October and it comes as no surprise that Hansen said he was hoping to make the team again.
"Qualifications begin at the end of this year so I am taking a week or two off to rest and get ready," he said.
"It doesn't get any better than representing your country."