Shane Walker (right) competing in the Hervey Bay Triathlon Club event at River Heads.
Shane Walker (right) competing in the Hervey Bay Triathlon Club event at River Heads. Jocelyn Watts

Triathlon club goes off-road with new bush event

NORMAL runs are familiar territory for the Hervey Bay Triathlon club.

But with their first off-road duathlon in history coming up this weekend, even Shane Walker knows it will be a difficult trek.

With two 4.1km runs and a 9km mountain bike ride planned for the senior competitors at the Toogoom Mountain Bike reserve, Mr Walker said the duathlon was sure to be a new experience for many of the members.

But what would make it more of a challenge is the off-road status - consisting of a bush run and mountain bike ride over a standard bicycle.

"Normal triathlons use a time-trial bike. It's a completely different experience,” he said.

"Lots of the guys have been training for the past few weeks, so we're looking forward to it.

"It will definitely challenging to adjust to mountain bike riding - they've gone from riding on smooth tracks of esplanade to riding up and down the bush.”

"We should have good numbers for the first event.”

Junior competitors (under 14, 16 and intermediate levels) will embark on two 1km runs and a 1.2km ride.

Mr Walker said the event was set up to tap into the growing interest in mountain bike riding on the Fraser Coast, with some members of the club seeking interest in trying the sport.

"The local mountain bike club have done a brilliant job of the tracks out at Toogoom,” he said.

"It requires a different set of skills compared to riding on the road.”

With many of the competitors about to embark on their first experience with off-road triathlons, Mr Walker said Amy Munson and Chris Searle were two competitors to look out for.

This Saturday's event marks the first race for the club since March 26, which consisted of a 750m swim, 20km ride and 5km run in the open section.

Another duathlon, to be held at the River Heads Sport Reserve on June 11, will test competitors with three 2km runs and two 10km bike rides.

But if this week's event is success, the club will start making arrangements to host another in 2018.

"We've definitely got a lot of traction for it - there are lots of people who want to give mountain biking and trail riding a shot,” he said.

The event will be held at the Toogoom MTB reserve, with juniors starting at 1.30pm and seniors at 2.30pm.

Register at the Hervey Bay Triathlon club website: https://www.herveybaytriclub .org.au/events-calendar



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