Welcome friends, to another iteration of the blog, in which the reintroduction of mindless waffle makes it’s welcome return. Given the preeminent pipe opener of the ITU season next weekend at Mooloolaba, my introspection of late of been drawn to this jewel in the Sunshine Coast’s crown. Below is an abstract taken from a column I penned some years ago, for the once cult-followed underground fanzine known as ‘The Guardian’. Whilst I sadly won’t be toeing the start line at my favorite race on the calendar this year, perhaps the following gibberish can provide a few pointers for those making the pilgrimage North...
Given a few idle moments ruminating over the physiological and psychological roller-coaster that a taper presents, your editor has spent a few moments postulating past experiences at Mooloolaba. The past 10 years have dealt yours truly a few lessons in the art of Mooloolaba, regrettably mostly unkind lessons. Whilst yet to have the credentials to provide an accurate ‘What to do’ guide for Mooloolaba, I may certainly lay testimonial to a “What not to do’ guide which may provide some insight in the beast that is the Mooloolaba race. Allow me to provide a concise course description; as well a few pointers that may help you avoid my disasters of the past:
The Night Before: That’s right folk’s, tragedy can occur more than 24 hrs before the gun goes. Charismatic though friend of the Guardian Jimmy Seear is, if choosing to dine with our man, avoid ordering the same poultry based meal as he chooses. Chances are he will snare a delicious meal, whilst salmonella vomiting will plague your next 24 hrs, leading to difficult race conditions, with both the chicken and your race hopes disappearing down the toilet. (Reference: Wilson 2008)
The Swim: Depending on surf conditions, the swim can either be held in the canal or on the open beach of Mooloolaba. Having negotiated the sometimes tricky currents and rips, care must be taken when catching the ‘miracle wave’ into the beach. Known for dumping on shallow water, practice is important the day’s preceding the race. Even having avoided severe spinal injury is sometimes still not enough, so take care to avoid your goggles getting ripped off, taking with it a small section of nose and leaving an unsightly gash for the crowd to ogle over at the next days race (Reference: Wilson 2009).
Race tactics include picking suitable feet to follow. Chances are if you are a 17 yr old mid- pack swimmer, picking the greatest swimmer the sport has ever seen (I.e. Walton), and following him left, while the rest of the field goes right, will result in you losing the feet, the pack, and in due course, the race (Reference: Wilson 2004).
|Ticking time bomb - 2006|
The Bike: Usually hot, usually windy, and always hilly, it may not be the hardest bike course around, but is enough to begin the burn in the legs. Attacking solo with 39kms left to race is not advisable, particularly on the 2005 course, notorious for being more difficult than Advanced Physics 101. Results include being shown the exit before the remaining 39kms is up, and reduced run ability (Reference: Wilson 2005).
The Run: Try to run fast enough to avoid being slagged off by the commentators (Reference: Wilson 2005). Try not to run a 5:30 first 2 km then bonk (Reference: Wilson 2006). Try not to attract the attention of vigilante civilians attempting to coax another lap out of a gastro intestinally constrained runner (Reference: Wilson 2008). Try not to have bleached hair (Reference: Wilson 2003). Try not to get outsprinted by a Frenchman (Reference: Wilson 2009).
As you may gather, the run presents more hurdles than the Grand National, not least of all is the hill that rises like puff pastry in a pizza oven, which must be conquered no less than 8 times before breaking the tape. Close races comparable to trench warfare.
After Party: Classified.