Port Stephens turns on a “Brutally Awesome” course for Australia’s Ultimate Triathlon
“Brutally Awesome” was the word on the street as Round 2 of TreX, Australia’s National Cross Triathlon Series, launched in spectacular Port Stephens this weekend. Ultimately it was reigning U23 World Cross Triathlon Champion Penny Slater from NSW taking out the Open/Elite Category for the females and Queenslander Max Neumann back from some strong performances on road both overseas and at home, taking the title for the men.
As the sun rose over stunning Fingal Bay, it was clear that Port Stephens was set to shine for this inaugural off road event in the region. As competitors lined up against the sparkling blue waters on Fingal Beach the scene was one of tranquillity, but it was clear that an epic challenge lay ahead and as the day would play out this ultimate triathlon challenged athletes at every turn.
Into the water and it was Max Neumann who once again demonstrated his dominance on the swim leg exiting the water with a 4:22 lead over Dan Robins NSW and race 1 winner Jacob Storey VIC.
Penny Slater, just back in Australia after an awe inspiring win at the U23 ITU World Championships in Canada, dominated the swim exited the water 4th overall in a time of 28:34.
The mountain bike leg hosted in beautiful Tomaree National Park, which at this time of year was at its stunning best as abundant wildflowers setting the backdrop for a challenging mountain bike leg which included two laps of a 15km course.
Although this course was not as technically challenging as other TreX courses across the nation, it did add a new European element to round two as the mountain bike leg was physically challenging with a lap that included fire trail, rocky climbs, steep descents and some hard sand trails in the mix. This made for a thigh burning 30km on the bike.
With an MTB split time of 1:17 Max Neumann continued to dominate the race and came back into T2 with a lead of 13:09 over Jacob Storey who had ridden his way into 2nd place and now lead Dan Robins by 2:12.
Penny Slater continued her dominance on the course with a MTB split of 1:34 as she came into T2 with a lead of 9:26 over Holly Khan from NSW, and Sorcha Flett from South Australia in 3rd.
With legs burning, hearts pumping and lungs heaving it was time to hit the trail run leg, and with some softer sand trails at the start, athletes had to dig deep before reaching the spectacular coastal trails on the Fingal Bay headland. For all that hard work at the start of the trail run, athletes were rewarded with some of the most spectacular scenery and coastal vistas found anywhere in the world on these awe inspiring coastal walking trails.
Coming off the coastal trail and into Barry Park it was time to tackle the rocks of the headland before heading onto spectacular Final Beach for the final kilometre of the trail run leg before finishing on the Fingal Bay Foreshore.
Onto the final leg Max Neumann recorded a blazing 42:41 split for the 10km Trail Run to finish in a time of 2:25:02 ahead of Jacob Storey 2nd and Dan Robins 3rd.
Penny Slater also finished strongly, demonstrating the true spirit of a world champion, with a run split of 55:55 making her the only female to finish sub 3 hours with a time of 2:59:54 with Holly Khan 2nd and Sorcha Flett 3rd.
Race Director, Simon Lazenby, from In2Adventure who hosted the ITU World Championships in the Snowy Mountains in November 2016 told us,
“The course at Port Stephens delivered a real challenge for athletes and added another unique race to the seven-race strong national series. The beach swim and the Euro-style mountain bike course coupled with the amazing scenery and beach location certainly both challenged and rewarded athletes and the quote from one age group athlete describing the event as ‘Brutally Awesome’ certainly summed up what off road triathlon is all about. It’s tough, challenging and rewarding and offers athletes the opportunity to discover some of the most spectacular destinations in Australia.”
The TreX Series offers up a real challenge for our elite racers in the standard distance course, however, with a Sprint, Junior, Teaser and Dirt Kids course it’s also about participation. The TreX series offers an opportunity for athletes of any age or ability to come along and enjoy the off road experience.
In the sprint course which included a 400m swim, 15km XC MTB and 6km trail run there were also some amazing performances, especially in the Junior Young Guns categories.
In the Junior course Joey Milgate from Gympie, Qld and Tia Hart from Northmead, NSW dominated the race from start to finish finishing in 41:23 and 52:13 respectively.
And the TreX Dirt Kids was certainly the feature event of the day with our young off-road champions of tomorrow aged 7-10 years tackling a 50m sea wade, 1km mountain bike along Fingal Bay foreshore and a 500m run on Fingal Beach.
The TreX series continues on its national tour with round 3, TreX Redlands, hosted at Queensland’s mountain biking heaven, Karingal Scout Camp at Mount Cotton on Brisbane’s south side before heading onto Bendigo in November.
For more information about how you can be a part of Australia’s ultimate off-road triathlon visit the website at https://trextriathlon.com.au/
2017|18 events include:
|20 Aug 2017||Race 1: TreX Duathlon||Kurwongbah, Qld||Gold|
|16 | 17 Sept 2017||Race 2: TreX Port Stephens||Fingal Bay, NSW||Platinum|
|28 Oct 2017||Race 3: TreX Redlands||Mt Cotton, Qld||Gold|
|25 | 26 Nov 2017||Race 4: TreX Goldfields||Bendigo, VIC||Platinum|
|24 | 25 Feb 2018||Race 5: TreX Snowy Mountains||Snowy Mountains, NSW||Platinum|
|24 | 25 Mar 2018||Race 6: TreX Back 2 Back Enduro||Kurwongbah, Qld||Gold|
|28 | 29 April 2018||Race 7: TreX Champs||Sunshine Coast, Qld||Platinum|
For more information visit TreX here
Feature images: Andrew Arnott (Newcastle Sports Photography) | Megan Caton (Megan Caton Photography) | Courtesy In2Adventure