If you’re looking at getting In 2 XTriathlon in Australia for the first time, looking to improve your performance for the upcoming season or looking for some hints and tips for improving your performance, you’ve come to the right place. Connect with some of the best off road training organisations in the country, or catch up on some of the latest hints and tips from our pathway partners.
Some Interesting Reading
What the Hell is Cross Triathlon?
What the Hell is Cross Triathlon?
It’s what you get when you mix Triathlon with dirt, mud, cross country trails and a whole load of hardcore action.
OK, so we all know what a triathlon is, swim, bike, run…. Easy! However, triathlon has already evolved into a number of varied events including Sprint distance, Olympic distance, Half Ironman and Ironman and now Cross Triathlon is rapidly being recognised in Australia as the new evolution in the sport.
So, What is Cross Triathlon?
At this point it might be a good opportunity to dispel some of the myths and look at what Cross Triathlon is not. There is a strong misplaced belief that Cross Triathlon is an Adventure Race. This is far from reality.
Cross triathlon is a set format including a Swim, Mountain Bike and Trail Run on a pre-determined, marked course and is governed by the rules and guidelines of a traditional triathlon. Put simply, it’s the on road version of the sport transposed into a bushland setting with mountain bikes and off road trail shoes.
Cross triathlon first emerged in 1996 on the island of Maui, when mountain biking and triathlon met in a bold new racing format that included an open-ocean swim, mountain bike race and trail run which attracted a multi-faceted market including outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers, mountain bikers and triathletes.
The inaugural ITU Cross Tri World Championships were held in 2011 in Spain with over 400 athletes competing across the elite, junior, age-group and paratriathlon categories.
Triathlon Australia and The International Triathlon Union are demonstrating their commitment to Cross Triathlon with the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships now an established annual event.
Are there any differences between traditional triathlon and cross triathlon?
The answer is yes. Although governed by the same rules and guidelines of on-road triathlon, it does have some key differences:
The swim course is quite similar to the on road version of the sport. Competitors find themselves plunging into dams, lakes, rivers and the ocean and sometimes have to get in touch with their ‘dirty’ side as swim entries and exits can be muddy or boggy in the XTri version of the sport. Reeds, lilies’ and sometimes wildlife can be a part of the swim leg in a cross triathlon, which just adds to the adventure of the event.
No Such Thing as Drafting
Due to the nature of the mountain bike leg drafting does not come into play in the cross version of the sport. However, courtesy on the mountain bike is governed by recognised mountain bike guidelines such as:
- Where possible riders must keep to the left of the trails and allow others to pass;
- When passing riders should alert the person in front with a friendly shout “Passing when you’re ready”; and
- When being passed, and it is safe to do so, riders will move to side of the trail to allow other riders to pass.
The Mountain Bike Course
The mountain bike course is an eclectic combination of trails which can include fire trails and 4WD tracks, bush trails, and technical single track (no tarmac here!). Each course is different and unlike road triathlons, a mountain bike course is very different every time you ride it. It requires a combination of skill, speed, strength and strategy to stay at the pointy end of the field.
In the TreX series a lot of the course is suitable for new comers and those new to mountain biking, however there will also be technical sections to challenge riders mountain bike skills and to add a bit of excitement to the course. If a rider does not feel confident, that’s fine, there’s always the option to walk the more technical sections (they are not usually too long) and start riding again when they feel comfortable.
Don’t Let the Distance Fool You
Course distance can often be deceptive for those unfamiliar with mountain biking. 10km on a mountain bike track is very different to 10km on the road. Riders must constantly be focussed on the trails as they twist and turn and challenge riders with pinchy climbs, log roll overs, bridges, rock gardens and water crossings. There is no cruising or freewheeling when you get off road. Each athlete must be in the moment and engaged with the course from start to finish. Arguably, it is this element of the sport that keeps competitors coming back for more and more action.
The Trail Run
The trail run is where cross triathlon really shines by offering participants a true off-road experience. Trail run courses cover some incredibly diverse terrain and showcases some of Australia’s most spectacular bushland and coastal areas. Typically the trail run includes trails, tracks, creek crossings, steep craggy ascents, rough descents, sandy banks, rocky scrambles and sometimes there’s no tracks at all! This means that competitors must stay focussed every step of the way as they challenge themselves to run, scramble and climb to the welcome site of the finish arch and an appreciative crowd at Race HQ.
Is Cross Triathlon just for Elite Athletes?
The answer to this question is an overwhelming “NO!” TreX Cross Triathlon is Australia’s home grown National XTri Series and has been running for over thirteen years welcoming all manner of participants from 7 years to 70. From those who have never taken part in a triathlon, to mums, dads and families and those who just love the outdoors and want to try something new right through to Olympic champions, the TreX Series offers options for all comers with Standard, Sprint, Junior, Teaser, Dirt Kids, Durathlon and AquaBike options at all events.
A non-competitive event for 7 to 10 year olds. Typical distances include 50m Swim, 3km XC MTB and 500m Run.
Junior | Teaser
This is an event designed for younger participants and those who want to come and try a cross triathlon for the first time in a shorter event format. Distances typically include 150m Swim, 5km XC MTB & 1km Trail Run.
This course includes all the action of the long course event, but with a shorter distance. Usually including a 350m Swim, 10km XC MTB and 4km Trail Run.
The Standard course evolves throughout the season and gets progressively longer and more challenging before culminating in the championship event at the end of the season. Typical race distance is a 1500m Swim, 30km XC MTB and 10km Trail Run.
What are Competitors Saying About Cross Triathlon?
“Swapping the pavement for the dirt was a decision I’ll never regret! There is so much more excitement and challenge, in Cross Triathlon and the TreX events are just so friendly. The challenges now aren’t just related to how fast I can go, but how much fun I can have getting muddy and dirty as I race through SENSATIONAL locations! Bring on the dirt!” Narelle, Kedron, Qld
“Triathlon is an exciting blend physically challenging sports and strategy, and taking the traditional disciplines OFF-ROAD has been more than just a breath of fresh air. Racing through a changing outdoor natural environment, each trail becomes a new adventure and overcoming unexpected obstacles makes the reward of finishing so much greater. With a buzzing race atmosphere and personal touch, the In 2 Adventure team have simply got the Tre-X Off-Road Triathlon series so right. Simultaneously opening a door for those tired of following the same straight roads and those seeking new paths to adventure alike!” Andy, Indooroopilly, Qld
How can I get into Cross Triathlon in Australia?
Although cross triathlon is a relatively newer sport in Australia, there are a number of events across the country. The TreX Cross Triathlon Series is a national series with 7 events in three states across the country including the Australian Cross Triathlon Championships in the Snowy Mountains, NSW.
So if you fancy your triathlon with some grit, dirt and hardcore action, get on line and find out more about Cross Triathlon and join the revolution.
The Switch to Off Road
The Switch to Off Road Triathlon
by Tommy Morwood | President, Hills Tri club & Off-Road enthusiast
Being a passionate off road racer (and president of my local tri club), I get lots of people ask me how they can make the switch to off road racing
The first thing to realise, is that you don’t have to make a complete switch. Doing an off road race will be extremely well complimented by your current triathlon training. At the end of the day, it’s just swim/bike/run… only way cooler!
That said, there are certainly lots of little things you can do to get ready and go faster…
First, prepare yourself to get dirty, muddy and have more fun racing than you’ve had in your entire life! The TreX courses are physically demanding, but it’s oh so sweet to finish.
The biggest blocker for most people when getting into the off-road scene is of course the mountain bike component. And whilst you can grab yourself mountain bike off a mate and rock up to race, be prepared to struggle without a bit of preparation…
The great news is that since you’re likely already a pretty fit triathlete, you just need to pick up some bike skills.
Riding a MTB well is very different to your TT or road bike. In order to go fast, you need to learn proper technique. It’s not just leg power and fitness. It’s how your body is positioned and constantly shifting. How you grip the bars, where to look, how to corner, how to ride rocky terrain. When to shift gears, when to stand up.
It’s much more physically demanding, the pace and your power output is constantly changing. You heart rate will be thumping in your chest. Your lungs and legs will burn during the short climbs.
However, you only need a handful of skills and a bit of practice to feel comfortable and confident.
Ask your tri club to hire a MTB coach and put on a skills session. In Sydney I’ve seen a number of clubs do this already and there has been a great response from members. There are lots of off road techniques that you will learn, and most (like cornering) will also have a strong positive bearing on your TT or roadie skills.
At my tri club, Hills Tri Club, we have hired a MTB-specific coach and put on two of these sessions and they have been really popular. (It also doesn’t hurt to put on a women’s specific session, because let face it, us blokes usually act like idiots and most first timer ladies prefer an idiot-free zone). You can also contact your state mountain bike association and ask when their skills sessions are on. Two hours with a coach will pay HUGE dividends in your ability to ride confidently.
Check out some local races in your area to get used to passing people (and being passed). If you contact your local Mountain Bike Club they will be able to give you advice on a great event to get you started. If you’re up for a challenge, the Snowies Mountain Bike Festival at Lake Crackenback is one of the most scenic races in the country, and as a bonus you’ll get to ride most of the trails included in the TreX Australian Champs qualifier!
Also ask your club to get involved as a Pathway Partner with TreX. There are already 10 clubs associated and taking advantage of what this offers club members, including discounts of races.
The team at TreX are famous for having epic run legs. Expect to go up steep hills, through mud or water. It’s worthwhile one day to practice running though water (about knee or waist deep) and seeing how your shoes hold up. Do your socks crumple up? Do you even want to wear socks (yes, I do, however most people don’t). Do your shoes retain water when you run out?
If you want to do several off road events, it’s worth investing in a decent pair of off road shoes (think Salamon, On-Cloud, Brooks, Pure Grit etc). All offer excellent grip, and have excellent drainage so water doesn’t build up inside your shoe.
You can of course do any off road event with your road runners, though just take it easy so you don’t slip over rocks etc, and consider at least getting a really tight fitting pair of proper running socks (go to a specialty running shop and see what they have).
Come race day, don’t think Olympic Distance. With the effort, the time your there, the hills… it’s more like doing a 70.3 and you’ll need to plan your nutrition accordingly. If you only have one bottle cage (which most bikes do) strongly consider a camel back.
Make sure you have enough gels etc too. Like a 70.3, just tape a few to your top tube. Unless your name is Ben Allen (TreX Ambassador and Off road professional), plan to be out there racing for 3-4 hours.
Put gels on your top tube, however, when you go over rocks and bumps expect them to rip loose. I tape both the top AND the bottom of the gel down to keep them secure.
Unless you have practiced riding without them, wear gloves. It will only take you 10 seconds to put them on in transition, and without them you wont have as much grip on your handlebars (also if you fall off, they offer a good bit of protection for your hands). I find that the time spend putting gloves on is also good to take a few deep breaths and get the heart rate down from the swim.
With the uneven surfaces and the way you engage your muscles so different to road riding, a lot of people get leg cramps (myself included!). It’s worthwhile to take some salt tablets to use on the run, and if you start to feel some cramp twitches coming on – just back off the pack immediately. Nothing worse then trying to ride/run up hills with cramps!
Before race day, try ride the course. Knowing what’s coming around the next corner can really help with any anxiety you may have. Most courses aren’t difficult at all, having the knowledge that you can ride it will be a big help in race day.
Finally, rest easy in the knowledge that the field for off road events is usually made up of about 50% of first timers. Everyone’s there to have fun. And once you’ve finished, you’re going to love telling everyone how challenging it was J
Training for Cross Triathlon
Training for Cross Triathlon
by Connie Silvestri, head coach, QORTS
Training for a Cross Triathlon should have a significant emphasis on the mountain bike (MTB) leg as it is the one of the main aspects of the event. There’s no drafting on a mountain bike, and there’s no one there to suck your wheel, so every pedal stroke counts. Training on the bike will ensure that your legs have the stamina to lead into a strong finish on the trail run. Mountain Biking (MTB) requires strength and power, especially if you intend to pass your competitors as one of the best places to pass is on a hill! Therefore, for a serious age grouper the ratio of sessions should go something like this – 2 swims, 4 mtb and 2 runs per week.
The Mountain Bike
Sessions really need to be as specific as possible. Wherever possible do every ride and run on the dirt. The up side is, the air’s cleaner and cars are usually just rusted wrecks someone’s dumped. However, if you’re really short on time, you can ride on the road (as a last resort), but if you do a road ride make it hilly.
One of the week’s rides should be a long fire road ride, this is your foundation and it needs to be hilly. Don’t ride flat out, just keep it at a steady pace, where you can still hold a conversation, except maybe on the hills. Build this weekly ride gradually until you can manage 3hrs. (More serious addicts can go longer of course) Riding on dirt fire trails means that you are actually utilising the same muscles groups and riding skills required for mountain biking that you just won’t achieve on a road ride.
Another of the mountain bike sessions should be skill focussed, and that means single track… single track… and more single track. Single track training is awesome fun. The Australian Cross Triathlon Champs is a 24km lap with about 80% made up of grippy, flowing single track. It also includes some rocky paths, bridges and rollovers which will require some technical skills to tackle effectively. The good news is that there are no big nasty climbs in this event, but the non-stop undulating course will ensure your legs will be challenged all the way. Therefore you really need to incorporate this type of riding into your training to ensure it isn’t a shock on race day as you approach a bridge or rocky section. Skills training means your whole body will adapt to the way you need to move on a mountain bike which will keep the dreaded fatigue at bay for longer on race day. Developing the skills on single track will make you more efficient on the bike and save a lot of energy.
Don’t forget the Hills
Hill Repeats will strengthen your legs, so include this as one of your sessions each week, but drop this as race day draws near. Mix up the sessions with 1hr or more of riding longer hills at a steady pace at first. Then later in the season, move onto shorter hills at a fast pace with a longer rest in between. Ride uphill at a fast pace for 2-3 minutes, riding down slowly and having a 4-5 min rest in between.
Time to Take it Easy… (Just a little bit)
You should also incorporate an easy ride into your mountain bike sessions. Ride on some easier trails or use an easier gear. Use these rides to practice logs or cornering or some weak point in your skills. Really the aim is to get your fitness in first because when you’re fit you ride more and when you ride more you learn more!!!
Swimming is still swimming in a Cross Triathlon. For best results look to join a swim squad in your local area. A squad environment will challenge you and coaches will help with swimming skills. The goal would be to build up to swimming 3km per session twice a week.
Now to the Trail Run!
A trail run requires as a much attention in training as mountain biking. Training should be specific to trails only. Road running is a very different sport to trail running. Due to the uneven terrain, trail running requires you to use your stabilising muscles to a greater degree. Down hilling on trails uses the eccentric loading of muscles much more than a flat road run. So practice is required for your muscles (mainly quads) and knees to become accustom to the added strain. There could be a whole chapter on hills, but downhill running is ‘free speed’, if you’re good at down hilling you can gain ground with much less cardio stress.
The Championships is an 8km course which includes undulating terrain, some hard compact trails, a creek crossing, tunnel run and some true off road running without any trails. Look for a similar training environment and consider shoes suited to an off road trail run with drainage as your feet will get wet and muddy (It’s why we love cross tri!) Include a run of about 1 – 1.5 hrs that includes these aspects.
When training for cross tri/ off road triathlon it’s better to use time rather than distance as a guide as courses vary significantly. For example your run maybe hillier, sandier or include more creek crossings and this kind of terrain usually slows running time. On a 5km run with different terrain, there can be up to 30mins difference. 5km on the road definitely doesn’t equal 5km on the trail, but if you have no choice make it a longer, hilly road run.
A good suggestion is to find a trail lap that takes approx. 6-7 minutes to complete (preferably include one serious hill) and continue to complete the lap for 1 – 1.5 hrs with a 1-2 minute rest in between each lap.
Closer to the race, exclude the hills and choose a flatter, shorter route and get some racing speed into your legs. e.g (3-4min route repeat for 40-50min fast with 2-3min rest).
Cornering on the Mountain Bike
A XTri event can be won or lost on the MTB corners!
contributed by Ben and Jacqui Allen from B&J Racing
Most TreX MTB courses include at some undulating, tight, twisty single track, especially the Australian Championships course in the Snowy Mountains. This means effective and efficient cornering skills on the MTB is often paramount to a successful race.
The Laws of Physics
Good cornering on the mountain bike is really all about physics. The aim is to exit the corner with as much speed as possible. So, if you can relax, minimise sharp movements, move your weight fluidly with the corner and gain as much grip from your tyres as possible this will result in faster more fluid cornering which means a faster time.
Set Your Speed
Decide the speed you wish to ride the corner BEFORE you enter it. Remember you want to exit the corner fast, rather than entering the corner fast. The aim is to avoid heavy breaking or skidding as this reduces your exit speed.
This is probably one of the most important tips when it comes to cornering. Your bike will go where your eyes and head are focussed. So look around the corner where you want to go, and your bike will follow.
Try pointing your belly button around the corner and twisting your hips while lowering you head and chest slightly to your inside hand, this also helps lower your centre of gravity which assists in holding more cornering speed.
Position your body & Relax
Keep a firm but relaxed grip on the handlebars and relax your shoulders. Put most of your weight through the seat and/or the pedals. For traction, if you’re not pedalling push your outside foot down on the pedal as you turn.
Let it Roll…
Once in the corner, stay off the brakes and let your wheels roll to allow your tyres to get on with the job of turning the bike around the bend.
- Start at the outside then cut across the corner to reduce the bend.
- Enter the corner smoothly.
- Lean the bike between your legs.
- Avoid harsh or sudden movements.
- Exit to the outside.
Racing at Altitude: Snowy Mountains Race Prep
Racing at Altitude: Preparing for the Australian Championships in the Snowy Mountains, NSW
Contributed by: Renata Bucher, Enduranceteam Coach
When I raced the TreX triathlon at Lake Crackenback for the first time I thought, oh my gosh that was a hard one, why did I seem to be working so hard? I was wondering what the elevation of Lake Crackenback was & and if the altitude was potentially affecting my performance?
In February this year we had the Australian Cross Triathlon Champs at Lake Crackenback again. I asked a few friends, how did you feel racing up here, and quiet often I heard, “it was brutal”, “I felt like no power, not moving”… So where was the suffer coming from? I did some research and here is what I found.
Altitude; highest elevation:
• Lake Crackenback, OZ 1134m
• Threbo, OZ base elevation 1365m
• Geelong, OZ 43m
• Auckland, NZ 196m
• Luzern, Switzerland 445m
• Park City, USA 2000m
At elevations above 1524m, the “thin air” factor begins to have a measurable effect on endurance performance. At 2438m, for instance, the barometric pressure is 25 percent lower than it is at sea level — meaning you get 25 percent less oxygen per breath than you get at sea level.
Although Lake Crackenback is not considered high altitude as such & in comparison to other parts of the world. There are still a few good points to comprehend & some rules to follow to best adapt to high-altitude racing.
- Dehydration is a common problem experienced when racing at altitude. Relative humidity levels are lower and fluid losses are increased. Don’t forget to hydrate.
- Do some harder VO2 sessions at sea level to prepare for the race. Hill sessions are particularly helpful in simulating the feeling of working harder at altitude.
- Understand that your paces will be slower at these venues, and perceived exertion will be greater for any given pace or power. Be smart with your pacing and don’t go out too fast.
- The optimal race arrival time is as far before the race as possible – at least 10 days. This allows the body to somewhat adapt to the demands of altitude, begin to recover from the increased stress on your aerobic system, and provides you with a better feeling of the effort levels required to run certain paces. Understandably, this strategy isn’t the most feasible for the everyday athlete. Therefore, the next best strategy is to arrive as close to race start time as possible, preferably within 18 to 47 hours. This arrival time allows you to avoid the most detrimental performance inhibitors of altitude typically experienced in the 48 hour to 7-day window.
- When you get to high altitude for a couple of weeks, take iron supplements — your body will need the extra iron for the increased hemoglobin synthesis that’s soon to follow. If you are sick when you arrive, even with a cold, don’t bother trying to take advantage of the altitude because EPO is suppressed under such conditions. Similarly, if you turn out to be among the people who develop high-elevation sickness — something unrelated to fitness that strikes genetically predisposed people idiosyncratically — quit the show and go back to the lowlands
You now know what to expect if you’re considering training at high altitude or racing at high-altitude destinations. Understand that if your trip lasts less than a week, you won’t have stayed long enough to adjust to the altitude difference, but you’ll certainly have felt the effects. Drink plenty of water, take it easy on your training, and if you happen to find yourself on the top of Mount Kosciuszko, enjoy the view!
Making the Switch from Road to Off Road
Beat the Winter Training Blues
Beat the Winter Training Blues
by Kim Beckinsale | TriAdventure
It’s well known that most successful triathletes build their base fitness in winter and spring but how does one stay motivated when the days are short and dark, the temperatures are in the negatives and your non-triathlon friends are enjoying lazy weekends around the open fire place with a good bottle of red?
We’ve pondered on this long and hard (maybe over a bottle of red!) and have three key points for you consider and hopefully help you get through these last few weeks of winter!
- Remember why you got into triathlon and that the summer season is going to be here before you know it! Endurance strength depends on base fitness and base fitness takes months to develop. Keeping up a steady and consistent training base over winter and spring will increase
your aerobic fitness and put you in a better position when you kick into your endurance training towards the end of spring. You don’t want to make the season harder than it has to be, do you?
- The wind trainer is your friend! You might need to repeat this a few times and wait and see the benefits before you’ll believe us! You can train inside, away from the nasty weather and frequently, even more effectively than out on the road! No junk miles, just pure focus on your training session outcomes. Make sure that you are incorporating a couple of trainer sessions each week and you’ll be amazed at what it does for your fitness. A sample indoor trainer session could be;
4 minutess spinning at T1 heartrate zone
30 sec left leg, 30 sec right leg, 1 min both legs
60 sec left leg, 60 sec right leg, 1 min both legs
90 sec left leg, 90 sec right leg, 1 min both legs
2min left leg, 2min right leg, 1 min both legs
4 x 5mins – Shift to the big chain-ring and work hard for 5mins at T3 heartrate zone
with 3 minutes recovery between the sets
10mins easy spinning
Keep the trainer interesting by checking out some of the Sufferfest videos or jumping online to ride with friends on Zwift. The indoor trainer doesn’t have to be boring and when you do get back outside, you’ll appreciate the fitness you’ve gained! The natural role of the road will be hugely refreshing!
- Getting outside on your mountain bike! Winter weather doesn’t impact mountain biking! Mountain biking is great cross training for on road and off road triathletes and will build both aerobic fitness and strength as well as providing you with some awesome muddy fun with friends. Try something different and build both your skills and fitness at the same time!
Preparing for the Australian Cross Triathlon National Championships
Australian Cross Triathlon National Championships Preparation
Written By: Ben Allen | B and J Racing
Ben Allen shares the issues you need focusing on for the up-coming Australian Cross Triathlon Championship at Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa in the Snowy Mountains, NSW.
The time will come to think about planning your race down under – I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve race a lot in my athletic career thus far. I have my pre and post-race routine down to a tee. I know exactly how to prepare for the week leading in to a race and the night before.
I know what I should eat for breakfast and what NOT to eat for breakfast…. So what happens when I’m overseas in a country I’ve never been to before? I’ve got no experience of the climate, culture and food. Clearly, there are a lot more factors to consider and several issues to prepare for. So I have thought of 6 important factors to assist in your preparation for a BIG race down under.
The weather. February is summer in Australia, however in the Snowy Mountains it can be cool with an average temperature of 21.3° and minimum 6.3° – ideal conditions for a cross triathlon.
A bit unnerving is that all of your training will be done during the cold or hot conditions depending on which hemisphere you will be coming from. With this in mind, you need to make sure that you’re as fully prepared for the race as you possibly can be. This might mean incorporating the same climate conditions into your training plan and devising an effective hydration strategy.
If you get this wrong you will more than likely experience the “bonk” or “hit the wall” so to speak. Terms common to athletes not eating or drinking enough to fuel their performance. It’s important to be well hydrated for all types of activities, but in hot conditions it’s essential. To prepare for this, you should measure your sweat rate and identify how much fluid and electrolytes you are likely to need during the race. Then devise a plan to meet these requirements.
Experimenting with food a few days before your race is never a good idea, even though it might look delicious, keep it as simple as possible and stick to what you know. Post-race, live on the wild side of life and enjoy all the bush tucker, sweets and treats you can handle.
#4: Away from Family and friends
Leaving your loved ones behind is never easy. There’s not a whole lot you can do about it, so just suck it up and focus on the job at hand. Make it easier on yourself with technology, skype, facebook, facetime, whatsApp, etc etc the list goes on. But these wonderful inventions allow you to stay connected when you feel alone or home sick. Plus post-race you will have something to look forward to seeing your family and friends once you return home.
#5: Toeing the line against the best in the world
It’s a roller coaster of emotions. It can be a little daunting, but on the other hand it’s a massive honor to stand on the start line with the best of the best. Ultimately there’s no point in worrying about the opposition. All you can do is ensure that you have prepared the best you possibility can and give it everything you’ve got on the day.
#6: Course Challenges
Plan to arrive well before the event. Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa sits at an altitude of 1132m above sea level so arrive early to acclimatise. Take the opportunity to get to know the course and be familiar with the terrain. Thanks to the event organisers, In2Adventure, the course is usually marked at least one week before the event, or take a map, as the course is open for riding throughout summer.
The champs mountain bike and running trails are undulating with fast sections of flowing single track. Some tight and twisty sections making it challenging for age group athletes and seasoned pros.
One thing I have learnt is expect the unexpected. There are always a few surprises that you can’t plan for so try to take it in your stride and make the best of the situation.
Some Post Camp Cross Tri Training Tips
Some Post Training Camp Cross Tri Training Tips
by Kim Beckinsale | TriAdventure
Open Water Swimming
Almost 100% of triathlon events are conducted in open water, so where possible athletes should practice swimming in open water at least once a week. There are many variables to consider and becoming familiar with these can save you some time on race day.
As the athletes on the camp found out there is no reason why you can’t do your drills in open water as well. Other things to consider including in your open water training sessions are running starts and exits as this is what you are likely to encounter in most off-road events.
Our focus at Tri Adventure is to develop the skills to ride safely, skillfully, and then work on riding speedily once you have mastered some of the basic skills. Then you will find that you will ride much faster and use much less energy than just trying to ride. Then once you have mastered the basic skills we suggest to never stop playing and having fun with some of these drills as you can always make them more challenging.
Participants on the camp challenged themselves to execute a few drills on the bike that they may have done on the road before, however they found on the trails, because of the rough surfaces become significantly more challenging. They also soon realised that the riding position for mountain biking is at times very different to the ride bike, and having some knowledge of when and where to shift your weight can make a big difference when trails get tricky.
Just as I mentioned above that you can do your swimming drills in open water, you can do the same on the trails with your running drills. Just because you may be focussing on off road running in Cross Triathlon don’t throw these out with your old road running shoes. You can try your drills on a section of trail that you are familiar with especially when you are trying out your new trail running shoes.
Yes, I strongly advise that you consider purchasing a pair of shoes that are specific for trail running that suit your running style and foot physiology. Participants on the camp learnt some new drills and yes, tried these on the trails.
Transitions for Cross Triathlon (Swim/Bike/Run)
Transitions are often referred to as the fourth discipline of Triathlon, so in an off-road triathlon having a good transition is still very important especially as you may choose to have more in your transition area than for your standard road Tri. So the longer it takes for you to get all your mountain biking gear on, the more time you will spend in transition, which means the harder you have to work to catch that time up.
So practicing swim to bike and bike to run transitions should be factored into training schedule. At the camp athletes had an opportunity to practice transitions multiple times, with all the gear they would usually wear or use on race day, this includes making sure you have a way to carry personalised nutrition and hydration.
As well as practicing short transitions it is also a good idea to put into your training some swim to bike sessions and some bike to run sessions. These are referred to as brick sessions in triathlon and they definitely have a place in Cross Triathlon as well. Running off the bike especially on a really technical hilly course can be brutal if your legs are not conditioned to run after mountain biking.
To check out the camp video and photos from the camp visit the Tri Adventure Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Tri-Adventure-209383835821196/?fref=ts
For more information about training for Cross Triathlon contact Kim at email@example.com
or to find out more about Triathlon Training Groups and Club Training Events in Noosa look up the Noosa Tri Club website http://www.noosatriclub.com/
Cross Tri Training can help On Road Triathlon Performance
Did you know Cross Triathlon Training can help your regular Triathlon Performance!
Coach Kim Beckinsale from Tri Adventure has long understood the benefits of off-road training for health, fitness lifestyle and of course regular triathlon training. So now with the prospect of an ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship on home soil we ask the question….
What is stopping regular triathletes from incorporating ‘off-road’ sessions into their training regime and having a go at events such as the TreX Events?
Is it fear of injury?
Is it fear of not being as successful as you are at regular triathlon?
Is it that your coach does not think it’s a good idea?
Is it that the thought has not even entered you head?
Whatever the reason is, why not consider adding a few different sessions into your weekly training regime that may just give you the confidence and willingness to further your off-road skills, and reap the rewards in the long term.
- Trail Run – less time on concrete and bitumen will decrease the risk of injury. Do your easy aerobic run in local park or forest, where you can start from basic flat fire trails and then progress to more technical undulating trails. Not only will you be breathing in clean fresh air you will automatically be recruiting more muscles outside your normal range of motion for road running. If you have weak ankles or a fear of spraining them, strap them up the first few times until you get to know the trails. Remember as a children most of us did ‘cross country’ at school, and many of you may have even gone into the sport of Triathlon because you did well at it…..so now it’s time to relive some of those childhood memories of slipping and sliding in the mud!
- Mountain Bike – Go to your local bike shop and discuss purchasing a mountain bike. Most shops will give you a ride demo for a while. Personally I suggest that you consider a 29” ‘dual suspension’ mountain bike as it will give you a softer easier ride. First of all just get used to the bike and the gears, by riding on paths and the road. Don’t go riding on trails by yourself; get some expert advice from a qualified MTB coach or someone who will take you out ‘one on one’. Many athletes make the mistake of ‘going for an easy ride’ with mates who totally underestimate difficulty of the trails they ride. This has been the start and finish of mountain biking for many, who have either walked away totally petrified of single track and rocky descents or ended up with broken bones from not having the skill to ride something that their mates said is ‘easy’. Mountain biking in the forests gets you off the road so less chance of being hit by cars, and the bonus is that you don’t have to go early……peak hour in a forest is just other riders out there having fun! So you can do all you regular triathlon training when you first start out and just spend one afternoon or morning a week working on your MTB skills. Just riding a mountain bike on a weekly basis will help you road riding. Next time you are doing hill repeats, take your mountain bike for extra weight and resistance or just ride some steep climbs on a fire trail and you will instantly see the improvements in your strength on your road bike.
So there you have it……being a triathlete already you will have the fitness to complete any mountain bike or trail run course in a TreX event, it will just be the technical nature of the course that will hold you back.
The Tri Adventure Challenge:-
Get outside into the bush and try something new, exciting and different you never know where it will take you in the sport of Triathlon!
To find out more about how to prepare for Cross Triathlon or for more information about Tri Adventure Personalised Training Programs for the TreX Australian Cross Triathlon Championships /ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships at Lake Crackenback please email Kim Beckinsale at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim is a level 2 Triathlon coach with over 2O years’ experience in Triathlon and more than 10 years racing and coaching in an off road environment. Kim is also a qualified level 1 MTB coach.