Going west, hell or high water
AFTER beating Opposition leader Tony Abbott in the Australian National Series Half-Ironman in Port Macquarie late last month, Warwick pair Greg Woodward and John Creed are gearing up for one of the favourite endurance events on the calendar, the Hell of the West Triathlon at Goondiwindi on January 30.
There was plenty of publicity early this year when Abbott finished a full ironman in 14 hours in March and was back for the half ironman in October.
“Both of us beat him but he has done very well for an older guy, particularly in the job he is in,” Woodward said.
“The Port Macquarie course is tough.
“They asked Tony to speak at the event and he made a little joke about liking Port Macquarie except for one little fact.”
The little fact is that Port Macquarie is represented in Parliament by independent Rob Oakeshott who with Tony Windsor backed Labor after this year’s election to deny Abbott the chance to be Prime Minister.
Woodward competed in the 30 to 34 years age group at Port Macquarie and finished the 1.9 kilometre swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run in five hours 20 minutes. He missed the chance to go for a sub-five hour time when he experienced knee problems and had to stop to do a lot of stretching in the run leg.
But he is high in praise of the efforts of training partner John Creed who finished in five hours, 50 minutes.
“I was amazing that John improved his time by 35 minutes from a race over the same distance at Yeppoon in August,” Woodward said.
“John has come along in leaps and bounds, his improvement is impressive.
“Both of us are going in the Hell of the West.
“There is a lot of interest by Warwick athletes in the teams event, we could have 10 starters in total.”
At Port Macquarie, the swim leg is an open water swim at the mouth of the Hastings River which Woodward prefers to the muddy waters at Goondiwindi.
“The swim at Goondiwindi is quite fast but the water temperature is good. The water tastes fine but you need goggles,” Woodward said.
Wetsuits are only allowed in the swim leg if the water temperature is below 24 degrees on race weekend which is unlikely.
Hell of the West
The 2011 Hell of the West is sponsored by John Deere, Chesterfield Australia and Woods Grain and comprises distances of 2km swim, 80km bike and 20km run.
Early bird nominations are due by December 17 and all go into the draw to win back their cost of registration and the cost of any merchandise they have ordered.
Organisers are urging triathletes doing their 5th, 10th or 15th consecutive triathlons to email Anna Dawson on email@example.com so records of consecutive finishes can be updated and regulars recognised for their commitment to the event.
Registrations close on January 14. All information on www.hellofthewest.com