TRIATHLON: Defending Noosa Triathlon champion Melissa Hauschildt has sounded an ominous warning for her rivals, declaring she is in top form leading into Sunday's race on the Sunshine Coast.
The 29-year-old has just started hitting her straps during this month, winning half-ironman races in the United States and in Western Australia, after spending the first half of the American season battling to recover from a stress fracture.
"It's nice to be coming into shape now for the Australian season," she said.
"In fact, it's a pity I don't have too many races here. After Noosa, I've got a race in Singapore, Phuket and then New Zealand so there's not really much in Australia which is kind of a bummer.
"I would have preferred to be in shape when I was over in the US but these things happen."
The 2011 half-ironman world champion, Hauschildt (nee Rollison) missed the first five weeks of the American season because of her injury and spent most of the year getting back to full fitness, particularly with her normally reliable run leg.
Then early this month she produced the world's fastest half-ironman time of the season at Augusta, Georgia, with a personal-best effort of 04:06.56.
A week ago, she claimed another personal-best time in winning at Mandurah.
She stopped the clock at 04:03.55 to recapture her No.1 world ranking on the half-ironman scene.
"Everything came together at Mandurah. I felt really good on the run," she said.
Significantly, she beat Liz Blatchford, who will also be at Noosa on Sunday.
Hauschildt prefers the half-ironman distance (1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21.1km run) and she rates Blatchford among her biggest threats for this weekend's Olympic-distance test (1.5km run, 40km ride, 10km run).
"For Liz, this is her distance now, so it's going to be tough," she said.
"She's an ITU specialist who is also now doing really well at the longer course.
"She'll be the main one up there along with (Mooloolaba-based Swiss competitor) Caroline Steffen who is coming off second place at Kona (the World Ironman Championship).
"I don't know if she will still be tired but I think she will be right up there as well." The Brisbane-based competitor hopes for stifling conditions.
"I'm going to have to really swim my butt off and not lose too much there, (but) it also depends if it is going to be really hot," she said. "If it is, then the run won't be as fast and I can get by on doing half-ironman training. But if it's cooler, then the run is going to be really fast and I probably haven't done enough of that work."