Swimmers can expect tough conditions against the northerly breeze.
Swimmers can expect tough conditions against the northerly breeze. Geoff Potter

Conditions deliver tough swim and hot run for Noosa Tri

NORTHERLY winds have whipped up challenging conditions for Noosa Tri Festival competitors.

Today's Noosa 1000 Ocean swim, that starts from 4.15pm, will see athletes face north-northeasterly winds between 19-22km/h.

Northerly winds cause havoc for Noosa's Main Beach, and it's the only direction which upsets the traditionally serene setting.

Conditions for Sunday's triathlon will be hot. The forecast is for a top of 32 degrees, which will mean those with late waves starts will face scorching conditions on the run.

Triathletes will need to maintain fluids and have a nutrition plan throughout the race to avoid dehydration.

For those looking for some insider tips ahead of Sunday, here's a guide from one of the best locals - Seano 'Goofy' Clancy.

THE essence of Noosa is absorbed during the week of entertainment and perspired during each race, leaving a glistening highlight to what this place is about. I'm here to talk about this years' Noosa Tri course and offer up some of my "local" learnings.

A highlight since the 33rd annual event, hosted in 2015, is the change in swim location, from canal to ocean. The renowned Noosa Main Beach now hosts the swim leg of the triathlon, creating a great spectacle for spectators; whether watching from the sand or nestled along the foot of the Noosa National Park.


The Noosa Triathlon is as popular as ever.
The Noosa Triathlon is as popular as ever. Barry Alsop/Eyes Wide Open Image

There are some pros and cons about the switch from canal to ocean.

Being able to see the entire course (and the ocean floor) is a positive. Unlike the restrictive view offered by the islands in the canal, the expansive "amphitheatre" of Laguna Bay allows full view of each turning and guiding buoy.

The water clarity in the ocean is far superior to the canal which makes for a more enjoyable swim session. I always enjoy an ocean swim because I have a surf swimming background. I can understand the hesitation or nerves this ocean start may induce in those of you who are pool swimmers. In saying that, Noosa's Main Beach is quite sheltered and usually spared from big seas and strong winds - there may just be some wind chop to contend with.

Always remember: If you get in trouble, stay calm, stay afloat and raise your arm to signal for assistance. One of the competent lifesavers will promptly assist - despite hoping we never need to rely on them, we all appreciate these amazing volunteers. If conditions are deemed to be unsafe, the contingency plan will be enacted which means the swim will return to the canal.


Overview of start of swim leg at Main Beach Noosa.
Overview of start of swim leg at Main Beach Noosa. Bob Gould

Swim tips

Be aware that the sun rises over the National Park so it will be glary and difficult to see the course buoys when swimming east, on your home stretch. The course has been designed and orientated to minimise the distance you'll be facing the sun.

The dominant current in Laguna Bay is the typical east coast flow; south to north. The only difference is that Noosa's Main Beach faces north so the water is actually travelling east to west. Either way, remember that the general current is right to left as you face to sea and it will be stronger closer to shore.

It is not traditionally a wetsuit swim. Sorry to disappoint you seal lovers who enjoy the extra buoyancy. Revised Triathlon Australia (TA) rules (July 2015) state that wetsuits are now forbidden in Olympic distance races when the water temperature is above 22 degrees Celsius, down from 24 degrees Celsius. Noosa is a comfortable 23-24 degree Celsius by the end of October.

But bring your wetsuit - just in case. If wet weather lingers, the water will remain wintry enough for us to be given the opportunity to add the rubber layer. If stingers ever show up in the Bay, that gives the officials reason to allow us to wear it, too. But at this stage the forecast is for clear skies and temperatures rising into the 30s.

Segregate your swim leg into 4 x 500s. Yes, that adds to 2km, not 1500m. Stick with me. The first 500m should be about finding your comfort zone. Run in, avoid getting excited or overwhelmed, get into a rhythm with your breathing, stroke and pace. The second 500m is time to keep your head down. The third 500m is consolidation of your swim pace while starting to think about your swim-bike transition with extra quivering of your legs, to prepare them for use. The fourth 500m is a lengthy run up the beach, across two car parks and two roads - one of which is the famous Hastings Street.


Cyclists in the transition area.
Cyclists in the transition area. Warren Lynam

Transition one

Proceed along the far end of each row until you find your rack number then turn right.

Before you leave your bike in the wee hours of the morning, take note of your rack number and recall this number when you exit the water from the swim.

You will don and secure your helmet, collect your bike then proceed in the same direction you were travelling.


Cyclists make their way around the course.
Cyclists make their way around the course. Warren Lynam

Bike tips

The course includes 11km flat, 3km up (only a steady 4-6 per cent), 7km flat, turn around, 7km flat, 1km down, 11km flat back to transition.

Slow down for corners and avoid the white lines that become ice-like in wet conditions.

Sip fluid regularly in preparation for what will be a hot run leg. I'd even suggest to add some electrolytes (salts) to your bottle to reduce the chance of cramping.

For the hill (3km up), maintain a constant rhythm with the same "perceived effort" - for those with a power meter, you know what I'm referring to. Spin (high cadence) up the hill so your legs don't fatigue, pressing them down/up with the same amount of effort/force that you were when riding on the flat. It is also most efficient to stay seated when climbing - only stand if absolutely necessary and it is sometimes good just to stretch out a bit.

During the flat sections, tuck into aerodynamic position for as long as you can and always monitor your road position (keep left) and avoid drafting - you'll only be cheating yourself.


Jean-Marc Colomb, Richard Cooney and Stephanie Fisquet at the 2017 Noosa Triathlon.
Jean-Marc Colomb, Richard Cooney and Stephanie Fisquet at the 2017 Noosa Triathlon. Grant Edwards

My last bit of advice is for the "1km down". It is a descent that can be handled with confidence and ridden with speed (no brakes) if you know what's coming. So, get out there before race day and ride the up and the down. For the descent, ride over the crest, manoeuvre to a comfortable position and allow your hands to move so your fingers can hover over the brakes. The hill runs down with a slight bend to the left before a slightly sharper bend to the right at the bottom. One hot tip is to maintain your speed now - once you make it down, keep going. You've only got 11km to go.

Transition two

Gain some valuable seconds here.

Be prepared for the dismount line and watch for other competitors.

Remembering your rack number, turn left and when you find your gear slip on your shoes.

Proceed to the end of your row and turn right to start the run journey.


Tamsyn Moana-Veale in the run leg.
Tamsyn Moana-Veale in the run leg. Warren Lynam

Run tips

The run course is flat and fast - 4.5km out, 5.5km home.

Be aware that it can get really hot out there, especially for anyone coming up from our southern states. Grab a cup at each aid station and remain hydrated. Enjoy a sprinkle from some lovely locals who support from their lawns with hose in hand - do be aware that wet shoes may cause blisters - maybe add some cement to your hydration plan!

Let the crowd feed your adrenaline, but don't get greedy and consume it too soon. This goes for any leg. Maintain your composure for the first kilometre and be aware that the hype needs to be restrained and energy in reserve for that big finish. I make myself run 1km steady, 8km firm, then let the crowd carry me home for the final 1km.

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