Well we are back amongst the Ironman family again, this time in a new race location. And a what a perfect place for an Ironman race!
We stepped off the plane from Sydney and instantly felt like we were on holidays with summer humidity in the air – bought back memories of Kona! Plenty of bike bags were loaded off the plane but we easily found a maxi taxi to fit 2 bikes, bags and four people. Ten minutes and we were at our accommodation, the Mantra Mooloolaba (great location and we have nice ocean view too) – as per so many other accommodation options all along the beach front.
By the time we were out on the Esplanade which runs along the beach front and is the hub of race activity, it was already buzzing. We grabbed a healthy lunch at Raw Energy (will be back for my daily green smoothie) and then wandered along to get a feel for the place and race set up. Within minutes were were bumping into other triathletes.
There are lots of restaurants and shops running all the way along, with outdoor eating areas and plenty of places to congregate. The street where the runners will go right past is already blocked off. The Expo tents are set up by the finish line which is counting down the hours to race start. The Ironman crew were busy bees setting up and Pros and Age Groupers began to appear as the afternoon turned into dusk.
My discoveries so far:
1. Yummy fresh juices at Raw Energy
2. Amazing array of flavoured yoghurts & toppings at Yoghurt World – beware the more you pack into the tub the more you pay!
3. Get in quick to Coles as by 5pm it was buzzing and already running low on essentials like bottled water, sports drinks, coconut water (yes it was me who grabbed the last 5), fruit, yoghurt and chocolate!!
4.Worth the 10 minute walk from Mantra down Brisbane Road to Cherry Blossom Tree if you like Japanese (just wish it didn’t feel like a supermarket – lights were far to bright – and some pretty bad 90’s dance music!) Sushi train also good for lunch.
5. Didn’t need to buy a new bikini (or any summer clothes) – plenty of shops here to browse and buy the latest!
6. Walking through back streets we discovered The Lounge on corner near transition which we are considering for post-race evening celebrations!
First impressions from a competitors perspective
1.Location lends itself to a triathlon
2. Swim area fairly well protected so even though it’s an ocean swim there won’t be a lot of swell coming through.
3. Long run from beach to transition – hopefully some carpet is going down!
4. 1st km of run going through the closed Esplanade on beach front , past all the cafes, then past all the triathlon club tents, will mean great atmosphere.
5. Alexandra headland a solid hill to tackle 4 times!
We are now chillin’ in our room to the sound of waves, kids, cars and football on the TV, readying ourselves for a day of preparation as race day looms.