The Australian Alpine Ascent (AAA) triathlon is promoted as being “The Worlds Toughest Daylight Triathlon”. Eurocoast Triathlon Club member Peter Cox proved he was up to the challenge of the course.
The race starts with a 3km swim in Lake Jindabyne, followed by a 124km bike leg. The ride passes through iconic locations including Thredbo, Dead Horse Gap and Charlottes Pass, before transitioning at Perisher. During the bike ride there is in excess of 3200 metres of vertical ascent.
The 28km run leg starts at Perisher Ski Tube Station, passes through Charlottes Pass, peaks at the summit of Mt Kosciuszko, and then returns to the finish line at Charlottes Pass. Due to the ruggedness and remoteness of the terrain, race organisers mandate a support runner accompany each of the racers on this last leg. Peter was able to obtain the assistance of fellow club member Stephen Phipps for this role. Stephen said “I was up here at the beginning of the year for a training camp, so I know the track. Unfortunately, knowing it doesn’t make it any easier”.
Peter finished the race in 11hrs 47min 29 seconds. He came 3rd in his age group (55-59 years) and was placed 35th overall.
Above: Peter Cox at the finish line after almost 12 hours of racing.
Peter said “This course is as hard as it ever gets, because of the terrain and the time cut offs. As it is in a National Park and the weather can change so quickly the organisers are really strict on this. Last year I missed the cut off into Charlottes Pass by a couple of minutes, so I had to run back to Perisher to qualify as a finisher. I wasn’t going to let that happen this time”.
“The run course has been modified this year, taking out a loop up to Blue Cow and back that was a real energy sapper” Peter also said.
He said about his training for this event “For the last 5 months I have just focussed on hill work. The first two hours of my weekly long bike rides has just been up and down the one hill, before I ride off somewhere else. I was happy with my ride, and when I looked at the bike data after the race I saw that on one of the downhills I was doing more than 80 km/h, the fastest I have ever been on a bike”.
Peter said “I am thankful that Stephen was able to do the support leg with me. He kept me going on the 9km run from Mt Kosciuszko back to the finish at Charlottes Pass. That was a hard slog at the end of a long race." "Stephen (Phipps) was unable to make the start of the race due to work commitments, but I had another mate, Stephen McGilchrist, as my Transition Manager. He (Stephen McGilchrist) supported me at last years race, so he knew what I needed throughout the race”.
Above: In Clockwise order - Stephen McGilchrist (Transition Manger) and Peter Cox before swim.
Peter Cox riding up some of the 3200 metres of vertical ascent. Stephen Phipps (Support Runner) and Peter Cox near the finish as Charlottes Pass. Peter Cox out of Lake Jindabyne after the 3km swim leg.