While the northern hemisphere is in full swing for the 2011 triathlon season, dates for the next 2011-12 Contact Tri Series in New Zealand have already been released. According to governing body Triathlon New Zealand (Tri NZ), Rotorua on the North Island is once again set to lead the series away in November – with round one of the popular nationwide series scheduled for November 5 at Rotorua’s Blue Lake.
And despite the chance of slightly cooler conditions, the Blue Lake based event could benefit from the slightly earlier spot on the calendar, Tri NZ Event Manager Haidee Stratford explained. “It is getting tougher every year to find suitable dates for our events that do not clash with other events of a similar nature – and that is a good thing as the sport continues to grow and new events appear.
“This year we have the ITU World Cup race in Auckland on November 20, an event that has age group racing on offer and will also attract a significant amount of interest from media, sponsors and other stakeholders in the sport. So the decision was made to move Rotorua earlier, two weeks before, making it the ideal lead-in race for those competing in Auckland.
“Course conditions will also be perfect with both the sprint and standard distance courses in Rotorua being very similar to those on offer in Auckland just a fortnight later, giving participants the best possible dress rehearsal. They will be challenged up and down some hills but also have long flat sections to find their rhythm and cadence on the bike.
“But regardless of whether people are racing in Auckland, Rotorua will still be the perfect opportunity for age group and social triathletes to get their summer underway in a stunning location in a flat water lake swim while at the same time giving us a shot at attracting some of the elite athletes to Rotorua as they look for a final hit out over a sprint distance before the Auckland race.”
Stratford said the nature of the races on offer in Rotorua made it the perfect start to the season, with every race distance on offer from the children’s Contact 1:2:1 to the beginners 3:9:3, the sprint distance and finally the standard distance event for Contact Trophy points.
“The options on offer make it impossible for any excuses,” said Stratford. “Bring the whole family, the children can give the Contact 1:2:1 a go, first timers can dip their toes in the triathlon water with the Contact 3:9:3 or for those a little more experienced you can race in the sprint or take on the standard distance event to blow off the winter cobwebs.
“Even more appealing for many is the option of a teams race, something on offer in all but the children’s event. So get your work mates, family or friends together and have some fun with a couple of training sessions a week, build up through winter and come November you will have a blast and set some personal fitness goals along the way.”