BAROSSA PROVIDES PERFECT CLIMB TO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GLORY
Elite athlete Raf Baugh has earmarked the Australian Duathlon Championships, to be held in South Australia’s beautiful Barossa Valley on August 15, as the perfect platform to launch his bid to become a world champion.
Ranked number three in the world for the run-bike-run discipline of duathlon, Baugh, from Perth, is using the national championships as a final hit-out before venturing to Scotland for the ITU World Duathlon Championships in Edinburgh on September 5.
The steep slopes of Mengler’s Hill, a regular feature of the Tour Down Under cycle classic, come into play on the crucial cycle leg of the specialist long course event, made up of an initial 10km run, a 39km ride and a final 5km run. For Baugh, it’s a welcome challenge.
“There’s a three and half kilometre climb on both laps of the cycle leg, which is going to be a challenge, but it might actually suit a runner like me in that I can hopefully stick with the stronger cyclists as we grind up the hill,” he said. “At the world championships in Edinburgh there’s apparently a 700-metre climb over the 40km bike course which is pretty brutal, so a good hit-out in Australia followed by a few weeks to recover should be the perfect preparation.”
The race is part of the recently launched Australian Duathlon Series, which links races in each state to provide an integrated series utilising varied environments, including equestrian courses, motor race tracks and vineyards. Baugh threw his weight behind the series and suggested the Barossa event was destined to grow rapidly.
“I think this Barossa event really has the potential to be a highlight on the Australian race calendar,” he said. “It’s got a tough bike leg which provides a challenge for athletes of all levels and it’s an iconic venue, with the vineyards being synonymous with the region. The events that thrive tend to be those that are in a great location and where the local businesses, people and council get behind it and take on a real sense of ownership “and it’s great that we now have that in duathlon.”
The long course event is open to athletes of all levels, while there is also a short course race utilising the flatter section of the valley floor involving a 5km run, 20km ride and 2.5km run. With the ages of those already entered ranging from 14 to 82, and competitors coming from all mainland states, the iconic location is proving attractive for those looking to combine fitness and leisure. The event boasts a distinctively Barossa flavour courtesy of Richmond Grove Wines, who will provide a bottle of wine for every adult age group winner.
Race Director, David Wells, himself an experienced international duathlete, said: “We’re creating a memorable event with great assistance from the Barossa Council and community. Our elite athletes will be able to challenge themselves on a testing and scenic course, while less experienced participants in the shorter course will have an easier time.”
Details of the Australian Duathlon Championships are on www.australianduathlonseries.com