Yo, just got back from Hammo this morning. Hammo is the aussie word for Hamilton Island. Hamilton Island is a private resort island owned by the Oatley family and part of the Whitsunday Island, QLD. It is located just 1.5h north of Brizzy. Brizzy is short for Brisbane. I think the aussies like abbreviations.
Man, it is so cool up there. Sort of tropical, hot as hell, very humid, beautiful, super hilly and secluded, and also a little bit expensive. Very clean and posh resort island with a very high service level.
Super League Triathlon could have not picked a better spot to launch the race than this island. Absolutely picture perfect back drop to show the world the new triathlon league.
I got to the island on Thursday, a day before the race, after a long long travel from Dubai and was very tired, jet lagged as hell. But the anticipation for the launch on Friday kept me awake pretty much all night. I must admit i was very nervous and anxious to see how the product would come out and look live and on TV and what everyone would think about it.
On Thursday, i attended a function with the whole SLT gang and the vibe was really good from the get go. Great energy. Before the function i checked out all the courses. All of it in close proximity of each other, tight turns, tight lines, hardcore racing ahead of us.
Then Friday afternoon came. 1630 local time. Gun start. SLT was born. Riveting action from the start for the first day format, triple mix. it was 3 x 300m swim, 6k bike, 2k run with a 10min break between each leg. totally crazy hard on the system. i have never seen so much pain on faces of athletes than during that format. Also Hammo’s heat and humidity might have had something to do with it. Murray prevailed in front of Birthwhistle. These young aussie kids Birthwhistle, Bailie, Fisher were super impressive.
Second day had the equalizer on the program as a race format: very interesting also. the day started with an individual 6k time trial that set the pace and the chasing order for the afternoons race that started at 1630 with a 300m swim 2k run 300m swim 6k bike 2k run. absolutely balls to the wall here as well. Cam Dye had the top time of the tt in the morning, so he went off first and the others chased him and Richard Murray from South Africa prevailed again here. He looked totally in control the whole weekend.
The final day was to bring major drama. An absolute super tropical rainstorm hit the island over night and there was a lot of water on the course and the rain continued throughout the day. But as God wanted it to be, the clouds cleared and made way for the super dramatic final with the Eliminator format. That meant with every leg, the last 5 finishing competitors would be eliminated and could not go on. So much drama. So much entertainment. In the end, for the day, Birthwhistle prevailed in an absolutely nailbiter of a finish against Mola and Murray. Murray got the whole pot for 100k USD Mola second and Birthwhistle third.
I m not going to lie to you, so far in my career watching a triathlon was never much fun. I mean you popped out after 10 minutes because you know the outcome, even in the ITU. The SLT is different. It is riveting. symetric. compact. consistent.the production for TV really shows the faces of each athlete up close. The uniform look is great and keeps the package very telegenic and organised. All shapes, banners, barriers are standardized uniform. Normally triathlon broadcast is crap, but this is another level. the SLT looks like a real sporting league as the F1 or the NFL. I think triathlon’s top performers and their athletic capabilities deserve a better looking production, as triathlon has become mainstream. The SLT has realized that: It puts the athletes performance, and not the event, in the spotlight. It is real sports entertainment and the athletes and their stories are the center of attention.
During the whole weekend, there wasn’t truly a dull moment and i was fully consumed by it as a high level competitor as well as a true fan and student of the sport. Met a lot of cool people and we shared great stories and laughter over a few good glasses of our fine champagne, Alice Hartmann.
Also i realised that a lot of the triathletes in the Middle East also followed the live broadcast, shared the social media and enjoyed this great new movement in triathlon. Thank you for that. awesome of you.
booyah and i will keep you posted. goin swimming now. no jetlag for this guy.