Sport

Dirt and Dust triathlon is unforgettable fun

TESTING TRIP: The ride back to Julia Creek is traditionally a testing journey into a hot head wind as part of the annual Dirt N Dust Triathlon.
TESTING TRIP: The ride back to Julia Creek is traditionally a testing journey into a hot head wind as part of the annual Dirt N Dust Triathlon. Contributed

Smacked in the face by a persistent headwind, the landscape appears endless.
Reverberations from the coarse bitumen are felt up the handlebars, with some relief from the countless snaking repairs across the road.

Only the most hardy cattle graze this country.

This is unforgiving country.

And this is an unforgiving sprint triathlon. It's also one of the most unusual locations to find the sprint distance challenge over three disciplines.

Julia Creek sits in the heart of the Outback. About 300km from Mt Isa, it's hot and dusty.

Every April, the town of about 600 people swells into the thousands for the annual triathlon, which is part of the weekend-long Dirt N Dust Festival - and it's awesome fun.

While the distances of an 800m swim, 25km ride and 5km run don't intimidate the seasoned athletes, the conditions do. Sweltering temperatures make this among the toughest of sprint triathlon tests.

Competitors of varying experience, age and fitness face the challenge each year.

Impressive prizemoney also helps lure some big names, who gun for the $2500 open category winner's cheque.

Generous rewards also exist for the age group and teams that place in their sections. Getting on to the podium takes some ticker.

Athletes begin their day in the heart of Julia Creek, where bikes are loaded on to a cattle truck for transport to the start - 20km away at Eastern Creek. Competitors and spectators follow on buses and the usually serene tributary becomes a thriving thoroughfare.

The creek is surprisingly cold for its origins. After this year's recent rains the temperature plummeted to about 18 degrees.

Swimmers head downstream through the murky water before rounding a buoy and heading back to the bridge, which was lined with spectators at the gun.

Once back on the bank, the real challenge begins. The ride back to Julia Creek is tough, challenging and arduous.
Each year, a prevailing headwind, combined with rising temperatures, has the ability to exhaust the strongest of cycling legs.

Sighting the Julia Creek water tower is a sign that the battle is almost won, and after a quick loop through town, the next encounter begins.

Three laps of the main street complete the race. Getting the job done is a struggle against the elements.
Heat rises from the bitumen and the only relief comes from the volunteers handing out water and wet rags along the journey.

There's a brilliant atmosphere in the Julia Creek main street to help get you through. Cheering, whistling, and even the odd singing cowboy on a guitar all help make the Dirt N Dust an unforgettable experience.

And to celebrate getting the job done, you can head to the races.

But it doesn't stop there. As the sun sinks and the dust settles, the town comes alive with a bull ride and after-party.
■ The writer was a guest of Tourism Queensland.

Motels and villa accommodation is available in town, and packages are also available to stay in "Tent City" at the caravan park. Visit www.queenslandholidays.com.au.

More information at http://www.dirtndust.com.au.

More on the Dirt N Dust festival.

Topics:  multisport triathlon


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Announcements galore for the Whitsundays

Cr Jan Clifford, Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Tourism Minister Kate Jones at Heart Hotel in October 2016.

Friday was a big day of announcements for the Whitsundays.

Car crashes into stormwater drain

The car which crashed on Shute Harbour Road this afternoon.

Officers are on the scene of a crash on Shute Harbour Road

A colourful career

Karla Middleton, Figurehead Hair Salon

Karla Middleton adores her job at Figurehead Hair Salon

Local Partners

Golf buggy crash victim says there was 'blood everywhere'

"There was blood everywhere and (the) guys (were) screaming and it's just we are lucky to be alive.”

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

Groom threatens to walk out of Married At First Sight

ANOTHER explosive MAFS breakup is looming over the weekly dinner party — and this time, it seems like everybody is involved.

'I wasn't naked': Blanca Blanco speaks out

Blanca Blanco arriving at the 89th Academy Awards. Picture: Ian West/PA WireSource:AAP

"It was a nude colour, it matches my skin, so I wasn’t naked.''

‘IT’S A LITTLE SAD’: Trump makes Oscars bungle all about him

US President Donald Trump claims Hollywood's elite were too busy mocking him to pay attention on Oscars night.

Donald Trump ‘explains’ Oscars stuff up.

Lama and Sarah’s ‘epic’ MKR fail

My Kitchen Rules contestants Lama and Sarah.

Tempers flare as Lebanese feast turns into an epic fail.

Oscars 2017: How did biggest award get stuffed up?

Presenter Warren Beatty shows the envelope with the actual winner for best picture as host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looks on at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The winner was originally announced as La La Land, but was later corrected to Moonlight.

'Guys in headsets starting buzzing around. They took the envelope.'

Lisa Curry can't marry her fiance

Lisa Curry breaks down in the jungle.

Lisa Curry says she can’t get married to her fiance

The true cause of the Oscars bungle

Faye Dunaway, left, and Warren Beatty present the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Oscars ended with a moment that left everyone speechless.

Casino boss loses $4m on waterfront Sunshine Coast home

The owner of this stunning Noosa home accepted much less than he had initially wanted for the home.

When illness struck owner forced to try and cash out of property

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

Mackay's property market climbing like a Rocket Man

Renewed confidence in Mackay means more homes are being snapped up by those eager to plant their roots in the region.

There's movement in the real estate sector and it's all positive.

'Why we drove 800km to buy a treehouse with a disco ball'

The new owners have planned a few updates, but will stick with much of the original design.

A couple travelled almost 800km for the home of their dreams.

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!