World Ironman titles beckon
RYAN McLoughlin will be leaving for Austria tonight with his partner, Karlene Kilgour, and team member Cheryl Ogden to compete in the 70.3 Ironman World Championships.
McLoughlin is the coach of 3D Coaching, but will also be competing in the gruelling swim, bike and run event in Zell am See.
He expects the biggest challenge in Austria to be the bike leg with a 12km hill climb.
"Gladstone has a lot of hills, but nothing will compare to this 12km hill climb," McLoughlin said.
"Three of us went to Rockhampton and rode Mount Archer twice to simulate the hill we will encounter."
McLoughlin and Kilgour have set a goal of finishing in the first half of their field, but Ogden will be trying to win her 60-65 age group.
"(Ogden) will try and win, no doubt about that," McLoughlin said.
"She won the long course championship last year and I think there were about nine people in her age group.
"This race for her has a significantly higher rate of competition and she is really looking forward to have that challenge as well."
He said three other competitors from Gladstone would be going to Austria as well: Ron and Renee Craig and Mike Dunstan.
"Mike Dunstan is an unsung racing hero in our town," he said.
"He has Olympic distance and half-distance ironman world championships and he is going back again."
The 3D coaching team will be travelling with Ogden's husband Russell and Kilgour's parents.
After the race next weekend they will travel around Europe for another two weeks.