The Contact Tri Series will have an international flavour to it this Friday night in Wanaka with a 26 year old Austrian hoping to race in an environment not too different from his alpine home in Europe.
Andreas Giglmayr will line up on Friday night in the elite men’s Contact Cup race over the sprint distance, in the third round of the Contact Tri Series that kicks off the Challenge Wanaka Triathlon Festival this weekend.
Andi - as he is known to his friends and fellow triathletes hails from Salzburg, a town he readily admits is famous for reasons other than triathlon.
“I live in the small town of Salzburg, very close to the Alps. We have a flat there which is close to the Olympic training centre. Mostly the town is known for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the big music festivals that are derived from that association. Also the film The Sound of Music was set there and we have had two bids for the Winter Olympics.”
But Giglmayr won’t be traveling from the current cold of Europe directly to Wanaka, the cold conditions at this time of the year have driven Giglmayr to seek warmer climes and training conditions.
“The training conditions are very good in the European summer, but the winters are cold, long and with a lot of snow until March. Since last July I have been based in Australia, training with Darren Smiths (coach) squad and athletes like Lisa Norden (SWE), Daniela Ryf (SWI).
“We are based in the European summer in Davos/Switzerland for high altitude and over the European winter in Australia, since the weather is much better and you can train much more consistently. We are now ten weeks into a big base training phase and we will stay in Australia until the World Champs Series Sydney race.”
Given that recent heavy workload in training, Giglmayr has realistic expectations about Friday night.
“After the first big block of training I need a bit of a change in location and we want to test some of the new skills I have learned from Darren in the past month. I know the area from World Champs in Queenstown in 2003 and I really loved it. It is such a fantastic place to be, I can’t think of a better place for that new location!
“At this stage of my training and the season I want to see how the new technical aspect of my racing works under race pressure. And I want a good and fast first hit-out of the season and simply enjoy the race. I’m coming from a big base phase training and my race fitness is still not there, but we will see what I’m able to do.”
Giglmayr brings with him considerable experience on the international stage, with numerous starts in World Cup and World Champs Series events and World Championships, including the already mentioned 2003 event in Queenstown when he competed as a junior.
It is a long way for the athlete who started life as a mountain biking skier like most other young Austrians before turning seriously to Triathlon as a 17 year old. But Giglmayr can’t wait to return to surroundings that might remind him a little more of home.
“If nothing has changed then I’m looking forward to returning to this very nice alpine region, with all the hills and some cooler conditions. I think I will feel a little like being home in Austria for one week.”
Giglmayr will certainly add an international flavour and stern opposition for the New Zealanders lining up in the Contact Cup race at 8.10pm on Friday night around the CBD of Wanaka.
Other races include Contact Trophy for age group athletes over the same sprint distance course and Contact 3:9:3 for beginner or novice athletes looking for a comfortable entry level event.
The Contact Tri Series
Friday 15th January
Contact 3:9:3 - 2.30pm
Contact Trophy Age Group
750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
Women - 3.40pm
Men - 5.20pm
Contact Cup Elites and U19
750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
Women - 7pm
Men - 8.10pm
For further information, including course maps, click here