Tayler Reid, Dan Hoy and Liam Ward are amongst the dozen Kiwis lining up this coming weekend at New Zealands only ITU World Cup Triathlon, the Quality Hotel Plymouth International World Cup, and for both it is a race with a bigger goal in mind.
At 20, 18 and 19 years old respectively, all three are making their way in senior level ITU racing, with Hoy in his final season as a Junior (U19) and aiming at a big result at the ITU World Championships in Rotterdam later this year.
After a few false starts caused by collisions with parked cars and illness, Reid is touching wood at every opportunity in the final few days leading up to Sundays race, one he must do well at if he is to start at the Gold Coast World Series race a week later.
"I have been waiting to race the elite race in New Plymouth for three years now so if I can finally make to the start line I will be stoked. New Plymouth will be the determining factor on whether I am eligible to start the Gold Coast World Series event, which I badly want to race. To do this I need to be with 3.5% of the winners time, so above all this is the most important objective in the race."
Coached by Stephen Sheldrake, 20-year-old Reid has for some time been heralded as a bright young prospect and after a few too many interruptions to his fledgling career, he is looking to fulfil that undoubted potential, with consistency on race day a big goal this season.
"I am fortunate that I dont seem to get many training related injuries. The only thing Im really injured by is colliding with cars. In the past, illness has been the most damaging to my training and preparation. This is currently the longest period I have been healthy for in a long time which is great. Training has been consistent, however my performance in races to this point in the season have been anything but. I seem to either be at the front or out the back and nothing in-between, like a tap either on or off. Hopefully if I remain healthy and out of the path of cars I will be on in New Plymouth."
Coming from Gisborne and enjoying his time surfing the local beaches, it is no surprise that Reid enjoys tough race day conditions, and is hoping for a little of that on Sunday to spice up racing and play into his hands.
"I have good memories from racing in New Plymouth as it was where I won my last title as a junior. Its a course I like racing on and it suits some of my strengths especially the sea swim. The rougher the conditions the more it suits my surf swimming background."
Hoy raced in New Plymouth last year, in what was his very first ITU World Cup race. He knows the course and what he is in for and like Reid, is not fazed by the prospect of a testing race.
"New Plymouth is a tough course, it is a tough bike with a flat run, but an all-round tough course. It suits my strengths with a wetsuit swim and I will enjoy the flat run off the bike, that suits my running style."
Hoy has just returned from taking part in the very first Super League event in Australia last week, ironically at Hamilton Island where Cyclone Debbie is unleashing at this very moment.
For the Nathan Richmond coached athlete, it was a chance to rub shoulders with the elite of the sport in an exciting new format.
"I am feeling good about things right now having just come away from an awesome experience at the Super league event. While it was racing, it was also a hard three days of training, so hopefully I am recovered after that, I am in the best shape I can be for this race though.
"It was awesome, every top guy in the world was there in a new format with short sharp racing and short recovery, I loved it and learned a lot as well. We all interacted with each other, we were eating breakfast lunch and dinner together each day, it was awesome to talk to Brownlee and Gomez and the top guys who are doing this level of racing day in day out."
Like Reid, Hoy is looking at this event as a springboard into a possible World Series start on the Gold Coast in just over a weeks time, but is also wanting to race hard and mix it with the best for as long as he can.
"I need the experience in my last year as a junior athlete, but it is great to race a World Cup against top guys. But it is not just about experience, I want to be in the race and have to be within 3.5% of the winner so I can race Gold Coast the week later."
Another young Kiwi lining up on Sunday is Liam Ward, the Brett Reid coached 19-year-old Aucklander is in good shape for a race that he hopes will see a strong finish to his New Zealand summer, one that has been by his own admission, inconsistent.
"Preparation has been very good for New Plymouth. I've been training with a squad in Brisbane for the last seven weeks since Kinloch. I've had no major issues with injury throughout this period so I'm hoping the outcome shows this consistency.
"This season hasn't been my best so far with a couple of disappointing races. These are attributable to personal errors in racing so come New Plymouth I need be smart and aggressive.
"I've only been to New Plymouth once in the past for the junior national championships. I know the course is technical and challenging with a couple of sharp climbs. I'm feeling strong on the bike and I expect that these hills and aggressive accelerations out of turns will take a bit of spring out of a few of the runners, and break up the race."
The event dubbed Sprint by the Mountain is made possible with the ongoing support of Quality Hotel Plymouth International, Venture Taranaki, Port Taranaki and TSB Community Trust.
New Zealanders on the start list for the Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup are:
Men: Tayler Reid (Gisborne), Hayden Wilde (Whakatane), Kyle Smith (Taupo), Daniel Hoy (Auckland), Ryan Sissons (Auckland), Liam Ward (Auckland)
Women: Deborah Lynch (Porirua), Nicole Van Der Kaay (Taupo), Elise Salt (Auckland), Sophie Corbidge (Auckland), Andrea Hewitt (Christchurch), Elizabeth Stannard (Palmerston North).
Event website: www.itunewplymouthtriathlon.co.nz
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Triathlon New Zealand