True sporting enthusiasts know that the decathlon best represents the true essence of athletics. The same spirit leads us to consider triathlon the essence of the most famous endurance sports: swimming, cycling and running.
Although these sports are within everyone’s reach, the incredible distances that triathletes swim, ride and run place them without a shadow of doubt in the category of super human. But even super humans have a Masters competition: the Professional Triathletes Organisation Championship, aka the Challenge Daytona. It will be held on 6 December at the Daytona International Speedway, ending an extremely difficult year for every discipline—and therefore for the sport that brings them together.
New Zealander Amelia Watkinson, who is in the top 20 world ranking, tells us about her year: “It has been a very difficult year because I couldn’t follow my training and improvement programs guided by the markers that races represent. The year also created economic problems for us as professionals. Still, I tried to train as best so that I’d to be ready when racing could resume and, fortunately, I was able to compete in three triathlons in Australia, which I won. I hope that augurs well for Daytona because it’ll be an extremely spectacular race for both the athletes and the public since it will take place on the speedway which will let us keep a close eye on our main opponents. I think I’ll be able to finish in the top ten. In any case, I hope I can make a good contribution to the show that we expect from the Challenge Daytona.”
The PTO Championship features two kilometres of swimming, 80 kilometres of cycling and 18 kilometres of running.
The only non-human tool used in triathlon disciplines is the bicycle, which helped Andreas Dreitz become one of the 15 best triathletes in the world.
“I really loved cycling so I wanted to become a professional cyclist at first. Then, some friends started doing triathlon, so I started as well. Over time, I grew to love it more and more and I did better and better. Now, at the end of such a strange year, I’m looking forward to having fun at this Challenge Daytona, and I think that’s what we all expect. The top specialists of short, medium and long triathlon will be there, and they’ll face off in a contained area that will really put on a show for both the public and for us. As far as I am concerned, I’m expecting a lot from the cycling section. I particularly love it because of my cycling origins and I think that the route is perfect to maintain a high average speed, between 47 and 48 kilometres per hour. That’s ideal for a bike with the Turbine’s characteristics. So, like Amelia, I expect to do very well.”
Because of the length of each section of the race, the PTO Championship is actually half an Ironman. At this point in such an unusual season, it is a useful test for a fundamental event for triathletes heading to the 2021 Ironman Kona World Championship.
Andi explains why Kona is so important.
“Well, although every Ironman competition is great, Kona is above every other competition. It’s a dream come true for every triathlete participating. It’s the stuff of legends. I think that all of us, not just me, are focussed on qualifying for the world championship. I’m sure that, once we get there, it will be the goal of the entire season.”
Both Amelia and Andreas have already qualified for the great event held every year (it was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID) near Kailua-Kona in the western part of the Great Island of Hawaii.
Competitors will cover 180 kilometres by bicycle and, as usual, the only non-human support available to Amelia Watkinson and Andreas Dietz will be their Wilier Turbine.
That’s a lot of responsibility for a bicycle.
THE BIKE OF THIS ARTICLE
Wilier Turbine: Turn power into speed
A frame with unique features and a host of innovative aspects , providing the perfect response to the needs of triathletes around the world. A product developed on the basis of four fundamental pillars: aerodynamics; braking efficiency; wide range of positions; ease of transportation.
The ultimate synthesis of these key elements , Wilier Turbine is the new triathlon and time trial frame that embodies all of Wilier Triestina’s expertise in the quest for maximum speed. Wilier Turbine transforms your power into speed, offering the highest possible levels of performance.