We are so privileged to live here in Brisbane just 1.5 - 2 hours from either Noosa or Byron Bay. This week we headed south to Byron Bay for the 21st Byron Bay Olympic Triathlon. I won the race for the fourth time. It was my fifth time at the event, I love it (its in my top 5 must do events), and I would love to share my tips for the tri-tourist in Byron.
The race has a mid-day start. I find it is best to pack the car the night before and start the drive down at 6am. This allows you to make it to Byron by 8am which ensures you get to the Byron exit of the M1 before it becomes congested and slow. If you plan to come from interstate its only about an hour from the Coolangatta airport.
The event and course
The race is very relaxed with a simple and efficient registration process, small expo and a secure and straight forward transition. A number of elements of the course changed this year, I think they were for the better.
Swim: Leaving from the surf club, the swim was close to shore and followed parallel to the beach before doubling back. Swimmers were only 100m from shore. It was very safe and had lots of water cover.
Bike: The bike was shorter than a traditional Olympic Distance because of the difficulty managing road access for the local traffic. The course is honest as it is undulating some sections had solid pot holes.
Run: The run had a great atmosphere with the course now looping past the club tents then around the playground next to the surf club and back past the club tents. The remainder of the course was unchanged other than the finish line which was now in front of the surf club. Lollies and fresh fruit at the finish, Happy Days.
This year the weather was simply marvellous. If you are doing Byron for the first time be prepared. It is often a non-wetsuit swim. Don’t worry, the water is just divine. Make sure you wave to the fish.
Because I was late to enter the race I decided to try “Glamping” in a “safari tent” at the Discovery Holiday Park. The Park is about 2ks from the town centre and because I only needed one night it seemed like a sound choice. I really recommend trying the Safari Tent. It is fully furnished with floor boards and a deck - certainly not what I expected and very cheap (sleeps 6). It is nestled back from the main road, secure and quiet with lots of natural wildlife around. I had a Kookaburras on the font deck Sunday morning.
Coffee and food
Byron is not short of good coffee and food vendors. If you want to stay near the main drag, you can get your Campos Coffee and a good breakfast from the Byron Fresh Cafe (featured below), located next to the Pub. http://www.byronfresh.com/byron-fresh-menu/
Another favourite of mine is the “Beach Byron Bay” on Lawson Street at the far end of the run course. http://beachbyronbay.com.au/dining-options/food-drink. Hats of to the housemade granola!
Well who goes to Byron and doesn’t do a little shopping. After the usual main street wonder, I found some great socks at the Twisted Sista Cafe. They have a cool pattern and fabulous sock length for cycling for just $15! Evidently they are very popular.
Byron is renowned for its great riding. I did some training on Sunday over the hills around Byron. Taking in the fabulous view of the coast. Not only can you jump straight in the ocean for a swim but you can use the 50m Olympic pool next to the surf club entry is just $4 (hot shower a further 50 cents). For running you can not go past the Byron Bay lighthouse run and a chance to stand on the most easterly point in Australia.