Crawford's experience could be key

Last updated 05:00 17/01/2014

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Challenge Wanaka defending champion Gina Crawford admits the southern course is the hardest she has tackled.

However, the mental challenge behind the competition will not stop her putting every ounce of effort into her bid to win a sixth title tomorrow.

The steep hills and tough road surface made the course strenuous and Crawford said it could cause her to lose concentration.

"I tend to drift off and lose time," she said.

However, when she was tired from climbing the steep hills in the bike section she would take the time to check out the view.

"I'm looking forward to the race but there are a lot of unknown factors [which could affect her race] such as my bike," she said.

The race involves a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run.

Crawford will be up against some big names such as fellow Kiwi Candice Hammond and Australian Carrie Lester.

Hammond said her swim would be her weak leg but she had been working hard on her run and bike section to make up for it.

"The more races I do, the more I understand it's a mental game out there," she said.

Lester said "I'm still really finding myself in this sport. I'm learning a lot more about myself and where my strengths are. As much as I don't like the bike at times, it's my strength."

She was looking forward to taking on the scenic course, "the hills suit me," she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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