Four New Plymouth athletes are off to the world triathlon championships in London next month.
But first stop for three of them is Galgan, 90 minutes north of Toulouse in France, for a two-week training camp.
Dylan Finnigan, Max Gordon and Waikato University student David Lee are off to the training camp, while Otago University student Hannah Sturmer will join the others in London in time for the world champs starting on Friday, September 13.
Finnigan will compete in the 16-19 men's sprint distance over a 750m swim course, 20km bike ride and 5km run, while Sturmer races over the same distance in the women's 16-19 division.
Gordon and Lee will compete in the men's 20-24 age group - Gordon over the long-distance course (1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run) and Lee over the sprint distance.
"All four were selected back in March after the nationals in Wellington," said New Plymouth's Graham Park, who is a coach with Tri New Zealand.
"They haven't raced since then, all they've done is trained. I've got nine triathletes heading over early for the camp in Galgan. I've held training camps over there before, it's a great setup.
"It's owned by a British triathlete and his wife. He's converted an old barn into accommodation and there's a swimming pool."
Park said the training camp and the trip was self-funded by the triathletes.
"There's no money for them. They have to pay for it themselves," he said. "We're there for two weeks and during that time, we've got a sprint race in Rodez. It's part of the French triathlon series."
Park said after the camp, the triathletes fly to London on Tuesday, September 10, with the first of the age-group races on September 13.
"The standard-distance course is the same one that was used for the Olympics. It's the final of the world series for the elite triathletes."
Finnigan and Gordon said they had been raising funds for the trip.
"We've sold chocolates, had a barbecue and a fundraising dinner," Finnigan said.
"It's been hard work in these economic times," chipped in Gordon.
It's the first world champs for both.
"It's exciting, I'm pumped," Finnigan said.
Gordon was rapt to be tackling the Olympic course.
"Past Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, I'm looking forward to it."
The two were also looking forward to racing again.
"I last raced in March and Dylan in April.
"It's a bit weird, you don't quite know where you're at race-wise.
"We're lucky, we'll have a sprint race in France to see just where we are at before London."
Finnigan, Gordon, Lee and Park leave for France on Monday, with Sturmer joining them in London.
- © Fairfax NZ News