Travel

THE NOOSA HIGH

By September 26, 2019 No Comments

Photo credit: Korupt Vision

We started coming to Noosa in 2017 and prior to this we had spent one New Zealand winter in Europe and two seasons in the USA. We had a great time, but it wasn’t easy and when Sal and I reflected, we decided we’d move forward and ‘make life simpler’ in any way we could and by doing so I’d be able to train more consistently. We ended up choosing Noosa.

Sal fell in love with the place straight away. I enjoyed the food, the coffee and the weather but I sat on the fence for a few years. I still thought the grass was greener and ended up polishing off my Kona preparation post Noosa in Boulder in 2017. In 2018 I was booked to return to Boulder but decided it wasn’t worth the extra travel stress and ended up staying in Noosa right up to Kona last year. This year, I was looking forward to coming back to Noosa for a 10 week block in preparation for Kona. I knew it was where I needed to be.

Photo credit: Graeme Murray

There’s  a part of me that needs to be mentally challenged to feel like I’m making progress and being away from home, out of my comfort zone in new places, training at altitude and in super-hot environments, changing locations, racing lots are all examples of things I have used to stimulate me mentally and push my own limits. Noosa has always felt really comfortable and I never felt like I could push that hard here. Life is just too easy in Noosa.

Video credit: Roy Schott

The irony is that this year in Noosa I’ve had the longest most consistent training block with the highest volume and intensity of any season before. I haven’t been injured, I haven’t been sick and I haven’t had more than 1 day a week off since the third week of July. I wake up feeling good,  I can push harder knowing that I have the space to recover at home, ready to hit the next session with full commitment.

I don’t yet know if the difference in how I have approached my training this year will pay dividends, but my swimming is better than it’s ever been thanks to John Rogers. My power is better across the board and I ran my fastest half marathon at Sunshine Coast 70.3 three weeks ago, off the back of a big few weeks of training in the lead up. It’s looking good and I have Noosa to thank for giving me the space to give everything to this year’s Kona preparation.

Photo credit: Korupt Vision

Read on for my take on Noosa as a triathlon training base.

The clear blue skies, the fresh produce and quality of food, the golden beaches, and the vast entity of options for cycling, running and swimming combine into one of the most epic adventure and training playground’s in the world keeping me in a consistent and unwavering state of what I call ‘The Noosa High’.

Setting up camp in Noosa as an athlete with family, for a short-term training stint is too easy. It’s as if the trails, the food, the nature and everything it offers and the vibes and are designed specifically for this purpose. In most cases, they are, and then the rest is just pure coincidence; perfect alignment and crossover, satisfying both athletes, the athlete’s family and holiday punters.

Photo credit: Korupt Vision

Winters are very settled and dry with perfect temperatures for training, guaranteeing you’ll get out doors and train every-day.

I’m incredibly inspired by my environment, meaning it has the potential to positively or negatively affect my training effectiveness and efficiency. For this reason, one of the most valuable assets a good training ground needs to have is variety, to keep things interesting. Noosa 100% delivers on this front.

Photo credit: Graeme Murray

Within the township there is a vast entity of wide safe cycle lanes that lead you out of the main centre and onto the back roads, with so many options for cycling, it’s hard to define what ones are the best.  But I think overall these are my two top favourites:

  1. Ride from Noosa along David Low Way down the coast to Marcoola, and then head inwards onto the Sunshine Coast motor way before going over the Maroochydore bridge, taking the turn off too Bli Bli. This is the old 70.3 worlds circuit, which passes a café called Guru Life. Guru Life is the highlight of this ride; a café offering not only amazing coffee but also a unique culture; a sort of cyclist’s enlightenment that acts to enhances every km that follows on afterwards.The coast ride back to Noosa is the same route, but a great way to get home with the ocean in view over your right shoulder for most of the ride.
  2. My second highlight ride takes you out the back towards Gympie via Cedar Pocket Road. I head on out through Boreen Point and onto Kin Kin before hitting Cedar Pocket Road then onto the Old Bruce Highway which connects you back to Cooroy and then Noosa.

Photo credit: Korupt Vision

Noosa also offers a brilliant maze of ‘running on tap’. Two of my favourite training runs are as follows:

  1. The national park is right on your doorstep pretty much wherever you are in Noosa and it can be accessed in many different ways. I use it for my go-to one-hour, easy run sessions. It’s a really nice place to get onto some single track with some great scenic sections. Go at the right time of the day and it’s pretty quiet. There are any number of combinations that can easily give you up to a 20km run if you are happy to double back and link the valley systems, or head through to Sunshine Beach and come back around through Noosa Junction to finish off with some time on the paths.
  2. My absolute favourite is a point to point run which has become one of my key training runs. This starts in Noosa and heads on down the coast. Depending on how long you want to run; 1.5 hours takes you to Coolum and just after here you can duck back towards the coast and run another 4km cycle way around to Marcoola. From here you can go even further and run all the way down to Maroochydore on a foot path. All the paths feed together. There’s a couple of times you cross the road but other than that you’re pretty much on bike or run trail the whole way down. It starts off quite slow so I use the first 30 minutes where there’s a lot of hills to get ina rhythm and warm up. Then there’s a solid 15km section through the middle right down to Marcoola which is all fast running and you can start trying to push some paces with those tired legs! Then I grab a coffee and get a pick up!

Photo credit: Korupt Vision

Travelling as a family, it’s always a bonus to find opportunity to train whilst hanging out with my kids. Open water swimming at Noosa Bay is the ultimate example of this because they have SUP’s for hire on the beach so my family can come out with me and run my sessions for me. Or my wife will do yoga on the beach and the kids will make their own fun, while I am out. You can swim horizontally along the shore with 1.2km between the two points or you can head directly out you Granite Bay for a 3-4km session. For the recreational swimmers, every Sunday around 3pm there is a social meet-up and open water swim.

Photo credit: Korupt Vision

There are few destinations in NZ that offer access to a 50m and 25m outdoor pool and gym, but Noosa is one of them. Even when travelling in the states and Europe, I still find it hard to find a 50m outdoor pool. The Noosa Aquatic Centre (the NAC) is always a highlight within my training routine and also for my wife and kids. The NAC caters for everyone, not matter what level of fitness offering a huge point of difference with regard to servicing athletes as well as holiday makers.  I swim with John Rogers for some solid 7-8km sets most mornings at 5.30pm, but there are also open to the public squads at 7am and at 9am with Nick Croft.

Photo credit: Graeme Murray

From an injury prevention and recovery angle, Duncan Crosbie from KunaKuna massage is the man for a good massage but he also does Kahuna, which is quite unique; an ancient therapeutic massage technique based on the teachings and practices ofthe Hawaiian Kahunas.Chris is the Osteo we use from Align Osteopathy and he’s pretty thorough and efficient.

Nutrition is a vital part of any athletes training routine so having access to quality food is key and again, you guessed it, Noosa nails this on every level.

You can’t go past a smoothie bowl at Coco-head and salads at Jungle and Co at the Noosa Junction. You can always guarantee great food. Keep your eyes peeled for the iconic paleo muffin that pops up in a few of the café’s around town but is produced by Vanilla Food out at Bel Mondo’s. It’s one of the best paleo muffins I’ve ever had with a kumara base.

I’ve already mentioned Guru Café which remains my #1 on route coffee stop. But within Noosa, I can’t go past – Puncher Coffee Roasters. Puncher are small batch focused and it’s really cool seeing the coffee beans roasted by the scoop full. Owned by a kiwi who is also the barrister. Big selling point, but his talents on the machine and in the roastery are the main reason why it’s always full from 6am until after lunch.

Braden Currie having coffee

Photo credit: Korupt Vision

In terms of eating out at night. To be honest, we don’t do that very often. But if we do, we have two favourites, based around a key love of good Asian food.

Light house – corner of Noosa Junction. It’s new, but it’s delicious.  Beef Rendang and the salt and pepper calamari are our two picks.

Sum Yung Guys; just go. Asian cuisine and culture at its best. Book a week in advance at least. My wife loves their cocktails and she normally doesn’t drink alcohol, which suggests that they are too enticing not to. The Kingfish ceviche, dumplings and the salmon yellow curry are right up there on the favourites list.

As a family, our highlight is definitely the local farmers market that happens every Sunday, nestled amongst the gum trees. We religiously join the hive of activity and have breakfast and coffee in the pristine sunshine that seems to constantly stream down in Noosa. The farmers market is packed with locally-produced seasonal produce from fresh organics, freshly squeezed lime drinks, skin care, nuts and seeds, herbs and seafood, freshly baked bread and scrumptious cheeses along with other hand-crafted products. This is where we buy most of our groceries for the week. Definitely the most amazing famers market I’ve ever been to. During the week, for any food top up’s we might need we also shop at Organika and Belmondos.

Photo credit: Graeme Murray

I’ll forever fly the Noosa flag and continue coming here for many years to come with my family, not only for training but for holiday too. Noosa really does tick all the boxes, seamlessly catering for just about everyone and offering a healthy kicker of relaxed vibes, good food, consistent sunshine and probably the most epic beaches in the world.