Bid to beat the outback heat
By GLEN SCOTT
WHEN Murwillumbah's Europe-based professional triathlete Paul Matthews slogs it out in the Goondiwindi heat against an international field on February 5, he's likely to feel there is something to the event's name.
Used to the cooler climes of Switzerland, where he lived in 2005 while with French professional triathlon team Aix en Provence, Matthews will enter the Hell of the West triathlon, where 245 competitors battled it out in 37 degree heat last year.
Back in full training after a restful off-season spent in his home town, Matthews will use the 2km swim, 80km cycle ride and a 20km run described as 'hot as hell' by event organisers as a chance to fine-tune before heading to the US in late March.
Matthews hopes to make his mark in the lucrative 70.3 Series, sonamed to represent the total number of miles in each swim, cycle and run series event.
"I'll base myself on the east coast and if I can keep making some money, I'll stay in the US," Matthews said.
"If not, I'll head back to Switzerland and rejoin my French club."
Winning a triathlon in outback Queensland's Goondiwindi would appear a walk in the park for a professional who is also with the Queensland Academy of Sport, but Matthews has more than the scorching heat to contend with.
"The Hell of the West has been going for a while now, and attracts a really good field," he explained. "The captain of my French team has been staying with me and is entering, and I lived overseas with last year's winner, Cameron Watt, who will be there as well.
"He'll be hard to beat. But some big names have won it, so it would be good to have on my resume."