TIM FITZPATRICK has taken his triathlon training to the next level to rub noses with some of Italy’s elite.
In May this year the Echuca-Moama Triathlon Club member embarked on a five-month trip around Italy with the DDS Triathlon Team — one of the largest in the country.
He was training under head coach Simonè Diamantini who trained a lot of high performance triathletes, Olympians, world champions and current world triathlon series athletes.
The 26-year-old had been racing seriously for two years and before heading off on the journey of a life-time had come first in the 2016/17 Rural Triathlon Series in the 18-29 age group.
But the rural series had nothing on what was waiting for him around the corner.
The Arditi Gli del Nirone — a series run in a suburb just outside of Milan.
‘‘I didn’t know it was a series when I entered the five races — my Italian is average at best,’’ Fitzpatrick said.
‘‘It was in its 20th year of running.
‘‘There were 10 events throughout the week you could compete in to gain points in the series.’’
The off-road specialist quickly learnt what he had gotten himself into after he was encouraged by his coach to take on the event.
‘‘Simonè suggested I race the series as it would suit me and my training program leading into xterra Italy on July 29th and 30th,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a surprisingly tough series, we (my housemates and I) joked about the racing before I started, saying the events were so short.
‘‘However I found the shorter the racing the harder you go; higher heartrates, faster run splits, more pain.
‘‘All in all though it was a well run event and I thoroughly enjoyed the racing.’’
The first race, a sprint duathlon involving a 5km run, 20km ride and 2.5km run, saw him finish in second place and finish the first leg in a personal best time.
It followed with a fourth place finish in the super sprint aquathlon, a 1.25km run, 750m swim and 1.25km run.
His next race in the series, a super sprint mountain bike duathlon (2.5km run, 10km ride, 1.25km run), saw him take out his first win.
Another win in the next event, a super enduro which included three mini-triathlons of a 300m swim, 5km ride and 1.25km run, had him sitting in high contention for an overall placing.
He capped off the week-long sporting extravaganza with a third first place in the supersprint triathlon (400m swim, 10km ride, 2.5km run).
It was enough to see him take out the series overall.