JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Friday, 24 April 2015

Dirt n Dust Triathlon 2015

Well.....its done and dusted, and what a great weekend it was.  This was Philips 16th Dirt n Dust out of the 21 years that it has been going.  The first one, if I recall, had just 20 competitors and this year there were almost 400.  The little triathlon has now grown in to a full blown festival swelling the little township of Julia Creek from a population of 400 to almost 4000.  The festival begins on Friday afternoon with the Junior Triathlon.  This has also grown in strength from tens to hundreds of little ones. Some of the youngest competitors still have trainer wheels on their bicycles!  Proud parents and grand-parents watch and cheer on the young athletes and it is a joy to watch.

The smallest triathletes lined up for the swim leg

On ya bike little one!

A proud grandad watches on

Friday night at Dirt n Dust Central is a free night of entertainment with live music and a carbohydrate rich dinner for the triathletes.
We stayed at the Julia Creek Caravan Park for the duration of the festival and we watched it slowly fill on Friday to full capacity.  The park had a great atmosphere as the triathletes and family prepared for the Dirt n Dust Triathlon on Saturday.
The senior triathlon starts from Eastern Creek (20 km west of Julia Creek) where the swim leg is completed and then the gruelling ride back into the township where the transition quickly takes place into the 5km run leg.  The triathlon is sprint distance but anyone who has completed in the triathlon will tell you it is one of the hardest triathlons in Australia.  This year the athletes were spared the devastating head wind in the cycle leg but had to endure the relentless heat radiating from the bitumen. The overall winner of the triathlon did it in a time of 59 minutes 40 seconds.  I can't recall the hour being broken too many times over the past 21 years to it was an excellent result.

Cool, calm and collected before the race

And they are off!

The winner!

Philip arriving into town

The main street of Julia Creek is lined with spectators

Philip starts the run leg

The finish line.

The end is near!

On Saturday afternoon, after everyone has cooled down it is time to put on the glad rags and head to the Julia Creek Race Course for the running of the Artesian Express Race Meeting.  Many thousands of people attend this race meeting and it is standing room only if you don't have tickets to the Red Claw Luncheon....which sadly, we did not....but next year we will!
After the races it is another quick shower and change into comfortable clothes and shoes for the PBR Bull ride and concert.  This bull ride is renowned throughout Australia as one of the most visual for spectators. The yard is quite small and the committee have built a "hill" around the yard for maximum viewing pleasure.  It is really quite spectacular to be so close to the action.

Thousands of spectators enjoyed being up close and personal at the bull ride.

The bull ride finished around 10pm and that is when the band started playing.  Ten years ago we might have stayed and partied into the night but our bones were weary so it was off to bed for us.

Anyone ever considering a trip to the outback should really try and incorporate the Dirt n Dust Festival into their itinerary.  It is a great weekend in a little town where the locals open their doors and hearts to visitors.  The community is heading into the third year of a devastating drought so it has been hard for them but you would never tell from the welcoming smiles on their faces.

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