A life with no limits

What does Olympic triathlete Courtney Atkinson get up to in his downtime?
Courtney taking a corner! © @romanpace
By Josh Rakic

Unlike most sports, triathlon doesn’t have a set season, specific seasonal conditions or a one-body structure to go by. It’s a dual hemisphere sports contested under many banners, in countless locations at just about any time of the calendar year - warmer months of course. And that leaves dual Olympian Courtney Atkinson with a plethora of what he describes as “down time”.

The inverted commas exist for the fact that Courtney’s determination of down time is in direct contrast to what it’s described as in the dictionary. Courtney’s idea of “downtime” is training in a new location and contesting offroad races, endurance running races or bike events to keep himself fit.

Having known Courtney for some six years, we can only surmise that he does not in fact enjoy relaxing - or whatever he calls it. So with the Rio Olympics trial event in August, just what does Courtney do when his next big event is some two months away?

While I have a bit of a break between races, I get pretty bored and anxious to race again so I like to use cross training and suppose pursue for enjoyment mountain bike racing

Courtney says effortlessly, as he pedals flat-out on a stationary bike. “I find the mountain biking transfers really well into the riding for ITU triathlon racing as it mimics the high intensity repetitive bursts that is needed in the ITU racing - which is also required for the continual terrain variances in XC MTB races.”

The latest of which was last week’s Triple R MTB race in Far North Queensland, which saw Courtney and competitors cover 70km of rural, rainforest and coastal terrain. He calls that fun...

“Yeah, I was in Cairns filming some tourism pieces for riding in Tropical North QLD (#ridecairns) as well as participating in the 25th anniversary of the iconic RRR MTB race - it was great,” Courtney continues.

“It’s 70km from the top of the rural properties on the tablelands, down the famous bump track in the rainforest and finishing up on the 4 Mile beach stretch of sand at Port Douglas - the reef. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to stay fit and competitive at the same time.” He finished sixth - couldn’t help himself from having a crack - and crossed the line covered in more mud and dirt than a bogged four-wheel-drive. “It was just so much fun!” Courtney says.

“Mountain biking is so different to triathlon that it’s something I enjoy outside of my profession. It allows me to stay fresh.“If it’s not that, it’s training solo and hitting the bitumen at dawn. And it’s getting a bit cold for that on the Gold Coast this time of year,” he finishes with a laugh.So don’t be surprised to see Courtney dominating a local high school cross-country run soon near you.

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