THE neon lights of Las Vegas have captured the attention of three Mackay athletes.
But their September visit won't be all about the glitz and glamour of the gambling capital - they've got the 70.3 Triathlon World Championships to conquer.
Russell O'Hara, Brendan Camilleri and Matt Perkins qualified for the Las Vegas event at the Singapore 70.3 earlier this month.
They were joined in Singapore by fellow Mackay man Neil Rissman, who started his triathlon career with a bang by completing the half ironman.
O'Hara said he, Camilleri and Perkins had set out with a goal to reach Las Vegas and had looked at different qualifying races. They chose Singapore, mainly because of its hot weather and fast bike course, and it paid off.
O'Hara won his age group, while Perkins was second in his and Camilleri sixth.
The trio followed a rigorous training schedule in the lead-up to Singapore.
"Basically we were training for 20-25 hours a week," O'Hara said.
That included 10-12km in the water, a couple of hundred kilometres on the bike, and up to 80km running.
They also aimed to emulate some of the weather conditions they could expect in Singapore. "We were training in the middle of the day," O'Hara said.
It proved to be the right strategy, given the temperature in Singapore climbed to 38 degrees and 95% humidity.
They'll have to adjust their approach again to cater for the Las Vegas course.
"We're going to have to change our training, as it's quite hilly," O'Hara said.
The Mackay contingent will be competing alongside some famous names in the American event, which involves a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run, adding up to 113km, or 70.3 miles.
Three-time Hawaiian Ironman winner and defending 70.3 world champion Craig Alexander is expected to be there, along with Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong.
With competition to be fierce as participants converge on Las Vegas from all around the world, O'Hara said the Mackay men were aiming for top-10 finishes in their age groups.
They'll use the Mackay Half Marathon and the Gold Coast Marathon as lead-up events for Las Vegas.
It won't be all work and no play for the men.
"We'll probably have a few days (in Vegas) either side," O'Hara said. "A few days to acclimatise and a few days to celebrate."
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