GRAFTON'S Greg Coombes will be testing his endurance this weekend by taking part in the Ironman Cairns triathlon.
The event consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km run.
Coombes competed last year and although he was pleasantly surprised at his debut time, he is aiming for higher goals this weekend.
"Last year the goal was just to finish, and it turned out that I was 16th out of 90 in my division with a 10hr 54min time, so that was a bonus," Coombes said.
"This year I feel like I'm riding and running quicker, so I'm hoping for a faster time."
He attributes his improvement to more running time and an altitude training program.
"I suffered from shin splints last year and couldn't run in the six weeks before the event," Coombes said.
"I've managed that problem now with compression and tape, which is promising.
"Last year I also purchased an altitude trainer, which essentially cuts down the percentage of oxygen you breathe, so your blood cells think 'if this is all the oxygen we're getting, we better work harder'.
"Now when I exercise in normal air, everything works a little better."
Coombes has set his goal of being 30 minutes faster than last year.
"It's a long day, and so much can go wrong, but if everything falls into place I should be up there somewhere," he said.
Not completely out of his mind is a qualifying spot for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, but he will need a top-six finish.
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