Yamba ironwoman battles the flu before start of surf series
A WHOLE new format of the Surf Iron Women Series will start this weekend, but former Yamba athlete Alyce Bennett is not looking forward to it.
You would think Bennett would be itching to get out on the water - especially with only a week to go before the start of the 2013-14 series.
Instead, she's spent the last fortnight cooped up at home trying to fight off the flu.
"Everything was going well and it came from nowhere," Bennett said.
"I'm just resting trying to get rid of it. It's completely floored me."
The disastrous timing of the illness has potential to ruin her tilt at success due to the newer format of the competition.
Where previous years saw one round per weekend, with each round spaced several weeks apart, this year's series is condensed into three weekends.
The first two rounds will be held over this weekend at Margaret River's Smiths Beach, with the next three rounds held at Newcastle only a fortnight later.
"Instead of being sick or injured for the first two rounds it could affect my whole series," Bennett said.
"I don't see how it's possible to say each race is going to be shorter and estimate how long the rounds will take.
"It comes down to the conditions on the day.
"When I won at Coolum a few years ago the surf was so strong that it took 45 minutes for the next person to cross the line.
"I prefer the traditional format so it will be interesting to see how it works."
Remarkably, the competition will not stop at the Gold Coast, nor will it return to Portsea, the scene of Bennett's famed capsize (pictured right).
The sixth and final round will be held at Coolum on February 23, leaving all competitors with a 10-week break.
Bennett said she would try to find a few races to keep herself fit, with the Yamba Ocean Swims the top priority on her list.
"I'll be looking to sniff out a few races around the traps," Bennett said.
"The best form of training is racing - the more I do, the better."
2013-14 IRONWOMEN SCHEDULE
Rd 1, Nov 30: Smiths Beach, WA (loop format)
Rd 2, Dec 1: Smiths Beach, WA (eliminator)
Rd 3, Dec 14: Newcastle Beach, NSW (loop format)
Rd 4, Dec 14: Newcastle Beach, NSW (M-shape format)
Rd 5, Dec 15: Newcastle Beach, NSW (eliminator)
Rd 6, Feb 23, 2014: Coolum Beach, Qld (eliminator)