Australian triathlon star Craig Alexander is relishing the challenge of competing against the "young buggers" as he enters the last phase of his legendary racing career.
The three-time Hawaiian Ironman champion will headline Sunday's Geelong 70.3, or half-Ironman distance race.
He will go up against a strong field that features two-time Olympians Courtney Akinston and Brad Kahlefeldt, along with long-distance specialist Christian Kemp.
Alexander turns 41 in June and he will definitely not race at Hawaii this year.
It remains to be seen if he will return to the race next year.
He has launched a coaching business called Sansego and is starting the transition from elite competitor to retirement.
But the fierce competitiveness that has underpinned Alexander's career remains strong.
In his first race since Hawaii, he was seventh at last month's Auckland 70.3 and was only a minute away from the podium.
"I certainly take pride in the fact that I'm nearly 41 and I'm still competitive, absolutely," Alexander told AAP.
"There's no sense of `I have to beat these young buggers'.
"I think they're keeping me young and that's good.
"To me, it's a challenge to try and beat guys a decade younger, absolutely."
Depending on how Geelong goes, Alexander will line up at next month's Ironman Asia-Pacific race in Melbourne.
But now it is strictly one Ironman-distance race a year and as little time away from his Sydney home as possible.
Alexander and wife Neri have three young children and it is a growing challenge to balance family, racing and business.
"It's not your age as such that's the disadvantage, particularly in an endurance sport," he said.
"The physical age itself is an advantage, I think.
"But it's the things that come with that age - a young family and perhaps business opportunities - the things that take your focus away from the training and recovery when it used to be 100 per cent training and recovery."
Alexander's fierce mindset meant he could never just complete another Ironman to qualify for Hawaii.
He compliments compatriot Mirinda Carfrae, who broke the course record at Hawaii last year and only a few weeks later confirmed her qualification for the title defence by completing another Ironman in the United States.
Carfrae merely raced to finish the second race.
Alexander has no problems with how Carfrae tackles the Hawaii qualification system - it's just not him.
"I can't do it. I race to win," he confessed.
"I really do believe you probably only have one serious, deep effort in you every 12 months.
"'Rinny' is probably on a winner.
"That's probably the pathway to success if you want to be consistent in Kona and have fresh legs in October every year.
"I'm looking at ways to prolong my career, not shorten it."