Wind, waves and hills test club members
Geraldton Triathlon Club had a change of location last Sunday, moving from its home base of St Georges Beach, to set up for racing at the scenic Grannies Beach, Port Denison.
The Shire of Irwin and Dongara locals helped with the event set-up, logistics and promotion, which made for a very successful and smoothly run event despite the toughest conditions of the season.
There were three major differences to the easy racing conditions in Geraldton – Grannies beach can have reasonable sized waves breaking over its sandy bottom and competitors with a surf lifesaving background excelled at the duck-diving start and body-surfing return. The spectators also had fun watching the wipe-outs.
The pretty Dongara cycling course also has some short, sharp hills which tested riders used to the dead-flat course of Geraldton. The third challenge was the wind.
A stiff south-easterly breeze gave cyclists a 55km/h outbound speed and a brutal headwind on the return.
In the Enticer course, a wrong turn by Chloe Spence gave Lucy Osbourne a lead, which she never lost and finished very strong to win.
In the male Enticer, there was a battle between some very promising young triathletes, with Wade Cuthbert fighting hard to take his second win of the season. In the 300m/18km/4km male short course, the battle was between premier swimmer Dean Carrol and young member Pieter Grobler.
Grobler had a fantastic swim to be first on the bike and, while Carrol made ground throughout the two-lap course, a fast and powerful run got Grobler over the line first. In the female short course, Mikhaela Byrnes once again dominated the racing, posting the fastest time for all three legs, while local P.J Ruffles put in a great performance for her only tri of the season to take second place.
In the 600m/27km/6km male long course, it was a showdown between training partners and friends Byron Clarkson and Ben Freer.
Clarkson left the water in first place but on the second lap of the bike course, he was forced to stop because of a bee caught in his helmet. This allowed Freer to pass and, despite a great chase, finish first.
In the female long course, Deb Gillam took the line first for the second year running while Cathy Clarke had a fantastic run in her long-course debut to take second, with Sarah Toia close behind.
Toia is training for a half-ironman distance race and seems to be shining in the longer distances.
Next week the racing is back at St Georges Beach, Bluff Point.
Registration is 8am for an 8.30am race start.
Geraldton Triathlon Club members hit the Port Denison swell for the swim leg last Sunday.