Orange Cycle and Triathlon Club’s Jessie Dean continued her excellent form in the lead-up to this year’s NSW All Schools Championship with a comfortable win in the women’s division of Sunday’s penultimate round of the Central West Inter-Club Triathlon Series at Gosling Creek.
It was the first time the Piranhas have hosted an inter-club race at their new precinct and the 15-year-old gun flourished on the picturesque course, clocking 1.09.33 to win by 23 seconds from Katey Sutton (1.09.56) in second and her mother Estelle (1.10.30) in third.
Dean laid the foundation for her win with an excellent swim leg, which she knew she’d have to produce leading into the lengthy cycle and lap-course run.
“I had a really good swim, it’s pretty short. The bike is one of the longer ones in the inter-club races and I knew mum would be pretty close to me on the bike, so I knew I’d have to run as well as I could so wouldn’t get caught,” Dean said.
It was Dean’s first victory of the 2017-18 season, which came after she finished third at Bathurst and Cowra and second in Mudgee’s opening leg.
“I thought I had the win with about a lap (of the run) to go … it was really good,” she said.
The victory is the perfect springboard for Dean leading into next weekend’s Big Husky Triathlon Festival at Huskisson and then the all schools titles at Penrith at the end of the month.
”There’s a lot of [athletes] who came to [Orange] to get ready for [all schools],” Dean said.
Dean was the 13th to finish overall and was a little over 10 minutes behind Mudgee veteran Matt Webster (59.08), the men’s winner.
Although, his victory was a somewhat confusing one.
Orange’s Jack Bilton crossed the threshold first after sprinting clear of Webster but, unfortunately, he actually still had half a lap to go.
Webster continued on to claim the win, with Orange’s Rory Thornhill finishing second in one hour flat.
Although Bilton (1.00.14) was still strong enough to recover from his setback and finish third the result is expected to have a fairly big impact on the overall standings, considering Webster was already in the lead.
“I think the hardest part of the run was catching up to Jack, he had a bit of a lead on me there. But I had actually already overtaken Jack before he sprinted past me when he thought it was the finish. That’s part of racing, you have to listen to the race briefing and know the course,” Webster said.
Webster actually came out of the water some way behind the race leaders, but made up plenty of ground in the bike leg.
“The swim is my weakest leg, I did wear a wetsuit which helped my speed a little bit but I knew the younger guys would have a bit of a lead on me after that. But I thought I’d be able to catch them on the bike and I did towards the end,” he said.
He transitioned off the bike in second behind Connor Whiteley, but took the lead when the Orange gun withdrew before the run.
“It was a bit of a shame, I was looking forward to having that race with Connor but I know he’s a really strong runner so it was nice to not have to race him as well,” Webster laughed.
“I really enjoy racing the young guys, they keep me honest and give me something to chase down as well so it’s always good, solid racing. I definitely expect them to beat me one day, I’ll just try to hold that off as long as possible.”
Webster went on to laud the Gosling Creek course, before predicting Bathurst will retain its overall lead heading into the final round of the series in Dubbo.
“It was really good to have an open water swim for a change. It’s a really good course, a great swim, a great ride and a really spectator-friendly run,” Webster said.
“I think after today’s race Orange will get a bit closer to Bathurst but Bathurst might still have it, but we’ve got one race left in Dubbo.”