NICK North has long been a fan of grand prix style triathlons and he showed why on Sunday when taking out round two of the Central West Inter Club Triathlon Series.
Having won the series opener at Cowra under grand prix racing conditions, North was one of the favourites to win round two at Mudgee with the same format.
The distances were a little different to Cowra – a two kilometre run, 250 metre swim, 18km cycle, 250m swim, 2km run – but North said that further played to his strengths.
“I actually prefer the grand prix races, you’ve got the shorter runs, but you’ve also got two swims. Fortunately they can’t put too much time into me in the first run and I can always bridge the gap in the first swim. The bike again is one of my strengths and I’m able to put time in,” he said.
“I can then hop back in the water and build time again ahead of that last run.”
It was in the opening run leg that North and Orange’s Rory Thornhill – the round one runner-up – made the decisive move.
They absorbed the early pressure from their rivals in the first kilometre before upping the tempo and pulling clear.
“It was pretty much the same field as I competed against at Cowra. So the first run is always pretty tactical, they always take it out pretty hard and try and hurt me as much as possible,” North said.
“But I’d done a bit more running in the last couple of weeks to prepare for it, so myself and Rory were able to split the field up in the second lap of the run and we weren’t really headed then.
“It wasn’t too bad the first lap of the first run, but there were a lot of tactics out there, the Orange boys were working together and the Mudgee guys. They developed a little pack there, but the pace on that first lap wasn’t too bad.
“But on the second lap Rory really lit it up, I managed to stay with him, but he burnt off everyone else.”
Thornhill and North were still neck-and-neck after the opening swim leg, but on the bike the Bathurst talent pulled away.
The combination of an undulating course suited to stronger riders like North and windy conditions saw him able to gap Thornhill.
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“We pulled away and fortunately conditions suited me very well being really windy and the course being very tough. I managed to break the elastic band to Rory and pull ahead on the bike,” he said.
“I still had to work hard in the second swim and run, but I guess I had a comfortable buffer so I didn’t have to hurt myself too much.”
North won ahead of Thornhill and another Orange junior in Tom Tudor.
In the women’s race Orange’s Lauren Kerwick was the first to cross the line, followed by Nicky Western (Scone) and Hollee Simmons (Bathurst).