AS a cyclist she made her presence felt against Australia’s best, but as a new triathlete Hollee Simons has fallen in love.
Some three years after Simons decided to step away from cycling, a discipline in which she represented Australia as a junior on the track, she has returned to the sporting arena.
It still involves cycling, but Simons now combines that with swimming and running as a triathlete. It is a move that has seen her reignite her competitive spirit and passion for sport.
“I wanted to try and find some love for sport again. I didn’t want to get back into full blown cycling again, I’ve done that and I stopped for a reason, but I’d always been around this sort of stuff before and I’ve found a bit of passion again,” she said.
“I’m enjoying the different aspect of being on the bike, I feel it’s more about me rather than being about a team or everyone else.
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“It’s about three or four years since I last raced at an Australian level. I don’t miss racing at that level, I miss the racing because I’m a racer not a trainer, but there’s a big back side to cycling that’s very, very hard. I’m actually astonished about the culture here, it’s really supportive.
“It feels really good to enjoy my sport again.”
Simons did attempt a Bathurst Wallabies Triathlon Club local race a number of years ago and while naturally handling the cycle leg, found the other aspects tough.
“I didn’t finish, so I’m not sure that counts,” she laughed.
But Simons’ second attempt at triathlon has worked out much better. She placed third outright and first in her age group at the Mudgee round of the Central West Inter Club Triathlon Series, then on Sunday took out the women’s long course Bathurst event.
That consisted of a 500 metre swim, 16 kilometre cycle and 5km run.
“I did my first triathlon last week at Mudgee and to come out with a third was pretty awesome,” Simons said.
“To be fair it was an awesome ride, the cycling course, if I could make a course that suited me, that’s the course I’d create. I was really lucky.
“But definitely do feel like there’s no pressure. I know I’ve got a really comfortable bike leg and I can kind of afford to give a bit of time on the swim, I feel like I’ve got that up my sleeve.
“Today [Sunday] I felt good coming into the last 100 metres and I thought that I would give it something just to get that ‘I got out of the water first’ kind of feel.”
Simons paced herself nicely in the pool for the Bathurst club race and took the lead on the last lap to emerge first from the water in an eight minutes, 26 seconds split.
On the bike she extended her advantage as she clocked a 26.50 – an effort nearly three minutes faster than any of her female rivals, while her time also stacked up well against male long course competitors.
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It was the eighth quickest time outright.
While Kristy Powyer was able to claw back some of Simons’ advantage through the run with a 23.22 split, it was not enough to reel her in.
Simons’ run split of 24.45 was good enough to see her post a comfortable win in one hour and three minutes.
Powyer (1:06.05) was second while Jennifer Arnold (1:09.22), who had won the first of the Bathurst long course races this season, placed third.