PETA Cutler has earned herself a European adventure after recording her greatest triathlon achievement to date.
The Bathurst triathlete topped her age category in Sunday’s Geelong Ironman 70.3 and in the process earned herself an invite to the World Championships in Nice, France, later this year.
Cutler completed the 1.9 kilometre swim, 90 km bike leg and 21.1km run in a time of four hours, 51 minutes and 22 seconds to beat her nearest women’s 35-39 year rival by three minutes.
It was over a dominant bike leg – the eighth fastest across all women’s age groups – where Cutler took the race away from her opponents. She beat home 48 other finishers in her category to the top spot.
Cutler put down her achievement to an ideal lead up.
“I’d trained differently over the past 12 weeks. I decided to get a coach and I felt really good going into the race but never did I think that I could win it,” she said.
“With the short amount of time I had to train I worked really hard. The training was more structured and I got more out of it.
“I felt comfortable in the swim. On the first lap of the bike the wind picked up, and it’s not the flattest course, and I thought I was slowing up. But I’d got into first place at the 45km mark on the bike.
“Into the run I had a three minute lead on second place and I held a steady pace.”
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Cutler was the third competitor in her age group out of the water but quickly brought back the two riders ahead of her in a 36km/h average bike leg.
Second placed Maike Wolf cut back the gap to Cutler over the bike and run legs but the superior swim from the Bathurst competitor proved pivotal in keeping the number one position.
Cutler intends to make the trip over to France for the World Championships.
“It was quite a big field and probably the biggest race that I’ve ever done. I’m really shocked by the result,” she said.
“There were two spots in my age group and I told myself that if I won it outright, and I deserved it, then I’d take the spot.”
Cutler’s result continues her improvement following a bronze in November’s Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney.
The Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice will be held on September 7.
Fellow Bathurst competitor Graham Wheeler also took to the Geelong course, coming home inside the top 25 of the men’s 50-54 division.
Wheeler made up 26 positions over strong bike and run legs to finish the race in 5:09:32.