MARK Windsor set himself a target following his shoulder surgery in September: Be ready to take on the Geelong Ironman 70.3 in five months' time.
But not only did Windsor get himself in top condition for the race, he defended his Australian title by winning the men's 60-64 years category.
Windsor completed Sunday's 1.9 kilometre swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run in a time of four hours, 34 minutes and 12 seconds to beat the closest competitor in his age group by nearly 10 minutes.
The Bathurst triathlete was denied the chance to compete at last year's Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France, following his training accident and subsequent surgery, but with victory on the weekend he has earned a place at the 2020 edition in Taupo, New Zealand.
Windsor joins fellow Bathurst athletes Peta Cutler and Terry Roberts as Taupo qualifiers. The pair booked their places with podium finishes at November's Western Sydney Ironman.
Windsor was uncertain how he'd fare at Geelong given his challenging build up but he said Sunday's race "couldn't have gone any better".
"I was nervous about this one. I rushed it a little bit to get going with my recovery. I wasn't feeling super confident as I got ready but everything went really well," Windsor said.
"After surgery I couldn't move my shoulder for a couple of months. It's such a slow recovery. If you try to do too much you get an overuse injury. I'm sure my physio will be very happy with this because he was a bit worried about me taking on this race."
It was in his ever-dominant bike leg where Windsor held the most concern injury-wise.
He emerged from the swim in third place and quickly found his way to the lead, but carefully monitored the condition of his shoulder.
"The swim wasn't the worry, it was holding the time trial position on the bike," he said.
"I was worried a little in the last 10 kilometres so I backed off a bit to do some stretching. I thought I'd be aching the whole time on the run but I didn't notice it much at all."
Despite those concerns Windsor still finished with the fastest bike and run legs in his age group.
Bathurst was well represented at Geelong.
Stephen Jackson (5:19:12) and Fran Grady (6:09:53) finished with top 10 results in their respective age divisions while Jenn Arnold (5:32:36), Kath Malligan (5:54:44) and Chris Grady (6:20:36) all impressed in the gruelling event.
"We had a great group there with the Gradys, Steve, Jenn and particuarly Kath Stutsel. That's really a short distance for her. She's such a tough athlete," Windsor said.
"We all got together at the presentation and it was nice to have a group there supporting each other. A lot of the time I've done these title races it's been by myself so it's nice to have a Bathurst group there.
"Even with the hot finish a lot of the Bathurst guys were in PB territory. It was a great event, and earning the Australian title was great for me because this was the only chance I had to race for the title this year because I wasn't able to do the Olympic distance.