THE racing will be hot and competition stiff, but Mick Stapley is tipping the Bathurst Wallabies Triathlon Club women will fire when his club hosts round two of the Central West Inter-Club series on Wednesday.
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It is Mudgee who current leads the series on 35 points after it hosted round one, followed by Dubbo (22), Bathurst (17.5) and defending champions Orange (16.5).
Wallabies president Stapley admits it will be hard for his club to finish on top of this season's overall points tally, but if Bathurst's best female triathletes show up for the annual Australia Day event he thinks they'll be hot contenders for round honours.
"Inter-Club is going to be a tough ask for us this year, especially this round because all the young guns from Orange are back and the Mudgee guys who won over there are racing phenomenally well, while all of our big guns from the males have taken a step back," he said.
"Nick [North] and Josh [Stapley] have both stepped back a little bit to focus on other things, so our women is where I think we'll be very competitive.
"Hollee [Simons] is going to be incredibly hard to beat, she's quick over any distance and any format - she's fast. I'm hoping we get Peta Cutler and I'd love to see Kirsten [Howard] back as well as those three women will really take it to the young guns.
"Kirsten can have six months off racing, jump back into a race and absolutely dominate it, Peta is the same, she's doing a lot of distance stuff so it probably doesn't suit her style of racing and training at the moment, but it would still be a good hit out for her."
The format of the race will be a grand prix style - it starts with a 2.5 kilometre run, it's followed by a 200 metres swim and 16km cycle, then it's back into the pool for another 200m swim. The final leg is a 2.5km run.
Those doing the short course race finish after the cycle.
It's a style of race that Stapley loves and he said that while there is the obvious competition that comes with an inter-club round, the camaraderie between all entrants is fantastic
"Everyone's really keen to be racing and our Australia Day race is our biggest one of the year, everyone loves it, we make it a real social outing for the club. We're looking forward to hosting it," he said.
"It's a really fun format, I'm disappointed to be doing all the admin stuff because it is my favourite race of the season. To miss out on racing is really tough, but I'll be there cheering everyone on with gusto.
"You pass guys from Orange and Mudgee when you're out on the run and they'll give you the same level of support as the Bathurst guys - so you're getting encouragement every leg.
"It's that great atmosphere of encouragement, it doesn't matter what level you're at, whether you're at the top or at the bottom, everyone gets encouraged and has a good time."
That supportive atmosphere has become a trademark of the sport across the Central West. Add into that mix the talent - especially amongst some of the younger competitors - and Stapley says it is an exciting time for triathlon.
"We've got athletes that are absolutely at the top of the sport. Orange have got a few guys that are doing Elite Energy races, so does Mudgee, so does Bathurst, so to have that level of competition in a Central West club race is unbelievable," he said.
"You can see some of the best athletes in the country going around in our inter-club series. It's great from a spectator point, it's great to race in, it's a great time to be involved with triathlon."
Wednesday's senior race gets underway at 9.30am, while the juniors (boomers) race from 8am over a 100m or 150m swim, 6km ride and a 1.5km run.
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