Queenslander wins Byron Triathlon
QUEENSLANDER Bryce McMaster turned in a stunning run leg to claim the 15th Byron Bay Triathlon on Saturday.
McMaster had to chase down runaway leader and local hero Clayton Fettell during a tense run leg to claim the victory.
“I knew had to really work that run so I really went for it on the second and third laps, and it came together for me today,” he said.
“The run’s something I’ve really worked on for the past six to eight and it’s really starting to come together.
After admitting he’d had a flat week in terms of preparing for the race, McMaster said he was surprised at how well he performed.
“I didn’t expect it to come together like it did. That second lap (run), I don’t know where it came from,” he said.
“To put it together today like I have is absolutely amazing.”
Alstonville’s Fettell, one of the pre-race favourites, got off to a terrific start, and led the professional men’s field out of the swim leg and on to the bike.
While a stiff southerly breeze made the ride down the Coast Road towards Lennox Head tough going, on the return leg riders were able to get up to speeds of 50km/h with the wind at their tails to complete the 40km cycle.
Fettell retained his lead after the bike leg, with McMaster second.
The leaders slogged it out together during the first of four 2.5km run laps that weaved along the beachfront and through the Byron Bay recreation grounds.
But an explosive second lap from McMaster saw him somehow find another gear deep into the race.
It helped him open up a lead over Fettell that would eventually become decisive.
Port Macquarie’s Adam Holborow also managed to rein in a tiring Fettell to claim second with the local triathlete relegated to third.
In the women’s professional race, Kensington’s Lisa Marangon took the lead on the bike leg and held off a fast-finishing Michelle Wu in the run to claim the prizemoney.
“It was really tough in the swim. It felt like it went for-ever,” Marangon said.
“It was quite windy as well on the bike. But coming home I started feeling good.
“I just got into another gear during the run and by the fourth lap I came home really strongly.”
Marangon’s win was her second in two starts after claiming a half ironwoman in Western Australia last weekend.
At twice the distance of Saturday’s Olympic-distance triathlon, Marangon said the Byron Bay race required a different approach.
“It’s a different intensity. You’re red-lining the whole way. This is more about speed,” she said.
Courtney Dutton led the pack out of the swim leg to the bike ahead of Marangon and Wu but by the end of the bike, Marangon had taken the lead and she was never headed.
Wu finished second and Dutton third.
About 1100 triathletes lined up for the Olympic distance event, from across Australia and from 16 other countries.
As one of the last triathlons of the Australian season, it was the final chance for the pros to have a hit-out before heading overseas for the Northern Hemisphere summer, or for those amateurs keen to cross ‘complete a triathlon’ off their to do list.
With quick and not-quite-as-quick athletes filing past the finish line late into the afternoon, race director Mick Smith thanked Byron Bay residents for their patience given the road closures required for the event.
Mr Smith also claimed the triathlon on Saturday was the most successful in the event’s 15-year history.
“This is the biggest one we’ve had,” he said.
“This is probably 30 per cent bigger than last year.
“It’s Australia’s best address for a triathlon.”