Matt Pellow won the Dubbo Triathlon Club’s first event of 2019 on Sunday as he looks to make his return to the sport’s elite ranks.
The former professional triathlete has been home in Dubbo over the summer working with father Ross – working as a builder in 40-degree temperatures a different, yet effective, way of conditioning his body for a return to the Ironman circuit.
Pellow took out the sprint event on Sunday – 500-metre swim, 18-kilometre bike ride and 4km run – while others took part in the shorter enticer event: 150m swim, 9km bike ride and 2km run.
Pellow completed his race in 52 minutes and 43 seconds (6:49 swim, 29:09 bike, 16:44 run) ahead of Ed Druitt (55:57 – 8:08 swim, 29:57 ride, 17:35 run).
He “swam conservatively” pacing himself in the opening leg behind “good swimmer” Ben Orford (6:46), but didn’t hold back in his preferred run leg.
“The wind sort of picked up halfway through the ride but it worked to my advantage anyway because when I got to the turnaround there was a pretty strong tailwind,” Pellow said.
“Then I ran easy … just did enough to get around the course.”
Pellow has only resumed his training in recent weeks, and completed his first “long ride” – 110kms, followed by a 10km run – just a day before Sunday’s race.
But he’s enjoying being back in the saddle, and taking advantage of the unique nature of training in outback NSW.
“I was sort of in pretty deep and I needed to sort of take a step back for, it’s been almost two years now,” Pellow said of his break from the sport.
“The training and stuff was feeling harder and harder, I sort of lost a bit of motivation but now that I’ve got a little bit more direction the life is starting to come back to me quite positively – I’m really enjoying the training and stuff now.
“It’s always nice to come back out to Dubbo and race … The water [in the Macquarie River] is really flowing at the moment … I can pretty much remember every pothole in the road, so it always feels like home here.”
Almost than 30 people took part across the two distances on Sunday, either as individuals or in teams.
That included father-son duo Scott and Cooper Ferrari, who joined forces with friend Darryl Cumming to complete the run, swim and cycle leg respectively.
Swimmer Cooper started off the proceedings and enjoyed “cooling off in the hot weather”, while cyclist Cumming liked the team aspect to “get in the spirit of things”.
They finished third overall in the sprint with a time of 58:31 (8:08, 31:02, 19:21).
Julia Mannix was the first woman across the line in 59:12 (07:31, 32:52, 18:48).
Club president Jason Dearmer was very pleased with the turnout.
There were also 10 volunteers spread across the course, with enough helping hands that some of the committee were able to take part.
“It’s been a really good start for our first race for 2019,” he said.
“We’ve got a few people who have moved to Dubbo competing today, and are looking to compete in triathlons.
“We’ve got quite a few juniors competing here as well, which is good.”
“It’s good to see the numbers picking up again,” Pellow said.
“The club took a bit of a dive a couple of years ago and they’ve pretty much changed the entire group of people running it and they’re doing a really good job.
“Today there was a couple of people that had issues with their bikes and not everyone was quite ready on time so they just started 25 minutes late. That’s just the atmosphere they’ve got going so it’s really good.”
Pellow said he’d love to give back to the sport down the track, and mentor some of the region’s youngsters who are “following in the footsteps that I took”.
Dearmer said Dubbo provided a great environment for elite athletes to live, work and train, and that it gave the other competitors an “edge” to have Pellow in their midst.