While torrential rain had a huge impact on the shape of the Dubbo stage of the 2020 Inter-Club Triathlon competition, there was little that could dampen the spirits of the victors in round three.
Orange's Jack Bilton took out the top spot overall and said there was no lack of enthusiasm despite the challenging conditions.
"We were battling to keep upright and not slip over sometimes, but it was a really fun morning in Dubbo, they put on a great event considering the conditions," Bilton said.
For safety reasons, the usual cycling portion of the event was cancelled, turning the fixture into a run-swim-run series and necessitating a change in plan from the strong cyclist.
"When we got down there, they'd decided to change the format to an aquathon and I knew with that format, I could make the most of the run leg," Bilton said.
"I knew the other competitors form Orange like Tom Tudor would be right on my heels, so I had to create a big gap just to start with."
With the wet making even the footpaths and roads treacherous, caution was the name of the game for the leaders, but despite the challenges, Bilton was able to make good time in the early goings.
"The running sections were all about caution, I could tell it was pretty slippery, so I opted for the path knowing it wasn't quite as bad and I was able to really push hard in the first 500 metres to start off with a lead," Bilton said.
"I got a lead on Tom and Campbell Wall from Mudgee going into the water, the rain was just coming down sideways into our face, it was pretty wild conditions."
"At that point, I knew I was going to have to swim quickly, because Tom's a strong swimmer, I came out of the water and we were pretty much neck and neck out of that transition, so I knew I had to put it all out there and I managed about fifteen seconds between us."
In spite of low visibility in the water and treacherous footing out of it, Bilton finished in 00:20:34.7, with Tudor right behind him at 00:20:53.7 and Campbell Wall a minute behind them at 00:22:05.5.
Orange youngsters Abby (00:27:43.3) and Jessie Dean (00:28:14.3) took out the top two spots for the women, with Sophie Martin (00:30:35.1) coming in third.
"Yeah, it was good to get the win," Dean said of her first place finish.
"But it was definitely pretty hard, I didn't really cope well with the run in those conditions."
Despite being challenged by the alterations to the competition's structure, Dean was enthused by the strong lead the results will likely give the Orange Piranhas, who host the next round at home on February 16.
"Feeling pretty about how the competition is going, we seem to be getting the numbers and the points that we're looking to get every round," Dean said.
Dubbo's Ben Orford (00:28:54.3) finished sixth overall and first in his age group.
"Overall, Orange came away really well, but Dubbo, Mudgee and Cowra all really brought the numbers out as well," Bilton said.
"For the wet day it was, everyone came out and showed a lot of support, so it turned into a really, really good morning with a lot of great athletes."
The points awarded to clubs has yet to be tabulated by NSW Triathlon.