Taking away his biggest weapon was no deterrent for Jamie Riddle as he powered home to claim the Nelson Mandela Bay Triathlon Championships on Saturday morning.
Riddle showed good early season form as he took the senior title in a time of one hr, 52 mins and 57 secs.
He was followed home by Keegan Cooke (1:54.50) and Clinton Gravett (1:58.52).
In the women’s race, Cathy Curtain claimed the overall title, finishing in 2:36.44, almost two minutes ahead of Angela Knoetze (2:38.43) and Carika Burton (2:40.04).
Riddle said he was happy with his performance considering it was his first attempt at an Olympic-distance event.
The swim portion of the event had to be called off due to strong winds which brought bluebottles them.
The organisers replaced the swim, which Riddle admitted was his strongest discipline, with a 5km run.
“It did make it a bit tough because, with it being my first Olympic distance, instead of doing just 10km of running, we had to do 15km.
“Usually my swimming is my strong point, but I was still confident in my abilities on the bike and the run.
“On the bike, I knew Keegs had a new TT [time-trial] bike, so I knew he would take the reins on the bike. I just sat back and tried to hold my position.”
Having spent most of the first running leg and the cycling leg together at the front, Riddle managed to make his way past Cooke in the final running leg.
“Bike conditions were quite windy, but we can expect that from Port Elizabeth.
“My legs felt a bit like jelly in the final stages of the bike and heading into the first part of the final 10km, but I managed to warm my legs into the run.
“I managed to get away at about 3km into the final run and built my gap from there, which I am very happy with.” Riddle said.
Curtain said given the tough conditions she was happy to have hung on for the win.
“I was quite disappointed when the swim was cancelled, as I actually enjoy the swim,” Curtain, who returned to the start line after a 12-year hiatus, said.
“Nevertheless, the first run was OK, so too the bike, but I really had to hang on in the final run leg.
“Conditions were quite windy, but I think what helped is the fact that the place I went to for a holiday was quite windy and I managed to get a few good sessions in those conditions,” she said.
Having done her first Ironman race in 2008, Curtain underwent an operation shortly thereafter which saw her sidelined.
However, she is now back and has her sights set on bigger things, namely the Ironman 70.3 in East London later in January.