By Steve Cuff
At Lake Crackenback Resort
AS the elite field gathered on the lakes edge for the Oceania Cross Triathlon Championships at the Lake Crackenback Resort last Saturday, it was always going to be a battle of the young guns trying to preside over the more established and proven winners.
With a 1.5km swim to start, followed by a 30km mountain bike ride and the final 10km run, gruelling was a fair description, and as an extra the race was a qualifying event for the World Championships later this year in The Netherlands. So, there was plenty on the line including prizemoney.
In an emotional finish, Dean Cane from Brisbane managed to hold off the veteran of the sport, Wollongong’s Ben Allen. In the women’s elite, Kate Bramley edged out Jacqui Allen.
At the finish line Dean Cane had his head in his hands as he realised a dream of winning the prestigious Oceania title.
The 20-year-old said it was “very emotional” winning this event for the first time. “It’s been a lot of years in the making, probably the start of 2015 I had my eyes on this and it’s taken a long time to get here. Today was the first time and I really enjoyed it.”
Cane, a full-time cross triathlon athlete and at such a young age will surely add many more elite titles to his name. When asked about the 55 second lead he gave rival Ben Allen in the first swim leg, Cane said, “I knew I’d come out of the water a while back, and I’ve worked hard on my bike and my run and I knew that if I rode well I would be able to catch them. I caught them on the first lap of the bike and I just grew that gap a bit before the run.”
In praising his older rival Ben Allen, Cane said it seems like with age he just gets faster. “He’s just so consistent and he has been for so many years.”
“I am not going to lie, I wanted to make sure I beat Ben before he retired, and just super happy and super privileged to be able to do that.”
Dean Cane takes the tape and a victory in the men’s elite. All Photos Steve Cuff.
Ben Allen was not disappointed with second saying, “To be honest I gave it everything I had, credit to Dean Cane, he is young up and coming and he just had a lot over me today. I led the swim, I went hard in the swim and I thought it he’s going to want it he is going to have to earn it.”
“Credit to him he had a solid race, and I just hung on strong and finished second. I am happy to walk away with second on the podium. It’s been good, and I wouldn’t miss this race for the world.”
Ben also said he encountered wildlife. “I hit a kangaroo out there unfortunately, it looked like a rock, it was right on the trail and I wasn’t focusing on that and I think I startled it, it startled me and we both had a bit of a collision. I managed to stay upright, and it sort of just darted off into the bush, so I was lucky there. There were a fair few deer jumping across the course, obviously being the first competitor on the bike course, I was sort of dodging all the wildlife.”
Ben Allen leads and dives back into the water for his second swim lap.
In the women’s event it was a change of podium positions of the previous year’s Australian championships on the same course, with Kate Bramley edging out Jacqui Allen.
Bramley described the course as tough and said sometimes it’s just nice just to finish.
“I have raced these ladies a couple of times, we did the same race here last year and both Penny and Jacqui were in front of me, so it’s nice to beat them this time, we have had some good races together.”
“I absolutely love it here, it’s the reason why I keep coming back, I just love the course, love the area, it’s challenging, probably not as hilly as some of the other courses we get thrown on, super lovely smooth track (bike).”
On placing second Jacqui Allen said she was pleased with the result considering she has been injured.
“I am very happy with that today, I have been a little bit injured and the plan was to start my season a little bit later,” said Allen.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to race, but it is really hard not to race here, Robyn and Simon put on such a fantastic event, and it was really good prizemoney up for a grabs, and I think I just wanted to be a part of it and get out there and do what I could, was absolutely thrilled to come second.”
“I always get off to a good start, the swim is my strength. I have been swimming and riding really well, riding a lot and so it was like ok let’s put heaps of time into these girls on the bike and just hang on for the run, but they were right behind coming into transition.”
Women’s podium, Jacqui Allen, Kate Bramley, Penny Slater.
It was a huge weekend at Lake Crackenback, with the Cross Triathlon on Saturday followed by the popular trail run on Sunday, numbers totalled over 1000 competitors for both events, plus entourage. Apart from the elite level there were hundreds of amateurs including juniors who competed in shorter distances.
In2Adventure event organiser Robyn Lazenby said numbers were up this weekend with the cross triathlon and trail run (Sunday).
“When everyone realised thankfully this area was spared in terms of the fires, but they recognised they weren’t spared financially they really got behind the community and came along to the event,” said Robyn.
“Amazing, I have know Dean since he was about seven racing in dirt kids so it’s really fantastic to see him come up. He took out silver medal in the junior championships at the world champs, so to see him take out the Oceania champs is pretty amazing, he’s a very hard working young man.”
Ben Allen summed up the mood from all athletes when he said, “All in all this is a fantastic race and it’s a credit to triathlon Australia, In2Adventure, Lake Crackenback and the Snowy Mountains for putting on such an amazing race.”
Making a big splash at the start.
You can find all results and more information on the events at www.in2adventure.com.au
Main Elite Results and times.
1st Dean Cane 2:20:10.00
2nd Ben Allen 2:23:54.00
3rd Matthew Pellow 2:24:15.00
1st Kate Bramley 2:42:03.00
2nd Jacqui Allen 2:45:23.00
3rd Penny Slater 2:46:43.00
Certainly some bright budgie smugglers here.
The elite winners podium.
Let the celebrations begin….
Kate Bramley all smiles as she wins the women’s event.
Mathew Pellow in the Little Thredbo River run leg.
Penny Slater running in the Little Thredbo River.
Ben Allen is first out of the transition on the bike leg.
Jacqui Allen leading in the bike leg but would finish second overall.
Competitors on the bike trail.
Dean Cane leading the way in the bike leg.
The mountain bike leg has many features.
Kate Bramley focused in the run leg.
Cross triathlon is about running cross country style trails in the run leg.
The veteran Ben Allen in second place.
Swimmers dive into the spectacular Lake Crackenback
The Jindabyne Surf Lifesaving Club safety crew paddle out at the start.