Orange and the Gosling Creek Reserve impressed triathletes in town for the NSW Club Championships on Saturday
Despite a stiff breeze and the ever-present threat of rain – many are keen to return in 2018.
The event brought 1500 people to Orange, with an estimated economic benefit of $1 million.
One of the smaller clubs to compete was the Mudgee Triathlon Club.
“We’re delighted it’s in Orange. Instead of a five hour drive, it’s only two hours,” member Rebecca George said.
Mudgee sent 17 competitors, including seven juniors plus supporters.
“It’s really special to be able to cheer your children on and then have them cheer you on and have their cheers motivate you,” Mrs George said.
Mudgee’s club president Matt Webster completed the course in one hour and 37 minutes.
“It’s big improvement on the Lake Canobolas course and a great addition to the Central West,” he said.
Blake Nielsen and Sam Dally represented the Hills Triathlon Club and relished the challenge of a new course.
They said the championships were a highlight of the season.
“It was challenging, especially with the wind out there, it was good course, it wasn’t boring,” Mr Dally said.
They were both impressed by a beach created by Orange City Council, and the infrastructure around the reserve for the event.
“It was much better than a mat or a boat ramp,” Mr Dally said.
“We had a lot of expectations coming from Forster, but they’ve really delivered. We’re looking forward to next year.”
An injury kept Manly’s John Hiron from competiting this year and instead volunteered to register competitors and supported his club.
“I’ve only been to Orange once before in my life, and that was 40 years ago,” he said.
“The proximity to the bike course finishing and the start of the run is great for spectators.
“When you’re racing out there it’s pretty lonely stuff, but when you hear the bells or your name or club called out, it gives you a bit of a zip.”
Mr Hiron said a visiting wineries was Sunday’s plan.
“But we will still have to drive back to Sydney, it would be good to have an extra day,” he said.
“I look forward to coming again next year.”