Bendigo Shines as Allen and Allen Claim the Victorian XTri State Championships
Bendigo Goldfields turned out a spectacular course this weekend for round four of the National TreX Cross Triathlon Series which also doubled as the Triathlon Victoria State Championships. Ultimately it was the international power couple of cross triathlon Jacqui and Ben Allen who beat out strong competition from series leaders Jacob Storey and Anne Alford and reigning U23 world champion Penny Slater to take out the state titles.
As day dawned across beautiful Crusoe Reservoir in the heart of the Bendigo goldfields, it was clear that the tranquillity of the morning would soon be smashed as the best of Australia’s off-road athletes braced themselves to tackle a brutal 1500m swim, followed by a 30km XC MTB in Bendigo Regional Park and finish up with one of the most technically challenging 10km trail run courses in the country.
Into the water and it was Ben Allen who once again demonstrated his dominance on the swim, exiting the water with a 3:33min lead over his closest rivals Declan Jefferey and Rodney Bell, Lead female Catherine Sterling from Mornington Peninsula finished the swim in second place overall with an 8sec lead on Jacqui Allen and national series leader Anne Alford 20 sec behind.
Onto the mountain bike and a fast, dry course awaited athletes with a few rocky, pinchy climbs and descents ready to challenge riders at every turn.
For the men Allen continued his dominance on the bike finishing up a tough 30km in a time of 1:14:35 now over 9mins ahead of closest rival Jacob Storey and Declan Jeffery. Jacqui Allen proved her strength on the bike leg regaining the lead from Sterling with Penny Slater putting in a strong ride for second and Anne Alford in third.
The trail run hosted in Crusoe is one of the most diverse and technically challenging courses on the national circuit. 80% of the run is off trail and runners are challenged with a nice little section the race organisers have named ‘Log In… Log Out’ where runners must traverse a 150m section of 1m high logs, all with the lactic acid burning in the legs from the mountain bike. This is followed by a water section before tackling the beautiful but challenging downhill rocky gully back to Race HQ.
In the previous three series races, the run leg is where series leader Jacob Storey has asserted his dominance and this race was no exception. Storey pulled back 1:37mins on the leaders but ultimately Allen was not going to give up his lead easily and with a strong performance on the run went on to claim the title as the champion of Victoria in a time of 2:11:43, with Storey taking silver in 2:18:34, and Declan Jefferey in third in a time of 2:26:25.
Jacqui Allen and Penny Slater battled it out on the run but Allen with her typical grit and determination crossed the line to take the title in 2:27:43 with Slater in second place in 2:29:35 and Anne Alford in 3rd in 2:35:09.