KRIS McCartney extended his dominance of the Warrnambool Foreshore Triathlon, but the celebrations were less enthusiastic than usual.
The Warrnambool champion clinched his fifth consecutive race with a less than vintage performance.
McCartney, 30, revealed a “freak” knee injury suffered while surfing a fortnight ago had hindered his training during late January.
He had planned to contest a Gatorade Series round at Sandringham yesterday.
But the injury — which has made simple things like removing his wetsuit an issue — forced him to pull out.
He made the decision to chase a fifth consecutive victory in the Warrnambool Tri Club event late in the week.
“I had started doing a lot of training and hurt my leg surfing, a freak sort of thing,” he said.
“My preparation wasn’t the best.
“I made my mind up Thursday or Friday to do this race.
“I was going to race in Melbourne but couldn’t do it.
“I had marked down the whole season to do it but my knee wasn’t good enough.”
McCartney finished the 500-metre swim, 20-kilometre ride and five-kilometre run in 51 minutes and 10 seconds.
Fellow Warrnambool triathletes Travis Greening (54.40) and Rohan Creed (58.07) filled the minor placings. McCartney trailed Will Sheppard during the swim in Lady Bay but caught a wave late to take a lead into the first transition.
“Swimming was the only thing I have been able to do in the last few weeks,” McCartney said.
“But I haven’t been able to turn in the pool — it’s a stupid, dumb thing.
“I can’t turn in the pool just because I can’t bend and push off the wall.”
Greening and Creed took up the chase on the bike leg, which took riders from the Harbour Pavilion to Thunder Point and back four times.
But McCartney held them at bay and finished the run leg, three laps of a course along Viaduct Road and the beach promenade, in the clear.
“I wasn’t sure I could run properly,” he said.
“I was able to run but it was not a stealthy run at all, it was a bit of a hobblefest.
“That’s taking nothing away from the other guys.”
Triathlons no longer hold the priority in McCartney’s life that they did when he competed on the international stage.
But he still trains regularly and said he enjoyed competing in WTC events.
“It’s amazing having a club like this. It’s growing every year,”he said.
“There are so many people doing it, it’s like a snowball effect,” he said.