The summer triathlon season began in style with the Classic Builders Tinman Triathlon held in ideal conditions at Mount Maunganui today.
The finish line at Pilot Bay was full to overflowing with enthusiastic supporters who welcomed home the out-of-town winners of the two major races.
The men's and women's standard or Olympic distance triathlon of a 1500m swim, 36km bike and 10km run were won by Aucklander Matt Franklin, 24, and Taryn Ryan, 27, from Wellington in good times.
Both have competed on the course before with Franklin a winner of the event in 2015.
"I was lucky to have [fourth-placed] David Martin to pace off on the bike a bit to keep my heart rate down and get ready for a good 10k," he said.
"I am not traditionally a strong runner and usually try and get a lead on the bike but today was the opposite. I won this a couple of years ago but there was much stronger competition this year so it was just good to come out on top."
Franklin is switching his focus to half-marathons coming up despite the race being a qualification for the world champs on the Gold Coast next September.
"I have one in Phuket next week and then Taupo 70.3 and I am back here on January 20th for the Port of Tauranga Half," he said.
Papamoa's Andrew Lloyd, who finished second, takes the qualifying spot on the Gold Coast.
In the women's standard race, Ryan won convincingly by 1min 51sec from Sarai Hemara in second and multiple former winner Sam Bradley (nee Warriner).
"Honestly I was not expecting that at all. I have just come back from world champs in Canada and had a little bit of a break so thought I would do this one to kick-off the New Zealand season," Ryan said.
"I was really stoked to come away with the win. I saw Sam on the bike and thought that's it, I will just try and keep a little bit in front of her and then just go for it on the run."
The new steps on the base track around Mauao caught many competitors by surprise and put extra strain on already bursting calf muscles late in the race.
Ryan said that was the most challenging part of the race.
"Now they have put those stairs in it is hard core through there. I really enjoyed the bike though because it is so flat and it is my strength in the time trial position. The swim was quite hard because there were so many people out there and the females go second, so we have to navigate through a few men and it gets quite cluttered."
The shorter sprint distance triathlons were won by Gisborne's Josiah Ney, 17, (57:12) and Tauranga Triathlon's Hannah Knighton, 17, (1:01:07) with the ParaTri Nationals champs won by Shaz Dagg (PT1, 1:21:07) and Shannon Cleave (PT5, 1:38:46).
Classic Builders Tinman Triathlon
1 Matt Franklin 1:50:24
2 Andrew Lloyd 1:50:54
3 Malcolm King 1:51:40
1 Taryn Ryan 2:05:04
2 Sarai Hemara 2:06:55
3 Samantha Bradley 2:08:26
1 Josiah Ney 57:12
2 Lachlan Haycock 57:53
3 Reuben Thompson 58:15
Hannah Knighton 1:01:07
Olivia Cummings 1:05:34
Emily Irvine 1:07:21