If his latest result is anything to go by, Olly Shaw's decision to transition from off-road to on-road triathlons was a good one.
On Sunday, the Rotorua athlete won the Erin Baker Triathlon in Kinloch, finishing in 2h 1m 17s, ahead of Tauranga athletes Jade Stafford (2h 9m 38s) and Jamie Shields (2h 11m 7s).
"I was in the first group out of the water, which is a nice position to be in, I'm usually chasing a bit further back," Shaw said.
"I kind of made my way to the front a few kilometres into the bike and from there it was really just monitoring my effort and slowly pulling away.
"I finished the bike strong and had a really good run, I just kept extending the gap the whole way."
After a decade of Xterra off-road racing, Shaw recently decided to switch his focus to on-road events with the big goal being qualification for the Half Ironman World Champs in Taupō next year.
He said finishing first on Sunday was a good confidence boost.
"It's always nice to get a win, especially in a race with as much history as the Erin Baker Triathlon and to do it in my first time competing was pretty cool as well.
"It definitely shows that everything is tracking in the right direction and that the training I've been doing is working. I was really happy with my run - that's something I've been working on and if I can keep improving that, then we're definitely going the right way."
A tough bike course on Sunday played into Shaw's strengths, having spent so many years mountain biking.
"It was really hilly, there wasn't really any flat roads. It was all either up or down, which is really good for me being a bit lighter than some of the other guys and also with my mountain bike background where all you're doing is climbing. It suited me really well.
"I didn't really know the course before the day, but the bike was two laps luckily. Once I saw how hilly it was I was able to pace myself a little bit better on the second. The plan was to attack the climbs then try to recover on the descents."
The plan now is to go back into training, continue to work on his weaknesses and look for another event or two to compete in before Ironman qualification begins in June.
In the women's Erin Baker Triathlon race, Taupō's Sam Bradley finished first in 2h 19m 1s, ahead of Auckland's Rebecca Clarke (2h 21m 29s) and Reporoa's Kate Moore (2h 33m 6s).
The Kinloch Triathlon event was also host of the Suzuki Tri NZ National Sprint Championships, which comprised a 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run and attracted some on the country's top triathletes.
Waipa's Sam Ward was the fastest man, finishing in 56m 27s ahead of Cambridge's Tayler Reid (56m 41s) and Te Awamutu's Kyle Smith (57:17).
Cambridge's Hannah Knighton was the fastest woman, finishing in 1h 3m 23s ahead of Cambridge's Ainsley Thorpe (1h 3m 53s) and Taupō's Nicole van der Kaay (1h 4m 5s).
Kinloch Triathlon Results
Sunday, February 10
Erin Baker Triathlon
Men: 1st Olly Shaw (2h 1m 17s), 2nd Jade Stafford (2h 9m 38s), 3rd Jamie Shields (2h 11m 7s).
Women: 1st Sam Bradley (2h 19m 1s), 2nd Rebecca Clarke (2h 21m 29s), 3rd Kate Moore (2h 33m 6s).
Suzuki Tri NZ National Sprint Championships
Men: 1st Sam Ward (56m 27s), 2nd Tayler Reid (56m 41s), 3rd Kyle Smith (57:17).
Women: 1st Hannah Knighton (1h 3m 23s), 2nd Ainsley Thorpe (1h 3m 53s), 3rd Nicole van der Kaay (1h 4m 5s).