OLYMPIC triathlon bronze medallist Erin Densham wants the Dirt Mistress crown in Creswick this weekend.
Densham has been in the township since mid-week to prepare for her first major race this season, today’s Victorian Cross Triathlon State Championships.
It is slightly unconventional in triathlon terms, venturing into trail runs and rides.
But Densham was so enthusiastic about competing once she saw the course, based at Novotel Forest Resort, that she also put her name in the eight-kilometre trail run and 45-kilometre cross-country mountain bike events.
This forms part of the two-day In2Adventure meet, which includes races for all ages and abilities.
Should she post the quickest cumulative time in all three marquee events, Densham will win her dirt crown.
She know the challenge will be tough and is likely to hurt, but can hardly wait.
“This is my first race for the year and basically I wanted something that was smaller than ITU triathlon events, closer to home and closer to my heart – I love local events,” Densham said.
“It’ll be good to get back into having fun and it will be exciting.
“It’ll help break the ice to get back into racing.”
Densham has gone off road before, including an XTerra World Championship, and looked forward to a fast flowing course in Creswick – a 500m lake swim, 23km bike and 8km trail run, all at the picturesque golfing resort.
In2Adventure event manager Robyn Lazenby had initially been scouting Daylesford for location potential when she stumbled across the Creswick and its surrounding forest.
“It was an adventure mecca just waiting to be discovered,” Lazenby said.
“It has its own great mountain bike trails and running trails and lake – we really want to promote this as an adventure playground with links to our strategic goal of bringing off-road triathlon into the mainstream arena.”
Novotel Forest Resort general manager Michael Daviss said the event was great recognition for the Ballarat region and was a great fit for a region billed as the cycling capital of Australia.
Densham will headline more than 200 competitors, from children to adults, battling in the off-road events this weekend.