Off-road: Flora Duffy powers through the course in Jervis Bay, Australia, on her way to winning the inaugural Asia-Pacific XTERRA Championships. *Photo supplied
Off-road: Flora Duffy powers through the course in Jervis Bay, Australia, on her way to winning the inaugural Asia-Pacific XTERRA Championships. *Photo supplied
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Flora Duffy has returned to the US with her confidence soaring after two superb XTERRA triathlon wins.

Bermudian Duffy, 26, has made a huge impact in the early part of the season, winning events in Las Vegas and Australia, where she demolished a field including XTERRA world champion Nicky Samuels.

With the Alabama XTERRA race next on her schedule on May 17, the two-time Olympian is glad she made the last-minute decision to use up some air miles and jet off around the world to compete in the inaugural Asia-Pacific XTERRA Championship.

“I literally booked the plane ticket five days before I flew,” Duffy told the Bermuda Sun. “Luckily I used miles so it wasn’t expensive — I have really good form right now, which is why I thought it was worth it to fly halfway across the world to do a race last minute.

“The win was so special for a few reasons: I beat the current Xterra world champion; it was the first time the race was being held and there was a lot more money on the line than usual.

“A large prize purse attracts strong fields, which made winning even more special.”

To the casual watcher, Duffy’s swim leg was the standout. She was not only the first woman out of the water but also the second athlete overall, beating the men’s race winner — and her boyfriend — Dan Hugo.

But to Duffy, the most satisfying aspect of the win in Jervis Bay, New South Wales was actually her performance on the bike, which in XTERRA competition is ‘off-road’ and on mountain bikes.

“The biggest boost of confidence actually came from not winning the race but from having the fastest mountain bike split within the women,” she said.

“I am still new to mountain biking and it is my area of weakness in XTERRA, so to have the fastest bike split on a technical course against some very strong riders was huge.”

The former Sharks Swim Club competitor has in the past represented Bermuda in the pool and she admitted she enjoys getting one over the men in the water.

“With predominantly racing ITU, you need to be a strong swimmer, and let’s just say that XTERRA athletes are not known for their swimming. 

“I do quite like coming out of the water ahead of most of the men, though!”

Australia again put Duffy and Bermuda on the world stage and sets her up impressively for a year that will also see her fly the flag at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

“Obviously, I am very proud to represent and be an advocate for Bermuda,” she said. “Representing Bermuda at any large sporting event is special, and not something everyone gets to experience. It is something I cherish.”