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Estwanik on her bike for May 24

Ashley Estwanik said she is looking forward to making her debut in the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race this year.

The six-times women's Appleby Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby champion has opted not to defend her title this year due to her involvement in tomorrow's Half Ironman in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“I will be competing in the Half Ironman in Tennessee so I will definitely not be in shape for running on Wednesday,” Estwanik said.

“But I am going to try and help my team [Team Madison] out for the cycle.

“It will be my very first time so it's going to be interesting because 13 miles of racing a bike is not very far, so that will definitely be a new experience.”

For Estwanik, tomorrow's Half Ironman in Tennessee will be a dress rehearsal for September's World Ironman 70.3 Championships taking place in the same American state in which she qualified for last October's Miami Ironman.

“It will be good for me to get a lay of the land and I'm feeling confident about the swim,” Estwanik said. “It's a downstream swim for most of it which helps me because it's not my best of the three disciplines.

“The bike I'm feeling really strong right now and then the run ... I haven't had that much running because of my injury. I think I'm in a good enough spot to be able to finish it, but it won't be my fastest.”

Estwanik's running has been hindered by an Achilles injury, but competing in triathlons has enabled the athlete to remain active without putting additional strain on her injury.

“Having done so much running over the years my body can't take the everyday running anymore and this is a great way to keep fit and not put as much strain on your body,” she said.

Estwanik has also been inspired by Bermuda's professional triathletes Flora Duffy, the multiple world champion, and Tyler Butterfield to compete in the Olympic sport.

“I think both of them [Duffy and Butterfield] just show so much integrity in the sport and are both very humble people,” Estwanik said.

“I love watching them race and talk about it and they are just so great role models for Bermuda in general.

“I love what they do and they do it with such grace that I just think that is very important — especially for our young people looking up to them.”

Estwanik will be cycling in the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race after competing in the Half Ironman in Tennessee (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 20, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated May 19, 2017 at 10:40 pm)

Estwanik on her bike for May 24

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