The Eves Surfbreaker is usually treated as a post-Christmas blow-out by the big triathlon guns arriving in Mount Maunganui, preparing for bigger challenges.
And so it was on Saturday, though with variations. Olympian Sam Warriner's blow-out came when her front tyre deflated around 20m into the 20km bike leg in the annual sprint distance race at Mount's Main beach.
Men's winner Blair Jordan, meanwhile, was carefully nursing a knee, fervently hoping it wouldn't blow out.
Ultimately both were successful, easing home with comfortable victories with Warriner _ a serious challenger in next month's Port of Tauranga Half Ironman _ relishing the extra effort needed.
``As soon as I left transition, my front tyre went flat so I had to go the whole 20km on my rims,' the World Series ITU champion said. ``But that's the sort of thing that happens in a race and you've just got to get through it, which I did. I came here to train and to have a flat like that is always harder, and I got off and ran well.'
It was the 37-year-old Warriner's first attempt at the Surfbreaker, although she's had previous success at the Mount, with one of her first wins in the sport coming in the 2003 Tinman and victory in the 2005 half ironman.
She was seventh out of the water on Saturday and kept tabs on the men's field throughout the bike, conscious of keeping her distance with a wobbly front wheel, before easing home in the top-10 overall.
``It was so good to come down here and have my first race since I've been back training _ to go with the men was really good fun as well and I love measuring myself against them.'
Jordan, meanwhile, is coming back from a difficult year campaigning overseas, with the Mount Maunganui 26-year-old struggling with an injured knee while based in Europe.
But he's eased back into his workload, finishing second in the Tinman earlier this month despite not tapering, and nursing his knee along.
``The sore knee is still there and I had a bit of a rough week and right up until last night I was a bit unsure about doing it,' Jordan said. ``It's been a bit of rest week because of it but I'm still pretty confident my preparations are going well.
``The big stuff is all done _ it's all in the bank.'
Taupo schoolboy Cameron Todd was second to Jordan, just ahead of Mount College star Owen Miller.
``It was a head-to-head with Cameron all the way and it was pretty tight at the finish but I was pretty happy with how I went,' Miller said.
Miller is building up for the national sprint distance championships in Kinloch at the end of February, and the 17-year-old is also targeting two big races in Australia in March.