I have officially deemed 2012 Year of the Bike. Biking and I have had a bit of a dysfunctional relationship in my triathlon career so maybe I can patch things up by paying more attention to it for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I love my bike. Its black and yellow so naturally I like to think of it as Bumblebee the Transformer. Sometimes I forget to lube the chain or pump the tires and sometimes I tighten the bolt in my top tube too tight and it snaps on the first ride of training camps but it’s a pretty sweet ride, especially with the new Shimano DuraAce. While I love my bike, riding it has not come naturally for me. I’m a bit of a wuss on corners, I make pathetic noises climbing hills and I crash twice at junior worlds. So I have decided to stop avoiding it and suck it up and get better at biking. This meant that I had to face one of my biggest fears: the crit. I was a nervous wreck days before the race and there may have been some tears under my sunglasses on the startline of the C-race along side my competitors of middle aged men and junior-high aged boys. The race got rolling and everyone was super friendly and I didn’t get dropped and didn’t crash! With each corner, I became more confident and took it at a higher speed. At the end, I could tell the old boys were going to be “save up Sallys" for the sprint finish so with a shocking wave of confidence I went to the front and picked up the pace. I wanted to make them boys hurt and make em earn the W! Overall, it was a great way for me to work on pack riding, cornering and it was fun.
Photo: Duane Martindale
I had a bit of an advantage on my crit competitors because of a solid month of training in Australia while they were stuck at a desk job or a junior high classroom. While down under I also raced my first race as a big dog at the Mooloolaba Continental Cup! By big dog, I mean the Olympic Distance and boy, this isn’t junior racing anymore! The 10km run was merciless- not even the 4 gels I consumed made it any more tolerable. In the swim, I was a little caught off guard at the whistle as I was leisurely cleaning my goggles but recovered and got on the draft train near the front of the pack. The bike leg was relatively eventful with attacks by some of Aussies, sun, wind, rain, back to sun, a crash that I wasn’t apart of, debris on road, weird bumpy white line and a flat tire that thankfully wasn’t mine. Alison Hooper had my back and we kept tabs on each other (drink water! Did you take your gel? Good job, we are awesome!) Basically reinforcing the polite Canadian stereotype. And cue painful 10 km run! The days after the race it felt like I had been punched in the stomach in a street fight. After recovering from the race, I felt super motivated to get back to some hard work.
Photo: Jordan Bryden
While most of our days were filled with training, eating, sleeping and group trips to the grocery store, we got to experience some pretty cool Aussie culture. One thing I really noticed about the Aussies is that they love their sports! Swimming is especially dear to Australia’s heart and the Australian Olympic Trials were national news all around the country while we were there. The finals were live every evening and I was nearly brought to tears on a few occasions. We saw the heartbreaking end of the Thorpedo and the inspiring win by Tessa Wallace, a local girl who trained in the same pool as us, in the 200 breaststroke. We got to know Tessa a bit and had a fun Easter barby (not BBQ) with her family and ate kangaroo kebabs (not kebobs). Believe it or not, she hadn’t heard of the Tim Tam Slam and I had to teach her something about her own country! (please see the Tim Tam Slam instructional video below). We also went to a field hockey game and it brought back fond memories of my short-lived field hockey career in grade 10. Another highlight of Australia was the Steve Irwin Zoo! Steve Irwin was one of my idols growing up- he caught his first crocodile when he was just nine years old for heaven sakes! I also paid $20 to hold a koala for 30 seconds but is was so worth it. The koala was so sleepy and so cuddly and so cute! It was a heartwarming moment.
Paula, Alison, Me, Alex, Aaron and Tessa!
Back in Canada now where we say kebobs, think vegiemite is nasty and grocery stores are open past 6pm! Luckily we can still buy Tim Tams here.
On a side note, I recently bought a onesie that I will be bringing to every race this season!