Monday, 29 April 2013

You can't contol the uncontrollables!


I want you to think for a minute. Do you know someone or heard of a person that has been hit by a car whilst on a bike? Sadly, I am sure your answer will be yes. Any official statistics will grossly understate the truth as only a fraction of accidents are reported and luckily most do not result in the ultimate cost. My brother has been clipped twice and unfortunately now, I have an experience of my own to tell. Whilst out on a Saturday 50km ride, a driver on the left of me didn’t stop at a give way sign onto a main road. We all swerved in different directions and unfortunately one of us, Ashlee Bailie, wheel was clipped sending her flying into the windscreen of the car and into the air. Hearing and seeing the impact of what happened was certainly a shock to the system. She was one very strong, brave and lucky girl – fortunately, I did not add to her injuries as at some points I was holding her hand tighter than she was holding mine!  She has come out with stitches, bruises and hopefully not too much of a scarred memory of what happened. Luckily bikes are very replaceable but the lives of people aren’t!

 

The accident has certainly reinforced with me how important it is as a rider on the road to make yourself as visible as possible to cars. Sometimes they don’t actually realise how fast we are going.  I want to share a few tips as my little bit towards improving the safety of riders.

·         Use lights especially in dusk and dim conditions to enhance your visibility.

·          In a two lane road, especially with a group, take the lane to make yourself more visible to cars. If cars beep you, well generally it’s because you look good in your lycra.

·         One big thing I have learnt is that no matter how hot or cold it is wear an undershirt. It acts as a second layer to your skin. I thank Jamie for enforcing this one as I have not gone a day without wearing my extra layer of protection as the day that I don’t wear it something could happen.

 

 

April has felt a bit like Christmas with a lot of new gear for the 2013 season. You can’t miss my new bike on the road. Thanks to SPEARMANS CYCLES Wollongong and LIV/GIANT for my new Giant Envie. I would be envious too - the bike not only looks good but is a dream to ride! The photo does not do it justice. With a new bike comes a brand new bag to put it in. Thanks to SCICON for the new bike bag for the 2013 season and I look forward to working with the company in the future. To make sure I am fitted correctly on my bike, a big thanks for Aaron Lean from Cadence Cycling for my retul bike fit. COMPRESSPORT also have been great to me with new socks and compression wear to keep me in order overseas and looking good when I train and race. Add all this to my latest HUUB wetsuit and I am ready to go.
 

 

In a few days, I start my big adventure again, 158 days to be exact! First stop is Yokohama WTS! April started well with a successful 10th place at Auckland WTS race. No doubt I have been training hard all month and I am excited to see what Yokohama will bring. Although I am excited to head overseas, get my dish maid and roomie back (Grace Musgrove), buy our blow up pool for recovery pool parties, explore the world, challenge myself…this list could go on. But who wouldn’t want to end their day with views like this?


 




 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Auckland WTS

 
Being in the race is one thing but watching it back you can see a different perspective of how the race played out. At the moment  the voice of Barrie Shepley is playing in the background of me writing this and I get to see what most of you saw from your computer screen or on TV somewhere around the world.
 
Six months ago, Auckland invited me to New Zealand for Under 23 World Championships to finish the 2012 season. Not too much has changed since then as my excitement levels were still as high to achieve and perform on such a strength endurance course. Since Mooloolaba I have been exceeding the demands of competition with plenty of wetsuits swims, spending a few hours behind the motorbike wheel and runs that were critical “to run like chillis”. Leading into this weekend, with training easing off, I knew that the weeks of training had come together well and was confident in my ability to perform this weekend. I knew the race was going to be completely different to the previous year and was ready to take on the challenge.
To everyone’s surprise, the swim was a non-wetsuit swim with a balmy 21.4 degree water temperature. This was exciting to me as although   I love either a non–wetsuit is a nice change in competition. Coming out of warm up it got a little chilly and while focussing on processes I actually missed the swim ramp in warm up and smashed my shin pretty good on the metal ramp which has given me a lovely bruise.
 
Diving in, the initial coldness was short lived as I worked on getting a good position around the first buoy. By the second buoy turning back into the pontoon, I saw a short gap that I needed to get onto quick smart. I put my head down and got into feet and shortly found myself sitting 2nd from the front. The second lap was much the same and I was unsure what gap or lead we had over the rest of the field. It was hard but a controlled comfortable pace.
 
T1 would be important as the first lap is the most critical to get on good wheels and stay within the front pack. T1 was good but the first hill was the hardest physically and mentally to put in those extra seconds of hurt after the swim. The pack rode the flats hard, the hills were rode harder and there was no relief on the downhills. This race was everything  like I remember. I knew I was well prepared as the motopacing session we do in Wollongong has become one of my favourite but still most daunting session. Jamie makes sure it simulates what we have in a race and gives me confidence in my ability to ride strong. I knew had to ride smart and find good wheels to take me around corners and up the hills. I think I did this well and stood my ground in a dominant position near the front. The pace did increase in the 3rd and 4th laps where we dropped some riders from our group. This course is a strength endurance course and what I love. After 8 laps and a ride 2 mins faster than last year, would I have the legs to run?
 
Not having the best T2, I lost contact early with the main group of girls and for the first 1.25km I tried my best to get back on. I didn’t feel fabulous but I felt that I could pull off a good run. By the end of the 1st lap, I was about 10 seconds back from the 6 girls up the road. I kept confident with keeping my cadence high and keeping tall. At the 5km mark, my training partner Charlotte McShane pulled up next to me and my next goal was to work with her to keep a good pace and position within the field. It was great having her next to me as it pushed me the whole way and helped me keep consistent. I have been told many times over the last few weeks that it was important to negative split in races like these that are strength endurance. Coming into the last downwards stretch to the finish, I knew that Charlotte and I would be having a sprint finish for 9th and 10th. With the last 75m, Charlotte went and I tried to go with her but she got me by 2 seconds.
 
What can I say? I am very pleased with how the race panned out and I couldn’t have asked for a better result with 10th.  I can look back at data from last year and I can say that I swam faster, we rode 2 minutes quicker and I ran a minute and a half quicker than last year. But in the end, I think that I can say I knew the course, I know what was coming for me and I raced the way we trained. We have been training smart, to what the demands of Auckland would bring and the weeks of training have paid off. Going through the positives and the negatives, the positives definitely came out over the top. Thank you to Triathlon Australia for the support with flights, accommodation, massage, team dinners, the constant support before, throughout and at the end of the race. Thank you to Jamie for putting me to sleep every night at a grandma time of 8.30 and making sure we were over prepared for what the demands Auckland would bring to us on race day. Back to the secret training grounds of Wollongong for another few weeks of hard training before heading overseas.
 
 
 


 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

March Monthly Report


Travel certainties – it is very unlikely that:

ü  My bike bag weights less than 23 kgs

ü   I don’t get 100 stares whilst I wait in the airport check up line

ü   I pick the nice airline counter lady or man

ü   I won’t leave without getting Sumo Salad at Sydney Airport

ü   I will leave the plane without a sore neck or even some tears if I watch the right movie

ü   I wouldn’t join the hundreds of people trying to find free wifi when we land

 

When the mornings start to become cold and the grass is wet from frost, its nearly time to go again. Well, within a short 37 days till I leave Australia for another 6 months, I have decided that it is time to get organised or realise what I have done wrong in my last 2 years. “Girls, always making the easy things difficult”- the saying I have heard so many times.  Being allowed to take 2 pieces of luggage has given me room to take a lot of my wardrobe across the ocean. Being a girl, I have packed a lot of clothes but have only ended up wearing about 10kgs of my 23kgs and wear my running clothes around everywhere. Comfort over style! Even though we are in Spain, and they speak a different language, it is amazing that you are able to buy the same clothes that you can get here!  I am hoping to do much better this year with my packing hopefully not miss out packing any of the real essentials. With all the electronic gadgets you are bound to forget one cable to charge something and now, more important than my iphone cable, is my Di2 battery charger. This will head my ever growing reminder list on my phone - reminders are essential and have helped me out plenty of times!

 

I am heading back to Vitoria with a goal not only to perform but to learn, explore and appreciate the Spanish culture. I am aiming to extend my fluent 3 word Spanish vocabulary. This year, it’s time to kick start this and get out of our apartments when we have the time. This makes me excited to get back to my overseas home away from home.

 

Although it’s nearly time to go, Wollongong has gained the “where would you rather be?”status. With midday swims at the Continental pool providing breathe taking views there could not be a better place to train. I have also made a new “Buddy” with my friend Blake Fulko new little puppy. He started the staring competition but how could you not look into his puppy dog eyes.

 

Tomorrow I am flying to Auckland for my first WTS of the year.. back to where last year ended!