Where’s Wallis? A trio of triathlon and New South Wales exploring

What a busy couple of months it has been! Since Christmas in New Zealand I’ve been keeping myself out of trouble with:

  1. A triathlon training camp in Jindabyne;
  2. A debut half-ironman triathlon in Geelong;
  3. A beachy weekend at the Central Coast;
  4. A team tri at Huskisson;
  5. A getaway to Kangaroo Valley;
  6. A visit to Wollongong; and last but certainly not least….
  7. An inflatable boat race!

It’s now been a little over a year since I arrived in Australia. Far longer than I originally planned on staying. I’ve now started to do things for the second time around – namely number (4) activity on my list: the Huskisson or ‘Husky’ triathlon festival.

What I’ve found most strange reflecting back this time around is actually how comfortable I felt last year. I was shocked when I realised that I’d only known the Coogee tri-club for a few weeks when we went down in Feb 2015.

As you can tell from how I’ve chosen to spend the last 2 months, triathlon and the club have become a big part of my life out here. I love being able to go for a swim in the ocean before work (except when there are jellyfish!) or joining the hoards of cyclist for a time-trial around Centennial Park in the morning – as is the intention tomorrow, unless I stay up too late writing this!

I fear that if I write about all of the 7 highlights above in detail we’ll be here all night, so this will be a photo heavy blog, with descriptive highlights :

  1. 226 Multisport tri-training camp in Jindabyne

4 days of back to back training sessions with 226 multisport in stunning mountain scenery. Highlight was my longest run ever (22km) to the summit of Mount Kosciusko – the highest point in Australia.

Ready for day 1 ride: The Dalgety Loop

Wore my cycling bootees. Sure fire way to guarantee it didn’t rain. And hot feet!

In formation…

226 mastering the selfie

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And ‘sucking in’ for swimwear photos…

Ellen and I tackling the Jindy – Thredbo return cycle on day 2

Stunning views from the top of Charlotte’s pass, Day 3 (note the bootees again = hot feet AGAIN!)

Loren and Ellen trying their hand at trail running on the now infamous ‘hike’ up Mt Kosciusko

The reason we did the ‘hike’. Instead of taking the 14km return road route up and down we took the blue lakes track up and the road down. Well worth the extra Ks for these views!

Made it to the top of Australia! On Australia Day!! I’m attempting a jump shot here, but too scared to get more than my heels off!

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Benny and I on the descent down from Charlotte’s Pass

Enjoying running in the sun 🙂

 2. Debut half-ironman in Geelong

Highlights include: finishing!!! Actually enjoying it. Getting to stay with my Aussie adopted family the Lanes in Werribee again. Amazing support along the route from Coogee tri club and Ben as chief photographer who popped up everywhere.

Lowlights include: stage fright whilst swimming meaning I spent 37 minutes trying and failing to pee!

I found the race a totally different experience to all Olympic tri’s I’ve done before (Olympic is swim 1.5km, bike 40km, run 10km…a half-ironman or “70.3” is swim 1.9km, bike 90km, run 21km). Olympic I have always been going at 95% for 2.5 hours, meaning I finish totally drained. Instead this was 5.5 hours at what felt like 70-80%, for fear of not finishing perhaps I took it a little too easy, but I was thrilled to finish my first one feeling strong and happy.

The gang pre-race

“I made it out the water…now I can go and pee!!”

Happy as always on the bike!

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And we’re onto the run!

“HARRO BENNY”

Smiling/Grimacing into the run

Not a bad setting for a race!

My little transition spot and my cow print bar tape. It definitely made me faster on the day 🙂

3. Beachy weekend in the Central Coast

A gorgeous day celebrating a friend Chris’ birthday up on the central coast. Avoca and Terrigal beaches were still on my ‘places to visit’ list and they didn’t disappoint with cycling, swimming, sunbathing and BBQs.

Off-roading above Terrigal in my new Christmas pressie kit!

The Entrance

How many bikes and surfboards can you fit in one car?

The birthday boy (cheat photo from a couple of weeks earlier at ‘So Frenchy Chic’ festival!

The diet of athletes

4. Team triathlon at Husky

Highlights: 11 Coogee teams, us coming 2nd overall in mixed teams, cycling 16 minutes quicker than last year, volunteering on the Saturday and cheering everyone on; a crazy little bird keeping us company!

Husky long course triathlon festival is one of the biggest in the country with 6000 athletes. The last two years I’ve cycled as part of a ‘relay team’ whereby one person swims 2km, the next cycles 83km and the third runs 20km.

2015 team

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Volunteering on Saturday with my buddy

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“Don’t you dare take my muesli bar!!”

2016 team

2016 team (note the medals ;) )

2016 team all scrubbed up (note the medals 😉 )

Awesome results from Coogee with overall 1st female team, 2nd mixed, and 3rd male!

Awesome results from Coogee with overall 1st female team, 2nd mixed, and 3rd male!

The pineapple express bringing it home for our team!

The pineapple express bringing it home for our team!

5. Kangaroo Valley

Highlights: after the weekend racing in Husky we spent Monday exploring nearby Kangaroo Valley; Fitzroy Falls, Cambewarra lookout and a stunning peaceful AirBnB at Wombat Hill Cottage.

Doesn’t look good for the cyclists at the historic Hampden Bridge in Kangaroo Valley

The view at Fitzroy Falls

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Cambewarra lookout

Breakfast on the deck with eggs from the chickens at Wombat Hill Cottage

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When you try and take a little romantic photo and he makes phallic shadows….

6. A visit to Wollongong

Despite driving through it numerous times I’d never stopped off in Wollongong and was pleasantly surprised. The north beach wasn’t a bad spot for a conference and I managed a beach run and swim before breakfast 🙂 I’ll be back there this coming Sunday for the Wollongong Olympic Triathlon.

Good morning Wollongong!

And last but certainly not least….yesterday’s activity:

7. Manly Inflatable Boat Race in aid of Tour de Cure cancer charity

Highlights: battling with giant flamingos, swans, Loch Ness monsters and more on the course around Shelly Beach.

My weapon of choice…the giant gator, paddled on like a surfboard. My shoulders are killing today!!

Not our usual start line feeling, with our friend JA from Coogee (you’ll find her in the Husky photos with a medal instead of an eyepatch!)

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Benny ready to race. My gator tethered to his dingy. This stayed on for all of 30 seconds!

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Some last minute inflation!

Action shot. Gator and I got in the back of the dingy for a while

Action shot. Gator and I got in the back of the dingy for a while

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Post race! On the left you see one of the octopus couple 🙂

The race was such fun, and all of the entry fees went to Tour De Cure, a fantastic charity fighting cancer.

So, that’s a wrap, I’m sure I’ve missed things, but that’s the main highlights of the last couple of months of Aussie life.

And what’s next? After Wollongong tri this weekend I have no more tris on the radar, but signed up tonight for the SMH half-marathon, so my aim is to focus on and improve running over ‘winter’ here.

We’re off to Vietnam next month and New Zealand in April 🙂 until then I’ll be enjoying Sydney

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Star Wars at St George open air cinema

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