It was a pretty manic last few days in the UK. Departing rather crept up on me and suddenly I seemed to have lots of things to do. The saturday we left saw Jo and I riding round Richmond Park on our Fixed getting completely soaked every so often and ensuring that we were keen as mustard to get down under. Back at my sisters it was my nephews second birthday and lots of people were there. We had a few drinks and lots of food before our cab arrived in the middle of it to take us to Heathrow. Once through checkin it finally felt totally calm, for the next 24 hours or so we just had to followed instructions… nice.
Quantas – lovely airline but completely crap baggage policy and completely ruthless about it. Cost us just under £300 for our luggage and we packed light. I’m talking 2 pairs cycling shorts for a 4 month trip light. If you’re travelling with a bike I would avoid them at all costs.
So … our journey. About an hours cab to Heathrow. Then a couple of hours wait before a 10 hour flight to Bangkok. I managed about 6 hours sleep on this leg. Hour wait then 9 hour flight to Sydney and another 5 hours sleep. 2 hour wait then 4.5 hour flight to Perth and a further 3 hours sleep. 30 minute ride in to central Perth and some lunch before our final 4 hours bus journey to Busselton – reckon I got 3h55 sleep on that ! Despite all that I slept right through the night our first night in Busselton and have not had any signs of Jetlag whatsoever.
Busselton is a lovely place, very relaxing. We’ve fallen on our feet staying with some friends of my mums. It’s the perfect location for pool, gym, sea, town centre and the race ! Apparently it has a population of about 25,000 and despite this on Tuesday morning at 5:30am they must have had 50 people for a group ride. I’d been warned about the speed of the front few riders when the pack split up and managed to jump on. The team TT’d for an hour with no mercy covering over 40km. I stuck in for about 20 minutes before deciding that this really wasn’t appropriate for my training and sat up, Russ joined me and we soon hooked up with 3 over riders and had a nice civilised but steady back. Lots of people head for coffee after and I made most welcome.
Thursday morning despite the rain there were still about 30 people for the ride and again followed by a coffee. The club is really well set up and a cinch to feel welcome in. On THursday night Jo and I went out for a drink. Get this AUD$18 for two pints !! Thats over £5 per pint. Anyway – we bumped into some people from the Tri Club and they invited us to join them. Really fun. So nice to feel so at home so quickly in a location.
Today we joined the club at 5:30am and headed out with them for the first hour before Jo and I continued on and did a lovely 5 hour ride round through a place called Margaret River (any wine buffs will probably have heard of ). Beautiful rolling countryside. Great for TTing along which Jo and I could not resist. At least today we didn’t get dive bombed by magpies like I did half a dozen times yesterday.
Getting back in to the rhythm of training very quickly here…. it’s so easy. Re-affirms that a big factor in getting good training in is getting your circumstances just right. Here we have a leisure centre close by with two 25m pools. The outside one has just got warm enough and seems little used so I’ve had a lane to myself everytime I’ve been. Then mere minutes away is this great gym. Get this… it’s unstaffed. First person in at the start of the day opens and last person locks up ! I wondered whether this would be possible in the UK or would our nanny state has “health and safety” issues about it. All along the coast here is a cycle / running track which provides a great run route.
So… last Wednesday I decide to try for a 2 hour run. For me this is a hugely important run so all other training that day is secondary. Thats pretty unheard of for me in the past few years. I head off and after about 45 minutes start to feel pretty good and am running well. At the point I need to turnaround for a 2 hour run I decide to keep going. I’m enjoying it and feeling slightly perplexed as to why I am running so well having done so little. I decided to push on for 2.5 hours which was my target for next week thinking if I get it done this week I could taper !! So … at the 2 hour mark I’m actually pushing the pace. Ended up with 2h40, wish I’d worn the GPS to know how far but guess (via gmaps) as about 19 miles. Really pleased with that. I tell you this run knocked me for six. I was utterly exhausted in the evening falling asleep on the settee by about 7pm! What a great feeling.
Towards the end of this run I was getting very thirsty (I rarely carry water on my runs) and headed in to some public loos Turn on the tap with my hand under it and out runs a spider – I jumped a mile. Glad I did as it was a “White Tail Spider” – I’d seen a documentary on these and though not deadly it is very painful and many people have a terrible reaction which results in loads of skin literally rotting. At least I now feel I’m truly in Oz … a closed encounter with a spider and I’ve seen Kangaroos and Emus.
Oh… the picture is Busselton Jetty. Unfortunately it’s having major renovation work done so my mum won’t be able to follow us along it on the swim.