Good evening from Perth, Australia, where it's dusk and the cockatoos are making a terrible racket in the trees outside.
Feet up on the sofa after what felt like a hard day's training, a cup of tea at my side. I'm lucky to be based here with family for a few months while the worst of the winter passes in Europe, and it’s very much summer on this side of the world! I’m a bit of a wimp about getting cold hands.
It’s not just the sunshine that brings me here (the necessity of covering every exposed bit of skin with SPF 50 suncream every time one ventures outside between 7am and 5pm does actually become a little annoying! Though I’m not complaining…) but also the great training conditions. Mostly the good company! I first started coming to Perth 9 years ago when I was mainly cycling, and the huge choice of hard group rides still impresses me. And tires me out! But it’s a great way to train: trying to keep up with faster riders.
As I’ve ventured back to multi-sport I’ve also found excellent groups for swim training (Perth is the home of Swimsmooth!) and running. Friendly and tough: the perfect way to train. Also – and this is an important factor – the coffee culture in Australia is simply delicious.
2015 was an interesting year. I certainly learned a lot about long-distance triathlon. Mainly: doing too many races is neither healthy nor fast! A few injuries and illnesses was perhaps the hard way to learn, but nonetheless I don’t have many regrets. I think I learned a little more about myself as an athlete, and the disappointments were outweighed by many highlights. The Alps (training as well as racing at Alpe d’Huez, Embrunman, and Haute Route) reminded me how much I love my sport and the other people who do it.
This year I’ve decided to focus my efforts on fewer races, with the aim of quality over quantity – and also avoidance of injury. The calendar looks a little sparse to me, since I still tend to think like a cyclist: the more racing the better. But that’s simply not the case in long distance triathlon. I’m happy to be targeting the races that really matter to me in 2016. As announced in December last year, I might also make a brief return to professional cycling this season, as I’m going to try to make the GB team for the Olympic road race and time trial in Rio. Selection is in June and until then, I’ll continue to train and race in triathlon. If I do get selected, that will mean an adapted race calendar, with some road races to retrain the cycling-specific fitness which is compromised by running and swimming. Also, I’d have to miss out on defending my title at the Alpe d’Huez triathlon – so the way I see it, selection for Rio (or not) is a win-win situation!
In other news, as you can see, I’ve been busy putting together my new website. It has taken some time to put together but I am really proud of the outcome - I hope you enjoy looking around! I'm hugely grateful to Tracy Pinder and Limegreentangerine for the great job they've done in designing and building the site. It's planned as a resource to provide an accurate record of past results as well as to keep you up to date with my racing. I’m really looking forward to 2016 and some exciting races, and I hope my website helps to share that enthusiasm with you.
These few months are quite a busy time with sponsor negotiations for the upcoming year, but for now, I’m mostly trying to focus on enjoying this base training block in beautiful Perth. To keep things interesting (and busy!) I do a few of the local time trial races with ATTA, and I’m also working part-time as a geotechnical engineer with NGI. It’s interesting, a good mental challenge, and great to re-learn some of my engineering in a supportive and friendly environment. And one of the best things about being in Perth is that I stay with my wonderful aunt Veronica, her husband David, and my cousins. I’m not sure why they put up with me, but it’s a delight to be welcomed into their family for a few months
Nearly bedtime here for a 5am departure tomorrow to beat the heat! Hope you all have a great day, wherever you are!