It’s been that time of year again: readjusting from the Australian summer to the European spring. Not something I’d complain about at all, though the change in temperature can be challenging. Returning home after many months is always interesting. This time my main battle was with the mice, who had tried to eat their way through my entire kitchen! Spring cleaning was rather urgent…
It was a decent block of training in Perth: consistency is key, especially when getting base kilometres in, and I think I achieved that. It was also fun, which is important (but often underrated). And enjoyment is largely down to good company (as well as the satisfaction of knowing you’ve trained well) so I’d like to thank my training buddies in Perth, who have been wonderful. Good conversation, coffee stops, feet to follow on open-water swims, wheels to chase up hills and into the headwind, and a time and place to meet for those brick runs at midday which otherwise would seem impossibly hot and sun-struck. They put up with my whinging about the heat and coffee prices, with my rambling conversations, with my insistence on stopping to buy grapes on long rides, and with the tantrum I had on the day where I double-punctured: thanks guys!
I’m also hugely grateful for the professional support I get while in Perth that helps me do my job well: Glen Parker Cycles (they dread the sight of me arriving in the shop with “a funny noise” coming from my bike), Next Generation Gym in Kings Park where I do my strength training, The Running Centre (chasing those guys round the track is guaranteed to give me sore legs the next day!), and Paul Newsome of Swimsmooth (repeatedly getting humbled in the pool, to remind me to swim HARD!). In the last few weeks in Perth, plagued by a niggle (not quite an injury but nonetheless worrying), I was lucky enough to have some expert advice from Star Physio.
I’m not often impressed by self-professed “expert” advice on bike fits (because I’ve seen a lot of it, and it’s not always expert), but Star Physio was a revelation! Damian adjusted my bike position which immediately made a great improvement to the niggle, and it was very encouraging to get advice from James and Merv on optimising my training. Merv has convinced me of the usefulness of strength training for injury prevention (despite my previous scepticism) so I’m looking forward to incorporating that over the next few months, along with more structured run training suggested by James.
This year while in Perth I put in a couple of afternoons most weeks at the NGI office and the distraction from my regular “work” was both interesting and enjoyable – a small step towards remembering how to be an engineer, and also just a lovely group of people. Bonus: they have a cake afternoon once per week, how perfect is that for a hungry triathlete on their afternoon off?!
My biggest thank-you on leaving Perth is to my extended family there, who welcome me into their home and support me in so many ways while I try to train to my limits (physical, mental, and often social!). So Veronica, David, Julius, Kai, Hugh, and Suzanne: thank you!
Back home in my beloved hills, I remembered what it means to ride in the cold, and how chilblains feel when your feet get repeatedly soaked and frozen. Character building. It’s funny to go from one extreme of clothing to the other; in Perth: the dilemma is how little clothing I can get away with running, to stay cool, without getting sunburnt or arrested.
In the European spring: how many layers I can wear to ride without restricting movement so much that I can’t pedal! I found some snow on the back roads, which made me appreciate the sunny days even more.
10 days ago I packed my bags again to head to Mallorca for a training camp, using the opportunity to check out the race course for the 70.3 race there in May. I love the beautiful scenery of Mallorca: winding lanes, spring flowers, orange groves, rocky mountains, dark forests, and the breath-taking coastal road through the mountains that veers between cliffs and the blue sea below.
The weather was kind (back to suncream rather than chilblains!) and I had good company to chase up hills again, with my former coach Tim Williams and the Cambridge Cycling Club. One hiccup in the training was a nastily persistent ear infection which has kept me out of the water for 3 weeks now – sadly ironic that “swimmer’s ear” is the closest I have ever come to being described as a swimmer! I haven’t much enjoyed the treatment for it: having a vacuum cleaner in my ear ranked even worse than wisdom tooth extraction. I fear that my swim will be even worse than usual at Challenge Fuerteventura this weekend, after so much time out of the water - but I’m looking forward to just being able to swim again, and to my first triathlon of the season. It’s a training race, a step on the way to Rapperswil 70.3, but it would still be nice to see that the training is going in the right direction.
Race report to follow. Catch you all soon. Emma.