Rock-tober

Welcome back friends, it’s been a while between blogs, and things have indeed been busy. Busier than a wall-builder on the Mexico/USA border it could be said. This entry will be a bit of a longy, so if your not a fan of long form prose, read the headlines, maybe check out my Instagram, you’ll get the general idea. Otherwise, I’m going to be dropping words like they are Indian rupee.

So what’s been going on since I last checked in, still cooling down from a very sweaty Cozumel? Lets start with the biggie.

The Rock 

I’m engaged. It happened a few weeks after I got back, the culmination of several months of rock-education, rock-design and rock-decision making, which was quite a journey, given my glaring lack of prior knowledge and experience in such areas (i.e. none). If diamond rings were perhaps conventional in a different form of carbon, perhaps my preceding vocation may have lent me more assistance. Anyway, I’m a jewellery expert now.

So, the happiest day of my life came after the most nervous morning/afternoon of my life getting ready to drop the biggest surprise of Tash’s life when she got home from work to a cavalcade of flowers, fairy lights, fire pits, champagne, and very nervous looking Wilson. Whom, incidentally, had only recently recovered from the sickening shock of believing he had dropped her ring down a drain hole. Luckily, it had bounced behind some pot plants instead, preventing a instant suicide attempt.

Drain hole faux pas notwithstanding, we’re both over the moon and going through the exciting stages of planning weddings and honeymoons. Let me know if you have any catering ideas…

The Uni

For those who have been paying close attention, I’ve been completing my Honours Psychology degree over the past few years, and the Thursday before Noosa, I handed in 133 pages of blood, sweat, tears and hopefully semi-coherent academic writing detailing my investigations into personality, mindfulness and disordered eating. Thus, I drove to Noosa with my shoulders feeling several kilos lighter, and ready to think about anything apart from the aforementioned investigations.

In an argument against my own sanity, I also applied for and have been accepted into the Clinical PHD in Clinical Psychology at Griffith University, which I’ll start next year.  It’s another 4 years of hard graft, but you should feel free to refer to me as Doc Wilson in the meantime, despite my undeniably unqualified credentials.

The Racing

Finally, onto the racing, ostensibly the reason you clicked your way to this site to begin with.  After a long year of building form, things finally started to click since I returned to Australia. This time last year, I’d had swine flu, Achilles surgery, a broken arm and a stress fracture, and was about as pessimistic about my triathlon career as a Noah was about El Nino. In flagrant display of stubbornness, persisted with triathlon as a career, despite many moments of doubt, and the results at the end of the year have been satisfying as reward for pushing through.

Noosa – 1st

The jewel in the crown of Australian Triathlon, and the biggest triathlon in the world. I got off to a good start in the water, but was quickly passed three quarters of the way to the first buoy by Josh Amberger, who was crushing spirits and destroying dreams with his aquatic velocity. Feeling that this was a decisive moment in the race, I sat flush on his feet, threw the windmills over as hard as I could, and prayed the pain would stop at some stage. I dangled like a suckerfish for the rest of the swim, and until about the 1000m mark, I felt like at any second I could be shown the exit if I missed the draft for a stroke or two. After that, Burger finally relented a fraction, finally allowing me to uncross my eyes and stop trying to expel lactic acid through my ears. The damage to the rest of the field was done. We exited the drink with around 45 seconds to some quick runners behind, including Jake Birtwhistle and Ryan Fisher. 

On to the bike, and we got down to business, with myself and Burger putting our heads down and stomped some serious pedal, riding an honest, flat-out bike which had us clock the 40kms in under 54mins, giving us a about 1:20 gap to a large pack behind us. I took the run out fairly conservatively, and was prepared to give away a fair chunk of the lead to the boys behind over the first 5kms, but was hoping to be able to back-end the run strongly. As it eventuated, that was exactly what happened, making me look like a tactical genius post-race.  Jake took around 40-45 seconds out of me over the first 4.5 kms, but then I managed to hold him back over the last half to win by around 20 seconds. Pretty pumped to win Noosa, it’s been a race I’ve grown up watching, so to add my name to the honour list was exciting. Tip of the cap to Burgerman, who probably deserved better than 8th for a no-holds-barred blugeonfest of a race. 

 

Challenge Shepparton – 1st

With an awkward 2-week turn-around to my first half-distance race of my post-ITU career, I endured the ‘no-mans-land’ of training enough to maintain fitness, but no so much that I didn’t recover for Shepp. The sort of 75% training that I hate, I’m much more of a 100% or nothing kinda guy. 

Anyway, I rolled into Shepp wary of the heat that everyone had been kind enough to warn me about. Victoria can be a right bastard at times. Thus, race day presented us with 10 degrees, howling winds, and drizzling rain. Ah yes, the 'heat'. However, the conditions were the same for everyone, and there was nothing left to do, but rip off the $20 tracksuit pants I bought from Coles the night before, and get down to business. I took the swim out pretty solidly, and swapped turns in the Shepparton Lake with Sam Betten, and we had a gap of a bit over a minute by the time we got out onto the bike. Once on two wheels, things got tough. First, there was a howling crosswind for every meter of the bike. Second; the crosswinds. It warrants two points. It was seriously mental. To use a Wilson Classic, it was windier than an elevator in a baked bean factory. So much so that I thought I was going to crash every time I took my hand off the bars to drink or eat. Third, I dropped one of my bottles when I went to take my first sip. On the positive side, it eliminated some of my aforementioned drinking problems in the wind. On the negative side, I missed around 50 grams of carbs and caffeine, throwing my nutrition plans out the window, and also startling some soon-to-be-coke-soaked spectators. My apologies to them. Last, and decidedly most embarrassingly, I popped a zipper on my race suit, exposing a great deal more chest than was strictly necessary, and compromising both my aesthetics and aerodynamics in the process. 

The nature of the winds meant there was no real tactic but to put your head down and push as many watts as you could. Which I did. Uber-biker Lackie Keiran caught me at around 40kms, and I had to lift my game to match him for the rest of the bike, and we were also both caught by uber-uber-biker Matt Burton, who rode the course like the crosswinds didn’t exist. Maniac.

Out on to the run, and my legs felt ok, my chest felt cold, and some carbs at the aid stations were much appreciated. I got through the run to take the win, with Matt and Lachie rounding out the podium.  

 

Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney - 1st

It was a long 2 weeks between Shepp and Western Sydney. Tired legs, heavy arms and monumentally sore calves. If it wasn't for the lure of visiting the home of Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Australia, I would have thought about pulling the pin. However, pulled by the lure of half a dozen original glazed, I pushed on. 

On to race day, and a good breakfast, a hit of caffeine, and the reminder of delectable glazing had the motivation high for one last all out effort for the season. The swim went well, I was looking to try to push the pace and create a gap early. I led for most of the way, and exited with Ryan Fisher on my feet, and Todd Skipworth just behind. The conditions on the bike, comparative to Shepp, were magnificent. I was keen to keep the pressure on the bike and gain a bit of distance from the group behind, and so along with Fish, I pushed the pace as high as I could manage on the bike, and we arrived to T2 with just over 2 mins advantage to the group behind. 

Out on to the run, and I didn't want a tactical run with Fish, he has a kick on him like a mule when he sees the finishing line, so I didn't fancy my chances in that sort of scenario. Quietly ignoring the voice of reason advising against surging 3kms into the 21.1km, I laid down my best pace just before the 3km mark, and strung together a few back to back kms in the 3:10-15 mark to create a bit of a gap on Fish. From there, it was all or nothing, so I kept the pace going as best I could from there. At the 14km mark, it got tough, hot, and my legs felt as empty as the middle of a Krispy Kreme. Fortunately, I had enough of a gap to grovel out the win from Fish, to finish off a very satisfying block of racing to finish the year, and a good start to my half-distance career.

From here, I'm boarding a plane to Thailand in a few hours with my beautiful fiance, for some much needed R and R!

That's it for me for the season, thanks to all my supporters for their help. Until next year!

Willy