Dan Wilson

DAN WILSON ---- Professional Athlete ---- Part-time Wordsmith

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Evening friends, 

Well, much like a long jumper training in a field of trenches, I found myself jumping across the ditch again to New Zealand on the weekend for the World Triathlon Series opener in Auckland. World Series races are of significant consequence at the best of times, and this one had the ancillary importance of being a significant race in the bid for selection for the Commonwealth Games. 

A top class field and a bike course of remarkable topographical significance, meant that this race was likely to deal out more pain than a dentist with Parkinson's. As such stems were preparing to be chewed, faces being prepped to scowl, and bombs of lactate hopefully being set to weather. 

I started out with a pretty good swim, and was just off the back of Gomez et al once we hit terrestrial transport, and ripped some serious turns early with Frenchman Vincent Luis to get to the front by the first of the hills. This meant I hit the first of the hills with enough lactate in the legs to kill a medium sized horse, but having successfully negotiated the first lap on the bike, I was able to settle into a decent rhythm, as our front group of around 12 grafted out a decent sized gap over the main bunch. Impressively, in a superlative display on two wheels, Tom Davidson bridged up to our group along with the impressively mustached Declan WIlson and Ryan Sissons. It’s a little known fact that TD can pedal enough watts to power a medium sized town for up to a week, and the New Zealand Prime Minister has TD’s number on speed dial should he be required to help out a power failure at short notice. Shout-out should also go to Johnny Brownlee for correcting my lamentable arithmetic, and preventing me the career-ending embarrassment of dismounting the bike a lap early. 

Once on the run, and Brownlee and Gomez clearly had somewhere else to be, and excused themselves from company, leaving myself, Royle and Bailie to have an all- Aussie, good-old-fashioned-running-duel for third. Running together until about 100m to go, notorious sprint-merchant Royle dropped a bomb on us that I couldn’t match, but managed to stay ahead of Bailie to snare 4th, my best WTS result to date, and hopefully a strong performance to show the selectors for the Commonwealth Games team. It was a really satisfying race, and to go 3-4-5 with the other Aussie lads made it a truly special day. Thanks for all the cheering on course, and to the many who’ve sent me messages since the race, I really appreciate the kind words - consider the cockles of my heart appositely warmed. 

From here, it’s back to Brissie to continue training for my next race, the WTS Yokohama, and to wait the decision of the selectors, who will name the Commonwealth Games team towards the end of next week. 

Take care friends,


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New Plymouth World Cup

Evening friends,

Dusting off the passport for the first time this year marked the start of the international season for yours truly, and my first World Cup race of the season across the ditch in New Plymouth, NZ. Flanked by a strong Aussie contingent, including another D Wilson, the superbly mustached Declan, we were taking on a field with more hitters than a T20 tournament. 

Taranaki seemed prepared to dish out some malevolent conditions, with the days prior being windier than a bathroom at a baked bean convention, however race day delivered meteorological vicissitude, with nary a puff of air to be had. The swim was the usual mix of freestyle and beating the bejeezus out of each other, and I managed to land terrestrial with my head largely intact and in the short lived front group, which soon became a rolling bunch of around 40. Testing the legs up the hill out of lap 1, I was mildly surprised to find the reason no-one was responding to my invitations to roll through, was that I had opened a small gap on the bunch, soon to be joined by Irishman Ben Shaw. Teeth set firmly upon stem, we grafted out a 25-30 second gap on our erstwhile companions over the remaining 15kms into T2. Onto the run, and I led until the Spanish Armada of Gomez and Mola came charging past like they were late to return their library books.

My legs stung a bit from tasting too much wind on the bike, but I held together nicely for 9th, a decent start to the World Cup campaign for 2014. Special mention to Kung Fu Sexton, who stomped through for 5th, and looks to be the goods after a tough year last year. Next race the level steps up again, to the World Series in Auckland, where hopefully I can take more than modicum of form to one of the toughest courses on tour. It’ll be a decisive race for the Aus Commonwealth Games team, so tickets to Glasgow could well be stamped in 2 weeks.

Take care friends,

Monday, February 17, 2014

Aus Champs

The season proper has arrived, like an Ebay delivery that you knew would be here eventually, but had kind of forgotten about, so much so to be somewhat surprised when it finally arrives. The first bike-bag-pack and subsequent plane flight of the year signifies mentally (and hopefully physically) that racing season has started, and it's time to toe a start line with significant purpose. This weekend was my inceptive race of the ITU season, the Australian Champs in Elwood. Despite every local we bumped into grabbing us by the arm and pontificating with some desperation that there had been nary a day of precipitation in the last 15 days/months/years (depending on the local), race day presented conditions that seemed out of a chapter of Genesis. Wild wind and rain meant the swim had more chop than a Bruce Lee film, and guaranteed the bike would be tough.

I tend to relish the way these conditions turn the race in to a dogfight, and managed the swim chop decently to lead out of the swim, with youngster Matt Baker and Ryan Fisher in tow, with around 20 seconds to the main bunch. Fish is a merchant of this sort of trench warfare, and if I could pick anyone to be racing with in terrible conditions, it'd be Fish, and along with Baker, we squinted into the winds and set about chewing some stem, grafting out a 1:20 advantage by the end of the bike. Onto the run, and myself and Fish ran together for all bar 200m of the run, including a rather 'tactical' last 2.5 km into a block headwind, which neither of us were particularly enthusiastic about leading into. With 200m to go, Fish politely excused himself by dropping a bomb of a sprint, and I was left with his dust in my eyes crossing for second. Satisfied, yet a little disconsolate at finishing 2nd and an Australian Champs for the 3rd time, in a sprint finish every time. However, it was a good blow out of the cobwebs, and confirms my training is going well for my more important race, New Plymouth World Cup, and Auckland World Series, where I hope to earn a guernsey for the Commonwealth Games team. 

Take care friends,


Monday, February 10, 2014

Pre-seasons lament

Evening friends, 

Admittedly, 2014 thus far has been largely bereft of blog-based narrative, however that provides distinct juxtaposition to your author’s physical endeavours, which has largely featured the satisfying yet unblogworthy cycle of train/coffee/train/ziltched repeat. To keep myself occupied, I have been partaking in the salubrious pastime of turning up on start lines, with a bevy of training races under my belt in an effort to find a modicum of form for the start of the season proper, a small selection I present to you now in pictorial format. 

Things step up a notch this weekend, with the first ‘real’ race of the season, the Australian Champs down in Elwood, Victoria, check back for reflective narrative post race, or grab a copy of Australian Triathlete for nostalgic anecdotes penned by yours truly. 

Take care friends,


Grabbing a win with a beard at Caloundra

Grabbing a win also with a beard at Robina, plus using a faulty number belt as practice for my future career as a beauty queen

Without a beard, about to lose the Golden Watermelon 5km Track Classic (Otherwise known as the QLD 5km Champs) to Jack Curran. Might need to add some swim/bike to these contests, or I'm going to owe Jack a lot of fruit… Wilson 8th, Curran 2nd. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

The 2nd Annual Words Yearbook

Evening friends,

So, another year has passed, and with such concatenation comes the convivial conventions of watching NYE fireworks on TV from somewhere more fun, humming along to Auld Lang Syne because you’ve failed last years resolution to learn the words, and defiantly placing a new calendar upon the wall despite the fact that you now use Facebook to remember birthdays and your smartphone to remember appointments. Among the blogging cognoscenti, countdowns, top 10’s and best/worst lists are the ubiquitous narrative of choice, and with cursory heed to the propriety of this site, I present to you the second annual Words Yearbook. 

Favourites of the Year
Favourite Races of The Year
  1. Kitzbuhel. The swim was flat, the first few kms were flat, followed by a lamentable vicissitude in gradient, with a climb that would have a seasoned sherpa reaching for the asthma puffer. Didn’t race particularly well, but can wax lyrical to anyone not present, “You don’t know man, you weren’t there...”
  2. Ishigaki. Returning to the fishing island after a 5 year absence, I was again reminded that despite Japan’s numerous contributions over the years to technological ingenuity, in my book, their finest invention is the Pocky, a simple, chocolate covered pretzel.
  3. London. Despite living up to it’s reputation as being wetter than a carp’s armpit, the fans lining the course made it as crowded as the English cricket teams psychologist’s waiting room. Ears were ringing post-race like after a Led Zeppelin concert. 

Training Favourites
Favourite Swim: Production/Removal. Lactate rising and falling like a yo-yo convention for roughly 3 km of main set, and more pain than a sandpaper jockstrap. 

Favourite Ride: The Burger/Wilson Tour de Brew. Not so much a training session, more a lazy tour of Brisbane utilising the City-bikes, sampling Brisbane's best coffee haunts with fellow coffee epicure Josh Amberger. Enough caffeine that we were levitating for the last half of the ride

Favourite Run: The Little Diniel and the Lads Track Club 5km Invitational. A spiteful encounter with former housemate Jack Curran and a host of others. Pre-race smack talk rivaled any Mundine bout, and I was gutted when Curran took the Golden Watermelon trophy with a hard fought victory. Next year Curran, next year. 

Best/Worst/Biggest’s of the year

Best race: London, World Champs. 18th. Best race over the three disciplines I put together all year. 
Most Satisfying Race: Ishigaki World Cup. 3rd. Fun to share the podium with serial stem-chewer Ryan Fisher, and all round good guy Bryan Keane. Post -race banter waiting to pass anti-doping was all-time brilliant.
Worst Race: Kitzbuhel, WTS series. 28th. You don’t know man, you weren’t there

Best Living Up To Pre-race Smack Talk: Ishigaki World Cup. Fisher and I boldly claimed pre-race that the only bike that could stay with us would be the cameraman, and even he would be lucky. Admittedly assisted by pretty much everyone else crashing, the 3-then-2 man break-away matched our vivid, pre-race prognostication almost word for word. 
Worst Living Up To In-Race Smack Talk (Self): “Stay on my wheel and you’ll finish 2nd” (D. Wilson, mid-crit, Brisbane) Result: 2nd-last. 
Worst Living Up To In-Race Smack Talk (Other): “This Frenchy, is stomping, he’ll win by 2 minutes, I’ll take your bet Kealey”, D. Wilson, said watching the Tour, after which the aforementioned Frenchy promptly ceased stomping, and was lucky to make the time limit by the end of the stage, losing both my respect, and my bet to Mitch Kealey. 

Biggest Loss of Power (Legs): “Yeah, I think I’m back, watch this!”. Declaring to have once again found my running legs after building back from injury, I then put on an exhibition of my worst running session all year, to a skeptical QAS sports scientist. 
Biggest Loss of Power (Electricity): Following some apocalyptic storms in Brisbane, the famous Toowong Academy of Sport lost power for the best part of a week, leading to myself and housemates Jamie Laverty and Jack Curran cooking by the light of a iPhone on the neighbors BBQ and playing guitar in the dark, concocting songs featuring derisive lyrics about Energex’s apathy.  
Biggest Loss of Fruit: Thieves broke into my house whilst I was auditorily inhibited by the white noise of the altitude tent. They absconded with $5 AUD, a Garmin watch, and 1 Packham pear. Police have been fruitless so far in apprehending the perpetrators, but believe the incident may be linked to several stone-fruit robberies in the area. 

Best Purchase: The coffee machine that now fuels Cafe de Wilson, Brisbane’s best espresso bar. 
Worst Purchase: The commercial sized coffee machine I bought prior to the above on impulse off ebay. To run it it required 3 -phase power (Don’t have), complicated plumbing (Don’t have) and ample space (Don’t have). Most importantly, it also required not to have been inhabited by some latte loving rats, who had chewed through most of the electrical wiring. I’m now using it as a stool when I need to reach some of the higher cupboards. 

Miscellaneous Favourites

Album: Subrosa - More Constant Than The Gods. A journey, an experience, a pleasure. 

Coffee: Ethiopian Karote, served as a V60 by LTD (Brisbane). Like being hit in the face with a sackful of limes, stone fruit and syrup. Except pleasant, not painful, and coffee tasting. 

TV: The Thick Of It. Witty dialogue at a quicker pace than a Kienle bike split. 

Book: The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson. Brilliant narrative featuring the most idiosyncratic turn of phrase I’ve ever sampled. As a wordsmith, inspiring and entertaining. 

Journal: The Counseling Psychologist. A staple in the reference list of my uni assignments.

Magazine: Australian Triathlete. Jeez, that bloke who writes the back page article is a genius... Who’s with me?

Video Clip: Callum Millward’s effort. Brilliant. 

Beard: Beard Brother Pete Kerr @ Hamburg. Could have stepped in for ZZ Top at a pinch. 

Moe: All the Mo-Bros from the Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies. $ 7,210 raised, well done lads, and to all who donated. 

Thanks for joining me for another year, tune in for another 12 months of irrelevance and irreverence, and as always, grab a copy of Australian Triathlete for some more yarns from yours truly. 

Take care friends,


Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Beginning And The End

Greetings friends, and welcome to the final race report of the year, as my season reached it’s denouement up at triathlon down under’s spiritual home of Noosa. First and foremost, disregarding race outcomes or methodology, perhaps the most remarkable achievement from the weekend, and indeed the season, was to have my final race at a time and place of my choosing. Lower leg ailments over the preceding years have led to many a season being abbreviated more significantly than the syntax of a teenagers text-message, so to finish the year when it was myself, rather than a doctor, calling the season done, was quite lamentably neoteric thrill. 

Secondly, three things of subsidiary note from the period leading up to Noosa, obviously excluding such things as Working Hard and Doing a Good Job At Training, which I won’t mention save for the aforementioned mention of their exclusion in this narrative. Number 1, I bagged a win at the Gatorade Tri Series race at Raby Bay. Great event put on by the crew, always a pleasure to get a good hit out there. Number 2, I was honored to receive Male Athlete of the Year at the QUT sports awards. Some of my unkinder friends have suggested that it was the Universities way of telling me that as an academic, I make a great triathlete. Lastly, yet most significantly, I was groomsman and MC at my sisters wedding, and had a whale of a time, with enthusiasm and incompetence shown in equal amounts by yours truly on the dance floor, to the horrified delight of the crowd. Fizz and Linc, all the best for the future. 

So, to Noosa. Non-drafting racing remains somewhat of an esoteric concept to me given my ITU heritage, and the different format provided a benevolent level of intrigue for the last few weeks of training for the year. Jumping on the TT bike rustled up by Crank House and Trek (thanks guys!), admittedly a little later than I would have liked (My first ride was less than 24 before the start of the race...), is a bit of an galvanizing experience for most of us ITU dogs, and something we relish at the end of the year in the ‘Noosa Prep’.

The race. The swim went pretty well, my experience was bereft of the now infamous Noosa Snake, and with the arms feeling pretty good, I sat in 3rd spot for most of the swim, as the superlative pace set Josh Amberger shelled a lot of the field. Out on to the bike, and cycling heavyweights Burger and Tom Davidson shelled yet more of the field, dishing out power like Energex servicemen. The 7 metre rule somewhat limited the havoc they could have wreaked under a 12 metre or stagger rule, and thus 8 of us entered T2 together. Aaron Royle was not feeling sociable, and had broken the rest of us inside the first kilometre, and that was the last we saw of him all day, as he took the win to cap off a year of setting the bar for the rest of us Aussies to follow. Myself and the remnants of the ITU elite mens world team, Ryan Bailie and Cam Good, set about having a Good-Old-Fashioned-Running-Duel, and my legs suffered early, before resurrecting themselves late on to take the sprint for 2nd. 

From here, the body is having a break for a few weeks, whilst unfortunately my mind must stay active for a few more days to finish off my exams at uni, after which the brain can ejects itself as well. Lastly, in peroration to my last post, I have bought another coffee machine, this time of practical dimensions, power supply and plumbability. So, whilst on my break, Cafe de Wilson is officially open 24 hrs a day, feel free to stop by, currently serving a single origin Ethiopian. I think I’ll stick to these, and maybe some Kenyans as well, can’t hurt my chances of getting a bit quicker on the run next year, can it?

Take care friends,


A few words with the great Stef Hanson from Australian Triathlete