Dan Wilson

DAN WILSON ---- Professional Athlete ---- Part-time Wordsmith
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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Words Yearbook


Evening friends,

Twelve months ago, the previously unsullied dominion of the internet was forever stigmatised with the catalogue of mindless waffle emanating from this site. As such, I’ve decided to mark this watershed of literacy my compiling a yearbook of sorts from the last year of etymology on this site. Thus, with a hint of nostalgia from the year gone, peruse the countdowns, highs, lows and favorites from a year of bloggin’ about joggin’. 


Top 5 Gags Of The Year

Clearly, the most important subject first. I’m quite partial to the odd gag being bandied about, especially on training camps, usually with the aim of having a laugh and keeping the mood light. Except if the gag is on me, when it’s never funny, just stupid, and definitely grounds for getting kicked off camp. Here’s a small selection from many...

  1. Replacing the inside of roommate Matt Brown’s cereal box with washing powder. The memory of him pouring himself a nice big bowl of detergent after a hard swim set still brings a smile to my face today. 
  2. Fireworking Boxy. A two man operation, 1 bunger was lobbed in the back door, and when he went to investigate, another thrown in the front door, presenting multidirectional consternation.
  3. Boxy again (I do love you, Boxy!). Inviting Boxy around for a meal, then carefully preparing a 1/10 scale replica of our meals for his degustation. His howls of outrage at the miniature meal were definitely larger than life. 
  4. South Korean Coach. Still not sure if this one was intended or not. Day 1, morning 1 of staying with the South Korean triathlon team, and the coach invited me for breakfast and presented me with a sweet potato, and apple, and lastly, a tomato and walnut milkshake. He drank one also, so he may have been genuine, but I did detect some sniggering amongst the athletes...
  5. The Old Switcheroo. Being ‘gagged’ ourselves on camp, we sensed foul play when our bikes went missing, but some amateur sleuthing by Mitch Kealey soon discovered our truant bikes secluded in our neighboring athletes abode. Casually mentioning we had to leave swimming early to meet with the police, soon had the gag flipped like a pancake. 
Top 3 Favorite Races Of The Year
  1. Alpe d’Huez. An iconic climb, an idiosyncratic race, a fun road trip and a decent performance by yours truly, made for a memorable race. Beer shower provided free of charge was much appreciated. 
  2. Tiszaujvaros. A neoteric race in an eccentric place. What better place to start a dynamic new format of Semis/Finals than the notorious triathlon stomping ground of Tizzie. Loads of fun racing the new format, which was exciting to race in and watch, and brought a whole new branch of tactics to racing. The future of triathlon if you ask me.
  3. Bike racing. No race in particular, but having spent some time out with injury, bike racing went a long way to keeping me sane, giving me an outlet for my competitiveness. Sometimes, it’s a pleasure just to get beaten. 


Best/Worst/Biggest’s Of The Year

Best Race: Stockholm, getting back to WTS level.
Worst Race: Hamburg, not back at WTS level. And missed the bike prime. 

Biggest Blow Up (Physical): Long, hard ride with Mitch Kealey. Dehydrated badly and lost the plot somewhere in the French hinterland. Finally, a concerned Mitch took pity on me and purchased many cool beverages, ensuring I didn’t have to hitchhike back to Aix. 
Biggest Blow Up (Mental): Injury concerns abridging my trip to come home early, but still coming home via a race in Chengdu, a race which I had no plans of finishing. A low. 
Biggest Blow Up (Vehicle): Broken muffler gave me brief illusions of being Batman, with some serious flame emitted when it dragged along the road. RIP The Gurgler.
Biggest Blow Up (Navigational): Turning a 3km jog of the bike, into a 12km odyssey through the French forest. Another thank you to the benevolent, direction giving French mountain bikers, I swear I never even thought about stealing your bikes. 

Biggest Curveball in a swim: Losing my cap and goggles 100m in to the race in Tizzie, combined with long hair meant complete blindness for the rest of the swim. Navigated by sense of smell alone...
Biggest Curveball on the bike: Snapping a gear cable 15 min into 45km bike race over a hilly course, straight into the big dog for the rest of the race, creating a new training acronym in the process ESEE (Enforced Strength Endurance Effort)
Biggest Curveball on the run: My ankle instability is world renowned, and facing trails at the top of Alpe d’Huez, I was a tad unsettled. Set a record for the loudest obscenity uttered at altitude whilst nearly taking a stumble at 2km.
Biggest Lactic Acid Spike: Doing a few ‘easy’ pre-race efforts with Ryan Fisher and Jan Rehula. The big Czech still has some HP. Fish and I nearly quit the sport on the spot. 

Best Decision: Taking Moffy’s advice to try making my own Peanut Butter. Look for my new range of spreads, Willy’s Nuts, available in supermarkets soon.
Worst Decision: Blending the aforementioned spread a little too enthusiastically, and completely frying my blender. However, this added a sublime ‘smokey’ note to the flavour. 

Training Favorites Of The Annum

Favourite Swim Set: Sprints. Or anything not involving a kickboard, band or sponge. 

Favourite Ride: In AUS - ‘100% ride’ A cult followed, hard-mans-ride in Brisbane. At is best/worst, it’s dark, freezing, and fast. 1 hour of lactic. 
En FRA: Mont du Chat. 14 kms at 10%. It’s bright, hot, and slow. 1 hour of lactic.

Favourite Run: Given the time off with injury, anytime I lace up is currently a favorite. Sandgate wetlands in solitude is bliss though…


Miscellaneous Favourites Of The Annum

Album: Panopticon - Kentucky, Runner-up: Ahab - The Giant, Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay

Coffee Shop: Bunker (Brisbane)

Tweet: Mitch Robbins : ASADA Whereabouts form v challenging 2complete, nearly everynight at a different girls house I barely even get a name, let alone an address.

Blog (There is only one eligible author, of course, chosen by viewing figures): A Day In The LIfe

Compliment: You speak very good english... for an Australian. 

TV: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Way to annoy people: (I have loads...) Sprinting the last 10m of the easy part of the swim set to ‘beat’ far superior swimmers than myself. I’ve never seen Trent Grimsey look more horrified. 

Video Clip: Optimism 101

Another twelve months of irreverence and irrelevance to come...

Take care friends,
Willy

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grafting at Grafton


Evening friends,

As alluded to in an earlier post, I had made the commitment to race the 228km Grafton to Inverell cycle classic, a decision full of enthusiasm yet devoid of sense. Preferring to ride the wave of enthusiasm, and not dwell on the realities of the endeavor, I packed the Cannondale, filled the car with enough Gatorade to kill a horse (briefly considering filling the car’s tank with some electrolyte as well), and set off down the Pacific Highway to Grafton. 4 hours and 3 black metal albums later, I had arrived in Grafton, and immediately bumped into triathletes and cycle dabblers Shane Barrie and David Mainwairing, also committed to the Inverell Odyssey. A lazy pizza that night, and a bit of nervous banter, we were ready to go. 

Having previously expressed outrage at the notion of ‘warming up’ for a 6 hour bike race, extreme nerves and a decent splash of ‘do what everyone else is doing’ attitude meant I was doing laps around Grafton and urinating in equal amounts for a good 40 minutes prior to race start. Whilst adding even more kms to an already ambitious day, I had recalled setting new power PBs in the ‘neutral’ section of the only other cycle race I’ve ever done, so was a tad wary about the extreme embarrassment that could befall me if I got dropped before the start horn had even been sounded. 

Up The Gibraltar Range

8 am rolled around and we clicked in and were away, thankfully at a moderate tempo for the neutral section. Once we had conquered the lamentably brief neutral section the flag dropped, and we didn’t see much below 50km/hr for the next hour, until the early break was established. Given that the idea of spending 200km + in a break was about as appealing as a Mitt Romney presidential term, I was content to sit mid pack and munch powerbars for the early segment. Once the break was established, we took a quick toilet stop (established by someone yelling ‘Pissa!!!’, followed by stopping en mass to empty our bladders), and rode a solid tempo to the bottom of the Gibraltar Range. 

Bludging At The Back...


The pace up the Range was nothing short of pyroclastic for the first 10 mins, before settling into a consistent tempo that I was pretty comfortable enough with for the 17kms of climbing. By this stage, the main pack had dwindled to just over 20, with the break still up the road consisting of 13. I amused myself for the next hour or so bludging at the back whilst some of the teams chased the break down, keeping myself entertained by almost crashing at the first feed station, and spending a good 2 kms trying to de-tangle a feed bag which had quite vexingly entangled in my handlebars.

We picked up all bar 2 of the breakaway at around 140 kms, and so the onus was once again on the big teams to do the chasing, as the two riders out in front were both from Team Budget Forklifts. Once again I kept myself amused by starting some conversation in the bunch, subtly trying to figure out what the hell was going to happen over the last 50 kms, and what sort of terrain was ahead, whilst also congratulating myself on an error free second feed station. 

Bludging In The Middle...

The break had a maximum of around 7 mins at one stage, but was whittled down to around 3 mins with around 30 kms to go, following some committed chasing by some of the NRS teams. Once we hit once of the last hills at 208km, the race exploded, turning into a last man standing free for all, with attacks flowing like cliches from a newsreader. Despite the copious attacks, our bunch only shed a few, and we were still 22 strong heading into the last few kms. With the 2 lads from Budget Forklifts holding on to take the win by 29 seconds over the bunch, the famous “Wilson Sprint” was involved in the sprint for 3rd... but finished 19th. No Cavendish fibers in my legs, it would seem... However, I was happy with my strength throughout the race and over the hills, certainly a fun way to spend 6 hours...

Check the stats...

Time: 6hrs 14 mins 08 secs
Distance: 228km
Vertical Metres Climbed: 2948 m

Maximum Averages (68kg)
1 sec: 987 Watts
12 sec: 718 Watts
6 min: 411 Watts
30 min: 351 Watts

Ave Power: 257 Watts

Max HR: 194
Ave HR: 150

Calories Burned: 5146 (Equivalent to over 20 mars bars...)

Food Consumed:
2.25 L Gatorade (585 calories)
1.5 L Coke (645 calories)
250ml Red Bull (115 calories)
4 Powerbars (912 calories)
3 Gels (300 calories)
1 Fly (negligible)                       Total: 2442 Calories

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Cheeky Dabbler


Evening friends,

As the dust from both long and short course pinnacles in Kona and Auckland settles, it would appear that most of the athletic fraternity are now happily wallowing in perhaps the most sangfroid word of the triathlete vernacular, aka ‘break’. Having made neither the trip to Kona or Auckland (cognisant recognition of my current ability preventing the former, and a lower back ailment preventing the latter), my season was slightly bereft of competition worthy mark as the end of my season. As the medically diagnosed ‘Busted Arse Syndrome’ would prevent running with any real velocity, I’ve decided to have a cheeky dabble at arguably Australia’s toughest one day cycling race, Grafton to Inverell. At 228km, and featuring a sinister 17.5 km climb, the race has been known to eat riders whole, with the ease and regularity of Wilson eating a Curlywurly on the way to swim training. Given I’m about as experienced with this sort of racing as Paris Hilton is with fine literature, I’m approaching the race with a healthy amount of ignorance, hopefully offset with equal amounts of enthusiasm. Time will tell which holds stronger after 6-7 hours of racing...

On a personal note, a certain amount of inspiration was gained by many performances at Auckland and Kona, none more so than those of Dave Dellow and the U/23 Boys. Dellow, a long time collaborator, all-round-good-guy, and infamously one half of the Delson combination, bagged a top ten first time out at Kona, and watching the U/23 lads at Auckland execute a brilliant race was truly a pleasure to watch. 

Stay tuned for a race report from saturday’s 228km peregrination, hopefully not featuring a pyroclastic explosion over the last half of the race. No promises though...

Take care friends,

Willy


Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Slowest Twitcher Ever To Slowtwitch

Evening friends,

Chances are if you are an avid reader of this underground zine, then your interest in fringe triathletes is enough to warrant visits to the much more in vogue site of Slowtwitch, to satisfy one’s yearning for a broader spectrum of triathlon topics. 

However, if you missed the dispatch, I engaged in dialogue with multi-sport bastion Slowtwitch a while back and my well-waffled answers to some well-crafted questions can be found here.

Thanks to Sal Farruggia for the exposé and Slowtwich for the publication. 


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Soliloquy Of The Stigmatised Scandinavian


Evening friends. This edition is brought to you, once again, by the much appreciated free wifi at Hong Kong airport, thus neatly bookending my European sojourn in the same fashion in which it was initiated. Stockholm was the last stop on the European calendar, and given the Scandinavian’s ability to produce a litany of avant-garde musicians, I was keen to check the place out, and half expected to see a Viking brandishing a guitar on each corner. Whilst this didn’t come to fruition, nor did I see the lads from Amon Amarth (Stockholm’s finest - listen to soundtrack of visuals below), Stockholm remained a sublime host - easily the most pick-n-mix friendly town in the world (not the foremost of the towns charms, but appreciated none-the-less).

Having escaped without much attention in my last few swims, the laws of probability kicked in, and I battled though the swim, coming out a little off the pace. The bike course showed a somewhat more neoteric slant than most ITU circuits, and comprised of roughly 60% cobblestones, 39% corners over white lines, and 1% really easy, smooth, flat roads. I relished the idiosyncratic terrain, and worked well with ITU hard men Gemmell, Gomez, Riederer, Chabrot and Justus to ride away from the second pack, and come within a bad-transitions-length of the lead bunch. Out on two feet, and I moved the best I have in some time, getting closer to ‘running’ and further away from ‘fighting in running shoes’ to move through to 10th, with star-of-the-future Aaron Royle racing well in 11th. 

From here, I’m heading for an Asian Tour of Duty. I have a training base in South Korea, and races in China, followed by Tongyeong and Yokohama, before finally arriving home in October. Asia could be a test of both my palate and patience, so feel free to send me an email, as I could be craving some English conversation...

Check out the video of the Stockholm course below, taken during the Team Sprint race. Sadly, there’s not too much action going on behind me, but it may give you an idea of the course. Just imagine Gemmell pulling faces at the camera for a rough representation of Saturday’s race. 

Take care friends,

Willy





Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hamburg, Huez, and Horrible Singing


Welcome friends. Firstly, you are currently back in the hands of your wonted author, following the welcome and capable alliteration of the previous blog. 
Secondly, this happened. 


Commissioned by AIS head coach to write a song to pay tribute to our London team, this was our farewell and goodbye to the lads and ladettes before they headed off to the Old Dart to kick some posterior.  Briefly postulating on a 30 minutes post-metal jam, I decided convention would be a percipient approach, and with a nod to Bob Dylan’s story telling ballads, gave a cheap shot and a pat on the back to each of the team. Certainly not for anyone who enjoys proficient singing, however, if you know the guys personally, you might get some of the in-jokes. 
Thirdly, I have been doing that which I purport to be my career i.e. racing. Kicking off 2 weeks ago now in my first World Tri Series race of the year. Still aware of a gaping hole where my running form should be, I was a tad pessimistic (or realistic) as to how I would hold up in such strong company, but keen to sink my metaphorical teeth in the the Schnitzel of Triathlon the only the Hamburg race can provide. Thus, with one eye on getting a little head start onto the run, and another eye much more firmly focussed on the sweet $10 000 US bike prime, attack was the order of the day after a relatively calm swim and first 5 km of the bike. Quickly joined by a strong ANZAC alliance of Clark Ellice and Courtney Atkinson, and later by (excuse my lack of a more elloquent superlative) a bloody strong Reinaldo Colucci, we forged out almost 30 seconds by the end of the bike. ‘Almost’ 30 seconds, as distinct from ‘actually’ 30 seconds, as the more astute of you may have noticed. 3 seconds short of sharing 10 grand between the four of us, I quickly discovered exactly how long 5 km feels, and faded throughout the run, but was reasonably content with my effort and progression. 


Then, on 4 days of recovery, myself and AIS dietician and age group World Champ from 2009 Greg Cox, made the pilgrimage down to the mythical Alpe d’Huez Triathlon, a monument of a race known to be tougher than a 2 cent steak. Coxy and I had an arrangement, if he beat me we’d swap professions, I’d pick up the calipers and Coxy would finish the season in my race suit. Given that Coxy is quite an athlete, and had been cagier than a fox about his training, the 2 hour road trip was filled with more banter than a year 5 school lunch time. 
Fortunately for the Aussie teams future dietetic advice, I was able to get over Coxy, as well as the rest of the field, as the tough swim/bike suited my training, and I rolled into T2 over 6 minutes ahead of the field. Running after climbing Alpe d’Huez, and at over 2000m, actually didn’t feel too bad, and I finished the day over 7 mins in front, to win one of the most idiosyncratic races I’ve ever done, and Coxy had a strong race to finish top 15.  Seriously folks, if you’re ever in the Alps in July, check out the Tour, and then race the Alpe d’Huez triathlon, you won’t regret it, there is no race like it on earth. Hell of a race, and hell of a trip with Coxy, who is always a delight to hang out will, although throwing a stein of beer on me post race didn’t do too much to endear himself to me…



From here, another 3 weeks till ITU Stockholm, a new jaunt on the ITU circuit, pretty excited to check it out!
Finally good luck to our Olympians! Emma Jackson, Erin Densham, Emma Moffatt, Courtney Atkinson, Brad Kahlefeldt and Brendan Sexton. Started getting nervous for those guys as we saw them off from Aix this week!
Take care friends,
Willy

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wilson/Gentle Spilt Album


Welcome friends, to the inaugural collaboration of blogging minds. Representing the forefront of avant-garde blogging, myself and blogging (and triathlon) extraordinaire Ash Gentle have taken it upon ourselves to push the boundaries of the now familiar blogging format. Swapping parchments for an edition, we give you the reader, a chance to become familiar with our exploits from a nonpartisan viewpoint. Here on Words With Wilson, your author today is Gentle, as she provides an absorbing account of my weekend at Tiszy World Cup, and over on Gentle’s blog, my trademark doggrel gives a run down on Gentle’s time in Tiszy. Enjoy both, good reader!

Mr Dan Wilson, armed with two chops, few too many puns and a lethal swim/bike combo headed to Tiszy with team Australia last Thursday. We were off to the World Cup 'party'  to  tackle the new heat/ final format, and it is now my honour to guest blog and give you a run down of Mr Wilson’s weekend. To put it bluntly, this narrative will be a dumbed down version of what you are accustomed to when logging in for a read, my vocabulary far less extensive. So read on as you will, here goes....
2012 is not only the year of the Olympics, it is more importantly renowned as the 'Year of Dan Wilson's Comeback'. After a tough 2011 with injury, Dan has been swimming and biking relentlessly, putting in the km's to match any Russian pushing for a breakaway. Throughout  training here in Aix Le Bains it was quite clear to all the boys that his front pack swimming speed and Cadel like pedaling power was ready to be put into action. Body in tact, Wilson thought he would give the other men a chance on the bike by promptly snapping his seat post clamp upon arrival. There was a mechanic handy, easily replacing the part the next day, it was the least of Dans worries. Charming every hungry Hungarian girl in sight with his exquisite facial hair, we all had to make sure Wilson kept his eye on the real prize. 
Its safe to say that Wilson cruised through his semi final. Comfortably swimming at the front of the group, 3 x250m swim laps strung the men out and Wilson found himself with a handy gap with another 7 men. 8 athletes automatically qualified through to the final and Wilson had worked his way into the ultimate position coming into T2...7 men, 60 second gap on the rest. While others seemingly got a bit too excited, searching for the taste of glory in the semi final, Wilson played it smart and jogged his way around the final run lap. The only disappointing factor of his semi final was the fact he didn't hear my "go the chops" cheer from the loud Tiszy crowd. After the mandatory massage/ice bath combo, team Australia headed to the one and only (literally) ...Muma Rosas's, a restaurant everyone gets well aquatinted with when in Tiszy. 
After passing on some wise and helpful swim tips, the master himself got off to a great start in his final. The junior editions of Bryukhankov & Polyansky, a few Frenchies and fellow cycling snob and teammate, Ryan 'Stumpy' Fisher were the perfect breakaway combo which materialized after the 750m swim. After 6 fast cycle laps they had 1 minute up on the rest of the field, which included US golden child, Lukas Verzbicas. WIlson’s mind was on a prime and I watched painfully as he was out-sprinted, it was a perfect Renshaw lead out though! Wilson vs Gentle battle for a prime will continue. 
Swim+ bike was played out to perfection, the hard work paying off for Dan. The run was (and I quote) "exactly where I am at the moment". Being the first hard run in months, Wilson's result deserves much more credit then his 10th place trophy. Persevering through injury and relentlessly working is areas which he could, Wilson has fought his way back into the game and I have faith that the Triathlon community will be taking a lot more notice of his successful comeback then his latest edition of facial hair. 



Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Tale Of Two Chops

Tim Don, Lausanne 2006. Kris Gemmell Auckland 2011. Following the in resplendent footsteps of such highly extolled monuments of the sport is never easy, particularly when the facial manifestations most famously associated with our hirsute pioneers also happened to be first first to break the tape in front of impressive, yet noticeably shaven rivals. Nevertheless, like a benevolent firing squad, we have deliberately aimed high. Pete Kerr and I - or Team Chops (along with associate member Bradley Wiggins) have been cultivating like a horticulturist on acid. Tomorrow, the chops ride East,  destination - Tiszaujvaros. Leave your comment below on who you think deserves the Title of Triathlon Australia’s Worst Mutton Chops, and look for the chops come Tizzie. 

Take care friends,
Willy




















Monday, July 9, 2012

France Update


Evening friends, and welcome to the first blog posted whilst ‘en France’, brought to you from the well documented home away from home that is Aix Les Bains. My brief sabbatical in Japan was enough to test the legs and eat my yearly quota of rice, and thus it was straight to France to join the rest of the Aussie team, and back in the trenches of training. I’m currently sipping coffee, watching the Tour, and have just decided not to sing the song I just wrote for my room-mate Matt Brown, who flatted during his ITU race yesterday and could probably use the afternoon off my banter. In a vein effort to kill the ‘Black Hour’ i.e the time between the last training session and dinner, I thought it was high time to put quill to parchment in the name of a blog.  
Aside from the usual training, doing the 1%ers, crossing the t’s, dotting the i’s, giving 110%, and other such triathlon cliches, there is a few spare moment every now and again for leisure activities, as delineated in the following syntax. 
Digital Recreation
Last years purchase of the PS2 has made a triumphant return, and launched the inaugural Aix Les Bains FIFA tournament, due to kick off on Monday. If the passion shown in the warm up games is anything to go by, our neighbors can expect to be harangued to the sound of GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLL on a regular basis. 
Financial Recreation 
The 15 min Ebay challenge. Highly recommended for anyone looking to pass some time. Find yourself a worthy adversary (In my case Browny), and giver yourselves 15 minutes and 15 Euro to buy the ‘coolest’ thing possible on Ebay. Bonus points awarded for first delivery, and the rest is judged by the rest of the squad. Pictorials of our spoils to follow upon delivery of our goods, perhaps we can start an online judged poll, but only if you vote for me over Browny...
Facial Recreation
Mutton chops. Yep, myself and fellow ‘chopper’ Pete Kerr have taken it upon ourselves to bring a taste of the 70s back to triathlon. As comfortable playing rhythm guitar for Led Zeppelin as they are in the pool or on the bike, look for myself and Pete to be repping the chops big time come Tizze World Cup. Another online poll shall decide who indeed has the most hideous facial hair, myself or Pete. 
Navigational Recreation
Showing the sense of direction of a headless chicken, I managed to turn a brisk 3 km off the bike into a vagrant’s roam across the French countryside. After 30 mins of rapidly increasing fatigue, and rapidly diminishing optimism, I chanced upon some French civilians mountain biking through the trails. Obviously not seeing the way I looked at their bikes, then a rather large rock on the ground, and then their heads, they informed me I was at least an hour away from my destination, and heading further away with each stride. Pleased with their benevolent instructions, I abandoned my previous thought of rendering them unconscious with the rock and stealing their bikes, and cut a crude path through a thick corn field in the general direction of my now somewhat frantically searching teammates. An hour and 12 kms later, with legs completely rooted by this stage, I returned to my comrades, who had turned from a rescue mission, to a recovery mission, and were busy checking ditches for a corpse with sideburns. 
For all those intrigued, next week Tizzie World Cup, the week Hamburg World Series, and possibly the Alpe D’Huez Triathlon a few days after that. Stay tuned for racing anecdotes aplenty.

Take care friends,
Willy.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gamagori


Evening friends, this edition of the blog is brought to you by the free wifi at Hong Kong airport, and also the neighboring coffee shop owner, whose kids I have just put through college by procuring vast quantities of espresso. I’m currently whiling away a few idle hours in transit to where I join some Aussie comrades is Aix Les Bains (See here for an Aix synopsis), and am currently dividing my time between a little blogging, sampling caffeinated beverages, and observing the middle aged gentleman to my left read a comic book that he seems far to old for, loudly snort mucus through his nose, seemingly oblivious to my acrimonious eyebrow-raises. 
I’ve just departed from Gamagori, Japan, or ‘Where Robbo did THAT race’. Anyone with more than a trifling interest in triathlons who does not know of Robbo’s exploits in 2005 should make it a priority to familiarise themselves on this piece of triathlon history post-haste. Fittingly, Robbo himself was present as part of the coaching staff this time round, as the race formed part of a junior tour for some of the talented youngsters making up the future of Australian triathlon. 
Excuse me whilst I make an exaggerated stare at Nose Snorter, and let out a distinctly audible sigh. No reaction, he turns another page on the comic book, which features a large elephant holding a trumpet of some description. 
Gamagori was my long awaited return to racing for 2012, and I managed to kick things off with a win. The race went pretty well, I managed to lead out of the water with fellow Aussie and all-round-good-guy Shane Barrie, and we were soon joined by 2 others, including fellow Aussie, training partner, and all-round-good-guy Mitch Kealey. Unfortunately my compatriots drifted back to the main pack, which left me with Irish youngster, and all-round-good-guy Ben Shaw, for most of the 40 kms. After pulling solid turns with Ben, a cheeky late attack had me heading in to T2 with 30 secs on Ben, and a ‘handy’ 4 mins on the rest of the field, allowing me to ease my very green running legs back into the less-than-benevolent eventuality of running 10 kms in 35 degree heat. 
Nose Snorter has just let rip another cracker. Unless he is dictating sound effects from his comic book ‘MucusMan’ to an unseen deaf friend, I’m going to have to get a little more blatant with this guy. This time I raise my eyebrows and frown. My social cannonade is again repelled by his wall of ignorance. 
It was a pleasure to be back racing, although it took a moments rumination to get the order of the disciplines correct, although some may argue that 2 minute transition runs was worthy of calling this race a swim/run/bike/run/run. From here, it’s a few more weeks of training in France, hopefully moving the running legs from ‘not running out of sight on a dark night’ to at least, ‘getting a little difficult to see on a dull evening’.
That’s it, I’ve clearly just mimicked Nose Snorter, letting rip a snort that rivals the 747’s warming up to my left. Once again, he feigns incomprehension. I’ve had a gutfull, time to relocate next to the screaming baby…

Take care friends,

Willy




Tuesday, May 22, 2012

La Maison En France


Welcome friends, as we dig again into the history books, this week presenting an archival narrative penned some years ago in the pages of the underground fanzine, The SBR Guardian. Many pundits may have heard the stories of the old AIS European HQ, and for those that haven’t, the proceeding text represents but the very small tip of an anecdotal iceberg of titanic proportions. As the ITU scene shifts to Europe this weekend in Madrid, what better way to prepare than with a cursory glance at our much loved European base. 
Take care friends,
Willy


Aix Les Bains
A long time European base in France, the infamous ‘Les Platanes’ was the home away from home for many generations of Aussie triathletes. Hosted by deceptively bilingual mustached Frenchman Monsieur Doobie, ‘Les Platanes’ was the accommodation of choice, a hotel full of ‘character’, in our much loved Aix Les Bains base. Highlighted with brilliant training facilities, Aix is a splendid place to spend the Euro summer, located a stone’s throw from any Euro races. 
Les Platanes
Sadly, the long term abode has finally been demolished as of 2010, yet the anecdotes lay firmly entrenched in the minds of all who stayed there. Notes on the notorious ‘Les Platanes’ accommodation include:
• The rooms – Petit, as the French would say, is an apt description of the old facilities. Sharing a room requires OCD-like neatness to maximize room space, while it is not uncommon to roll over in bed, and wake up three rooms down. 
• The showers – Preparation is the key. Many athletes choose to start running their shower prior to leaving for a long ride, increasing the chances that hot water will be flowing in time for the post-workout shower. The curtains also possess an anaconda like ability to wrap around your body, and many athletes emerge from the shower deeply cleaned, and lightly throttled. 
• The Locks – The infrequently used flats down at Le Grande Port, feature self locking doors. Keep this in mind, as there is apparently no French word for ‘Spare Key’, and locking yourself out requires the services of a locksmith for re-entry. A lengthy process, made less dignified by waiting around in sans-shirt running attire. 
• The stairs – Those un/lucky enough to land a third story room could book themselves in for a good season, as the extra fitness gained from climbing the 34 stairs several times a day has been known to provide an supplementary boost in run form. Some negatives include loss of sleep, as athletes have been known to stay at dinner until the late hours of the night, while they summon the enthusiasm for the arduous ascent. 
• The Roofs – In mid-2006 it was discovered that the ceilings to the old residences had the rare and remarkable ability to sporadically hold a coin flicked with the appropriate amount of force and dexterity. Thus, the game Roofcoin was born. A complex game combining elements of darts, dodgeball, and Russian Roulette, many a raucous game of Roofcoin passed the idle hours before dinner, and it is estimated that upwards of $100 Euro in loose change was lost with the buildings recent demolition. 
The Training
• Swim – Cleanest pool in France. Cleaned vigorously and religiously, you could eat off the dive blocks, and perform minor surgery on pool deck. Note: You may require major surgery should you wear shoes on the aforementioned deck, as the staff are passionate about their rules. 
Easily the best view in France as well. Take a breath and see the mountains and lake in all their splendor, and can almost take you mind off a heart rate set. Almost. 
Take a dip in the lake for an open-water swim set, but try not to attract the ire of the easily irritated ‘marins’ (sailors), ‘pechures’ (fishermen) and especially the ‘gendarmerie’ (police).
• Bike – Brilliant cycling to be had. Lap of the lake is a standard 2 hours, with anything but standard views to be had from the top of the climb. Popular loops include Le grande revard (3 hrs), Annecy Loop (4 hrs), or the Bakery (3 mins).
• Run - Take a cruise along the Boulevard for a recovery run, head to the Hippo for some trails, or take in the new path next to the Lake for some fartlek. Alternatively, drive up to Chambrey for a track session. Known as the hottest track in France, mid-summer sessions are not measured by distance or speed, but by how many eggs have been cooked on the track per effort.
The Language
The following represents a few frequently used French phrases, used to communicate with the eclectic ‘Les Platanes’ staff:
• Crepes plus sil vous plait – More crepes please
• Ce poulet est cru – This chicken is raw
• Oiu, crepes encore plus sil vous plait – Yes, even more crepes please
• Ce poulet est trop cuit – This chicken is overcooked
• Ah aller, un autre serie de crepes – ah go on, one more round of crepes
• Se mefier - Beware
• En colere - Angry
• Francais - Frenchman
• Beware of the angry Frenchman – Mefiez-vous des Francais en colere
The following represents seldom used French phrases, i.e, don’t waste your time learning these ones:
• Ce poulet est parfait – This chicken is perfect
• Ce que cela contient de la crème – Does this contain crème? (always yes)
• Crepes de trop nombreux –Too many crepes
• Quoi, ne pas croissants pour le petit dejeuner? – What, no croissants for breakfast?
Despite the ribbing, ‘Les Platanes’ holds a special place in the hearts of all fortunate enough to spend a summer among the welcoming locals, however no great compunction was shown following the change of domiciles to the present, somewhat more luxurious, quarters. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Onboard @ Battle On The Border


Welcome friends, to the long awaited sequel to the Wideos With Wilson series. Readers of the previous syntax will have no doubt been biting their fingernails all weekend, feverishly hitting refresh, eager for news from the Battle On The Border. My brief sojourn playing cyclist was quite enjoyable, albeit unfamiliar, without the usual swim/run sandwich bookending the efforts on two wheels. I rode fairly strongly throughout the weekend, and enjoyed the hills, terrain which the local Brisbane crits are lamentably devoid of. I finished 7th overall on GC, and awarded myself the ‘First Triathletes Jersey’, a diversificationists equivalent of the Young Riders Jersey. Enjoy the following multimedia presentation...
Take care friends,
Willy

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Feelin' The Need, For The Tour De Tweed


Welcome friends, to another installment on the Words. The current rehab to my most lamentable malady has lead to a distinctly un-blogworthy existence over the preceding weeks, thus the lack of recent reports, as an unpalatable series of monographs detailing repetitive swim/bike miles, and progressively increasing run miles, would no doubt bore your author as much as my venerated audience. 
However, just as we were in dire risk of another loosely triathlon-related anecdote of years gone by, I finally have a race preview to finally pull me into line with the triathlon blogs of my peers, and holds some flimsy evidence against the argument for a triathletes blog, there is a gaping hole where the ‘triathlons’ should be. 
Now, I’m not quite there yet (stress fracture rehab going well, but not quite at 10km race pace yet...), but on the weekend I’ll compete in the Battle On The Border, or the Tour de Tweed, by another alias. Given the reduced run miles of late have given me ample opportunity to make significant headway on my swim/bike strength, we decided it would be a good way to test the fitness and satisfy my overwhelming desire for competition. Described as an ‘All you can eat buffet of pain... and you’ve brought a doggie bag’, I’ll be sucking wheels off some of the best Aussie riders going, I’m hoping to acquire some bike speed via osmosis. Check out the program:
Sat AM - 9km ITT
Sat AM (still!) - 146 km Road Race
Sun - 129 km Road Race
Mon - 40 mins + 3 laps Criterium
Significantly, the terrain we ride over has been described like my attempts at making gravy- very lumpy,  and thus there might not be as much easy riding as my legs might like.
Stay tuned for some narratives of suffering on two wheels, I’ll try to throw a camera on for the Criterium, as long as it doesn’t mess with my aerodynamics...
Take care friends,
Willy
PS This is close to what goes on in my head sometimes when training alone…

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Doppelgangers, Beards and Hot Dog Flavoured Pizza


Seasons greetings to you all, friends, and I trust the significance of this much venerated respite is rich in your cognisance as you put the feet up, and some easter eggs down over the weekend. Having become somewhat familiar with the average athletes daily schematics over the last few years, it’s possible to ruminate that not too much is different for a triathlete over Easter - training continues, as does ungodly amounts of chocolate consumption, albeit in a more egg-shaped form than usual. At this point, it may be shrewd to note that it has taken a steadfast will, as well as sage advice from others to resist the urge to segue into a barrage of egg related puns. Given that free range on the gags is currently embargoed, allow me to drift back to the spirit of the holidays we currently enjoy. 
My current mantra aspires towards a zeitgeist largely concerned with a healthy, and uninjured body. A brief recourse over the history of my last 18 has come to the conclusion that my lower limb health has a reciprocal relationship with the health of my facial hair, and thus the maxim, ‘healthy beard - healthy body’ was born. The forthcoming comments garnered have come the conclusion that such growth has me resembling many common depictions of the very man this holiday remembers, i.e. one J Christ. Apparently not my only doppelganger, and interestingly, a reflection of the type of person can be seen by who they think I resemble. Think of it like the beard equivalent of the Rorschach inkblot test.
Religious Types : J Christ
American History Buffs : Abraham Lincoln 
Australian History Buffs : Ned Kelly
Musicians : Angus Stone
Runners : Forrest Gump
Aircraft Engineers : Tom Hanks circa Castaway years
Toy Manufacturers : A young Santa
Comic Book Fans : Wolverine
Comedians : Zach Galifianakis 
Peace Lovers : John Lennon
War Lovers : Che Guevara
Almost everyone : A lycra wearing hobo
Hmmm, consensus perhaps?
Lastly, enjoy your chocolate tomorrow, and if you think you have overindulged, you haven’t. Not unless you’ve had this. Courtesy of the good people at Pizza Hut UK, the hot dog stuffed pizza. And before you ask, I definitely wasn’t googling hot dog stuffed pizza when I stumbled across this. No meat on Good Friday wasn’t that hard...


Happy Easter friends.
Willy