Dan Wilson

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

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mooloolaba Renaissance

Evening friends,

Mooloolaba. Undoubtably my favorite race on the ITU calendar, and a race I have missed the last 2 years, sitting on the sideline with much chagrin with a litany of lower leg ailments. Therefore, it was with much gratification that I took to the start line once again, not however, in the World Cup race, but in the lower-limb-friendlier Continental Cup. That said, getting to the start line was not completely without drama, as a mid-quad niggle mid week had an unwanted deja vu feel to it. Diagnosing myself off the start line with all the paranoia of a man who just about has an honorary degree in MRI Radiology, fortunately a bit of treatment, rest, and lack of concrete symptoms had donning the race suit after all, but not without swapping the race flats for training shoes for peace of mind…

Giving World Cup Conquerer Pete Kerr a few horns out of the water...

Onto the race, and in a much welcome juxtaposition to my start in Devonport, I got off to a cracker and didn’t get touched for the entire swim, my only moment of consternation coming whilst trying in vein to keep my swim cap from coming off over the last 500m, an unwelcome trend this year. Some say it’s to do with an excess of hair (which I can do something about), and some say it’s to do with my excessively large skull (which, barring a lobotomy, I can’t do anything about). Regardless, the aforementioned hair, once unhampered by the cap, rendered me blind for the last few hundred metres, but using my keen sense of smell, I navigated successfully to the swim exit. 

Hearing a blood curdling battle cry of ‘Ubrut!!!’ from my mate Rhys Davies at T1 (If you don’t know what Ubrut means, you definitely didn’t train with us from 2004-06...), inspiration struck, and I pushed the pace on the bike early, capitalising on my break out of the water. Settling into a rhythm on the highway, I rode a solid tempo, and waited to see how this would compare to the bunch of 15 behind. Cursing the ITU restrictions which are definitely not made for a comfortable 40km time trial, I sat on a wattage I knew I could handle, and this saw me dismount at T2 with around 1:30 on the pack. 

In case anyone is wondering, yes, that's a Boston Celtics race suit, courtesy of Scody...

Running my first 10km off the bike since June last year, I was as interested as anyone as to how they would hold up over the 10km, aided by another surge of adrenaline from another ‘Ubruuuut!!!!’ from Davies on the sidelines. The legs were solid enough given my limited training load, however it wasn’t enough, and I was reeled in by Declan Wilson (yes... I was out-Wilson-ed...) with around 1500m to go, by which stage the lactic in my legs was giving me a grimace that could be seen from the moon. 

Content, for now, to be on the podium, I was happy with the race, and also special mention must go to a great race by Matt Brown in third. I’d been engaged with some serious (but light-hearted) smack talk with Browny leading up to the race, and with him hunting me down over the last kilometre, I was facing some serious (and much deserved) gloating had he run past me before the finish. Fortunately for myself, Brownly will have to wait at least one more race to win bragging rights...

From here, I’ve got 4 more weeks until the Ishagaki World Cup, in which time I hope to take a few more small steps in my running form, whilst avoiding factual or fanciful niggles...

Take care friends,
Willy (Professor Of Hypochondriac Diagnosis)

1. Declan Wilson (1:52.03)
2. Dan Wilson (1:52.25)
3. Matt Brown (1:52.41)
4. Joel Tobin White (1:52.55)
5. Jesse Featonby (1:53.07)

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Evening friends, 

Nigh on two weeks late, I thought it pertinent to give a cursory account of the now somewhat archaic Oceania Champs down in Devonport. I shall keep this account brief, for I fear the mists of time have somewhat shrouded the details of the events in my memory. With this in mind, I could be in danger of heading towards a distinctly ostensible parable, and I would hate to recollect incorrectly and mistakenly paint the narrative featuring myself in a gratuitously flattering manner...

Conditions: Windy. Very windy. So much so that had Matt ‘The White Kenyan’ Brown ridden a disc wheel, odds were he would have started the race in Devonport, and been blown to the South Island of New Zealand. The wind also caused the swim course to have more waves then the Queens Jubilee, and more chop than a season of My Kitchen Rules.

Swim: Managed to run at least 10 steps before comprehensively face-planting in a Wilson sized gutter in the beach break. Losing more dignity than time, I swam back up to the leaders by the time we rounded the final buoy, then promptly lost that time again, failing to catch a single wave all the way back in. Back to surf school Wilson. 

Bike: Thanks to my surf skills, I had some work to do early, and didn’t join the front pack until around 10km into the bike. Having talked smack and tactics in equal proportions pre race with Ryan ‘Cancellara’ Fisher, I was probably a little too desperate to come good on our promise of splitting the group, but did manage to sneak a small advantage into T2, along with strong men Fisher, Ryan Bailie and Marcel Walkington. 

Run: Bit of a dog fight. Didn’t have the legs to contest for the win, but happy with the progression this far into my rehab. I finished 5th, the podium was 1st Pete Kerr, 2nd Ryan Bailie, 3rd Jamie Huggett, all top athletes, and top blokes to boot. 

Next weekend, I’ll be returning to Mooloolaba for my first race there since 2010, having missed the last two years due to various leg ailments. In the interests of keeping the aforementioned legs ‘ailment free’, I’m racing the Conti Cup, rather than the World Cup. Although I yearn to sink my teeth into the World Cup, running up and down Mooloolaba’s infamous hill 8 times does enough damage to healthy legs, let alone mine, which are still being kept very much under a limited load at the moment. Thus, I hope to get to the end of the distinctly flatter Conti Cup course with somewhat less moribund lower limbs. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Mooloolaba’s course, here’s a piece I’ve written previously, detailing the ins and outs of the Mooloolaba race…

Given a few idle moments ruminating over the physiological and psychological roller-coaster that a taper presents, your editor has spent a few moments postulating past experiences at Mooloolaba. The past 10 years have dealt yours truly a few lessons in the art of Mooloolaba, regrettably mostly unkind lessons. Whilst yet to have the credentials to provide an accurate ‘What to do’ guide for Mooloolaba, I may certainly lay testimonial to a “What not to do’ guide which may provide some insight in the beast that is the Mooloolaba race. Allow me to provide a concise course description; as well a few pointers that may help you avoid my disasters of the past:
The Night Before: That’s right folk’s, tragedy can occur more than 24 hrs before the gun goes. Charismatic though friend of the Guardian Jimmy Seear is, if choosing to dine with our man, avoid ordering the same poultry based meal as he chooses. Chances are he will snare a delicious meal, whilst salmonella vomiting will plague your next 24 hrs, leading to difficult race conditions, with both the chicken and your race hopes disappearing down the toilet. (Reference: Wilson 2008)
The Swim: Depending on surf conditions, the swim can either be held in the canal or on the open beach of Mooloolaba. Having negotiated the sometimes tricky currents and rips, care must be taken when catching the ‘miracle wave’ into the beach. Known for dumping on shallow water, practice is important the day’s preceding the race. Even having avoided severe spinal injury is sometimes still not enough, so take care to avoid your goggles getting ripped off, taking with it a small section of nose and leaving an unsightly gash for the crowd to ogle over at the next days race (Reference: Wilson 2009).
Race tactics include picking suitable feet to follow. Chances are if you are a 17 yr old mid- pack swimmer, picking the greatest swimmer the sport has ever seen (I.e. Walton), and following him left, while the rest of the field goes right, will result in you losing the feet, the pack, and in due course, the race (Reference: Wilson 2004).

Ticking time bomb - 2006

The Bike: Usually hot, usually windy, and always hilly, it may not be the hardest bike course around, but is enough to begin the burn in the legs. Attacking solo with 39kms left to race is not advisable, particularly on the 2005 course, notorious for being more difficult than Advanced Physics 101. Results include being shown the exit before the remaining 39kms is up, and reduced run ability (Reference: Wilson 2005).
The Run: Try to run fast enough to avoid being slagged off by the commentators (Reference: Wilson 2005). Try not to run a 5:30 first 2 km then bonk (Reference: Wilson 2006). Try not to attract the attention of vigilante civilians attempting to coax another lap out of a gastro intestinally constrained runner (Reference: Wilson 2008). Try not to have bleached hair (Reference: Wilson 2003). Try not to get outsprinted by a Frenchman (Reference: Wilson 2009).
As you may gather, the run presents more hurdles than the Grand National, not least of all is the hill that rises like puff pastry in a pizza oven, which must be conquered no less than 8 times before breaking the tape. Close races comparable to trench warfare.
After Party: Classified.