I know this girl I ride with who is doing the race, her name is Rhae, she’s Canadian and has done a few Ironman races and by the amount of wood bowls from Kona, an array of towering glass trophies, Zipp wheels, and I think around 5 bikes in her living room alone, she’s fairly decent. This will be her first Ironman as a pro. Riding with her is more fun than a box of chocolates except when she goes hard. I think she’s got the women’s amateur bike record at the Hawaii Ironman and probably a few other 70.3 races.
I know the race is in Australia but even in Australia, Western Australia is even pretty far away. She spent some time in Melbourne I think and has been sending me updates.
Her training and racing is far from boring. She might be the only person I know other than my 5 year old daughter who tells a 15 minute story laughing the entire time where you find out at the end you actually have no idea what happened. I have a few voicemails after her races where it starts with ‘Oh my God' and then the laughing starts and between them I get a few verbs or nouns. On one ride recently, a recap of a 120 mile ride she did in California took her over 30 minutes to tell. It involved: ice cream sandwiches, wearing a Hello Kitty jumpsuit, firefighters, C02 cartridges, 2 flat tires, a truck, a farmer, a farmer’s wife and son, pie, some 14 hours to complete and a delivery of avocados. Our rides typically aren’t as eventful but more often than not 2-3 hours on the bike are filled with near crashes due to laughing or her attempt to make me fall from my bike onto a dead squirrel, the singing of a Rick Astley song (though I think that was Phil Spencer who sang), how I should put the fork down as a simple way to drop a few pounds and the fate of little baby girls in China. I think our last ride was 2.5 hours and she had run 2 hours before, rode and then had to run another half hour after.
So here is a recent dispatch from her in Australia that I told her I would post here because I’m too busy to write. Here are a few random photos she has sent so far, she’s pretty keen on the fact that they have food with the wrong names. And candy. I’m not posting the 32 pictures from the grocery store.
From Rhae and her recap on 2 weeks down under:
i rode bikes with:
greg henderson (rides for team sky) - aka Hendy
luke bell (who i am staying with)
Koen de Kort (skil shimano) - aka koons - who did ride the tour de france btw.
anyway my shouts of "what's with the pace" were less appreciated. :)
they were riding easy. i was riding all out. ouchies
Today I was a part of a 20 min conversation yesterday that i didnt even understand. i had no clue what we were talking about. like not even a guess.
Just so that you know that i am keeping an open mind... Melbourne, isn't completely perfect. After over a week, I have compiled a list of everything that sucks about australia:
1) flies - there are a lot of them and they really like to eat canadians.
2) peanut butter isn't popular - and what you find in stores, kinda tastes different. Oh and they have never heard of almond butter
3) hook turns - when you are driving these are pretty much guaranteed to kill you. i think that they were designed to freak out canadian triathletes. When you are driving on the left, if you want to make a right hand turn you have to cross oncoming traffic. Well in a hook turn you don't do that from the right most lane, you do it from the left most lane... so that you cross 2 directions of traffic. WTF!
cricket - i am taking this off the list. i went to a match and actually kind of get it now. and really it is just a good reason to drink beer and eat fish and chips.
5) They drink. A LOT. i mean a lot a lot. and say things like "have one more, its the law" to sucker you in.... its crazy. i think everyone is a boozer. they have drive thru bottle shops (liquor stores) here - which just seems wrong. Until you learn that when you are driving in a car here, everyone other than the driver can drink (ie. have open containers of booze)
6) you go to like 5 freaking places to get your groceries:
- market - staples like vegemite, biscuits (which means both cookies and crackers... so when offered you never know what you are really getting), lollies and weet-bix (which they do actually eat here)
- milk bar - duh for milk... "yes Rhae, you could get it at the market... but then what would you get when you go to the milk bar?"
- cake shop - bread and dessert (some people go to 2 separate places ... omg)
- greens grocery - for fruits and veggies (i was very confused by this for a while, since the accent makes it sound like "grains grocery" so i really didn't get it for a while....
- butcher - where you get delicious lamb and i have yet to see chicken
(walking from shop to shop allows for you to bump into everyone you know and grab a middy (small glass of beer) on the street with them. even grocery shopping is an excuse to drink here! so they have some big grocery stores... but no one goes that often. you cant drink that way.)
7) Nippers - this is the name of the junior swim squad. All of the kids will not only out swim you ... they will do it on their second workout of the day... and while doing it they will be really cute with their accents and talking about their final exams. I went to evening practice with them and after an hour and fifteen minutes my arms were going to fall off. I was soooo happy were were done our 3500m and was very tired and ready to get out. Turns out we weren't done! That was a mini break -- and we did the whole main set AGAIN. I nearly cried. That was the first (and i guarantee you the last time!) i swim 6000m full out in a long course pool. OMG. the kids thought it was hilarious that i was dying like a dog.
All of these things are made up for though by the fact that there is a HUGE lolly market in Melbourne where you can buy delicious gummy candy that just tastes better than what we have in north america... and addictive chocolates called clinkers and yummy bullets. all of which i dumped into a big bowl and had for breakfast this a.m. is there any doubt as to why i am not sleeping?
I have also learned that most bike shops here have a coffee shop in them, which is pretty fun. but going for a 2 hour ride here takes 4 hours because of the coffee stops. Coffee here is super strong, and has different names. I get a Long Black (which is a shot with some (not much) water, which is the closest thing to our version of coffee.... A short white is like a cappuccino ... and then there is plain shot of espresso... and that is about it.
Also - they say "passing" here when you overtake someone; not "on your left". i mean right.... whatever. So that has worked out better for me.
Oh - and there are crazy little penguins here. So don't be freaked out when you are laying by the ocean and one comes and sits on your towel. Turns out they are not shy at all... and will try to eat your toes. Why do all animals here think i am tasty? FYI dont ask what the little penguins are called. they are just called "little penguins".... i guess they ran out of names.
Did i mention that Australia is pretty much the coolest place on earth????