Saturday, June 4, 2011

2 weeks of holidays and racing in Cairns

Oh my, there is SO much to talk about! I'm in Cairns, QLD (that's an Australian state) primarily for the Challenge Cairns half-iron which I will be taking on in about 16 hours time. However, since then, I've done a sprint triathlon on last minute notice, swam under waterfalls, swam with dolphins, swam 3k over the Great Barrier Reef, run the fastest 5k I've ever run (which is still at a pitiful 4:32/km pace... damn it, when will I find some short-course SPEED??), and biked with the ocean on one side and rainforest on the other. Cairns is a special place, and being the inaugural Challenge Cairns event, it's interesting to see how the town is taking the week-long string of activities. In general, I'd say they are LOVING IT, but it is tropical farming territory as well and I can definitely sense a bit of farmers/truck drivers getting a bit gripey about all the aero cyclists on the road. The roads here are tight, and there's not always as much room as you'd like.

All in all, however, I think in a few years' time, when Challenge has sort of refined itself a bit here in Cairns, this will be an even more spectacular event that it is in its first year!! I've participated in almost all the events, I've met absolutely FABULOUS people, yesterday I met Chris McCormack (MACCA) himself, and then spent my taper time reading his book "I'm Here To Win". I could talk at length about my perceptions of him as a person and as an athlete, but I'll leave it at this: this guy took the mental side of the sport, the "I'm Here To WIN" aggressiveness the sport was lacking and brought it to the forefront. I'd like to see if, in a few years' time, when the women's field is deeper, if the same thing will happen there. I think it'd be good for the sport, and give it far more character. I don't want mean athletes, I want outwardly competitive athletes. I don't think we have that just yet in the women's field. Everyone is either terrified of Chrissie or simply too nice to make pro women triathlon a bit rough and tumble.

Anyway, here are some shots of Cairns and tropical north Queensland:

There are many waterparks for kids along the Cairns Esplanade.
Summers are stinkin' hot, and winters are high 28C and low 21C -
warm by anyone's standards!! 
Riding the bike course of the half-iron a week before the race.
It's a beautiful one, that's for sure!

This is where I saw wild dolphins after sunrise.
I jumped into my bathers, swam out to them... I
swam with wild dolphins! One of the highlights of
this trip, FOR SURE!

Waterfalls are absolutely everywhere inland, in
the heart of the tropics! Some you can swim to,
such as this one!

This same waterfall, but with a bit more perspective.
That's a nice German guy in the right hand corner. 

Swimming in a volcanic crater lake inland, in truly the heart
of the rainforest. Gorgeous!

Lake Eacham, with picturesque clouds reflected off its surface!

Me and Macca - I asked for a cheesy thumbs up shot and
I got one! I was surprised by how much he looked like a
young skater boy. But, I mean, he's 37 and thus 15 years
older than me. 

His book... which I read in its entirety that very
same day (what? I'm in taper mode! I've got nothing
else to do but lay on the beach in the shade and read!)

Boom baby. 
I think I'll save my racing adventures and my experience swimming 3k over the Great Barrier Reef for another post, probably when I return back to dreary Melbourne! Until then, I'll be resting for another 16 or so hours, and racing yet another half-iron! Cairns Half, HERE I COME!!!!! (Here's 100% hoping that the shin splints don't act up. I haven't run a "long run" in about 5 weeks' time)


    So cool you got to meet him and get a book signed! :)
    pictures are all beautiful as usual.
    have a great race!!!!! ROCK IT!

  2. Thanks Steph, it was AWESOME!!!!!