Wednesday, June 19, 2013

a lost adventure in cairns

i finished work on friday and had until tuesday to get myself organised to fly out.  i still had some training sessions to do and along with getting the house organised this kept me busy.  on monday i drove down to bunbury to dropt the dogs off at my folks place.  they were going to hang out there for the week.  they would love having company all day long.  i basically turned straight around and drove back to perth.  boring four hours i will never get back.  once home i had to get serious about the packing.  i was ocd worried that everything was going to weigh too much so i was really stingy on what i was taking.  it took me a few hours to pack the bike as  every section was wrapped in black rubber.   finally i got to bed.

at the time i thought flying out at 5.30 am was a good idea.  that was until i realised that i would have to get up at 2.30 am to allow for getting to the airport and checking in etc.  as it turns out everything went according to plan.  the bag and bike were okay and easy to manage.  the weight of both was a few kilos under.  the only problem was after arriving at the airport i was totally convinced i had left the air conditioner on.   blowing nice warm air and heating my room for the next seven days.  i worried about this the whole time and was a waste of energy as it turns out i had turned it off - or perhaps never turned it on in the first place. 

the flight to sydney was great as the plane wasnt full.  short stopover and then into a smaller plane to cairns.  it was packed and i felt like a sardine.  from start to finish it took about 9 hours to get to cairns.  the bike appeared to have survived the trip and i picked up my rental car. cairns is a very easy place to find your way around.  you just go up and down the cook highway.  i was staying at trinity beach at a resort called coral sands.  it was friggin awesome.  the apartment was as big as my house and had everything.  it was directly opposite the beach and the short strip had a tavern, italian, indian and thai restaurants.  the biggest problem i had was getting my bike (in the bag) up the stairs.

i am going to keep the actual race report as a separate post.  wednesday morning i got up as early as i could and started putting the bike together.  i needed to get a 60 min ride in and the tricky part was going to be where to ride as i wanted to stay away from the cook highway.  in the end i did a few loops going from trinity beach up to the next beach.  also managed to get quite wet as some showers came down.  i then headed into cairns to get supplies and have a look around.  being in cairns is like being in an episode of lost.  you are surrounded by large green hills that are quite often covered in mist or clouds.  the weather is warm and a little humid.

the town centre is quite nice and you have a wonderful esplanade that runs along the beach.  some areas are a bit dodgy and you can see it is a real mecca for tourists - especially the foreign back packer.  on the way back to the resort i stopped at smithfield shopping centre and got all my supplies from woolworths.  this saved quite a bit of money and the prices were basically the same as back home.  had a wonderful afternoon nap before going for a final 20 minute run.  managed to get wet again.

thursday i was up at the crack of dawn as i needed to catch the boat across to green island for the quiksilver open water swim.  drove into cairns and parked my little car not far from the marina.  checked in and received my swim cap.  i was doing the 1.5k while there was a 3k swim.  it looked like most people were using it as a training session.  the ride across was quite rough and the weather did not look great.  grey clouds and wind.  i met some very different people on this trip.  firstly the couple i sat across from were doing the 140.6 ironman.  when we got talking it turned out i had read the girls blog from the previous year.  she had attempted the 70.3 but got hit in the head during the swim and half way through the bike pulled off the course.  people can do what they want but this couple pissed me off.  she was a big girl and claimed to be a very good swimmer.  both were quite proud of the fact that they had not done all the training.  i asked her what her longest ride was and it was 110k.  i told her she would suffer but good luck.  as it turns out she had a 1.40 swim and never made it out of T1.  not sure about him but a total waste of an entry spot.  then there was a couple that i saw at various events throughout the week.  and every time i saw them they had on their triaust green and gold triathlon outfits.  WTF ?  they were both built like tiny stick insects and probably in the 55-65 age group.  did they have one of these outfits for each day ?   there are knobs in every sport and again each to their own.  i know people dont understand all my choices either.

we finally arrive and the wind is a little less on the island but conditions are choppy and it is not going to be a nice easy swim where you get to check out nemo.  what i also didnt realise was that most people would be wearing wetsuits.  it would have been great to swim in mine and give it a stretch.  so i did not get to see any reef.  the water was stirred up and very choppy.  it looks great in the photos but it was not an easy swim.  it was a 750m course so two laps and you had to run around a flag before re-entering the water.   i went okay but it was nothing to write home about.  the last section back into shore forced me to breathe to my weakest side as it was impossible to breathe to your left without getting a mouthful of water.  time 34.18.

afterwards i sat and chatted to the really nice folk i met.  they shall remain nameless just in case they read this blog.  i was booked to come back on the 12 pm boat and this worked out well as i had no enthusiasm to go explore the island, snorkel or sit on the beach.  once back i headed off to the merchandise tent to see if i could contribute to the queensland economy.  once again i was bitterly disappointed.  they had one shirt that was 70.3 and the ironman generic stuff was either ugly or didnt fit.  so i headed home for some food.

i am yet to figure out what triggers my wonderful colourful visual migraines but as i was lying on the sofa my vision started to go and i was seeing the usual kaleidoscope of colours.  i immediately took 4 nurofen and some aspirin and thought that being thursday it should be okay.  while these light shows are not terribly painful they can make me feel like crap for a few days afterwards.

i didnt feel great waking up friday but at least no work outs to do.  i headed into cairns early to check in and it paid off as the line was reasonable.  the race pack included a back pack so that was a decent score.  how many towels and t-shirts do you really need ?  bit bummed i bought a new back pack before leaving home though. the expo was similar to many others and i wandered about and managed to distribute some cash on bargain items.  then i headed off for the 60k drive to port douglas.  i wanted to check the area out as well as the bike course.

the drive was worth it but i was not feeling great.  got to port douglas and it was all very nice but i couldnt find a parking spot and just could not be bothered.  so i just turned around and drove back.  the course was going to be a challenge - especially if the wind kept up and/or it rained.  but it was not overly difficult.  the course is stunning and just as i expected.  got home and had a nap.

one thing i had discovered is that the little hand pumps really do not pump up your tyres.  no matter how big the muscle behind it.  i didnt want to rely on other people so i bought a proper pump.  a very light one that would pack well to go home and be good for future trips.  i went for a short ride in the morning and then lay around and slowly got my gear together into the run and bike bags.  around 12 i packed up the car and went and checked in the bike and dropt the bags off.  i had a walk around transition but by now i knew the area quite well.  headed home for another rest up.  around 6  i walked down to the italian place and ordered dinner - takeout.  it was ravioli with garlic bread.  i had the lasagna earlier in the week and it was excellent.  set my alarm for some ridiculous hour and went to sleep.

dont know why but i woke in the middle of the night and thought i was going to throw up.  i got up and had some water.  this was not good but i just tried to go back to sleep and not get stressed.  the race report will come later .....

on monday i slept in and just enjoyed not really having to be anywhere or do anything.  i wasnt looking forward to packing the bike up but i got it done.  i was due to fly out at noon tomorrow so there was no rush.  i went back into town and had a magnificent fish burger and beer at a tavern along the esplanade.  it was a public holiday so there were alot of people around and it was a great atmosphere.

i really enjoyed cairns and i loved the area.  i was disappointed that i didnt get to see and do more but i just didnt have the energy.  by the time i finished my training, got away from work, packed up and dropt the dogs off i was too tired for the holiday.  that seems really lame but i just didnt want to do anything.  and that is not like me at all.  i am the one who must see all the sights.  the only other negative was the bike.  while it made it over okay there was some damage coming back.  i flew back via melbourne so maybe those baggage handlers are not as good as sydney.  i will go into details in another blog.  overall it was great but not awesome.  it was a fantastic experience to travel to an event and it will prepare me for the future so in that regard it was worth it.  i met alot of great people and some strange ones.  i got exposed to a different triathlon crowd.  everyone talks about their triathlon clubs as being like family but in WA it is not like that. i have always felt it is elitist and this trip didnt convince me otherwise.  i even met the president of my club.  he was standing behind me while waiting to get the finisher shirt.  i didnt know who he was and he didnt know who i was.  i understand the club has 500 members but that shouldnt stop people being friendly when you turn up to a training session or function.

stay tuned for the race report !

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