Monday, March 18, 2013

Training in a Foreign Land

Training in a foreign country can logistically be tricky. Remember to ride on the opposite side of the street. If the race is hosted in a major city there is the problem of getting out of the city so I can actually ride. Usually I don't have a car, so there is also the fun of figuring out public transportation. Here is a typical day in a new country a few days out from Ironman...

It was pouring rain when I woke up, so I took my time building the Slice, eating brekkie (look I'm already Australian!!), and drinking coffee.

I managed to take the correct tram (only by accidentally almost taking wrong one and some nice girl telling me where to go) to the Melbourne Aquatic Center. Yeah, this will work. 50 meters of awesomeness. I met another pro guy swimming and he confirmed that finding a place to do my 20 minute bike intervals was going to be fun - everyone just rides by the water with the traffic and stoplights.

I decided I wanted to try another option and after consulting about 5 maps determined if I took bike paths through downtown Melbourne, I thought I could get OUT of town to actually ride without traffic. Let the adventure begin...

I found a bike path - and felt about out of place as possible on my tri bike.

At least I'm aerodynamic!
Part of navigating downtown meant I had to get across this river to get OUT of town. Notice the lack of railings on the boardwalk. I was somewhat terrified I would accidentally end up with my bike in the river due to all the pedestrians.

It was super scenic though!
Back on my bike path.
Awesome Aussie penguin graffiti.
I made it out of town!
Wide open riding.
Once I finally managed to get beyond the city, the riding was beautiful. And remembering to stay on the left of the bike path wasn't nearly as hard without any cars around.

My favorite section all day.
Once I turned around I managed to remember all the turns in downtown Melbourne, partly just by following some bike commuters. Until one went the opposite direction of where I needed to go and I realized I was not in the right place. And there was a major looking freeway in front of me. UH OH.

Thankfully right about this time I met Rodrigo - who noticed my odd pointy helmet and attire and asked if I was racing on Sunday. He is volunteering for the race and was headed to a bike shop in St. Kilda. I followed him to the shop, where he promptly bought me a coffee while we chatted about racing, travel and kangaroos (I need to see one of these while here!)

Thanks Rodrigo for the coffee and for helping me find my way back!