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retrospective … the missing weeks « Ali Fitch's Blog


retrospective … the missing weeks

EARLIER this year I was so busy that I missed writing my blogs.  Now it is update time, starting with wet season training in Darwin, Australia in Jan/February 2012.

Training in Darwin

There are long clear stretches of road in Darwin with minimal traffic; the pictures below show part of a 25km section out towards Channel Island. Unfortunately with recent developments this road is becoming increasingly busy. On a nearby ride from Mandora I can ride 70kms without seeing a car/person/kangaroo. Darwin is Australia’s closest city to the equator, and is similarly very hot and wet to many nearby SE Asian countries.

Training on Channel Island Road - no heavy traffic, congestion or animals on the road

Darwin Tri Club training ride - Channel Island Road

NT Aquathlon Championships – February 4, 2012

Managed to slip in a good hit-out at the NT Aquathlon Champs on Sunday February 4, after the first 6 weeks training with Brett. I was surprised to find I had some strength racing at 6pm after a hard training day that included a 150km bike run. The run leg of the Aquathlon was very hot and steamy in the Darwin wet season.

Me winning/third outright NT Aquathlon Championships

Then it was off to Stokes Hill Wharf that night for some drinkies and food, our once weekly treat for Stuey and me. A great view down at Darwin’s Harbour, especially with lightning from thunderstorms all around. Darwin is world famous for its spectacular lightning storms – see photo above.

teamTBB Camp – Mooloolaba – Monday February 20, 2012

Next stop, my first teamTBB camp. I stayed with my good friend Suey and her family, hubby Michael and kids Sarah and Jamie. They were a great support when things got tough, hmmmm, fatiguing!! Camp was an eye-opener for me on training for triathlon after many years in the sport. I loved training with champions of triathlon, and hear/learn everything Brett had to say. Here’s some pics …

Oops, don’t have any! Must have been too busy training, eating, sleeping and working out how I was going to get my body ready for the next session.

But Suey’s two hyperactive dynamos Sarah (8) and Jamie (6) made good use of Stu’s bike box (reducing it to shreds), my nightly entertainment whilst on Camp.

The dynamic duo resting before shredding Stuey's bike box

The dynamic duo again, dressed up with Stuey’s bike padding

Darwin with cyclones on to Singapore – March 11-14

Then a MAD/BUSY week getting back to Darwin and packing up our belongings to head over to the Philippines/Asia for a long stint, as a member of Alaska teamTBB Philippines (via racing Singapore 70.3), and being a mentor to the 6 Philippino kids in the teamTBB development squad.

Getting away from Darwin quickly was hindered by torrential rain from a brewing cyclone (typhoon). Thanks to our friends Jimbo & Janet who kindly let us bunker down in their seafront house for a few months.

Cheer-squad Jimbo & Janet – Kona 2006 - you guys are great!

Poor Jimbo was painting his house in the brewing cyclone, with huge seas battering the nearby jetty covering everything in salt-spray. He was frantically trying to finish everything AND pack for an overseas trip as well.

That is Jimbo & Stuey in this pic,watching big seas battering the Nightcliff Jetty just in front of Jimbo’s house. This wave knocked the jetty a metre (yard) out of alignment. Ocean is usually like a mill pond here

Also big thanks to our friends Robyn & Daryl for helping us out in so many thoughtful ways whilst we organized ourselves, put things in storage and got ourselves away.

 Our good friends Daryl & Robyn

On to Singapore – March 14-20

Not surprisingly in all the mad rush I had a couple “sick” days in Darwin before flying out. I rested up and felt better arriving in Singapore. We had a beautiful home stay a 10min ride from Transition for the race. Matt and his wife Beatrice are keen triathletes and work very long hours, so it wasn’t until 3 days later I finally met Beatrice.

They were awesome helping us get prepared and fueling us with uber-healthy food; and Matt was a photographer extraordinaire come race day. He kept popping up everywhere on the run leg and kept me laughing.

Pre race busyness –my new Cervelo P3 bike “C’Man” Thankyou to Cervelo, Campagnolo 3T & Cobb saddles for my new P3. Very excited!

The day before Singapore 70.3 we attended a promotional function at Bikes and Bites, the major Cervelo retailer in Singapore. Fellow Alaska teamTBB member Mary-Beth Ellis (Mbe) and I presented the owner with an autographed jersey from Thor Hushovd.

Mbe and me just before our mini-team dinner in Singapore

A short training ride on my new bike, a short run and swim and I happily bumped into my “home” Team, the Darwin Triathlon Club. About 20 Club members had made the journey to race in Singapore. Darwin Tri Club members are great travellers, and attend triathlon events all over the world.

Darwin Tri Club competitors Rob Brooks (Brooksie) and Phil Bloomberg

Darwin is closer to Singapore than Sydney, so SE Asia is a popular race destination for my Club.

Me, Nikki Roddi and Shaye Hatty – Darwin Triathlon Club

Darwin Tri Club President Phil Hatty successfully running “away” from the swim start

Singapore 70.3 – the race March 18

Sunday morning arrived quickly, with lots of photos with my Darwin Club team-mates.

Pre-race I had a few moments of nausea, which I wrongly put down to nerves. But my tummy wasn’t very happy.

The race itself was hard work as you would expect; given the pace of life in the past few weeks I went in to the race feeling pretty tired, but as Brett had texted me that morning

“The man that does his best

Is good enuff”

Jack london

Plus it was a training race, me being a long way from peak fitness.

The swim saw my friends Mbe and Kate Bevilaqua leading, with me coming out third. It was two laps of a 900 metre rectangular swim course, with a beach-run of around 100m in the middle. I actually hate beach runs in the middle of swims … a swim is a swim is a swim, so why confuse the swim by adding a run in the middle I ask? We all have our pet hates.

Anyway, out of the water in to T1, and I was yet to become friends with my new bike, “C’Man” (as I named him) who was two days old. I was not returning to Australia for quite some months, so made a conscious decision to leave my old bike in Oz rather than bring it over for but one race. The ride highlighted a few urgent comfort changes, before C’Man and I could really become one. Noted for urgent action.

So I paced off Michelle Wu when she passed me in the first few km’s of the bike ride, the imaginary bungee cord between her and me springing wide at times, but I bounced my way back. Mbe surged well at the front, a position she built upon, then Kate, Michelle and me all arrived in T2 all within a minute.

The start of the run leg I cramped in my hips and tummy from my different ride position and needed to walk quite a bit in the first few kilometres, and at that time was passed by another pro girl. After some fluid, and movement in an upright position, I got some rhythm again by the 4km mark. I overtook the girl that ran past me at just after the 9km mark. I remained in this position to finish in 4th.

I was pleased that I kept pushing, and gave everything I had with how I felt, especially on the bike leg. But of course I was disappointed at feeling rotten after the hard work at camp, and in the lead-up training in Darwin. BUT, I am racing, and that is what I love doing. Congrats and well done to team mate Mbe who was amazing and took the win with ease.

A happy me to cross the finish line in Singapore 70.3 to place 4th

Post Singapore 70.3

The Darwin Tri Club did very well in the race, taking out 6 podium placings including a first.

It was nice catching up with everyone for post-race stories.

That night I joined Stuey, Mbe, Elaine Brent and bro as guests of Bernard Maughan at an Australian New Zealand Association (ANZA) bike club dinner at the Brewerkz brewery. Much fun and laughter, endless beer (if so inclined), a big juicy hamburger and some amusing interviewing by Bernard with a few of us pro athletes. Thanks for the invite and a fun night guys.

Unfortunately, Stu had caught “Ali tummy” and he spent several miserable days in bed before we left Singapore for the Philippines.

Singapore to Manila, Philippines March 20

The next couple days was organizing flights and other travel details. I was feeling ok and we got things packed, had a beautiful last dinner with Matt and Beatrice, and were off again jet-setting to Manila. On the plane I started to feel very very ill. Were Stuey and I playing pass-the-parcel with tummy bugs?

Yep, tummy-bug galore, the trip from Manila Airport to Ani de Leon Brown’s house about a 1.5hr drive away was oh so painful. Straight to the bathroom for me then my turn to spend several miserable days in bed.

Ani is a Timex Multisport Team mate of Stuey’s; she is also a tri coach with her husband Dan, and kindly hosted us for a few days before our trip down to Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club, our adopted home and training base in the Philippines. Ani is a triathlon dynamo, back racing, training and coaching triathlon barely 4 months after giving birth to her first child, and looking fantastic.

I managed to get up for a group ride two days later with Ani’s squad, but that effort was too much too soon and promptly landed me back in bed again with gastro ‘till I had to get out for our journey to Pico on the Friday.

A lightly-loaded motor tricycle, typically 125cc. Note attention to helmets, safety footwear, gloves and protective jackets! You sometimes see families of up to 8 people with all their luggages crammed in to a covered trike

Crazy traffic in Nasugbu, around 19kms from our home in Pico de Loro

Not far to go to Pico …

So here Stu and I are at present, in Pico de Loro, Nasugbu, Batangas – see my earlier blog on Sunday March 25 for more about the trip down. As the crow flies Pico de Loro is around 100kms SSE of Manila on the west coast, but by road the trip is a little longer and takes 3-4hrs, depending on traffic.

A small glimpse of paradise, Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club Our beautiful home in the Philippines

The Pico Tri

On March 31 I raced along-side fellow Alaska teamTBB Philippines team-mate Matt O’Halloran, plus hubby Stuey (and about 200 others), in the Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club Invitational Triathlon. This is a two lap 1.2km swim, a 35km bike ride and an 8km run.

So we were all lined up, professionals and age groupers alike, on the beach for a sprint start. Lightning bolts were hitting the water before the swim start, then enough rain to make the down hills on the ride scary. I just felt flat after having gastro, but was more in love with my bike having had time to fine-tune my position and do some training kilometres. I ran much better for the bike adjustments.

The signature of this race is a single challenging hill that takes you out of Pico de Loro Resort and is crossed once in each direction. The rain made the road very slippery, and on the 14% downhill gradient on the way back there were a few bike crashes, including Stuey who struggled with his speed and weight to slow down.

The 8km run is four laps around the Resort centre, providing great spectator viewing and crowd support. It was hot and steamy.

I finished first female, following in Alaska teamTBB team-mate Matt O’Halloran who was first male.

Mad rush to the water in the Pico Tri. I am to the left of Stuey, the guy with the Speedos on

Me on the bike leg, Pico Tri

The level of organization, presentation and support for this invitational event was unbelievable. A big “WELL DONE” to the organizers for putting together a really classy event. Thank you to Race Director Ricky Ledesma and the Pico team for a challenging, technical course, and also thanks to my sponsors Alaska Milk, Cervelo, Campagnolo, 3T and John Cobb Saddles for getting me safely over the course, and to 2XU for putting me in the best clothing that money can buy.

Winners are grinners, or more correctly grimacers!

Chit chat with TV after winning at Pico

Rona Tan, from Hamilo Coast/Pico de Loro, & me. Thanks Rona for all the wonderful support


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