Friday, 7 June 2013

Time Flies…Literally!

As the 4-week mark of my overseas adventure approaches, I took some time to reflect on all that I have managed to achieve in just one month; two races, three countries and a new ‘home’ to be exact.

This time last month, I boarded a plane bound for Chizhou, China to race in a Premium Asian Continental Cup. Chizhou was an amazing place and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but, from a performance point of view, I left China extremely dissatisfied. I definitely didn’t have the day I wanted, finishing in 4th position. However, it was great to see two other Aussie girls in first and second on the podium. No matter how disappointed I was though, I knew that I had just one week until I got another opportunity to race.

Next stop was Dunkerque, France, to race for my French team, Tri St Amand-Dun 18. I knew it was going to be a long journey from China to France, but I didn’t quite realize that it would take 72 hours! Between the cancelled flights and weather delays, I quite possibly could have ridden my bike there faster! Thank goodness that when it comes to travel agents, I have the best in the business on my side, thanks a bunch Cam and Scott from Business Jet. I would probably be writing this blog from a Chinese airport if it weren’t for them. Anyway, after flying, training and bussing my way across countries and time zones, I arrived safely in Dunkerque with all my luggage in toe. For anyone who has ever travelled with a suitcase, backpack, bike bag and wheel bag, you would understand my relief. I was lucky enough to have 5 days in Dunkerque before the race, to settle in and get some training done. The 10 degree weather wasn’t all that appealing though and meant a lot of time sitting in my room in front of the heater. Unfortunately, two days before the race I came down with a chest infection. Two days isn’t exactly enough time for antibiotics to take their toll so I knew that the race was going to be a fight just to see the finish line. I obviously survived though, and did the best I could considering the situation. Our team ended up finishing in 10th place so we were rapt.

Next stop was Vitoria, Spain, my ‘second home’ I guess you could say. This is where I will be based for the next 4 months, coming and going depending upon my race schedule. Once I had settled in and made myself at home in my apartment, it was time to get into some decent swimming training. Before I could begin any cycling or running, I had to get a small niggle in my foot, resulting from my race in France, scanned and checked out. It was cleared of anything too serious though and some cortisone was injected into the joint. And that is where I pick up the story, currently sitting with my foot in a bucket of iced water, eagerly waiting to get back into training tomorrow. Having to rest my foot wasn’t completely terrible though as it meant I was able to head to Madrid to watch the World Triathlon Series race last weekend. Was such a great experience and I can’t wait to get out there myself very soon.

My next race will be St Jean de Mont, France on 22nd June. Until then, I will be getting stuck into training here in Vitoria and awaiting the arrival of coach Warwick and my teammates next week! For more photos and updates, be sure to check out my Facebook Fan Page Stay tuned!!

Ellie xx

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Europe Here I Come!!!

The 4.45am wake-ups are starting to get colder and darker by the day, so I know it is definitely time to leave Australia and chase some European sun. Yes, this Wednesday I will depart home soil and head overseas for five months for a season of intense training and racing.

My first stop is Chizhou, China, for an ITU Premium Asian Cup. I'm feeling fit and ready for a great start to my overseas campaign so I'm really looking forward to it. I will then head over to Dunkerque, France, for the first of the French Grand Prix Series races. It will be great to see my French team again and race alongside some of the worlds' greatest athletes!

I cannot wait to get across to our training base in Vitoria, Spain, to get settled and into some solid training. I know this European season is going to be the best yet and can't wait to get out racing. I will be blogging weekly and posting photos of my adventures on my Facebook Fan Page so be sure to keep up to date. 

Ellie xx

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Noosa Training Camp

Last Thursday the Carina Leagues Tri Club athletes headed up to Noosa for a training camp, to be used as preparation for the Ironman athletes. The average person would most likely have driven the 190km to Noosa, enjoying the luxury of four wheels and air con. But of course, we are far from average, and were sent off at 5.30am to ride instead, ensuring the route included the mountains of Maleny, Montville and Kenilworth. The food stop set up at the 120km mark could not have come sooner, offering sandwiches, bananas, Coke and lolly bags to each of the very hungry athletes. The lolly bag went down an absolute treat! After arriving in Noosa 8.5hrs after setting off, I went straight to sleep for the remainder of the arvo. I even slept through my swim session, oops!! 

Friday saw us heading out for a 150km through the Sunshine Coast hinterland. This also included the much anticipated Obi Obi Rd, a 7km climb reaching gradients of up to 29%!! I was very pleased with myself for climbing the whole way without needing to unclip, but was definitely glad we were not doing hill repeats. Breakfast awaited us at the top of the climb, the amazing view distracting us from the sting in our legs. An open water swim on Friday afternoon helped to recover the legs and prepare for what was still in store. 

Saturday morning we participated in a 3.8km ocean swim in Main Beach as part of the Noosa Ultimate Sports Fest. It was a great event and was the perfect recovery from the days before. A midday nap and light run before dinner were on the cards for the rest of the day.

Sunday morning I participated in the 10km run race as part of the Sport Fest. I had a great race and was very pleased to come away with 2nd considering the big couple of days I had had previously. I also managed to run a personal best time, boosting the confidence before heading overseas in two weeks.

I also had the chance to take some photos in my new Vorgee race kit. Definitely won't be blending in with the crowd in this one!!

I am now training for my next race, Chizhou Premium Asian Cup, on May 18th. This will be the first race in my five month overseas venture. In the mean time, I will be madly packing my suitcases and getting ready to head off. I will keep you up to date right here, no matter where in the world I am, so be sure to check back regularly. 

Ellie xo

Friday, 19 April 2013

Chengdu Premium Asian Cup

Last week I headed across to China with a group of four Aussie athletes to compete in the Chengdu Premium Asian Cup. I am not the biggest fan of long-haul flights, so having an unexpected night in Hong Kong was a welcome surprise after we missed our final connection. Getting upgraded to a premier suite for the night was definitely a highlight, with a view to die for from my room.

Race day began with a 12km ride to the venue. The venue is a specifically designed triathlon course, which meant the roads and set-up were world class. Despite the 30+ degrees outside temperature, the race was still a wetsuit swim, giving us good motivation to get the wetsuit off quickly into T1. I was also excited to show off my brand new race kit, thanks to Vorgee and Cannibal Insport. I'm sure it was hard to miss!

Unfortunately, I had an average swim/bike day and was left disappointed and unsatisfied. My run, however, was a huge improvement on this season's performances, proving that it is moving in the right direction. I came away with 6th place overall and the first of the Aussies.

Whilst in Chengdu, I was lucky enough to visit the Panda Research Base. I had never seen pandas before so it was an incredible (not to mention super cute!!) experience and one I would definitely recommend.

I am really looking forward to riding to Noosa next week to kickstart our club training camp. I will keep you posted on the camps' progress here so make sure you stay tuned!

Ellie xx

Friday, 5 April 2013

Easter Base Training Block

Over the Easter weekend, instead of tucking into piles of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, I spent the long weekend in my biggest base block to date.

Good Friday began with a 5km swim set at 5.30am to wake us up and prepare us for what was to come. The group was generously given some time for brekky before embarking on our 130km ride out to Mt Mee and back. We ended up arriving back around 2.30 in the arvo and I can confidently say that I have never been so pleased to get the bike saddle out from under my bum!

Saturday morning began at 6am with an easy swim and run session. It's safe to say that nobody complained about not having a ride session that day. This was followed by a much needed 3hr nap and a massage to get the legs back in working order. Another swim and run session came our way that afternoon, with a speed run session making sure we got the best out of ourselves when we didn't think we could. It's definitely those sessions that you get the most out of and feel the most satisfied with. After all, you only get out what you put it.

Sunday morning meant heading out to Mt Nebo and Mt Glorious for another 6hr ride. With my incredible navigational skills, I managed to take my group out to Mt Nebo the back way, forcing us up climbs as steep as 20%. I was not on top of the Christmas card lists that day, that's for sure. Sunday afternoon was time to relax and recover so, after a midday nap, dad and I headed to kangaroo point for Easter lunch. Under strict dietician's orders, there was definitely no chocolate involved!

I am really looking forward to putting all my hard work into action next weekend in Chengdu, China. Stay tuned for my results.

Ellie xo

Monday, 4 February 2013

Caloundra QTS Race 5

Yesterday I competed in my first race for 2013 at Caloundra. I had been very excited for a number of weeks now and was keen to get out and compete after a long base block over the Christmas/New Year period. The race was only 400m/15km/4km so I was using it as a hit out for the Geelong Continental Cup next weekend and to blow out the cobwebs ahead of a long season.

I came out of the water in 2nd position, but immediately took the lead within the first 100m of the cycle. I put a fair amount of time into the other girls on the bike, jumping off with a substantial margin. I have been practicing surge running a great deal in training lately and was keen to execute this. I went out onto the run and laid down a number of short, sharp surges. I was reasonably happy with my run however, I think I still had more to give and failed to access that. I still did enough to hold onto the lead though, and only have a week until I can have another crack at giving everything of myself. Congratulations to Anna and Kirra who rounded out the podium yesterday.

I am really looking forward to racing the Geelong Continental Cup next Sunday and having a fast, solid race. I am also excited to once again be working with Vorgee, Bicycle Riders Morningside and Adidas Eyewear this season.

Ellie xx 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Lucky Number 13

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you had a well-deserved break and enjoyed some time with family and friends. I was lucky enough to catch up with my loved ones over the festive season and enjoy some quality time with them. Below are a couple of happy snaps from my time at the Gold Coast :)

2012 was definitely a year of highs and lows for me and taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. In saying that, I was very excited to welcome the new year and a fresh start in 2013.

Here are the things I am most looking forward to this year...

  1. Heading back over to Europe
  2. Racing the French Grand Prix Series with Tri St Amand-Dun 18
  3. Getting the best out of myself and pushing myself beyond where I think possible
  4. Winning!
Hope you have set yourself some goals for this year and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach them. I would like to share this picture with you. I look at it everyday and it makes me smile so I hope it brightens your day too. 

Ellie xx