As 2016 starts, I want to reflect on my fifteen memorable moments in 2015.
Number 1: Hill Strength Workout
March 22, 2015: On most Sundays when I was training in Wollongong, I would be the only athlete on the list to have an afternoon bike strength workout. Sometimes Ellen Pennock would join, but usually it would just be Patrick and me out on Mt. Keira doing four minute strength efforts (cadence less than 70). It is a workout I struggled with. I would wake up Sunday morning, go for a long run, head to church, and then procrastinate on completing the bike workout. After a hard week of training (and a 100km ride on most Saturdays) the last thing I wanted to do was do bike efforts, but every week, I did them...until March 22, 2015. Going into the ride I thought the same thing: I’m tired. I did my first effort and had the highest watts I’d ever seen at that cadence. The watts were on par with my peak four-minute effort. I came home and told Jamie that this ‘stonecutter’ workout has finally worked and I managed to chip the stone. After that, I never did the Sunday strength workout.
Number 2: Birthday Dinner in Wollongong
April 25, 2015: Patrick surprised me with a dinner on my birthday. He found a restaurant months in advance and talked to the chef. We walked in the restaurant and were welcomed with champagne. The deliciousness continued and it was a fabulous night with the one who supports me the most.
Number 3: Velodrome
April 28, 2015: About two times a week the Wizards went to the velodrome to ride our track bikes. I loved it. It kept my mind entertained. On most days, Tamsyn Moana-Veale would be the strongest Wizard, dropping me around the 280m track. We would do a teams pursuit and a points race. Training on the velodrome was fun, it was different, and it was challenging. On a track bike I don’t have brakes so I need to be focused. I also only have one gear, so it takes power to get on top of the pedals. I remember sprinting to catch onto the motorbike and thinking Ohhhh…this is what it means to get on top of the pedals. For years, I’ve been told to get on top of the pedals, but until this day I had no idea how to do it. (Even after I learned how to get on top of the pedals, Tammy would still be able to outlast me on the track).
Number 4: Gold Coast WTS Swim
April 12, 2015: I have been working on my swim with Jamie since I joined him in late 2012, and Gold Coast is one of the first swims that showcased how much Jamie helped me improve.
Number 5: The Longest ride
June 22, 2015: Mondays are usually easy days: a light swim and bike. However, I woke up on June 22 and saw we had a four hour ride. Four hours of anything is not easy, but I was looking forward to the longer ride. I remember discussing at swim what route we were going to take and what time we wanted to leave. We decided on 2:30pm, which should have had us back at the very latest (with stops) at 7pm. We left at 2:30pm with a new four-hour loop planned. However, four hours later, we were lost, riding up dirt roads and searching for anything to point us back to Vitoria. It was a very long ride and in the moment, I wanted to go back in time and do the out and back down and up Urbassa, (a route I know perfectly) but looking back I cherish this moment. It was so bad, we all just laughed. No one seemed upset as our ride time increased and increased until we hit five hours. We dispersed quickly once home. Some needed to apologize for missing a physio appointment, others needed to apologize to roommates/significant others who were waiting, and others needed to take a warm shower and recover. It’s a ride I will not forget.
Number 6: Qualifying for Rio
August 2, 2015: I qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games, which was a goal of mine since London 2012!
Number 7: Rio Party
August 2, 2015: Red Bull hosted a party for me in Rio after qualifying for the Olympic Games. It was a long night full of drinks, good food, and amazing company. My parents, sister, sponsors, and friends were all in one location enjoying caipirinhas and each other’s company. (Picture is at the party of me, Jamie, and Aaron Ryole. Aaron is also a wizard who qualified at the Rio test event)
Number 8: Vacation in Pau
August 4, 2015: In May, Patrick and I had a three day break where I got to pick a vacation spot. I picked San Sebastian. I remember Patrick wanted to go elsewhere so I made him a promise: “If I qualify for the 2016 Olympics, you can pick anywhere to vacation and we will go there post Rio.” Well, I qualified and the next day we flew back to Vitoria and went straight to EuropCar to rent a car for our vacation to Pau. We had done zero planning and were lucky to get the last car in Europcar’s parking lot. As we drove to Pau, we had no idea where we would stay or what we would do. Patrick did all the planning and it turned out to be an amazing few days (even if we had to ride more than I anticipated as Patrick wanted to do the famous Pyrenean Tour de France climbs). I was so thankful we went and wanted Patrick to just have a good time for all that he invests in me. (Picture is of me at dinner with Patrick in Pau)
Number 9: Chef Alan
August 11, 2015: Alan Murchison is a Michelin starred chef and a triathlete. It’s a long story as to how we got connected, but he came to Vitoria to help Patrick in the kitchen. It was a fabulous week where I ate flavorful, healthy meals. Every day we had a different meal. Alan taught Patrick how to pick out fresh fish at the market, the importance of quality pans, and the importance of different spices and herbs in creating flavorful dishes. Yum!
Number 10: World Champion
September 18, 2015: I became a two time world champion. (Yes, it’s still crazy to write/say/see that.)
Number 11: Sister Time
September 19, 2015: After winning the Chicago Grand Final, I was overwhelmed with the amount of sponsor and media engagements. Thankfully, my sister was there. I miss my sister, I never get to see her and she’s such an important part of my life. I will never forget the night of the 19th. I had a microphone on from 7am until 4pm and knew the microphone was going back on me at 7pm. I had to be ‘on’ the whole time which can be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully I had my sister, Elizabeth. Elizabeth walked over to my hotel to just talk. She ended up straightening my hair and I remember thinking I have the best sister in the entire world. I don’t see her for nine months and when I see her it’s like no time has passed at all.
Number 12: Cable, WI Trip
October 4, 2015: Patrick and I drove to Cable, WI, for an anniversary vacation at the place where we got married. I put an out of office reply on my email for the first time since becoming a full time triathlete and realized I too deserve a break from emails, interviews, notes from fans, etc. I spent a week swimming in the lake and riding mountain bike trails. Patrick, Dennis (the man we stayed with), and I woke up without an alarm, made pancakes, talked and enjoyed each other’s company. And we always went for a bike ride mid-day. The days went by quickly and it was relaxing. (Picture is from October 4, 2015 of Patrick and me in Cable, WI with Denis the man who married us, at the place we got married)
Number 13: Bahamas Race
November 6, 2015: I was excited to go to the Bahamas for The Island House race, and it did not disappoint! I spent a few days on Highbourne Cay to race the unique, three-day stage race. I met new athletes, played in water so clear I could see 10 feet deep, and took a boat to an Iguana Island and a sand bar.
Number 14: Gabriela Hearst
November 10, 2015: I spent a week in New York for media engagements, and to be honest, it’s not my favorite part of triathlon, but there are some perks. I met Gabriela Hearst, a fashion designer in New York. She invited Patrick and me to her house two days in a row and it was the highlight of my time in New York. We went over on November 9th for a fitting. I tried on her clothes and she had a seamstress there, but nothing needed to be altered. I felt like a princess being dressed up and couldn’t believe how amazing the clothes looked! The next day, we went over for lunch where a chef came to Gabriela’s house to cook Patrick, Gabriela, people from the media and me lunch. It was so much fun!
Number 15: Patrick's New Bike