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First blog of 2014 / Overcoming procrastination

First blog of 2014 / Overcoming procrastination

Hello,

Before I welcome you back to my blog I must offer my sincerest apologies for breaking my own "Fortnightly updates" rule. 



Sincere enough?



Alright! Welcome back. 
Logging back into my blog again had a feeling akin to brushing off the 1cm thick dust layer covering 'To Kill A Mockingbird' the night before my year nine English exam. 

I'm putting my blogging slackness since I've been overseas down to a combination of factors: 

-Laziness

-Preferring to spend hours on Reddit in my down time

-Daily door-to-door selling of home-made Kumquat Marmalade's to the Spanish elderly

INTERACTIVE GAME

*One of the above reasons for my lack of blogging is a lie*
-
Can you guess which one?



Ok that's enough mucking about (for now). So as most of you would know I took my 2014 European season with an approach that would benefit me in the long run. It was certainly tough to take a step back and devote my time to training when my peers were all vying for an Australian u23 Team World Champs position however by doing this I've come away with plenty of positives.
I've now completed three races for my French Grand Prix team 'Sainte-Genevieve-Des-Bois' and have just one left in Quiberon on the 6th of September. These races are just so ridiculously intense that they've been perfect for me in this development year. A very dominant proportion of the worlds best ITU triathletes are in a Div 1 French Team so it makes for a great opportunity to test yourself against the best.

First couple of k's on the bike in my first GP - Dunkirk


Unfortunately a life in elite sport is always unpredictable and this trip hasn't been short of setbacks. Food poisoning led me to a DNF in Larache (Morocco) early on in the trip and only a month ago a 'Food Poisoning-Bubonic Plague' hybrid forced me off the start line in Banyoles (Spain). While at first my reaction to these outcomes was sheer disappointment and at times questioning 'Why do I even bother?' I understood that it's not something I could control, so there is no point beating myself up about it. 




            A clip of the race site DJ blasting tunes throughout the center of Larache


I'd say my best race this season (that was a true reflection of my training) was the 2nd French Grand Prix in Valence.
The racing was extremely intense due to the Super Sprint Relay format. 
Our team finished 4th overall, and I had the 13th fastest time of the day which, considering the level of competition, I was extremely satisfied.
I'm aiming to better my performance in Quiberon this coming weekend so that I can end my 2014 a more consistent level of race accomplishment.



  

First ride with the newest addition to the squad - Declan Wilson


Running around a pond in Vitoria





Well I guess I'm done here now. You know me, I don't like to talk much and the same goes for typing. You'll hear from me sometime late next week with a race report from Quiberon.

I'd love to make a lengthy heartfelt speech about all the wonderful people I met, the astonishingly beautiful places I visited, and the diversity of culture I absorbed, however the highlight of my trip was finding a GoPro Hero3+ at the bottom of the lake here in Vitoria. I can imagine that the level of emotion I experienced when that little silver relic found it's way into my hands is the closest feeling to the birth of your first-born child.

Oh and the second greatest thing to happen in this years overseas venture: Word of Aphex Twin's new album releasing in September (First LP in 13 years).

Until next time,

JTW










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A failed camping trip

A failed camping trip


No greetings this time. I'm getting straight to the point.

I haven't posted in over a month now because I've been thoroughly enjoying my annual one-month-long break from Triathlon. With that about to end and the inevitable suffering of getting back into training just around the corner, I think it's a good time to fill you all in with what I've been up to and what I have planned for the near future.

Rather than bore you with a plethora of dull activities that I partook in during my time not training I thought I'd tell the one story that you might be interested in. Mainly because it was nothing short of a disaster and human beings love hearing about other peoples failures.

Last week myself and three friends named Phil, Travis and Spiros embarked on what we thought was going to be an enjoyable trip to Wilsons Promontory where we would spend two days relaxing in the sun and catching so much salmon from surf fishing that we would have to hire one of the salmon taxis to drive them all back home. Now that's why the trip was going to be a disaster from the very start. You see the sun doesn't exist in Wilsons Prom. Nor do Salmon so it seems. Actually I lied (we did catch one that was a micrometer over the minimum length). Now I was happy to forego UV rays slapping on my back and having Salmon for dinner every night until my 50th Birthday however I wasn't happy to swap it with torrential rain and 135km/h winds.



Here you can see me putting the final touches on our tent


On the first night after we had all fallen asleep from the overwhelming fatigue of banging tent pegs into the top of an iceberg, we were unwillingly joined by a gigantic and ferocious wombat. I know you all think they're harmless but trust me, there was nothing cute and furry about this monster using his talons to rip man sized holes through the tent walls to feast on our food stash. I had to get out of the comfort of my sleeping bag numerous times to scare this thing away while every time my friends cowered behind their somewhat protective fly-wire mesh screens.



A picture we took of the wombat the next day as it tried to get the food belonging to a fellow camper


We spent the entirety of the next day fishing and whilst I myself was unable to catch anything, I was able to master the art of sinker throwing. It's quite a difficult thing to perfect as it involves casting into oncoming waves in such a way that the sinker and both hooks become detached from the line and fly off into the horizon. I had plenty of fun doing this however Spiros got truly tired of tying the sinker and hooks back onto the line.

Spiros and Travis with the one fish they caught.

 
That night was our last night there and at about 9 pm it looked as though we were going to miss the bad weather. Now why would city boys like us camping in the wilderness need to check the weather on our totally capable smart phones? Absolutely correct, we wouldn't and we didn't.

I regretted nothing as the monsoon hit us at about 9.03 pm. The next two hours consisted of reinforcing different poles and pieces of nylon so that the hurricane didn't totally destroy the tent. Eventually we succumbed to the typhoon and sent out the Mayday calls via Morse code through our torches. Unfortunately the only being that must have received our calls of stress was 'Wrecker' the Wombat who decided to team up with the weather and destroy the inside of our tent whilst we all abandoned ship and slept in cars for the night.




Totally destroyed the next morning

Tent looking like a pancake

Winds so strong the fiberglass rods snapped

Just one box of food that 'Wrecker' the Wombat destroyed and as you can see he just did it to spite us as none of the food was eaten

Well that's the end of that. I hope you were able to have a good laugh at my misfortune.

In other news: You may have seen via my social media posts that myself and fellow camping 'Victim' Philip Gay are in the process of creating our own fashion label - Isaac Tobin. Fashion is something I've always been interested in so it's an extremely exciting project. You can follow our developmental process leading up to the official release of our Website/Facebook page on both Twitter and Instagram.

www.twitter.com/isaac_tobin
www.instagram.com/isaac_tobin 


Our logo that you will be seeing plenty of down the track


The 'Isaac Tobin' graphic that will become recognizable with the brand itself


Phil and I safely back in Melbourne in home territory.


That's it for me now. I understand it's been a long read however it's a Sunday night and I'm sure many of you have nothing better to do.
You will hear from me soon as I get back into training and everything else that comes with being an athlete. 

Bye.








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2013 World Junior Triathlon Championships - London

2013 World Junior Triathlon Championships - London


Hello readers.
My first race report for you all so whether you peruse through (thankyou) or have a brief gander (thankyou of a lesser value) it will be appreciated. I understand it is a big read but I urge you to soldier on when you eyelids are getting heavy and you think you've had enough. Oh and one last thing: It's quite a serious post compared to my other posts as it is obviously a very serious race (so don't expect any petty gags).




Crossing the line with an empty tank. Only thought going through my head is "a shower would be nice".



I certainly have mixed emotions about finishing 13th in my second and final Junior World Championships. London lived up to it's reputation with the weather so as soon as I woke up I knew I was going to be racing in the wet. This didn't really concern me like it would have for other athletes as I had made sure I trained outside when it was storming several times in Spain. I was well prepared. This truly was my most important race of the year and had been my goal race for over 12 months so there certainly wasn't anything that I didn't prepare for. I was in my physical peak, I was mentally focused and overall just ready to race. Strangely enough I wasn't even nervous however I think this has much to do with my detailed preparation and knowing that I couldn't have done anything better.

Unfortunately all plans went out the door as soon as I dived in. I felt terrible. I had been feeling quite tired the few days leading up to the race however I tried blocking it out so as not to stress and waste more energy. Whether this lack of energy contributed to my poor swim or not I will not know, but I guess everyone has bad days and it's how you deal with it during the race that distinguished the better athletes from the pack. 




Leading the chase through one of the sketchy chicane's. Almost every corner I'd hear the loud crunch of carbon on concrete and pray that it wouldn't be me next time round.



Jumping on my bike and seeing the second pack forming about 100m ahead I realised that there is where I needed to be if I was to stay in the race. I absolutely hammered it. Head down just motoring. I was passing many people that whilst swam better than me on the day were just not prepared for the World Championship pace. I eventually caught the second pack after a couple of kilometers however rather than feeling accomplished and relaxing I chose to go straight to the front and begin the chase of the first pack. I was confident in my riding and how much it has improved since working with my older and stronger training partners. I used this confidence to really give it my all on the bike. There were about 5 of us out of a pack of 25 that were working consistently and efficiently with one another to catch the front group. I knew that on fresh running legs I would be the fastest runner in my pack however I wasn't in a position to sit on and let others do the work (as being in second pack on that day you're not getting a top 10). With the absolutely amazing atmosphere and constant bellowing cheers from the crowd I probably got carried away with how hard I was working. I vomited several times on the bike but just kept pushing. In the end it really did pay off as we ended up closing the 40 second gap and with less than 2km to go on the bike there was now a front pack of about 50 of the worlds best juniors entering T2 together.

As soon as I took 10 steps on the run I knew that I was not my usual self. I had never rode that hard in a race before and I was certainly going to pay the price. I was so disappointed as the front group of 6-8 guys ran away in a group and there was nothing I could do. I'm usually the one running past people, not the one that gets dropped. Now whilst I knew that I wasn't going to be able to run to my potential I made sure I didn't give up. I ran most of the run just fighting through sitting in about 15-18th spot. The crowd was ballistic and I could hear my name being screamed almost every second step. I dug deep in the last kilometer to kick home and luckily found some energy that certainly wasn't present at the beginning of the bike. I ran down about 6 spots into 10th place going into the finishing chute however I had spent everything by then and was unfortunately out sprinted just before the line by two guys.



Stinging with less than a kilometre to go.




If I was asked at the beginning of the race would I be happy with 13th my answer definitely would have been "NO!". Reflecting back on it now I realise I can't be too disappointed when I truly raced as hard as I could go. Now although my swim was a failure I made sure I didn't spit the dummy there and then and at least put myself in a position where I could have stood on the podium. At the end of the day juniors is just such a small insignificant factor in the career of a professional athlete and as my coach Danielle keeps reminding me: It's not how good I am as a nineteen year old that counts, it's when I'm peaking in my mid twenties that truly counts.

My plans now are to rest through October and then build strength during November/December to assist with improving my training/racing capabilities during the 2014 year. It will be my first year in the u23 Elite category and whilst many juniors find this transition quite difficult, I am looking forward to the challenge and am aiming to be on the start line of the u23 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada at the end of next year.


Me and the other juniors. It was a fun weekend hanging out with all the athletes except Ryan Fisher and Declan Wilson. They are just pests that no one really likes.



Thanks to Keith Hedgeland and Iconphoto for the images.



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Banyoles Training Block

Banyoles Training Block

Yeah G'day m8s,

hru?

Actually, don't answer that. I couldn't care less how you are. All that matters is that you are reading my blog and for that I am thankful.

So... Where to start? Well currently I'm sitting in my apartment in Vitoria-Gasteiz. It was a little upsetting to leave Banyoles however I've been here now for five days and I'm growing quite fond of it. For this blog update I'll be giving you all an insight into how my month-long training block in Banyoles went down.

There are a number of things I already miss about Banyoles. I grew to love the farmhouse we stayed in, the training environment and the weather that consistently felt hotter than one thousand suns. Most of all however, I will miss the pleasant feeling of speaking fluent Catalan when I order "un cafè americano" (the only three words of Catalan I can speak) at the various quaint little cafe's sprawled throughout the city.



The square in which I would impress all the waitresses by ordering in their native tongue.


The riding in Banyoles was truly something special. Being a fairly skinny human being I enjoyed the undulating terrain as well as the two mountain climbs that we did throughout our stay. Below you will find a small compilation of images that I took whilst out on various rides. This way you can see for yourself how beautiful it was and I can save my energy typing. 


At the summit of Rocacorba
Looking like an absolute idiot at the summit of Rocacorba


At the summit of the Mare de Déu del Mont


Oh and these last two images are evidence that I was almost hospitalised, seeing white-lights in a semi-conscious state after colliding with a thorn bush on the Rocacorba descent. It must have grown from the centre of the road whilst we were resting at the top of the climb (either that or I was working too hard to notice it on the ascent).




I'm still finding it hard to look at these images as they bring back too many horrible memories that trigger my PTSD
 


 














You can't turn your nose up at the running in Banyoles either. The amazing six kilometer loop that surrounded the lake was where our MAV Shuttles, fartleks and most of our easy runs were completed. Due to the blistering heat post-run we would often find ourselves sneakily creeping into the lake, being cautious as not to alarm any authorities (as there was a 300 Euro fine for swimming when you haven't paid to do so). I'd have to say it's the most absurd law I've come across whilst being overseas but I wasn't going to risk being thrown in a Spanish prison arguing over it. 

Thanks to Pat Legge our masseuse/photographer for these three images.




Look how well those maroon business socks go with my fluoro yellow Brooks T7 Racers!


I promise our new haircuts don't always look this full on


How's that for an arty snap? It does annoy me that our HR-Monitor straps don't line up though




Well that's all you're getting for this one. Certainly a lot of pictures but I suppose they're easier to look at than reading big chunks of mundane text.

My next post will be a 
Tiszaújváros race report. It will be my second last preparation race for the World Juniors in London and will be a great chance for me to get some short/fast racing in (as it is a super sprint race format with heats/finals over two days).

You'll hear from me soon,



JTW. 
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Victoria, British Columbia - The beginning of my four month journey.

Victoria, British Columbia - The beginning of my four month journey.



Hi,

I am writing this from an open environment lounge on the third floor of a farmhouse in Serinya, Spain. I'll be spending the next three weeks here training with the crew and I don't think there is any chance I'll be getting sick of it. I haven't blogged in quite some time so I thought I better fill you all in on my previous three week expedition in Canada.

I started my overseas journey with a two week training camp in Victoria, British Columbia. I know I have the reputation of embellishing all my stories however I'm not exaggerating when I say it was some of the most enjoyable training I've ever done. I had absolutely no idea what to expect after stepping off the 17th and final flight to get there but was I sure impressed when I arrived.




MAV Shuttles. Trying my very hardest to not let Grandpa Pete and Marcel the Horse catch me.


Although the training environment in Victoria was amazing I took a while to get into the rhythm of things. Speed isn't a goal for me at the moment but it was still frustrating to get an honest thrashing from my training partners in many a session. I've never been happier than when I was told my Gym frequency was dropping down to only 2 sessions per week whilst overseas. I couldn't really feel the difference in muscle fatigue however I was really worried that 3 sessions a week in Melbourne was rushing my progression to look like Ronnie Coleman (definitely my goal).



Myself looking very broad-chested (unfortunately it's just the wind) and my pal Marcel sporting our lovely Giants

Below are two picturesque images I sourced from Google. They both depict scenic views of Thetis Lake which was one of the lakes we did an open water session at. The day we swam it was one of the most beautiful evenings and even these photo's don't do it justice.



Now the reason for me showing you these is because I want you to compare these two snaps with the photo I asked Danielle (my coach) to take of us after the swim. Not only were we not looking at the camera but now when I want to show other people one of the nicest swimming spots in the world I am forced to show them a blurry image of what looks like two black garbage bags floating in a New Delhi swamp.


Danielle Stefano- Great coach, awful photographer.

I believe the only negative of the whole trip was having no lane ropes in the pool which meant we may as well have been swimming in Taupo. Oh and the occasional three-day "detour" Danielle took us on to get to a session (yes, we got lost a lot but being nineteen without my license I'm hardly in a position to judge). -That's a big weight off my shoulders publicly admitting that on social media. I promise I'll get it when I arrive home.  


After two weeks in Victoria we headed off to Edmonton for me to race my first ever World Cup. I truly can't be bothered giving a big in depth report on a race that didn't end well but it was a learning experience and I was never expecting magnificent things at that stage of my training.

Well that's it. I know it's fairly short but my index finger's are cramping because I always mucked around in Computer Studies class and thus did not learn how to type efficiently (I'm serious, each paragraph takes me at least thirty minutes).

My plan is to fill you in more regularly with my Spanish adventures so I'm sure you will hear from me soon. 

















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