It was important to me that I pick my favourite sport back up, and that changing countries did not cause it to fall by the wayside. It has been almost two years where my total focus has been on work, tax, accommodation etc, and I’m not getting any younger. So I needed to knock off this last race for the season, rather than wait until September for the next opportunity.
I was hugely impressed. Compared to triathlon in NZ, there are no hills, there are no waves, the water temperature is at least six degrees warmer even on cold days. Because of the bigger numbers it is much more organised, and there are rules around when you are allowed in the transition area and when you are not. There is a sticker with your number on the bike racks so that you have your own pre-allocated spot to rack your bike. There is coffee on-course. There is a row of portaloos rather than everyone overloading the local municipal facilities. And a 9am start! Luxury after all those Sunday mornings diving into freezing water at 7am. I could see that on a hot day it might be a bit more like running through the lava fields at Kona, but gee it was pleasant. And lots of camaraderie, lots of "Good effort big fella, we’re almost there," kind of stuff. No elite-athlete snootiness that I observed. And in my wave, a very civilised swim. No-one swimming over the top of anyone else. Lots of space around the first buoy. They are all going to be fast and flat, practise your sprints!
You know that you’re in Melbourne when the race briefing starts with "Does anyone know how the Hawks finished up last night?"