The Doctor

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This is a map of the Rottnest Island, Western ...

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On the Ferry to Rottnest

My time in Perth has been great so far. Done lots of downwinds, had a team BBQ, tasted the local beer, and am fnally understanding the Aussies when they speak;) It’s a whole other English over here!

Team Nelo has been super organised, with Nigel and Jimmy being super managers, making sure we are well prepared. The race is really well run, with Dean and Yanda and their whole team putting on a fantastic event.

We got all our ski’s taken to the ferry and loaded up the day before for the trip over to Rottnest Island. After a good breakfast we boarded the ferry to get over there for the start. The wind wasn’t blowing quite as much as I would have liked, but it was still blowing. The main factor was the heat, as we went over at 1030, and were only starting at 1345, in the heat of the day but also hopefully the windiest part.

 

Rottnest

 

The women were due to start 15 minutes before the men. I was hoping to have a real stormer and try not let them catch me, and be the first person across the line… Would have been classic to see the reaction from the crowd. Bernadette and Lauren tore off toward the Hotspot (at 1000m it was more of a “Longspot”). I managed to hang onto their wash, and then about 200m before the buoy that marked the Hotspot, I kicked and managed to overtake them and take (my first ever) hotspot! Then we turned left and headed across the bay, with a side chop and some small runs. Luckily we had a lead boat showing the way, as I had no idea where I was going. I opened up a small 100m lead, from Krystal Smith. 11km along, and we could finally turn around the shipping lane marker buoy and head straight toward Sorrento Beach, and the finish, with the wind right at your back. I managed to string together a few great runs, and open up the lead somewhat.

I was now in the front, whereas usually the leading men are in front of me. I had put a GPS marker point in my Garmin before the start, so I just followed the dial. My line felt ok, and about a kilometer from the finish, Bruce Taylor passed me on my left, with Tim Jacobs on my right. Such tight racing and I was stoked that Tim got the sprint up the beach.

 

Tight Racing! photo by Tanya Mangold

I was pretty happy with my race. I would have loved just a little bit more wind, and I really need to work on my concentration. Just under 2 hours is a long time to stay focused on one thing! Below is a photo of my awesome Nelo ski with the lumo yellow nose!

 

 

photo by Tanya Mangold

 

I came in about 4 minutes ahead of ironwoman Krystal Smith, with young Lauren Smith in 3rd. Team Nelo had a good day out with wins in both the male and female hotspots, and the men’s and women’s winners. I will try post the a link to the super cool video Bernadette made (she came in 5th).

On Sunday we did the Finn Kayaks Relay event. I teamed up with Tim, and we managed to just beat Kirsty and Zane Holmes (thanks to Tim, I was a bit useless on Sunday). Andre and I paddled down from the halfway mark to the Sorrento, to round off a great weekend of downwind paddling.

I am sticking in Perth for another week, staying with ex South Africans Tanya and James Mangold. There are 2 more races around here, so I will post some more news soon.

Thanks to Andre from Nelo for getting me over here to Perth. I have always wanted to do this race, and it doesn’t disappoint!!

All the category winners received this “doctors” coat!

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Perth so far

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Andre from Nelo took the above photo of TJ, Henrique and myself before our first paddle here in Perth at Scarborough Beach. The lifeguards wouldn’t let us paddle out as they had just spotted a 2.5m Tiger Shark! However, about 150m up the beach they were letting people swim? So we walked along the beach and paddled out there…

The sea is an amazing light blue colour here, and really warm (well compared to Plett), and its so clear that you can see the bottom (and the Tiger Shark). So far I am loving it here. The people are super friendly, and everything is clean and organised. We did a great, although short downwind in the arvo (hows that for Aussie slang?), and luckily Lara and her buddy gave us a ride back to out apartment. I then got to catch up with ex South Africans James and Tanya Mangold. Great to hear the SA accent after all this Aussie 🙂

Hoping for the wind to pick up again today, so I can have another crack at it with my uber-cool Blue and Lumo Yellow NeloSki. Then registration tomorrow, and finally race day. Although I havent prepared specifically for this event (more of just continued my training after my peak for Dubai, and ultra test at the 50km Cape Point) I am very happy to be here to race. The conditions look great, and the women’s field is looking to be the hottest ever! I love a good race!

p.s. For all my SA readers, I am 6 hours into the future here:) So apologies if I don’t return messages until the next day. Also the phone is on roaming text but not calls…

The Doctor

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I arrived in Perth after a great flight, to be fetched by local gal Lara. Got a mini tour of the place, and then we hit the beach for a quick swim to get rid of the flight grime! Awesome!

So far, I am loving this place. I joined Lara and her family for a barbie (braai) last night, had a run along the beachfront this morning (well it was actually at 3am RSA time, which felt weird). Henrique from Portugal has arrived and we have found decent coffee, so far so good. Now to get our ski’s and get a downwind under our belts and life will be perfect.

Click on The Doctor logo above to go to the race website. Conditions are looking good, and the competition is looking tough. Actually it is looking ike one of the best ever assembled women’s fields, with all the top Aussie Ironwomen having finished their series already, and ready to take on the race.

Off for a quick nap, will update later.

Cape Point Challenge

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Having probably done the least amount of Cape Point (read 50km) Specific Training this year, I had no idea how I would go, actually, I knew I would go well until 25km, it was the other 25km that I had no idea about!

The weather predictions were moderate, no real wind and pretty small swell. I got seeded into B Batch, along with Nikki. We had a really civil start and the pace remained like that most of the first half. When A Batch came past we made the most of their wash and had a free (although short) ride! Just before the Point, Jayden went hard, and I went with him through the kelp beds. We opened up a little gap, and the others had to work to catch back up. Rounding this iconic landmark is truly special, especially in a relatively small craft, powered only by yourself! It always makes me remember how unique this sport is, and how lucky I am to call it my job!

Once we had passed the boat that served as a check point, Jayden went quite deep. I went a more direct line. the runs (leftover from the week before’s South Easterly wind) were pushing in towards Buffel’s Bay. Tempting to go for them, but they were going too inshore, as well as being pretty hard work for not much reward. I chose rather to catch only the bigger ones and work them as right as possible. I saw Nikki going way inside of me, but I trusted my line. I caught Jayden before Smits, and we sat together until just after Miller’s Point. Then the little bugger opened up a 500m gap on me! I really felt strong, and actually started enjoying myself. The decision to take only ice-cold water, and use PVM’s Octane Gels was a good one, as the water was so refreshing, and the gels provided enough carb’s to keep me going (not to mention caffeine-check out their new Chocolate flavoured, caffeine added Energy Gels!)

Just after Miller’s Point (about 10km to go) I had a mini meltdown. I suppose my distance training had not been enough,so I just tried focusing on my technique, and rewarding myself with little sips of water and splash of cold Indian Ocean water over my face and neck every 500m. I have never sat in a ski for so long, without a foam butt pad of sorts. The NeloSki was great, no dead leg, and no discomfort. Lucky for me:) It also managed to dip onto all those “hard to catch” little runs that were popping up every now and then.

The last 5km from the Lighthouse were long, and I was super happy to cross the finish line. I finished in 12th position Overall in 4:09, and first in the Women’s race. I am really happy with this result, it is also my 3rd win in a row at the Cape Point. Nikki was 2nd just over 5 minutes back, and Bianca Beavitt was 3rd.

Thanks to Keith Fenn for being supporting sponsor, and to Richard and Pete and the guys from Fish Hoek LSC for putting on a great race!

I drove straight from there to the Breede River, to be a part of Abbey and Chad’s wedding. What a beautiful venue, special people and overall, a fantastic weekend !

Yesterday was the Discovery/Sunglass Hut Surf Ski Series final party and prize giving. I unfortunately couldn’t make it, but I won the Series Title for the 3rd year in a row. I also made Elite Grade, and I think that is the first time a female has made the Men’s Elite!

Now I am back in Plett, and the Silly Season is upon us. The town is bustling with holiday makers. It’s a really great vibe. I have a few local events in the holidays, and then it’s off to Perth for The Doctor Ski Race. It’s one I have never done, and I am itching to get over there!

Seasons Greetings and Happy Holidays!