Well, despite the ominous looking weather on Friday night and quite possibly the roughest crossing this little "Rottnest Camper" has ever made, the sun eventually shone on our Rottnest Island Boot Camp this weekend gone (thanks no doubt to Mary's prayers to the Sun Gods!). Please see attached photo.
We arrived on Friday evening to heavy wind and rain and to find out that Adam's sleeping bag had gone missing before we even started! The poor chap had to rely upon the blankets at the Kingstown Barracks which leave something to be desired on the cleanliness front. Luckily he suffered no rashes or strange marks on his skin...well, not yet!!!
Friday night was spent bonding at the Quokka Arms and discussing the weekends activities. Chris advised us all to steer well clear of the Pizzas and in doing so we all managed to have a nice meal and a bit of a chin-wag.
We were up early on Saturday morning after a heavy night's sleep with surprisingly no snoring from anyone...even Rob! After a light breakfast in the Mess Hall where Paul recounted his dream from the previous night of being evicted from the island for jumping up and running across the kitchen tables and spilling tea over everyone (apparently due to being excited that the Boot Camp was going so well?!), we hit the water in front of the Barracks. The first leg of the brick session was an 800m swim which saw the swimmers heading out with the swell pushing them along easily, but returning with quite a tough surface chop. Rob led the group out closely followed by Carl and Michelle. A tight group including Caitlin, Gabe, Chris and Helen tried to draft together to chase down Mel with Mary also making light work of the head-on chop just behind.
Little did the group know that Paul had arranged for Adam to sneak back to the dorm to let everyone's tyres down! Upon retuning to the dorm everyone was instructed to be out at the front of the dorm within 10 minutes, changed and ready to go, to which everyone exclaimed "easy!!". Once the crew realised that their tyres were flat, they were all instructed to not only re-inflate the tyre but actually change the inner-tube as well! Chris would have been the first finished had he not tried to inflate his tyre to 300psi and in doing so blew it to "kingdom-come"; as such, Helen (cool, calm and collected), took the title and made everyone green with envy. Once everyone was finally ready and had forgiven Paul for his devious ways, the crew hit the cycle ride of 50km around the island 2.5 times. Mary and Michelle led the team around the first lap to reliably show everyone the route. Unfortunately, no-one seemed to listen (including Michelle herself!) as the ride eventually turned into the veritable "Randonnee d'Rottnest" with Paul and Adam working hard to predict where the next cyclist would appear from!
Following the bike, the guys and girls hit the run and completed a ~9km loop of the glorious Salmon Bay. On photograpy duties, Adam did his best to scare the islanders by posing as a dirty stalker "paparazzi" type, whereas Paul was looking more like a hobo, having to do without his "special shoes" due to bad blisters! Everyone had a really good run and showed that they were all ready for the Half Ironman in 2 weeks!
After a nice lunch at the Barracks and a bit of a snooze, the crew hit the water for a 2nd time to learn some new skills for openwater swimming. This included Paul's simple acronym of "Swimming S.A.D" - S = sighting, A = attitude & anxiety control, D = drafting. After several short demos by "Paul-I-used-to-be-good-at-this-type-of-thing-Newsome" everyone completed a series of tasks to address these aspects of their swimming, including Paul's infamous "whirly-whirly" turns which were a lot of fun.
Our annual "Taper Time Tapas" was conducted down at the Barracks over some fine champagne and nibbles. Athletes had the chance to sit Paul and Adam on the "Hot Seat" and run through a series of questions which they still sought to be clarified in the lead-up to the Half Ironman. This typically centred around nutrition, including discussion over the fact that the race will not be providing a carbohydrate drink, but just an electrolyte one. Paul had provided each athlete with a bottle of this fluid to try out during the bike leg of the brick session and the concensus was typically split 50-50 over those who liked it against those who found it too "gassy". Carl then kindly took the centre stage and provided all the athletes with a great run-down on the rules and regulations for the Half Ironman, paying particular attention to the drafting policy. This was a very valuable Q&A session and everyone agreed that Carl's input was very insightful.
After a nice dinner down at the Tea Rooms, we all transferred over to the pub at the Governer's Lodge for a little bit of karaoke...sadly, no-one participated, but then again when you have Rotto's answer for Elvis Presley on the mic, how can you expect to compete?!
Sunday morning started with a stunningly scenic run around the Salmon Bay area, the lighthouse and back through the salt lakes where the paparazzi were again waiting in the bushes! Despite being a little tired, everyone enjoyed the perfect conditions and the break from the usual "river run".
And then, just as we were leaving, the heavens opened again and soaked us all to the bone! A great piece of timing on Mary's behalf we think! Mary informs me that she's currently working on the Sun Gods for Busso in 2 weeks, so watch this space!
A big thankyou to all those who attended: Michelle, Carl, Mary, Mel, Caitlin, Gabe, Rob, Helen and Chris; as well as to Adam for all his help over the weekend and stunning photos from both days too!
We aim to show-case both our photos in a special DVD presentation during Monday (21st April) night's wind trainer session over at 22 Fairfield Street, Mount Hawthorn from 6pm. As we are now commencing our final run-in to the race, there will be no run session tomorrow morning and the wind trainer session will also be light AND enjoyable!
Please (everyone) could you confirm if you wish to attend the wind trainer session and book your place asap by return email!
Thanks, roll on the Half Ironman team!