My original 2017 plan was to race 70.3 Miami to spend some time with my grandmother, but life happened and plans chanced. She passed away on July 12th, after a life of traveling the world. Two weeks later, I turned 30 and decided to take a page out of her book. I found two international races close somewhat close together, sent in my passport paperwork, and put myself on the have-bike-will-travel plan. I packed my bike and ventured off to see Australia and New Zealand.
The Sydney experience was epic thanks to Shannon, Paul, Maddi, and Ned (the pup)! We biked through the Royal National Park and over the Sea Cliff Bridge, had a glass of wine sitting next to the Sydney Opera House, and watched the Sydney Harbour light up at night while Jack Johnson played in the background. I know, it all sounds terrible! To top it off, I really, really wanted to see a kangaroo and koala, so Shannon and Paul humored this crazy American.
Oh, there was also a race, 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship! The swim and bike didn’t quite go as planned but after several conversations with myself on the bike, I laced up my shoes and ran with every ounce of energy I had. Lesson, always run a race out until you cross the finish line. I distinctly remember running by Paul and saying, “I’m going to do something right today.” That something right was a 1:24 run. Paul, thanks for keeping me moving on race day and Shannon, HUGE congratulations on your first 70.3 finish! I know there will be many more in the future!
The next stop was Wendy’s home for 70.3 Taupo. After successfully navigating traffic circles by bike in Sydney, I was pretty confident I could drive the 275km from Aukland to Taupō. It was a bold move, but the scenery was well worth it. Sorry there are no pictures, I was trying to make sure I kept the car within the lines on the correct side of the road. Sadly, I never found the “Blonde American Female Driving” bumper sticker I was hoping for.
Between the lake, the swimming facility, stunning bike rides, great coffee spots, and a community that truly embraces the sport, it’s the perfect race destination. I’m already trying to figure out how many times I can go back in the next two years. We did have a minor encounter with toxic algae in the lake so the swim was cancelled, but the race officials had an exciting plan for us – we became duathletes for the day with a run-bike-run format so we got to run up a massive hill 4 times instead of the original 3! The unexpected challenge was a fun way to end the 2017 season.
Wendy and Polo (the pup), thank you for hosting Juliet and I. Juliet, my big island mom, thank you for making the trip to NZ and cheering louder than anyone with a microphone! The trip would not have been the same without you guys!
7 races in 2017 in the books and I've learned a ton. I wanted to keep racing this season to gain as much experience as possible and that's exactly what I got and I fully intend to stay on the have-bike-will-travel plan for next season. To the people and companies supporting my dream, I’m forever thankful! On to 2018, I’m excited to see where my bike will take me…