THREE SPORTS, TWO COUNTRIES, ONE TRIATHLETE

Below is an article I recently wrote for 3xsport.com – Check out the site for more articles and updates on the world of triathlon

I moved to Melbourne, Australia from London two and a half years ago. A bit of a life upheaval I know, and I often get asked “What made you choose Australia?”  Truthfully, it was triathlon.

Well, the official answer is always ‘work-life balance’, but my balance is my sport, and therefore triathlon. Keen to make friends and to find ‘my people’, I joined a triathlon club and now train and coach in the Melbourne community.

Having trained in Durham in the North East of the UK for four years, and having trained in London for a further four years, there are some definite and clear divisions between the Aussie vs British triathlete. Now I play for both sides, and definitely don’t want to offend either of these sides, but it’s extremely interesting to see the other’s point of view.

British triathletes

  • Think they have the best professional triathletes in the world: Alistair Brownlee, Jonathan Brownlee, Chrissie Wellington, Non Stanford, Vicky Holland.

Australian triathletes

  • Have just about heard of the Brownlees. Start naming other British triathletes and they struggle… the UK is just too far away!

British triathletes

  • Complain of a bit of wind making the normally nice placid British lake choppy, or a river current picking up.

Australian triathlete

  • Unless you are body surfing in on the ocean swell or face the very real fear of getting attacked by a shark (see Ironman Busselton 70.3 news from May 2017) then to be honest you might as well be swimming in a pool.

British triathletes

  • Swimming in a 50m pool is a complete novelty saved for special occasions.

Australian triathletes

  • Swimming in a 25m pool is insulting.

British triathletes

  • There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. If you don’t ride when its freezing cold or raining then you wouldn’t ride at all. Is the weather forecast saying 13 degrees? That’s basically summer!

Australian triathletes

  • Is that a slight gust of wind? Is that a single, solo raindrop? Mate, that is far too dangerous to ride, best stay indoors today. Is the weather forecast saying 13 degrees? Quick, put on every item of winter clothing you own!

British triathletes

  • I don’t wear matching kit. Only keen middle-aged men in lycra match their kit.

Australian triathletes

  • Now if my socks don’t match my sunnies, and they don’t match my sports bra, and then that doesn’t match my helmet strap – well it is just not worth leaving the house, I can’t ruin my look.

British triathletes

  • I’m racing away this weekend – it’s a whole two hour drive, so I’ve had to book accommodation the night before and after.

Australian triathletes

  • It’s only a five hour drive, we can go back and forth in the day. Oh, that race is a flight away? No worries, I guess we might have to stay one night!

British triathletes

  • It’s an early start this Sunday for the ride, 9am. Can everyone make it?

Australian triathletes

  • Guys it’s a sleep in this weekend – only a 6:30am start. Enjoy your late start!

British triathletes

  • Gilet weather.

Australian triathletes

  • Vest weather (cue this very confused Brit wondering why on earth we would head out for a cold ride in just a vest!).

British triathletes

  • So, this race has a roundabout to navigate cars, a hard-right turn where you will probably have to stop, and then some traffic lights, which if you go through when red you will get disqualified.

Australian triathletes

  • Have you heard? There is this ONE race in very rural Australia where they don’t close the roads! Can you believe it? Now why are our races so expensive?

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What is very much evident is that both sides of the pond love their sport. Both sides of the pond have huge communities of like-minded, supportive individuals, with beginners through to professionals and both sides of the pond have welcomed this triathlete with open arms.

*Note all the above is in jest, and my British views are from nearly three years ago… things may well have changed since then!

 

 

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