In 1993 while in medical school, I entered her first triathlon and didn’t take my hands off the handlebars to change gears for fear of crashing. Over the next few years I was a serious age-group triathlete and completed my first Ironman (Forster) in 2000.
After watching the rowing at the Sydney Olympics, I made the foolish assessment that it might be a fun challenge and took up the sport as a novice at the ripe old age of 26. I moved to Melbourne and under the expert tutelage of Peter Antonie and Stan Nichols, became a good sculler, but I never made a national team.
Five years of cold mornings and calloused hands later, I returned to a sport that had always been easier than the others – cycling. I won a lottery start to race 2006 Ironman Hawaii, and went to Klagenfurt to race Ironman Austria in the months before, placing 3rd in the 30-34 agegroup (10h37m).
In December 2006, after riding 4h48m at the Busselton Ironman, I applied to be part of an AIS National Talent ID and Development program designed to find elite time trial cyclists. It meant spending the next 12 months specialising my training with the goal of Olympic selection in mind. This was when I met Donna Rae-Szalinski (retired elite road cyclist, mother of 3 and now professional coach) and we began a dynamic and terrific coach/athlete relationship.
In 2009, I quit my day job and secured my first professional contract as a 35 yo neo-pro! My first pro team was Team Valdarno with a roster that included Tatiana Guderzo (2009 Road World Champion), Monia Bacaille (Italian road champion), Marta Vilajosana (Spanish road champion) and Tatiana Antoshina (Russian TT Champion).
After surviving that experience, I started the 2011 season with a new team, Top Girls Fassa Bortolo. It's a team of young women, mostly climbers, and I tend to the riding at the front early on in a race, then arriving 'late' by the end of the mountain!
Like last year, I'm spending in 6 months in Italy and 6 months in Melbourne (but most frequently in the back of team vans).