Australian Winter Fun

Australian Winter Fun

While I was in Australia, the two internet cables that run under the ocean from America and feed the whole island continent’s internet needs got attacked by too many bottom-feeding sea creatures and thus there was no way to access the “World Wide Web” while I was away. JUST KIDDING. The rest of my trip was just as fun as the first few days I posted about earlier. In order to save you from reading a freaking book here, I am going to divide the trip into a couple of posts and photos. This post is about my first couple weeks, training and having fun. The subsequent post will be race recaps of Australian Nationals and the Kangaroo Hoppet, as well as some photos from my mini beach/farm vacation post-races. I will also add a photo gallery with a lot more photos than what I put in the posts if you want to see more of my trip. 

The first couple of weeks consisted mainly of recovering from jet lag, training, learning to drive on the left side of the road and just hanging out at PK’s house. Firstly, I want to thank Sue and Geza Kovacs for being such amazing hosts and letting me into your home and lives for an entire month and treating me like part of the family. You were great! I can’t wait to come back next year.

I suffered pretty severe jetlag for several days when I first got to Australia. I don’t know if it was so much travel, the drastic time change (18 hours ahead), or what, but I was pretty messed up. My stomach was topsy-turvy for a few days and I would get tired at really odd times. I kept the training light for a few days and when I started feeling better I was able to resume normal training hours.

Snow fell in some shape or form pretty much every day, accumulating slowly but surely. However, most shapes or forms were WET. “Snow” would be a loose description of what appeared. “Sleet”, “white rain”, “wintery-mix” would be more appropriate terms, and “shitting”, “blowing”, “sideways”, and “condensation” would be more appropriate terms to describe how it actually ended up on the ground, rather than “falling”. Let’s just go ahead and say that “winter” has a much broader definition than I previously thought. I was reassured (as if it would help) that it was one of the wettest winters on record. Nonetheless, I had some great training and really did enjoy myself most of the time. My coach, Erik, has a favorite saying when the weather is gross and it’s tempting to stay inside and take a nap: “It’s a championship day outside, guys! Let’s go train!” His theory is that more often than not, big important races take place in nasty weather, and it’s crucial to not let that affect your racing. If you’ve trained yourself through the worst weather Mother Nature can throw at you, then you will be prepared for anything come race day: wind, hail or high water (because let’s be honest, wet race days are becoming more common). So, I guess in the end, all the less-than-perfect weather was actually perfect for training the mind to be ready for it.

I also was fortunate enough to have a training partner! Jessica Yeaton, who skied high school in Anchorage and now skis at Montana State U, was also down there training and racing, so it was great to have someone other than the boys to ski with!

sTypical view on a training day. Hard to tell how wet it actually is, although you can see how much the tree branches are bending over.

IMG_1549Proof that I was really skiing in Australia!

IMG_1533Jess and me at Falls Creek with some clearing skies

IMG_1594A clear day on the Bogong High Plains, skiing up high! It really was spectacular.

Falls Creek is actually up on the Bogong High Plains, so it was a bit of a drive from PK’s house down in the valley in Bright. The drive was a crazy winding road, twisting and turning every 20 seconds, enough to make the toughest stomach turn over. I definitely felt a bit queasy several times. Given the distance and changing geography over the two passes between Falls Creek and Bright, the weather could be dramatically different. Fortunately, some of our days off were beautiful weather and we took advantage to do some local adventures.

IMG_1751Gotta watch out for those ‘roos on skis! They’ll mess ya up.

IMG_9851Mt. Buffalo framed by flowering wattle. Wattle is the Australian national flower and the origin of the “green and gold” national colors. It’s quite pretty and bright.

IMG_9908“Lady Bath Falls” partway up Mt. Buffalo

IMG_9887Standard pose with an epic view

IMG_9958Sunset over the mountains

IMG_0991Another view from the top of Mt. Buffalo. This was at the end of the trip, so more spring-like weather.

IMG_0958Climbing around on Mt. Buffalo

 I saw tons of new wildlife while I was in Australia. It was incredible how many unique animals there are to Australia. 

IMG_0923Trying to entice a parrot to feed out of my mug in PK’s yard. 

IMG_0947Success!! 

IMG_0901

IMG_0903Parrot’s mate with more red on the breast

IMG_0167Kookaburra was NOT sitting in a gum tree. I usually saw them on posts actually.

IMG_0854Black swans!

IMG_0871Pink and grey Galahs (cockatoos)

IMG_0012Big nasty spider: a Huntsman

IMG_0141Emus! (properly pronounced ee-miu, NOT ee-moo)

IMG_0152An adorable little echidna on the side of the road

IMG_1641And of course, more kangaroos!

IMG_1662Kangaroo print!