It is with much gratification that I inaugurate a humble column on the hallowed pages of Australian Triathlete. Having dabbled in amateur word-smithing, to now share ink on this mag’s lauded parchment has me as chuffed as a cyclist with a late-ride tailwind. Indeed, my surprise at the offer to contribute my scribing skills to AT was only outdone by my lumsiness, spilling the best part of a double espresso over my Mac in my haste to take up the proposition. An exciting undertaking to be sure. At the very least, I’ll now be referring to myself as a writer, journalist and reporter. Maybe leave novelist out. For now...
What to expect? At best, some hastily constructed puns, shallowly illustrating my irreverent, and at times irrelevant take on triathlon life. So – fans of rambling anecdotes, flippancy towards traditionally accepted narrative stylings, and gratuitously eloquent language, rest assured you will find literary satisfaction here.
Perhaps a brief introduction is in order, for the vast majority of readers who are at this point querying both my journalistic and triathlon credentials. I followed the seemingly traditional triathlete’s voyage into the sport – lack of mastery at any singular discipline led to me diversifying until my shortcomings were hidden across the spectrum of three activities. Since then, I’ve represented Australia through the Junior, U/23 and Elite ranks from 2004 to present, amassing a bevy of race results, both good and bad, the former providing satisfying bank balances, the latter providing little but the odd entertaining anecdote. Some might say this gives me a predisposition to having more yarns than stock options... Still, it’s an idyllic career choice. As one non-athletic friend recently exclaimed, “I can’t believe you get paid – just for exercising!”
I’ve had the fortune of spending the last seven years following the ITU junket and, more importantly, the summer, across the globe. During this time I’ve almost been arrested for riding on a highway in Japan, been mistaken for Jesus by a religious Frenchman, and crashed into a creek racing in the Bundesliga. I’ve flooded a French apartment, been interrogated by machine-gun wielding heavies before a race in Israel, and come across an early morning suicide attempt on a fartlek run.
In more recent times, side stories to the 2012 assault on the triathlon circuit has seen me try to explain to non-English speaking Koreans that I needed an MRI (lots of funny noises and demonstrations of magnets) whilst politely declining their offers of a tomato based milkshake. I’ve almost started a France-wide manhunt after getting lost on what was supposed to be a 3km jog, and had the undeniable pleasure of watching the Australian Olympic team go through their final preparations for the games – a fly on the wall in my position as reserve.
Races this year have included Gamagori (starting up), Hamburg (blowing up), Alpe d’Huez (going up) and Stockholm (just trying to keep the bike up) in a season spent finding some form after a somewhat interrupted preparation. The last 18 months of racing has presented me with more hurdles than the Grand National in the form of various injuries and niggles, however, such is the life of one who “exercises for a living”. And so, armed with some anecdotal evidence and a decent smattering of triathlon know-how, I’ll aim to dish up a taste of life in the elite triathlon scene, brought to you from ground zero (I plan to start racing with a notebook and pen strapped to my top tube as of next year...)
In this age of 140 characters, my affinity for verbose script is in danger of rendering me obsolete, and as such I’ll bring this post to a close. Granted, I’ve hinted at more stories than I’ve told, but think of this edition as a tasting platter, a prefix to the narrative banquet to come. Once again, it’s a pleasure to be working with the crew at Australian Triathlete, a team who have been described as similar to bored farmers standing in their favourite paddock (i.e. out-standing in their chosen field). Stay tuned for next edition, for more gags, superfluous literature, and hopefully more adherence to the subject matter!
Take care friends,
Biomechanically denied his dream of becoming an NBA superstar, Dan Wilson has been racing the ITU circuit for over seven years representing Australia at Junior, U/23 and Elite level. His results have ranged from winning a World Cup to finishing only with the aid of glow sticks. When not “at work” training three times a day, he incompetently plays the guitar, competently sips short blacks, and fervently studies the underground metal scene.