Mum and I have made it to Lanzarote and it is hard to believe this is my 3rd trip to the island for the Ironman. This was in fact my first professional race and I remember back then after driving the bike course I was in tears because I had never seen anything like it. It is encouraging to feel I have come a long way since then.
After Hong Kong to London, 7 hours in a Yotel at the airport, London to Madrid then Madrid to Lanzarote it was nice to sleep in a bed! Although it did take a couple of days for the body to start to feel normal again.
I met John and Gaye, fellow Perth Triathletes who have also made the journey to the Canary Islands for a swim, bike, run, lunch combination on Tuesday morning and lucky for us the wind was up so it was a good indication of what it is going to be like tomorrow.
Unfortunately it was a downhill slide from there! While I was swimming mum had received one of those phone calls that you always dread. That you never believe even when they do come. Early that morning my Uncle Neil had passed away from a heart attack. I am often referring to my family in my blog, in particular my cousin Wez, also known as “ginger ninja” or the “Wezanator!!” it was his father and a shock to all.
After mum told me it was straight back to the apartment, tears, tears and more tears. Total disbelief, shock and we were already arranging our flight back home to be with the family during this time.
But Aunty Janice and Wez would not have it! We were to stay here and I was to race. So the decision was made and I am racing Lanzarote in memory of Uncle Neil!
He was there my first trip to Hawaii as an age grouper, not the best day out (12.36 hrs!!) but was offering support all day and night! Another trip to New Zealand in 08 and it was my first podium in an Ironman as a Pro with a 2nd place finish! Then December last year, the entire family celebrated with Moet Champagne and toasted my first Ironman victory at Ironman Western Australia.
As hard as the last few days have been for me, I can’t imagine what they would be like for Wesley, Darryl, Aunty Janice, Benjamin and Jonathan.
No matter how hard the road might be on Saturday there will be a little message on my hand “for you Uncle Neil” that will remind me how short life is and how lucky I am to be here doing what I love!
RIP to the man with a laugh that could brighten any mood, an alter ego in “Charlie Brown” and an addiction to “coke and cordial”!
This one is for you xx