Rest Recovery and Friendship in Townsville

1175707 10151622938656003 1861225478 nRest and Recovery in Townsville
Arriving back from Mongolia last week in Melbourne on Tuesday 10th September, I had more work to do before checking into my hotel room and then flying the next morning out to Townsville.
Norm helped me re pack my bags, bike bags and road bike so that I could leave my Mongolia gear behind with him to take home to Forrest.

I could not fathom going home first with a 2hr drive home, 2hrs back to airport. It was far easier to just stay here.

What made things a little on the tough side was that since Sunday I had lost my appetite and felt quite ill. To the point of vomiting Sunday night and not eating from then on. Now when Jess Douglas loses her appetite something is wrong – I very rarely experience this and LOVE my food.

During the trip home I would eat small portions of food but not be able to finish it, relying on lemonade and orange juice. By the time we arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday morning I was experiencing diarrhoea and my energy levels dropping.

But I had a plane to catch to Townsville and I was ever hopeful that sunshine and good friends would bring me back to life.
Still struggling to eat on the plane and feeling eternally nauseas.

I finally arrived in Townsville on Wednesday morning to a beautiful sunny day. I had been experiencing coldness the whole flight with goosebumps so could not wait to feel warm.

Only problem was that I was not well and not sure how I would be putting my bikes together and then riding them!

Brett Tilley took me back to his house where I would spend the next week – instantly I knew I would have a shower and head to bed, even if only for 10 mins. After getting some energy back from a shower and snooze I put my road and mountain bikes together. I decided that despite not eating and feeling nauseous I needed to go for a ride and see how I really felt.

Having done many long races and 24hr races that hurt like hell and leave you feeling tired with dead legs, I knew I would be able to tell if I was sick or just tired if I rode my bike for a bit.

Well here I was on my race ready fast anthem 29'er and I wanted to be in my small chain ring with no load and happy to pedal along at 15kmph and still struggle. Ok, after doing a few stop ins at chemist, bike shop, supermarket and return back up to the hill of all hills on Castle Hill, I knew I was sick, this feeling was not normal and certainly not entirely post race fatigue.

Still no appetite that night, nibbling away at what I could and then admitting defeat. That night in bed I experienced hot and cold sweats and lots of toilet stops.

Myself Brett Alex and Geoff met for a ride at Under the Radar at Pallarenda the next morning.
Even though I desperately wanted to lay in bed, once again I was certain that if I went on a social ride I would find out once and for all, was I really sick, or just tired?

The very first hill I could not even put load in my legs, I just settled into an easy gear and did what I could – not much.

Within about 30 minutes I was feeling pale, clammy and feverish, so I knew I was sick and all I could hope for was another downhill that would allow me to get a few hundred meters out of the way for zero energy output. I tried my hardest to enjoy the ride but could not engage in conversation. I had said to Brett earlier on that if all went well I would ride some more and ride home by myself. I was already fully committed to NOT doing that and going home in the car with everyone else.

But lets talk about ride no. 1 at U.T.R. Cape Pallarenda is a great spot down the northern end of Townsville, a headland that has existing walking tracks but this new mountain bike trail went in about a year ago. Its certainly opened up another area to ride in Townsville and for many its a welcome relief to the terrain at Douglas trails. Apparently its a 16km loop with about 10km of single track. The trail itself really uses the sides of the headland quite nicely, always gaining elevation with the nicest of gradients and wide sweeping switchbacks, then you are rewarded with fast flowing gradual descents that are pedal free!

It was difficult for me to appreciate this entirely on this day, however I did my best to enjoy what I was doing with the knowledge that a hot shower (yes you heard right, I was chilled and needed a hot shower) and some sleep was available to me in short time.

I got home, showered and was about to sleep but thought, I really need to make a doctors appointment and see if there is something wrong with me, or tomorrow I wont be able to do anything. I was feeling that weak, still no appetite and no sign of improvement on the radar.

I was able to get an appointment within the hour so sleep would have to wait. Brett gave me a lift down the hill and I had a patient doctor willing to listen to my lengthy story of how I got to where I was right now.

I was sent off for tests, the biggest one being a faeces sample one, never done that before but with very bad stomach pain and worsening diarrhoea I was willing to do anything. She also prescribed me an anti biotic that she suspected would at least stop the runs for fear of dehydration and energy loss and a possible holiday visit for an overnight drip.

Poo samples done, anti biotic no. 1 in the system, chemist jelly beans consumed I made my way home to get some sleep and see what would happen now.

Within a couple of hours I had some energy back, no more heading to the toilet suddenly and by dinner time I was interested in eating a pasta bolognaise meal. This was SOOOoooo exciting to be interested in eating! Starting to feel hope for the future, even if that was just tomorrow I headed to bed to see how I felt the next day for a planned road ride. Alex had promised me it was a totally easy 30km ride, no more than an hour and coffee afterwards at Juliettes on the Strand. Perfect!

Ok, so not expecting miracles my legs did still feel dead, especially on any mild incline, but I was there pedalling my bike, no fever and no fear of needing a toilet and we were doing happy miles for the sake of a social coffee on a Friday morning – soul miles.

The funny thing since leaving for Mongolia back on the 27th August I have given up coffee (not by choice...Mongolia don't do coffee), and since being ill, the last thing I feel like is a coffee. Its now been 3 weeks and no coffee and I can't see it entering my daily routine again any time soon.

So freshly squeezed juice it is for me. I could even manage ½ a serve of banana bread – win!

Now with last nights pasta, OJ, banana bread and 2 anti biotics in my system now, I was ready to roll out a few more happy miles by myself so rode out to Cape Pallarenda with the sun shining deep into my heart, oh to be alive and riding my bike. The simple things....

Loving life again and seeing the light at the end, knowing I have taken action, have some medication that is working and be staying in a house where I can have some space and have an afternoon nap when I need. My trip to Townsville was proving to be more about rest and recuperation than training in the sun.

That afternoon I met Jo Wong along with Brett Tilley to ride Pallarenda – UTR again. This time with more energy I couldn't wait to see how I was travelling. Showing Jo some tips to improve her riding was the main purpose, but again it was about the sun on my shoulders, smiling and being with good people. Energy on the ups still lacking but I was having fun, wanting to be there and enjoying the ride. What a divine sunny evening on the bike.

943341 10151630380511003 141107764 nThe next day we were heading out on Haydn's boat with Brett, Gail and myself for some reef fishing and a little swim on Kelso reef. The weather was perfect all day long and by lunchtime the water had glassed over and stayed that way for the rest of the day.

When we went for a swim I just could not believe the turquoise colour of the water, the coral, the fish, the reef sharks, the ripples of the sand (which was really tiny little bits of shell and coral bleached to white) and then the joy of swimming to a tiny little island and just sitting there, in the sun for a few moments.

Swimming back, I was soaking in this precious moment. Grateful to the people who brought me here, knowing I would love it, being given opportunities to do these things and to be feeling well enough to be here!

1186671 10151625203066003 352609033 nBack in the boat and after lunch it was time for us to fish again, and Haydn suggested I give a go at really trying to catch a fish this time and so I did. I think we were down to 150-200 feet so there is a lot of line to reel in and it gets exhausting. I had to pull the line with the reel across my body to make it taut, the wind in the line smoothly and when done, repeat process until fish is up to bring onboard. I caught what is known as a “sweet lips” and Brett and Haydn were catching all sorts, beautiful Coral trout and a Cobia as well.

Haydn caught a fish, cant remember name, but they suck onto sharks and feed off their left overs. They have this platform on their head that literally sucks onto the body of the shark. Haydn made me put my hand on it and it “sucked” it to its head, and it did not feel nice! Ewwww. I didn’t do well with that one. Nor did I do well with fish flapping around in the bottom of the boat before they were killed and gutted. Nor did I do well with the amount of guts and blood reef fish have. I was used to flat head fishing with my Pa back when I was a kid. Flathead never had much blood or guts to deal with, I used to do it all with him.

On the return trip home we stopped and enjoyed the tranquil waters just off Magnetic Island. The afternoon just glowed, I was energised by this day and will remember it for a long time to come.

Ready to take on a new day, Sunday morning was a bunch road ride with Sandra and crew, around 60km of nice cruisy 30kmph flattish riding. Legs still dead on climbs, but they could now push through and try to go harder which meant I was getting back energy and this was just a normal reaction to having done a big race last week.

Finishing off with coffee and breakfast with the crew, it was a restful morning with no pressure.

526539 10151626772491003 1821083529 nThe afternoon was a mountain bike ride planned with Sussannah and the Fairy Bread Chicks at Pallarenda – another chance to see what my legs felt like on the trail for the 3rd time around.
What a fun ride, good people, fairy bread, cakes, meringues and girl time on mtb's.
A quick ride back home up the nasty hill to the Tilley's and off to dinner for Laura's 19th.

Two days to go of riding left in Townsville.

Time to visit Douglas with Haydn and Brett. I cant remember what trails we rode but now I could ride uphills, still lacking grunt, but totally clearing everything and able to do it with the knowledge I was not going to fall in a heap. Rode along the river trail for a bit, grabbed a freshly squeezed OJ and then met with Kelly back at Douglas for a spin.

Kelly and I had already planned that we were doing “sushi train” after our ride and this did not disappoint. Food glorious food and I could eat it!
After saying bye to Kelly I rode a bit longer and then picked up the Demo Giant Lust 27.5 2 at Run and Ride and was planning on using this at Douglas tomorrow.

559812 10151630380281003 227837285 nTuesday morning, Brett, Haydn Geoff and I went to Douglas and rode some more trails, some I had not yet ridden and some I had, but this time I was on the 27.5” bike, trying to hone in my senses to see if it was any different to a 29'er or 26'er and if so what was it?

Some happy smiles, great times and a new bike to trial. What more was there to do?

Yesterday I had seen an old friend in the paper, in the RAAF with his son. I wondered if he was on Facebook and I would send him a message. Success. FB Yes, message Yes, answer Yes, coffee catch up planned for today at 10:30am.

1234124 10151630184181003 1761164114 nI have not seen Campbell Carroll in perhaps 22-23years? We had a ball, so much to talk about and it felt good to be connecting with an old friend and taking the chance that I might be successful in doing so. We have now vowed to stay in contact and not be strangers. I love how life is there to have a go and take a chance and the rewards you get when you put yourself out there.

With my trip nearing an end I had the good old bike packing to be done in the humid heat of the afternoon. I wanted to get this done first, then relax and pack my bags.

Townsville – I had a marvellous time, I feel like I am happier, healthier and have renewed energy to tackle the next phase of my year, and life. So much going on for the next 6 months, its exciting and its not all about racing.

Yes, I have the WEMBO 24hr MTB champs coming up in 3.5 weeks and thats a good thing.

I have had many hiccups along the way in my preparation for this however this has only made my resolve stronger, more mentally settled and ready to face anything, regardless of the outcome.

As a 40 year old mother of 19 y.o Saskia, wife of Norm, business owner, athlete and role model, mentor to many and lover of life I have come to realise that challenges should never be avoided and that may appear to be suffering or hard work is just growing pains, expanding, learning and changing. Its all worth it and thats what I am here for – to live life, engage in life and give back to the world.

  • Life is good!
  • People are good!
  • The World is awesome and there is nothing to fear in failure or success.
  • Medicoracy is denying yourself of all of this.

Whilst I get rid of the last of my stomach parasites – I got the poo tests back with 2 parasites and Salmonella in my body – I will keep you up to date with my new bikes, new health and being back in Victoria with only 3.5 weeks until I am tested against the best 24hr female mountain bikers in the world.