Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
Trip End May 27, 2008

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

On Saturday (1st) I got an early bus to Busselton as there was an Ironman competition happending and a 5k fun run which I thought I'd enter for a laugh.  I found out from a girl on the bus that they may need more volunteers at the event so after I set up my tent I found the relevant guys and said I'd be back after the run.  It was so embarassing and many kids were faster than I was.  I ran 23.30 which is a good 3 minutes sower than my PB from what i remember (so long ago) but I guess 18 months of not doing much will result in that!  After a good feed from the local bakery I ended up helping out in the volunteers tent, sorting kit bags into numerical order for each competitor.  I got chatting to a local guy called Mark and he offerred to show me around the area that evening - I was on my own and had no plans so we went off to an area near where he lives (Yallingup) and showed me the popular surf beach - apparently it's big stuff here.  We then had a drink in a lovely pub in the country that reminded me of home and went to the supermarket to shop for some BBQ food (and he insisted I picked out some ice-cream!).  He works for Ryan Air as a pilot and had worked in Borneo for a Malaysian airline so he was a great source of info for my upcoming trip.  Half of the year he lives in France working for them and the rest of the year he comes back to his place in Australia to surf and see his family - nice!

Sunday I got up early and made an appearance in the volunteer tent to find out my duties for the day.  I was told to go and enjoy myself and watch some of the swimming which I did - Busselton has the world's longest wooden jetty (2km) and competitors had to swim to the end and back - crazy!  After I went to the competitors tent to help pull wetsuits off people, give them their kit bag for the bike section and make sure they had suncream on (unfortunately I was only allowed to help in the female tent ;-) ).  I then went to watch the bike section and then helped out at the end - letting bike catchers know how many people were coming in to finish at a time then I helped catch bikes myself which was great fun.  As I was at the end of the course I ended up in the background of most people's pictures at the finish line!  Next was the run and I watched some of that and called out people's names from the race book which seemed to give them a lot of encouragement.  Then it was back to the tent to hand kit back to the finishers - it was starting to get cold and by 9pm I was so tired I felt like I'd participated!  Saw Glen from the Wicth's Hat and he was pleased with his first Ironman performance.  I watched a few finishers and it was great to see them run at the end, grabbing their wives, husbands and children and taking them with them.  One guy even got down for a few press-ups to show off!

I got lots of free food and a t-shirt and an invitation to come back Tuesday night for a free volunteers party in the town so I changed my plan to go back to Perth the following day.Didn't see Mark which was a shame as I didn't have a way of contacting him and he'd been a great local host the day before and I never got a chance to thank him.

Monday I got up earl and went or a run along the jetty - at 2km long it's said to be the world's longest wooden jetty and I hear it's nice for diving also.  I even saw a few Ironman competitors out for swims and runs - crazy!  Later I got the bus to Margaret River and checked into the YHA (not great but not many options there).  I met a guy who was travelling with a 15 year old lad he knows, solely for the purpose of surfing (the area is huge for that).  They were off to the beach to make some videos of him surfing so they can try and get him sponsorship so he can compete professionaly and I went with them.  He was pretty good I have to say but the bay soon got crowded with locals surfers keen to get in the water after a day's work.  That night I got chatting to a Canadian guy as I was trying to convince him to come biking with me but he wasn't up for it.  Watched Greenstreets football hooligan movie which I'd seen in a hostel in still makes me shdudder. 

Today I hired a bike and went off to another village and found a fudge factory (yes I was quite excited....).  I got to see some being made, had some free samples and splashed out on a couple of pieces.  I got chatting with an Ironman in there (who definitely desererved the fudge more than I did) and he was very positive about the organisation of the event which was great.  I headed off on a quick loop to the dam in Margaret River and then returned the bike as I had to get the bus back to Busselton for the party.

In Busselton I set up camp (again) and headed off to the tennis centre for the party.  It seemed as if everyone in town played a part in the event as it was very busy but unfortunately i recognised no-one and the guy in charge of the volunteers who'd invited me and was very happy about me halping wasn't there either which was a shame.  I got myself some food from the BBQ and a drink and sat and listened to the speeches then luckily a woman recognised me as I was helping her in the changing tent and I got chatting to her and her husband (and slyly introduced to a male friend of hers who was my age and 'just happened to be single' embarrasing!).  She invited me to go rowing with her club tomorrow but I'm leaving early to head back to Perth. 
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