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Transventure Part 2

I ran out of space to upload photos onto my blog tonight. I don’t really want to spend money buying space because it’s money better spent out adventuring. So I have set up a Part 2 to my blog over at I hope you come follow my continuing adventures over there.

It took me 21 months to use up my free space, so that bodes well for my new blog space too. Come join me for another 2 years of adventures.

I am in the process of setting the new blog up identically to this one. It’s late tonight so I will continue working on it tomorrow. All new posts will be posted there. I hope you come follow me on my continuing adventures.

Adventures will continue at

First trail run in months

It feels like a lifetime ago that I ran on trails. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to do it, I’ve just been busy with other goals and priorities. But those are behind me now and it’s time to refocus on the next series of goals and adventures.

My body is recovering well from the physical stresses of The Great North Walk and Cycling for Hope. I pushed it hard from 2 July to 18 August and am pleased with how I am bouncing back after two weeks’ rest. The niggles I developed during those adventures are easing and I’m feeling ready to start getting active again.

One of my biggest goals for 2014 is to try my hand at adventure running. That is, long distance trail running for the purpose of exploring new trails, rather than being limited to organised races. I am discovering that I enjoy the solitude of my own company when I run and don’t like to feel restricted by race cut-offs or crowds. Also, there are places I would like to run that are more beautiful than the fire trails on which our trail running seems restricted here in South-East Queensland. And, perhaps, I just want to experience the simple freedom of running solo always picking my own pace and route.

This morning I decided to start the journey of exploring this new option. I hit the trails for an easy 5-6km trail run / walk. I don’t want to overdo things so allowed myself the luxury of not having to work too hard.

I wanted to enjoy the run for what it was – an excuse to be back out in the bush listening to the birds singing, feeling the breeze blow gently against my skin, picking my way along the rock and stick littered trail, and allowing the sun’s warmth to cause me to sweat.

Total: 5-6km trail running / walking

Great North Walk success


250km. 11 days. 1 destroyed sock. 1 burned sock. A hole in my shoes. What an awesome adventure. Journal entries and pics to come once I get to a computer. Camping at Stockton Beach, Newcastle for a few days to wind down and relax.

Baz the Landy: I took a leaf out of your book and smashed out 41km today from Watagan Forest Hotel.

Commuting on the racer

Commuting on the racer by Andrew Gills
Commuting on the racer, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

Today was the first time this week that I’ve had a chance to cycle commute. I didn’t have much to carry, so I could cruise in on my roadie. It made the commute easy and fast.

I am feeling fit and strong right now. It’s a good way to feel.

Total: 2 x 12.9km road cycle

Night walk

Night walk by Andrew Gills
Night walk, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

My partner is a constant source of inspiration to me. She only started getting into fitness in July last year when she decided to take her doctor’s advice and get healthy after recovering from surgery to remove cancer from her bowels. And when my partner decides to do something, she does it.

My partner’s journey to fitness started with 1km (0.6 mile) walks around our block and 20 minute weights sessions at the gym. After a little while, she increased her walks to 2km (1.2miles) including a long hill climb. She now walks 5-6km (3.1-3.7 miles most days of the week.

Yesterday I asked her whether she would wait until I got home from work before setting off on her daily walk. So she suggested we head into the bush to walk the trails because she wanted a challenge (walking the trails is more physically demanding than getting up a rhythm on the road). I was delighted to be her guide.

We did the same 5km loop we walked over the weekend. But this time, the sun set as we passed the halfway point and my partner had to use a head torch during her walk for the first time. To add to the challenge, a huge lighting and thunder storm was brewing nearby, threatening to strike us at any moment (we got lucky and it swung away at the last minute).

I’m proud of my partner for making this decision to become more active and to explore new experiences like bushwalking at night. I am excited about the experiences it will allow us to share in the future.

Total: 5km trail walk at night

City loop century

City loop century by Andrew Gills
City loop century, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

I don’t have a plan when I set off after breakfast, other than that I want to cover 100km today. I just follow where the road takes me and let my mind wander; enjoying the hum of my wheels along the road.

The ride itself wasn’t eventful or particularly scenic; other than the first 10km and last 20km. All I did was ride up the V1 bikeway into the city and then through the eastern suburbs back home. Despite yesterday’s race, I felt strong for most of the ride. I did struggle from 53-63km but after a shot stop at a servo (gas station for those in the US) to buy some Powerade I felt a lot better and enjoyed the cruise home.

I should have been at home writing a paper for university, which is due on Friday. But I didn’t totally blow it off; I spent the first 60km of my ride drafting the short 500 word essay so will be able to just bash it out tonight.

I also spent a lot of time thinking about how far I’ve come in the past year. Last March, I was still a triathlete. My training was focused on the Byron Bay Olympic Distance Triathlon and I was working on speed. I was also still taking parkour classes and volunteering as a technical official with Triathlon Queensland.

The biggest difference between then and now is that I no longer tag my posts as ‘training’. Shortly after I decided to stop racing triathlon in May last year, I stopped seeing my outdoor pursuits as something I do for pleasure.

Ironically, this has seen me increase my mileage significantly without greatly compromising speed. In March last year I rode six sessions of 25 – 43km at 26-29kph, with four of the sessions being 32-34km long. This year, I am riding 50-100km sessions at 25-29kph.

The events I’m racing are also longer than those I did this time last year. Back then, most of my events were 1.5 hours in duration. Now I am racing 4 – 24 hour events.

I love the long events. Endurance is my thing. I’m not yet good at it. In some events I’m in the top half of the field (adventure races and rogaines) while I’m a back-of-the-pack trail runner. But I also don’t follow a training plan and am still developing the base fitness necessary to add speed to my endurance. Not that I aspire to win; I just want to keep enjoying myself.

Total: 100.1 road cycle

Riding in a midgie cloud

Midgies ... madness by Andrew Gills
Midgies … madness, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

It’s been raining cats and dogs again here in Brisbane. It rains when I wake up. It is dark outside during the day as heavy rain falls. And it rains when I go to bed at night.

I was hoping to go road riding today but I value my safety so decided not to. It’s not that I’m going to melt in the rain but our rain falls in sheets, reducing visibility greatly.

Instead, I grabbed my MTB and hit the trails. After riding through the deep water puddles in the grass field, I rode straight into a wall of midgies that quickly turned into a massive cloud that hung over the whole bush.

I should remember to wear insect repellant more often. Though perhaps there wouldn’t have been any strong enough to stop me getting covered from head to toe with tiny little critters.

My ride was good fun. I splashed through creeks and single tracks that had turned into waterways. I got axle deep on many occasions and my knees even got wet through one creed. It was fabulous.

Until I got home and had to spend 15 minutes in the shower trying to wash all the midgies off my skin. I almost resorted to shaving my body hair because they didn’t seem to be washing off. I’m still picking midgies out of my eyes tonight as I write this post. Classic.

Total: 18.13km MTB

Four hour georun/walk

Water birds on pond by Andrew Gills
Water birds on pond, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

After a long fortnight of being stretched too thin, I decided to spend today out geocaching on foot. My training this week has been sporadic to non-existent (I did do a 7km trail run Thursday night that I forgot to write about).

So, this morning I mapped out a long route from geocache to geocache through nearby Cleveland. My run took me to urban and bushland caches, including two pretty ones next to billabongs (waterholes).

My sister, and Whoops Witch Way team mate, came to join me part-way through my four-hour session. She’s a muggle (person who doesn’t geocache) but is a fantastic ferret (member of rogaining team who ferrets out the checkpoints) so it was great to have her along. She found a few caches I couldn’t.

I covered 17km and ran quite a bit of it, which is a huge step from last year’s injury riddled period. It felt really good.

This evening I will go for a 5km walk with my partner. We haven’t walked together in a little while due to my work and travel commitments. I am looking forward to it.

Total: 17km geocaching run/walk.

Enjoying a swim

Butterfly King by Andrew Gills
Butterfly King, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

I discovered the hotel I stayed in last night had a fantastic pool. And this morning it was totally deserted. While I forgot my swimming togs, I did bring a pair of running shorts with me so threw them on and hit the water.

I didn’t have goggles with me so I wanted to limit my eyes’ exposure to the chlorinated water. To do this, I alternated between swimming 100m and water running 100m. My swimming included freestyle, breast stroke, kicking, side stroke and butterfly (that’s me swimming butterfly in the photo).

The session was fun. I good reminder that training can be play. I’m not quite sure what the next person using the pool would have thought though because my ungraceful butterfly resulted in some serious splashage.

I also spent some time later in the day walking around Perth. I ended up walking 7km.

Total: 1km water running + 1km swimming + 7km walking

Sydney by bicycle


I was supposed to do Tough Mudder today but instead of flogging myself in a mudbath, I enjoyed a glorious day cycling around Sydney with my mum. I’m just down here for the day so we hired bikes from Bonza Bike Hire so we could explore the sights.


We started at The Rocks where we breakfasted on Lebanese flat bread with spinach, mushrooms and feta washed down with freshly squeezed juice. It was both delicious and relatively healthy.

We then rode down under the Harbour Bridge where I logged an earth geocache. It was so cool to ride along the harbour under clear blue skies. We rode along Circular Quay, past the iconic ferries and on to Opera House, where we bought tickets to see Le Gateau Chocolat tonight (the show was brilliant).


From the Opera House we walked our bikes through the Botanical Gardens and down to Wooloomooloo(sp). I stopped to grab another geocache, which led me to see these strange waterside sculptures near the navy base.
We stopped at a marketin urban Potts Point to buy some snacks and play draughts in the square. Mum thrashed me but it was still great fun. We haven’t played draughts together since I was a young child. The games cost a gold coin donation to play with proceeds going to a homeless people’s charity. The chocolate brownish we ate were divine.

We followed the harbour the Rushcutters Bay where we stopped to stand in the crystal clear water and watch the yachts sailing in the distance. It’s amazing that this scenery is less than 5km from the centre of Australia’s largest city.




We left the harbour near Vaucluse and cut across to the ocean. Boy were there some big hills to climb and long flights of stairs to negotiate. But it was worth it; the view from the cliffs was amazing!



We rode all the way along the cliffs to The Gap, carrying our bikes up and down many more tortuous flights of stairs.





From The Gap we dropped down to Watson’s Bay for another quick geohunt before riding to Vaucluse Point where we watched a pod of dolphins play around some sailing yachts. It’s amazing how dolphins have the power to make us humans stop and stare in awe.

At Shark Bay we stopped for drinks and snacks. It was almost 4pm and we’d not eaten since midday. It was so pretty sitting there overlooking the harbour and beach. I felt like I was on holidays.


Given the time, we followed the main road all the way back to Rushcutters Bay where we went back to the waterfront.


It was early evening by the time we carried our bikes down one final flight of stairs and followed the path back to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge to return the bikes to the hire company. Mum and I both agreed it was the perfect way to spend a day in Sydney.

Total: 50km cycling at a leisurely pace (who cares the average speed).