Over the course of a week, we tested the limits of resilience.
Victoria’s Alpine Region has long been heralded the ideal training ground. Looking to add some variety to kick off their season, runners Clara Smith & Tayla Billington joined triathlete Marcel Walkington, and Olympic triathlete Aaron Royle on return from his off-season break.
On secluded roads with no distractions, the team explored new limits with new friends.
THE BEAUTY OF THE BURN
The anticipated cool mountain conditions were soon forgotten with the early sun making hot work of the morning shakeout.
This sun, combined with the dust from passing vehicles completing off-season roadworks, quickly turned an ‘easy’ run to a dusty, dry adventure. The team finally found some solace on the surrounding trails, and a post-run drink of spring mountain water made the mouth full of dust well worth it.
Clara wears the Perforated Medium Impact Bra, XVENT Singlet and MCS Run Compression Tights. Tayla wears the Medium Impact Bra, GHST Singlet & Core Compression Tights.
Double run days are never easy, but it’s all in the beauty of the burn. With the afternoon sun beginning to lower in the sky and the shadows lengthening, the team embraced afternoon hill repeats.
Under the shade of the tall tree canopy, the cool fresh breeze was a welcomed respite.
Top Image: Clara wears the Perforated Medium Impact Crop. Bottom Image: Tayla wears the Medium Impact Crop. Aaron wears the XVENT Long Sleeve.
REST IS MAGIC
The morning shakeout is an athlete ritual. It's a run to get the body moving, to say good morning and to ensure the work that was put in yesterday is flushed out. With morning showers sealing the gravel track, there was no dust in sight. The true magic of their surroundings distracted the athletes from the double morning session ahead.
With majority of training and racing done on hard surfaces throughout the year, the opportunity to do 1km repeats on packed gravel is accepted with great enthusiasm. Or, maybe it’s the knowledge of a free afternoon ahead.
Aaron wears the Utility Insulation Jacket in Black. Marcel wears the Utility Insulation Jacket in Crosshatch.
During the season, finding the right balance between training, racing, recovery, travel, and work is a challenge. A free afternoon with no phone service allows the athletes to put their feet up and connect with athletes from different disciplines, all at different stages in their careers.
Tayla and Clara wear the Commute Hoodie and Trackpants. Marcel wears the Utility Insulation Jacket, and Aaron wears the Commute Hoodie.
The friendly nature of the conversation soon disappears, and the team’s competitive nature returns via a game of Uno. What started as a casual game became a winner-takes-all challenge.
While winter was long gone, the Alpine Region is unpredictable. As the week went on, the weather turned. While the team packed their bags for the longest session yet, the outlook from the kitchen window was the main attraction.
Thick, dark clouds covered the mountain, and the possibility of summer snow woke everyone up
Aaron wears the GHST Waterproof Jacket in Matrix Black, and MCS Compression Shorts in Ultra Aqua Reflective.
Morning tempo – probably no one’s favourite. Harder than a shakeout, easier than efforts, yet so easy to get wrong. As they began their climb up the mountain, the light changed and thick fog set in, and then came the rain.
Clara wears the GHST ½ Zip top and Hi Rise Compression Tights. Marcel wears the XVENT Run Jacket and XVENT 2 in 1 Shorts. Aaron wears the Run Beanie and XVENT Long Sleeve.
Heavy legs combined with strong winds are no recipe for an afternoon run, but the trails were too good to refuse and the fascination surrounding the summit that day continued to lure the athletes in.
Snow. It can turn the most seasoned athlete into a child, but what is the fun in not having fun.
Any nerves of the session ahead quickly dissolved as the athletes piled out of the car and explored the white plains in front of them.
As expected, a snowball dodge broke out.
Marcel wears the Utility Insulation Jacket in Crosshatch. Clara wears the Utility Longline Insulation Jacket in White.
WE GO AGAIN
The next day, they returned to the summit for another team session.
In clearer air, they explored the open mountain top. The clouded horizon from the day before had faded, revealing just how spectacular the view from the top was.
Marcel wears the GHST ½ Zip, MCS Run Compression Tights and Run Gloves. Aaron wears the GHST Waterproof Jacket, MCS Run Compression Shorts and the Run Beanie.
The team took some time to explore a track Aaron had in mind. Steep and open to the elements, it was ideal for hill repeats. Making the most of the terrain, Clara and Tayla lead Marcel and Aaron through their paces, showing the ‘triathletes’ how it’s done.
Marcel & Aaron wear the Pursuit ¼ Zip and Wind Defence Compression Tights. Tayla wears the Pursuit 1/4 Zip and Run Dash Compression Shorts. Clara wears the GHST 1/2 Zip and MCS Run Compression Tights.
Post-session, it was a time to reflect on the day’s past.
A time that provided full clarity on the path ahead.
A time to remember exactly why you do it.
Day in, and day out.
Marcel wears the Utility Insulation Jacket and Commute Trackpants. Aaron wears the XVENT Tee, Refresh Recovery Tights and Commute Hoodie. Tayla wears the Power Recovery Tights, Contender Crop Tank and Commute Hoodie. Clara wears the Contender Tee and Commute Trackpants.