As far back as I can remember I was riding bikes. It started with wearing the grass down to nothing on the front lawn as I took the racing line around the letter box, and moved to missions with mates exploring trails around the Dandenongs during weekends. I was also a runner from an early age, but fell away from athletics as others grew taller and I stayed short and struggled to keep up. I moved to triathlon as I left high school, but was never that serious about training. I met my now wife in university and found both rogaining and a great event called the Winter Classic through her and her friends. The Winter Classic was an amazing two day event held around Hotham and Omeo which included cross country skiing, navigation running, road riding and whitewater kayaking legs. I first did a few legs in a team and then did the whole event as a pair the following year. In 2004, with our first child on the way I decided it was now or never to do an Ironman, and with a six week old baby on race day, I learnt a lot about training and endurance (but also a bit about sleep deprivation) through the process.
I found the Ironman brand far too commercial for my liking and a year later randomly entered an Arrow 24 hour adventure race event. As more kids started appearing at my house I found myself on a website with contained three simple letters. X. P. D. I decided it was something I had to do and all it took was sending an email to someone random who was looking for a fourth team member. Pretty soon we were headed to a 36 hour Red Yeti Adventure Race as a training run. I learnt about sleep monsters on this event, not experiencing them myself, by having my teammate steering around circus carousels as we paddled down the river. I learnt a lot about teammates, sleep strategies, navigation and the need to keep moving while doing XPD Whitsundays in 2007. Since then I’ve competed in many other races including XPDs, AROC, Geoquests, and AJ X-Marathons, Winter Challenge and Sprint Series races, Falls Creek Mountain Raid and done a trip to NZ. It’s been great being able to participate with my kids at sprint races and rogaines. So far it’s just been the older two, but one day maybe we’ll be all be racing.
For the last few years I’ve raced as Dynamite Adventure Racing with local friends that I met through the kids school and kinder. We have found that we complement each other well and work better as a team each time we race. Having teammates live locally makes a big difference both in being able to train together and also packing for races.
I’d love to see a schools program or youth development program in AR across Australia. I know there’s some great things starting to happen in this area and it’s really exciting to see.
My professional life is spent working as an engineer in an niche environmental consultancy. We specialise in the field of contaminated land which in simple terms involves spending a lot of time collecting, talking about and writing about dirt and water.
Balancing training with family life is a struggle for everyone. With four kids who are currently aged between 14 and 8, the issue is probably a little more compounded. This is especially the case on weekends when we seem to be in a constant state of movement ferrying kids to and from sport, parties and other activities. My training is not very structured as a result, but I like it that way. I much prefer to go out exploring, than focusing on what heart rate zone I am in. Training is normally fit in around work and family, either taking place early morning as a commute or a quick lunchtime paddle or run. With the rest of Dynamite Adventure in similar situations with kids and sport, it generally results in almost all weekend training sessions starting well before sunrise.
Our family love spending time skiing and try to spend at least a week at Falls Creek every year. That’s part of why I jumped at the opportunity to work with Adventure Junkie for Alpine Quest. I’m really excited about this opportunity to learn and help deliver an event that will definitely be about the journey but having the prologue allows us to have some fast paced fun stuff incorporated as well. I’ve been involved in directing events through a foundation that I am a chairman for. The a2 Milk Upstream Challenge is an annual walk/run event that we put on specifically for charities who need assistance to raise funds and give them a helping hand so they can focus on their main goal.