Checking In with The Purple Tiger - Rachel McBride
Well it’s time I let you all know that I’ve decided that New Zealand is so amazing, I’m just not going to come back….
Just kidding!! OK OK, I’m already back home in beautiful Vancouver. But boy, if I’ve ever experienced an untapped triathlete secret training ground, it is the Nelson/Tasman area of New Zealand’s South Island.
* 50m outdoor pool where you are pretty much guaranteed a lane to yourself,
* Weekly bike races and open water swim races where the teens kick your butt
* Any kind of ride you want on quiet roads including the awesome Takaka Hill Climb
* Rolling and mountainous running and hiking trails out your front door with views to die for
* High performance athlete-filled Gym owned by Brad Josse and mum Mary from Bend, Oregon!
* Beautiful calm beaches in Abel Tasman National Park for recovery chill out…
There are so many places to explore around the area, I feel like I just barely tapped into what is possible. I did make a few wonderful trips out from town. At Nelson Lakes, I had the hiking experience of a lifetime climbing up to the Mt Arnaud Range ridgeline. The view was so epic I am totally serious when I say I was brought to tears.
Another great experience was in the Marlborough Sounds area. World famous for its sauvignon blanc wines, I spent my time running/hiking a bit of the Queen Charlotte Track, then taking a water taxi across Kenepuru Sound to the lovely, secluded Hopewell Hostel. After amazing homemade pizza and meeting more wonderful people, I cruised the next morning back around by bike on the half gravel, half pavement road.
I am hugely thankful for the hospitality and friendship of 2x Ironman Champ Britta Martin, Olympic cyclist Robin Reid and Pete the pup who put me up for a few weeks. I felt really welcomed into the sporting community in Nelson and met so many wonderful people. Special shout out to the hilarious Pogo Patterson for the ridiculously hard TRX/core classes!
The only thing missing from NZ was my partner Shane! After spending a month in Nelson, I headed back to the Northern Hemisphere. Thankfully spring had sprung in the Pacific Northwest, making the transition from 2 months of endless summer days a bit more tolerable. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been thrown back into “real” life, which is a little stressful and really hit home the wonderful opportunity I had the past 2 months. But at the same time, I’m back with my local support team who are keeping me healing and stronger than ever.
Shortly after landing back in the Northern Hemisphere, I headed down to Oregon to rock some gravel bike racing at the Gorge Roubaix and took home podium results both days! What a fantastic way to return!!
I’ve been able to put in some solid training hours over the past month and feel stronger than I ever have. We are making leaps and bounds at this point, but the foot healing and return to running has been a bit of a roller coaster. I was hoping to be given the OK for the beloved Wildflower Triathlon coming up in just a couple weeks, but it looks like Ironman 70.3 Victoria in June will be my return to racing after 13 months away. And I can’t tell you enough how ridiculously excited I am to hit a start line!!
Thanks for reading and we'll see you at the races! - Rachel