Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 10Oct - Drivers License in Australia

One of the things that I never got to do when I first moved to Australia in hmm...2005 was to obtain an Australian drivers license. I had never thought of the necessary for it since Australia public transportation was reliable (compared to Malaysia). It was never quite a necessity to even catch a cab. And our Malaysian drivers license is also valid in Australia. However, the matter of carrying your photo ID (aka passport) is somehow a safety issue as well. Usually, we would only need to carry our IC. Anyway in Australia, their IC is the drivers license or Proof of Age card.
For South Australians, surfing the website provides the most information.
Since I already have a full drivers license from Malaysia, I wasn't quite sure how to proceed. You don't expect me to learn from the very start eg. Ls etc.
LIke usual, we would need to learn our theory first. Was recommended to surf the RAA website for some basic information on driving and test. 
Trying out their Learner's test before heading to Service SA for the theory test is a wise choice.
In Australia, the GIVE WAY questions are very important. If you fail any of the 10 questions, you fail the whole thing. I was advise to try the test for nearly 50 times, and its a guarantee pass. 
This was my highest test score online. But don't go taking your theory test yet until your practical school ask you to. The test is only valid for 1month. Within that month, you'll need to take your practical driving test. *Phhsttt...I only had 1 wrong in the official theory test* =p
I was recommended by a friend to contact Tony, driving instructor. I had to go for about 6 practical classes @ $65 per hr. Not happy that I was charged extra from the cost I see in his website.
But then Tony is a typical Australian, nice patient man. I just needed to gain my confidence again on a foreign country road.
This sheet of carbon paper states how many points I had obtained & where I did wrong during my practical test. Full marks is 100 and passing mark is 90. I got long as I passed it

After 6 classes x $65 = $390. I was scheduled for my practical test. Another $65 x 2hrs = $130 (1st hr as a refresher and 2nd hr is rental of Tony's car) + $150 exam fees. On a Thurs morning, rush hour. WTF!! And guess wat? I F*cked up. Who the heck would not panic & nervous when you have like hundreds of cars trying to pass you, plus the examiner practically rushing me. A typical a**hole. Guess where he's originally from? Not gonna say it here *grrrr*
Rescheduled another test the following weekend, where the traffic would be better. Another $130 + 150 = $280 down the drain. Same examiner again but Tony had a chat with him. So crossing fingers on the better condition. The speed limit was a slight problem. 50kmph at housing areas & 60kmph on the main roads. I felt like I was crawling.

Thankfully once that was over, I was provided the a Certificate of Competency.
This is the shorter way to obtain a Drivers License called the VOTR - Vehicle On Road Test rather than taking the L, Provision Stage 1 then 2 and finally to Full license.
With the certificate, I went to Service SA office to register for my license.
Oh, another thing about driving examiners. There are such thing as EXTERNAL examiners.
They don't work for the Government, but are registered examiners.
Anyway, 10days later, my license came in the mail. Damn!! I had a hair makeover after the picture was took. I needed my license before my MurrayMan race and the makeover was only after the race.

And that was my ordeal on obtaining an Australian driver's license.
KS had to get me anti-stress tablets to calm my nerves down during that period.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012 November 4 - Murray Man Long Course Triathlon

How i spent my birthday weekend? By racing of course...well, its not actually by choice.
So many things to prep for this trip. Drivers license, car, accommodation, training, GPS etc.
Thankfully, in the end, all went through very well.
We had so much contemplation on how to place the 2 bikes in the car. The whole objective on getting the Nissan X-trail was for the 2 babies. No longer is my FLX Merida gonna be out expose in the hot sun or rain.  
Where were we heading? Barmera - Riverland west of South Australia. What's there? Good question. No idea. I dun think I would even consider going there other than for the race. Sorry SA. If Malaysians travel to Perhentian Island to get some sun and beach/lake, Australians would come here. 
Located ~250km away from the city, I would have never considered driving 3hrs long a great thing. I remember the time when my family had to travel to Ipoh for Chinese New Year holidays. But having the auto-cruise on the X-trail is simply amazing!!!! 
Totally besides myself, I did not book my accommodation in time at Barmera and the nearest town, Berri. So the next closest was in Renmark, about 30mins drive away. KS & I stayed at the Renmark Motor Inn, smack right in between KFC and McDonalds....hahhaha 
One of the host, Rosy, was a wonderful lady who welcomed us. We requested for a twin-bedding room. 
Clean and spacious for the 2bikes and our stuffs 
Big screen tv on the wall with small kitchen appliances eg. microwave, toaster, fridge, kettle etc. 
Bathroom was meticulously clean 
We registered at Barmera for our race stuff and realised that KS & I were the minority (only asian triathlete). 
Wasn't much of a wetsuit fan after several attempts to swim in it.  
So also got life jacket..was asking ppl to throw the ball out into the water for him
Eventhough his legs was shivering. 

Course map for Long course distance (2km/80km/20km)
The swim was 2km distance (2laps x 1km) 
The bike ride was 4laps x 20km = 80km 
Run was 4laps x 5km 
Race pack 
U aint gonna spot me or i mentioned..minority 
It wasn't as cold as expected. Made sure to apply loooooooaadddss of Body Glide on my neck and arms.
Previous I had bad rubber burns on my neck and I had difficulty taking off the wetsuit from my arms.
Fresh water lake swim so it wasn't salty, so thankfully I wasn't thirsty after the swim.
Still felt that I was swimming with paddles the whole way coz using extra energy/strength with the wetsuit. 
The bike was the most torturous part for me since I'm the worst cyclist ever.
4 loops x 20km. Heading out the 10km was craaaazzzyyy. The wind blowing from all directions. The sahara dessert on my right whilst the lake on my left. I could feel the sun burning me from above. I was practically riding at 18kmph out, but was able to recover abit on the return.
Come the 3rd loop, my paced dropped to 15kmph and the last loop was down to 11kmph with no one in front or behind me.
My right ITB was hurting, which made me stop to stretch it out. The whole time I had wanted to stop and call it quits but no support car in sight. Well, if you do get a flat, you only have 10km to walk back. 
KS's coach took this picture of him

Last but not least was the 20km run (4loops). I would prefer to run compared to cycling. Some might think otherwise. First 1km, my mental state was bad. Walk run every 100m. Got to the 1st water station, I was provided electrolyte, ice water, jelly beans and diluted coke. Even the home owners were outside their house ready to hose us down due to the heat of 40 degrees. I total salute the volunteers. The dedication they have in helping the triathletes. 

Only a few steps away from the water station tent, the volunteers came to me, helped change my wet towel, applied sunscreen etc. When I told them I had 1 last loop to finish, they said they'll be here for me. When they saw me arriving again, I could hear them say "I see her! I see her!" Never had I felt such ... feeling in a race!! So alive eventhough I felt half dead. They cheered me on when I left for my last 3km to the finish line.
Chronological of expressions after I crossed the finish line
Welcoming cold bath for my overheated body & sizzling skin
Burnt on my right shoulder and knees (coz wearing compression quads & calves)
Finisher Towel
Finisher medal
The pain finisher picture courtesy by KS
nearly 7hrs..this is worst than Aviva 70.3 Singapore that I did in 2010
we had to stay an extra night coz I couldn't drive home that day
and took 2 days MC to recover...wat a race!!
KS said the only way to counter this race is to.....train harder..blek

More pics from official photographers