Tag Archive for ollie whistler

Runners World Magazine – Mt Gower Challenge, Lord Howe Island.

16 April, 2014.

Following on from a back page feature in the latest edition of Runner’s World Magazine, I thought I’d post the full interview here for everyone to read. This was done after my record breaking attempt for the ascent/descent of Mt Gower on Lord Howe Island back in January. I hope you all enjoy the read!

 

Can you tell us a bit about the Mt Gower Challenge? Was it an invitational? And was the recent one the inaugural event organised by your dad? Sounds like it was dramatic – is the course quite exposed in sections?! What was the total elevation gain?

This year’s race was the inaugural event and a concept created by my dad. He was definitely the driving force for the organising of the event, but the whole family got involved and so did the Islands community. Lord Howe is a world heritage site and it was a hard concept to have approved by the committee on the Lord Howe Island board. Due to the danger involved with the event, we were only approved to have 5 local athletes that knew the track to attempt the record this year. The event was a huge success in bringing the community together and a great source of exposure for the Island, so the Board has shown their ongoing support to run the race as an annual or biannual event. The course is 13km in length and the Mountain 875m tall. It starts with a 1.8km run along a coastal bush track to the base of the mountain (a mix of four wheel drive track, sand and boulder hopping). It’s then almost vertical to the lower road, a section running along a 1m wide cliff with a 250m sheer drop into the ocean, which takes you into the valley between Mt Gower and Mt Lidgbird. From Erskine valley to the top it’s again almost vertical and a hard slog with many rope sections to navigate. If you have time to stop and take in the scenery, there are amazing views throughout the whole course. It’s like nothing I’ve ever competed in before and is absolute utopia once at the top and amongst some of the most unique moss beds in the world. We’d love to hold the event again and make it only by invitation. Logistically you’re somewhat limited to this anyway, as there are only a certain amount of flights and restricted numbers allowed on the island at any one time. Being a busy tourist destination, it would be impossible to get numbers on the island at any one time.

 

Can you tell us about your father and his association with Lord Howe Island and Mt Gower?

Much like I did, Dad had a very early introduction to sport. His father, Jimma, was a very competitive sprinter over 100 yards and was always involved with the organising of sporting events on Lord Howe Island. My father grew up on the Island playing cricket, football and participating in athletics like most children, but found basketball and running to be his favourites after receiving a sporting scholarship to college. Throughout his time studying medicine and his first 10 years as a radiologist he was involved with many college sporting teams, but it wasn’t until his early 40’s that family friend and Ironman World Champion, Greg Welch, introduced him to triathlon. Since, he’s participated in triathlon, duathlon and running events including the Hawaii Ironman World Championships, and has always remained running to keep fit around work. Like everyone who’s grown up on Lord Howe, Mt Gower is held close to his heart. It’s a landmark that dominates the island and something you see everyday from every spot on the island. You grow up hearing stories of the pig hunters and mountaineers who’ve set unofficial times for scaling it’s peak, and it just made sense that one day he’d challenge those times. Much like I’ve done. I suspect this will continue and is always going to be of significant importance to the Islands community!

 

(Mt Gower Challenge) How did it feel to break your father’s long-standing record?

Once out of delirium and knew I’d broken the record (because I didn’t comprehend at the time) it was a very emotional occasion for me. I’ve been all around the world as a professional triathlete, but never have I felt so honored and proud to win an event and set a new record. To break the record was living a childhood dream.

 

Why was competing in the Mt Gower Challenge important to you?

There’s about 350 people who live on the island and I’m sure they were all there at the finish line, most of them family and all of them friends. It was an unbelievable feeling to be greeted by everyone at the finish and see them inspired by what I achieved. The main reason I did this race was to help educate the next generation of children about the importance of maintaining their health and fitness, and to see it bring the community together like this was very special to me!

 

Greetings from Nan after the race Mount Gower - as seen when arriving at the Island

 

What’s your earliest running memory?

I have many fond memories of cross country and athletics events as a child, but one significant memory was my dad seeing if I could run at 3min/kms on the treadmill. I must have been about 7 or 8 and he was explaining to me how amazing it was that someone could run a marathon at that speed. He insisted on putting me on the treadmill at 20km/hr to give me a better understanding of how impressive it was. Somehow, I managed to hold it for 30 seconds or so and not get spat of the back, but it seriously makes me laugh thinking about him doing this to me.

 

What attracts you to triathlons?

Initially and for the first couple of years racing as a professional, it was all about my ambitions to someday win the Hawaii Ironman. I was there as a 7 year old in 1994 when Greg Welch became the first Australian to win the World Championships. Ever since it’s something I’ve always aspired too.

Triathlon can be a great lifestyle sport for an athlete, but it’s also very time consuming. So when racing at an elite level it’s easy to loose perspective on the meaning of enjoying sport. As I’ve experienced more in life and found other important passions and interests of mine, I’d now like to combine racing with other career opportunities to live a balanced, meaningful, healthy and inspiring way of life.

 

Describe your proudest moment in competing in triathlon. (Include event name, date, distances, time)

Your first big win is always a proud moment, so probably taking my first 70.3 Ironman title at Yeppoon in 2011 (Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon, 14/8/2011. 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21km run 3:56:41). However, the year before was my first year racing in Europe as a professional (age 22) and came 5th at the Ironman 70.3 European Championships in Weisbaden, Germany. I beat some big names in the sport that day and the crowds are so much bigger in Europe. They had a huge awards ceremony in a cathedral and it was a pretty proud moment to be standing on stage with such class athletes.

 

Favourite piece of gear

Definitely my ON running shoes. I use the cloudsurfer for training and the cloudracer in races. I’m a relatively big guy for triathlon (6”3 and 80kg) and the cloud technology provides a very responsive shoe, whilst saving my legs from the pounding on pavement.

 

What’s your must-have post-race fuel?

I always use a recovery protein from Musashi, but next on the hit list are usually pancakes with maple syrup, ice cream and berries. I’ve recently gone gluten and dairy free though so I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Maybe I’ll have to make some exceptions…

Mind you, I’ve recently started a partnership with a local cafe in Sutherland called Left Bower, and they do amazing gluten free spiced pumpkin pancakes. If you’re ever in the area, you must check these guys out! Here’s a link to a blog I recently posted about them.

http://olliewhistler.com/left-bower-the-hart-of-sutherland/

 

What is your number one passion/hobby outside running and triathlons?

I have lots, but fashion and music would have to be at the top of the list. I’m in the process of launching my own fashion forward sportswear and streetwear range as part of the ‘Ollie Whistler Collaboration’ (OWC), which aims to combine my passions with sport to help others realise that their dreams can also become reality with hard work and belief, and there’s a lot more to an athlete than just sport. It’s a platform to share my passions, experiences and learning’s with others and where like-minded people can work collaboratively to help turn passions and dreams into a way of life.

http://olliewhistler.com/owc-shop/

 

Do you enjoy music on the run? If so, what’s your favourite long run tune?

As mentioned above, music is a massive part of my life… I live and breathe it and always enjoy running with my pod! It’s incredibly hard to narrow it down to one song, but I do have a bit of theme song for the ‘OWC’. The presets – Its cool… and of course loud!

 

What’s your biggest race-day peeve?

Sorry to be a bit crude, but definitely if I don’t have a good session on the porcelain throne pre race.

 

Who inspires you?

I don’t really draw inspiration from particular people, but take it from the environment around me. Art, music, architecture, nature, experiences, people I meet, places I travel and from within. I’m very much a self believer.

 

What’s your day job?

At the moment I’m a sales manager at a bike shop in Sydney called ‘Chain Reaction Bicycles’. If I’m not there then I’m either training or working on the ‘OWC’.

 

I couldn’t live without…

Waking up in the morning and laughing at myself in the mirror… never take yourself too seriously and life’s no fun without a laugh! This is closely followed by a coffee. My favourite two things in the morning.

 

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

I have really bad crows feet from laughing at myself too much…

 

Your motto

“dream something so big it scares and excites you at the same time,  the harder you work at it the luckier you get, live that dream, and then lover every moment…” – Ollie Whistler

 

Your age – 26

 

Your suburb, state – Sutherland NSW.

 

Anything else you think we should know about you

I think you get a pretty good understanding that I don’t take life too seriously.

 

This link below will take you to the 7.30 Report feature we also received following the event. A great little insight into the race!

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3923835.htm

 

Smiling for the camera before the start Erskine's Valley on the way up

Left Bower – the ‘Hart’ of Sutherland!

19 March, 2014.

I’m excited to announce the OWC’s newest collab with Left Bower in Sutherland!

I started visiting Left Bower as a result of accidently stumbling upon them whilst out riding and in desperate need of a coffee fix… to much surprise, the pleasant and unique atmosphere created by the Hart family and their caravan inspired décor, also delivered one of the smoothest shots known to man.

It only took one visit to know these guys were nothing short of obsessed with their food and coffee, using only the freshest and healthiest in season local organic produce and their home roasted Jack of Harts organic Australian coffee. To further compliment, is their earthly and extremely warming bunch of personalities that make it feel like you’re eating first class food, whilst sitting around the camp fire at your family’s favourite holiday destination – something I’m sure everyone would like to feel on a Sunday morning.

I admire passion in every form, but so infectious is the energy and enthusiasm they put into every cup of coffee and plate of food, that the word had to be spread. Having recently moved to Sutherland to be closer to the ‘High Performance Tri’ training squad, I joke with owner Reece Hart that the move was just so I could visit everyday. We both laughed, but this could easily have been true.

Correct fueling is critically important to any level of athlete, or any person in any walk of life for that matter, so this is one hip eatery you shouldn’t miss. Earlier in the year, I removed gluten and dairy out of my diet to see if it improved my allergies and sports induced asthma. The combination of this and the fact it removes almost every highly processed source of carbohydrate from your diet has done wonders to both. It’s almost completely cleared up my allergies, I’ve had unquestionable improvements in my breathing capacity and have become better fat adapted, consequently giving me a more even and sustained level of energy in both training, racing and everyday life.

You don’t necessarily need to make the same extreme changes to your lifestyle as I’ve done by removing both gluten and dairy. The important thing to digest (no pun intended) from this is to eliminate as much of the processed carbohydrate and sugars from your diet as possible, and get more of your energy from natural carbohydrate and fat in fresh fruit, veg, meat, nuts, oils and sourcing the cleanest and freshest produce you can get your hands on. All of these healthy energy sources are found in vast quantities at Left Bower, and they ‘may even be your first healthy cup of coffee’, says Rhys. Methyl Bromide is a poison used in quarantine to fumigate all imported coffee, something that’s obviously not required when using their organic Australian beans.

Not having the time or money isn’t a good enough excuse to avoid eating clean anymore. Not now that there’s an increasing number of places like Left Bower, who deliver the best produce at affordable prices. Please, if you’re in the area, out riding your bike or able to make the trip for a visit, go and say hi to these guys and be thankful for the goodness they serve you.

Like we are at the OWC, you too can be proud to fuel your body at Left Bower. Meanwhile, by dropping in you’ll certainly be visiting the ‘Hart’ of the Sutherland Shire!

//Ollie

*You can follow my Instagram to get regular photo’s and inspiration from Left Bower’s healthy meals…

 

Left Bower. Owner Rhys Hart and brother Owen. Owen on the Athena Leva. An OWC post run breakfast. Rhys and Owen - busy in OWC Rhys wearing OWC

Pete Clifford – High Performance Tri (HPT)

9 February, 2014.

Hi – I’m Pete, Ollie’s triathlon coach… I have a story for you.

When Ollie and I first connected a year or so ago, I knew immediately I could help him. I “got him” straight away. We had a chat at a cafe in Cronulla (not a surprise for those that know me) and he spoke about his journey. He didn’t know me, in fact we were only speaking as a friend of mine knew I might be able to assist him. She knew we both viewed things a little differently. If you’re reading this you most likely know of his path. To me it wasn’t new though… I see it all the time. Athlete gets good, moves up the ladder, pressure builds, and the athlete stops being himself. He loses his original personality…

In the early days of triathlon we saw a sport with personality. It was an outlying sport and those that were outliers were attracted to it. Most people called you crazy if you did it and that’s what you thrived on. Magazines were filled with stories of adventures to new races. We had new types of equipment coming to the fore like “lay-down” bars and clip-in style bike shoes that were designed from the ski boot concept. In short, we had a “culture” in our sport that fitted in with who we are. Our athletic pursuits matched our personalities.

This is where I see the issue. Gradually, over time, and quite naturally so, we became more mainstream. We became a business and we started to fit in with everyone else around us. We saw the introduction of the ITU and the push for the Olympics, which was successful. Then we saw the same with the Ironman brand. WTC pushed worldwide with their brand and it too started to look the same. The M-Dot was fiercely protected by the big guys at the top, and it started to all be a bit tiresome. Magazines became less about our culture and more about quick tips for success.

The good news for me is that I believe we’re coming out the other side again. Luckily, we still have our outliers around like the Challenge Family. Hey… we’ve now even replaced champagne on the podium for beer!!! Cross Triathlon is starting to gain momentum, different race distances are making an appearance and we’re even seeing the old-fashioned budgie smugglers making a comeback.

Fast-forward a year from our original chat and I’m still encouraging Ollie to pursue his dreams. He has a passion to bring some personality and different thinking back to triathlon in his little way. He is collaborating with like-minded thinkers to make a change in the world. He wants to show the young guys coming through to be yourself, to stand for your own brand of success. He is establishing a “culture”… and its from “cultures” that we grow.

If you’re looking for different thinking, you’re probably in the right place. Hang around, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the surroundings. The ride will be worth it. But please don’t try to make us conform.

Pete Clifford

*Learn more about our collaboration with HPT //

 

hpt-article5 hpt-article4 hpt-article2 hpt-article3 HPT article gallery

A Balancing Act – finding the balance between training, racing and life…

Ever wondered what it’d be like to lose your one and only true love? Pretty damn terrible I’d imagine! Surely it would be easier if you had something of equal or similar importance to fall back on if found in this situation? Now don’t be misled; I’m trying to create some thoughts and emotion and certainly not encouraging the idea of having multiple lovers.

I believe that any level of sport, competitive or amateur, is much like the relationship with a partner. It requires both parties to make significant sacrifices when finding the equilibrium between missing each other, and biting one anothers head off. Similarly, they need a certain amount of time and energy for them to prosper, yet a level of separation to avoid the risk of boredom and to understand just how lucky you are to share this unique relationship.

This metaphorical love affair with triathlon that I have in common with many other athletes requires just as much energy to make it work in unison with your life. The last twelve months I’ve been playing the balancing act to remain competitive in the sport, yet happy and progressing in all aspects of my life. Ultimately, the level of balance needed will depend on the individual, but for me it’s about living out all of my passions and interests whilst moving toward achieving my idea of a meaningful and fulfilling existence. “For Ollie Whistler, this would be to design and manufacture fashion forward sports apparel, along with lifestyle threads and accessories to help support my career in sport. If in the process I could provide other peoples passions and dreams with the belief, inspiration and environment to make it become reality, then that would truly be living life to the fullest.”

Despite my successes, for a long time Triathlon didn’t provide me the fulfillment that a holistic life should. Once realizing it wasn’t the racing that made me unhappy, but the imbalance between that and life and it’s negative impact on my performance, I’ve worked closely alongside Pete Clifford of High Performance Tri to start creating the right environment to let both flourish equally.  When we originally sat down to discuss ways to improve my performance and to achieve my goals within the sport, our plan started with getting a stable job and income, a place of my own to call home and an outlet for my other interests. To this day, we still rarely discuss the training sessions when catching up over coffee and prefer to look at ways to better manage my life around triathlon. Most often it’s changing various work or living arrangements to make my training easier and more efficient. Common to any successful duo, a relationship with sport also requires the need for one to first be happy within themselves, before being able to be happy together. It’s quite simple that if you’re not happy in your day-to-day life, how can you expect to get the best out of your performance?

Whilst there’s no doubt the sessions are critical to improvement and will someday take more focus, it’s now about getting the right level of balance and separation needed to enjoy the process and love what I do. One year ago I’d just returned from my third season in a row as a full time triathlete racing in the northern hemisphere, and after moving from one homestay to the next whilst struggling to make ends meet. Now I’m working 45 hours a week managing a bike shop in Sydney, living in my own apartment in Sutherland, working on the ‘Ollie Whistler Collaboration’ and still enjoy racing at an elite level and keeping my face in the sport. Only a few weeks ago, I had my first major race up at Forster since combing triathlon with a full time job at the start of the year. Understandably so, after placing 11th in 4:04:07, I later overheard some people asking “what’s happened to Ollie?” Sure, my performances aren’t quite what they used to be, but it’s unquestionably better than had I not made these essential changes to my lifestyle. In perspective, I may have actually over performed and was no doubt a heck of a lot happier in the process!

The inaugural Challenge Forster had attracted a deep field of quality athletes, and taking my 10-12 hours of training a week around my busy schedule into consideration, I felt I’d executed the best race possible at this stage in our skewed relationship. This result marks a much-anticipated return to the racing scene for me, and an important new chapter for Pete and I as we work through this phase of rebuilding my professional racing career, and the continuous development of my life through sport.

Whilst being completely satisfied with my performance this time around, it’s definitely not the kind of result I’d become complacent about. For now I’ll have to remain courting with the occasional date as time permits, but I have full intentions of pursuing this love affair and making her that special someone. In doing so, we aim to help you understand there can be a lot more to an athlete than just sport, and hope you’ll learn to maintain a healthy relationship with it!

 

Challenge Forster Some OWC Christmas presents A variation of the OWC logo

A Balancing Act – finding the balance between training, racing and life…

Ever wondered what it’d be like to lose your one and only true love? Pretty damn terrible I’d imagine! Surely it would be easier if you had something of equal or similar importance to fall back on if found in this situation? Now don’t be misled; I’m trying to create some thoughts and emotion and certainly not encouraging the idea of having multiple lovers.

I believe that any level of sport, competitive or amateur, is much like the relationship with a partner. It requires both parties to make significant sacrifices when finding the equilibrium between missing each other, and biting one anothers head off. Similarly, they need a certain amount of time and energy for them to prosper, yet a level of separation to avoid the risk of boredom and to understand just how lucky you are to share this unique relationship.

This metaphorical love affair with triathlon that I have in common with many other athletes requires just as much energy to make it work in unison with your life. The last twelve months I’ve been playing the balancing act to remain competitive in the sport, yet happy and progressing in all aspects of my life. Ultimately, the level of balance needed will depend on the individual, but for me it’s about living out all of my passions and interests whilst moving toward achieving my idea of a meaningful and fulfilling existence. For Ollie Whistler, this would be to design and manufacture fashion forward sports apparel, along with lifestyle threads and accessories to help support my career in sport. If in the process I could provide other peoples passions and dreams with the belief, inspiration and environment to make it become reality, then that would truly be living life to the fullest.

Despite my successes, for a long time Triathlon didn’t provide me the fulfillment that a holistic life should. Once realizing it wasn’t the racing that made me unhappy, but the imbalance between that and life and it’s negative impact on my performance, I’ve worked closely alongside Pete Clifford of High Performance Tri to start creating the right environment to let both flourish equally.  When we originally sat down to discuss ways to improve my performance and to achieve my goals within the sport, our plan started with getting a stable job and income, a place of my own to call home and an outlet for my other interests. To this day, we still rarely discuss the training sessions when catching up over coffee and prefer to look at ways to better manage my life around triathlon. Most often it’s changing various work or living arrangements to make my training easier and more efficient. Common to any successful duo, a relationship with sport also requires the need for one to first be happy within themselves, before being able to be happy together. It’s quite simple that if you’re not happy in your day-to-day life, how can you expect to get the best out of your performance?

Whilst there’s no doubt the sessions are critical to improvement and will someday take more focus, it’s now about getting the right level of balance and separation needed to enjoy the process and love what I do. One year ago I’d just returned from my third season in a row as a full time triathlete racing in the northern hemisphere, and after moving from one homestay to the next whilst struggling to make ends meet. Now I’m working 45 hours a week managing a bike shop in Sydney, living in my own apartment in Sutherland, working on the ‘Ollie Whistler Collaboration’ and still enjoy racing at an elite level and keeping my face in the sport. Only a few weeks ago, I had my first major race up at Forster since combing triathlon with a full time job at the start of the year. Understandably so, after placing 11th in 4:04:30, I later overheard some people asking “what’s happened to Ollie?” Sure, my performances aren’t quite what they used to be, but it’s unquestionably better than had I not made these essential changes to my lifestyle. In perspective, I may have actually over performed and was no doubt a heck of a lot happier in the process!

The inaugural Challenge Forster had attracted a deep field of quality athletes, and taking my 10-12 hours of training a week around my busy schedule into consideration, I felt I’d executed the best race possible at this stage in our skewed relationship. This result marks a much-anticipated return to the racing scene for me, and an important new chapter for Pete and I as we work through this phase of rebuilding my professional racing career, and the continuous development of my life through sport.

Whilst being completely satisfied with my performance this time around, it’s definitely not the kind of result I’d become complacent about. For now I’ll have to remain courting with the occasional date as time permits, but I have full intentions of pursuing this love affair and making her that special someone. In doing so, we aim to help you understand there can be a lot more to an athlete than just sport, and hope you’ll learn to maintain a healthy relationship with it!

A Balancing Act – finding the balance between training, racing and life…

Ever wondered what it’d be like to lose your one and only true love? Pretty damn terrible I’d imagine! Surely it would be easier if you had something of equal or similar importance to fall back on if found in this situation? Now don’t be misled; I’m trying to create some thoughts and emotion and certainly not encouraging the idea of having multiple lovers.

I believe that any level of sport, competitive or amateur, is much like the relationship with a partner. It requires both parties to make significant sacrifices when finding the equilibrium between missing each other, and biting one anothers head off. Similarly, they need a certain amount of time and energy for them to prosper, yet a level of separation to avoid the risk of boredom and to understand just how lucky you are to share this unique relationship.

This metaphorical love affair with triathlon that I have in common with many other athletes requires just as much energy to make it work in unison with your life. The last twelve months I’ve been playing the balancing act to remain competitive in the sport, yet happy and progressing in all aspects of my life. Ultimately, the level of balance needed will depend on the individual, but for me it’s about living out all of my passions and interests whilst moving toward achieving my idea of a meaningful and fulfilling existence. For Ollie Whistler, this would be to design and manufacture fashion forward sports apparel, along with lifestyle threads and accessories to help support my career in sport. If in the process I could provide other peoples passions and dreams with the belief, inspiration and environment to make it become reality, then that would truly be living life to the fullest.

Despite my successes, for a long time Triathlon didn’t provide me the fulfillment that a holistic life should. Once realizing it wasn’t the racing that made me unhappy, but the imbalance between that and life and it’s negative impact on my performance, I’ve worked closely alongside Pete Clifford of High Performance Tri to start creating the right environment to let both flourish equally.  When we originally sat down to discuss ways to improve my performance and to achieve my goals within the sport, our plan started with getting a stable job and income, a place of my own to call home and an outlet for my other interests. To this day, we still rarely discuss the training sessions when catching up over coffee and prefer to look at ways to better manage my life around triathlon. Most often it’s changing various work or living arrangements to make my training easier and more efficient. Common to any successful duo, a relationship with sport also requires the need for one to first be happy within themselves, before being able to be happy together. It’s quite simple that if you’re not happy in your day-to-day life, how can you expect to get the best out of your performance?

Whilst there’s no doubt the sessions are critical to improvement and will someday take more focus, it’s now about getting the right level of balance and separation needed to enjoy the process and love what I do. One year ago I’d just returned from my third season in a row as a full time triathlete racing in the northern hemisphere, and after moving from one homestay to the next whilst struggling to make ends meet. Now I’m working 45 hours a week managing a bike shop in Sydney, living in my own apartment in Sutherland, working on the ‘Ollie Whistler Collaboration’ and still enjoy racing at an elite level and keeping my face in the sport. Only a few weeks ago, I had my first major race up at Forster since combing triathlon with a full time job at the start of the year. Understandably so, after placing 11th in 4:04:30, I later overheard some people asking “what’s happened to Ollie?” Sure, my performances aren’t quite what they used to be, but it’s unquestionably better than had I not made these essential changes to my lifestyle. In perspective, I may have actually over performed and was no doubt a heck of a lot happier in the process!

The inaugural Challenge Forster had attracted a deep field of quality athletes, and taking my 10-12 hours of training a week around my busy schedule into consideration, I felt I’d executed the best race possible at this stage in our skewed relationship. This result marks a much-anticipated return to the racing scene for me, and an important new chapter for Pete and I as we work through this phase of rebuilding my professional racing career, and the continuous development of my life through sport.

Whilst being completely satisfied with my performance this time around, it’s definitely not the kind of result I’d become complacent about. For now I’ll have to remain courting with the occasional date as time permits, but I have full intentions of pursuing this love affair and making her that special someone. In doing so, we aim to help you understand there can be a lot more to an athlete than just sport, and hope you’ll learn to maintain a healthy relationship with it!

MT GOWER – the mountain, the history, the race.

It comes with great excitement to announce mine and the ‘Ollie Whistler Collaborations’ (OWC’s) involvement with the ‘Mt Gower Challenge’!..

On January the 5th, 2014, I’ll be attempting to break the ascent/descent record of Mt Gower along with four other athletes to help raise funds for the Lord Howe Island Central School.

Mt Gower, a prehistoric wonderland born of volcanic eruptions, stands 875 metres proud in the South Pacific Ocean and on the World Heritage Listed island of Lord Howe. It’s here that my family’s had the privilege to settle as descendants of Nathan Thompson, an American whaler to make the first significant house on Lord Howe in the 1860’s, and have been proud to call it home ever since.

In 1948, my grandfather James ‘Jimma’ Whistler moved from mainland Australia to the Island to settle down with my grandmother, Lois Shick, after meeting her when holidaying with his family. Jimma was always renowned to be a bit of a showman and quickly became an integral part of the Island’s community as a LHI board member of 18years (local government body), manager of the oldest Island homestay – Pinetrees, president of the golf club and the editor of the local newspaper.

It was Jimma who started our family’s love for the Island and mountains after he set the current record for negotiating the two largest peaks on Lord Howe (both visible in the above photo), Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower, in a time of 7 hours and 40 minutes. Much like my father, Phil Whistler, I’ve grown up listening to stories of Jimma and other island pig hunters and palm seeders climbing these mountains and having completed the ascent/descent of Mt Gower in times of approximately 2 hours. It was these stories that inspired my father to set the current standing record of 1 hour 41 minutes and 10 seconds back in 1995, and the same memories that will accompany me when attempting to set a new record early next year. None more obvious than in the photo from our family album below, you can see the excitement and proudness on my face as my father and I jog together to cool down from his record run of Mt Gower back in 1995. At seven years of age, this photo ultimately portrays what this event means to me, and the family heirloom that was passed on all those years ago.

Over the past two decades, it’s always been asked when it would be my turn to break his record, and I guess I’ve always had it in me to give it a go. Much like dad crafted his running ability in the mountains chasing pigs, I was the victim of many early wakeup calls to run some of the Islands peaks before returning for breakfast and a long day on the boat fishing.

Whilst I always loved practicing running through the hills and imagining the feeling of one day breaking his record, I also vividly recall being absolutely terrified by it. Not from the danger of falling, but from the bedtime stories of hunters and their dogs being tusked by a wild boar, or knocked off a cliff by a feral goat. Fact or fiction, I believed it to be every bit true, and was a large part for the need to always hightail it when in the bush around Lord Howe. I still do!

The stories wouldn’t be as good without the classic picture below of me holding a goat’s skull, found at Erskine’s Valley whilst hiking to the summit of Mount Gower. It was one of those moments as a child when the hundreds of stories all of a sudden became the stark reality… it was the find of a lifetime, a moment certainly never to forget, and possibly a sound tactical move if the fear from that moment can be relived upon race day.

Obviously the Mt Gower Challenge means a lot more to me than just a race, and rather a historical event in my lifetime and for those who’ve trampled the tracks before me. It makes it even more appropriate that in the process of trying to set a new record, we’re raising funds for the local school, and potentially writing the next generation of bedtime stories that will inspire the children of the Island to challenge ours in future.

This link will take you to the ‘MGC’ website where you can find the event details and track our progress, but more importantly it provides an opportunity to educate the local kids and help get them involved in sport.

It would be great if you could check it out, and even better if you’re able to exchange $20 for a uniquely designed Bruce Goold t-shirt. Any support would be greatly appreciated and make a big difference to future of Lord Howe Island!

//Ollie

 

My Father Phil and I cooling down after his record in 1995. My sister Jesse clearly didn't have the same bedtime stories... looks like she's got me covered after being spooked at the find of a goats skull at Erskine's Valley whilst climbing Mt Gower.. Bruce Goold's uniquely designed t-shirt print! Another view of Mt Gower

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Creating your perfect environment – A Simple Formula For Success

Creating your perfect environment – A simple formula for success by Ollie Whistler

Two Monkeys Cycling - My Specialized Shiv

Two Monkeys Cycling – My Specialized Shiv

You’re doing it all wrong if you’re living from day to day hoping for a breakthrough… I was. Rather than hope, you need to create the opportunity. Start by building the perfect environment, and have the best people to help guide you to your vision. The theory applies to achieving any goal, but I learnt it racing as an elite triathlete chasing the circuit around the U.S hoping for that one race, that one result that would change everything – In short, that ‘one race’ doesn’t exist.

I’ve been racing as a professional triathlete since the start of 2010, and am lucky enough to have a 70.3 title and multiple other podium finishes to my name. Each has given me the inspiration to continue chasing my vision of creating a living from triathlon that will enable me to pursue my ultimate goals in the sport, and the hope that it’s possible. However, not one result has ever created that opportunity, and it’s no one result that will. You might get a day in the sun and a small influx of casheesh that once you factor your costs of preparing and traveling to get there, might be enough to support your caffeine addiction for the next couple of weeks. Whilst still being highly important, what you really need is an environment that’s conducive to infinite progress… a foundation that’s strong, reliable and most importantly constant.

Using my mistakes as a lesson to all, the last three years I’ve either sold my car or taken a loan to race the summer in the northern hemisphere in hope my results would pay it back, or I’d go to work when back in Australia. Neither one of these is either constant, or a reliable methodology. Rather, it’s the perfect example of chasing hope instead of providing the best chance of performing at your peak. All this really achieved was to put a huge emphasis on the result instead of the process required to get one, and with every misfire came more and more hope and the pressure for me to perform. It’s not to say that investing in yourself isn’t necessary, it’s the best investment you can make, but invest into making your environment as close to perfect for achieving your vision – stable and suitable living arrangements (accommodation and location), meeting financial obligations, constant education etc. must be honed before later working on your most opportune training environment (coach, training facilities, partners etc).

When you’re highly motivated, it’s easy to focus only on the physical requirements of racing and completely overlook the effect your suboptimal working conditions and the handbrake they’re applying have on your progress. It can quickly become a vicious cycle that becomes extremely hard to change when getting small tastes of success, but one that’s paramount to your longevity. It’s something I’ve had great difficulty changing on the fly, but is so important that if it requires you to take a backward step from racing in order to overcome, then a backward step you should take.

The hardest thing for me since recognizing the need to change my approach was to trust in the process and justify losing some fitness to properly address the situation. It’s as much a commitment from your support network as it is of your own; so in establishing your foundations for high performance, it’s someone like-minded that encourages and believes in the process that will best guide you to your vision. Pete Clifford, of High Performance Tri, is an example of a coach that understands the importance of creating an environment that “makes the hard seem easy”. Every individuals going to have slightly different circumstances, but all require this phenomena to get through the intense discomfort of the preparation, a prerequisite to being competitive.

Returning from the U.S disappointed with my achievements and as a result of trying to race under the aforementioned, non-conducive circumstances, it was Pete who helped me develop a plan to restructure my training/racing around building a more stable foundation. Rather than the one-dimensional approach used by so many coaches, it’s a holistic view that incorporates all aspects affecting performance (living, financial, education as well as the training environment) that Pete uses. In the end, it’s as much about the journey as the outcome, and it’s his approach that creates a mindset with the ability to control and enjoy the process (present mindset) rather than living for the product (the wrong mindset) – the secret.

I think this is why so often we see a sigh of relief and what looks like an overwhelming sense of fulfillment when some of our greatest athletes are crowned Ironman World Champions. It’s a reflection on a process that’s taken a lifetime of planning and commitment to create an opportunity… and for some, the opportunity to live a dream. You musn’t ever be afraid of taking a backward step, as sometimes it’s fundamental to moving forwards. It’s about aligning all the arrows so they’re all pointing in the same direction, working in unison, towards your vision and goals! I’m very excited about the opportunities created by changing my approach, and to anyone in a similar position, I challenge you to do the same.

 

 

 

A Simple Formula For Success

Creating your perfect environment – A simple formula for success by Ollie Whistler

You’re doing it all wrong if you’re living from day to day hoping for a breakthrough… I was. Rather than hope, you need to create the opportunity. Start by building the perfect environment, and have the best people to help guide you to your vision. The theory applies to achieving any goal, but I learnt it racing as an elite triathlete chasing the circuit around the U.S hoping for that one race, that one result that would change everything – In short, that ‘one race’ doesn’t exist.

I’ve been racing as a professional triathlete since the start of 2010, and am lucky enough to have a 70.3 title and multiple other podium finishes to my name. Each has given me the inspiration to continue chasing my vision of creating a living from triathlon that will enable me to pursue my ultimate goals in the sport, and the hope that it’s possible. However, not one result has ever created that opportunity, and it’s no one result that will. You might get a day in the sun and a small influx of casheesh that once you factor your costs of preparing and traveling to get there, might be enough to support your caffeine addiction for the next couple of weeks. Whilst still being highly important, what you really need is an environment that’s conducive to infinite progress… a foundation that’s strong, reliable and most importantly constant.

Using my mistakes as a lesson to all, the last three years I’ve either sold my car or taken a loan to race the summer in the northern hemisphere in hope my results would pay it back, or I’d go to work when back in Australia. Neither one of these is either constant, or a reliable methodology. Rather, it’s the perfect example of chasing hope instead of providing the best chance of performing at your peak. All this really achieved was to put a huge emphasis on the result instead of the process required to get one, and with every misfire came more and more hope and the pressure for me to perform. It’s not to say that investing in yourself isn’t necessary, it’s the best investment you can make, but invest into making your environment as close to perfect for achieving your vision – stable and suitable living arrangements (accommodation and location), meeting financial obligations, constant education etc. must be honed before later working on your most opportune training environment (coach, training facilities, partners etc).

When you’re highly motivated, it’s easy to focus only on the physical requirements of racing and completely overlook the effect your suboptimal working conditions and the handbrake they’re applying have on your progress. It can quickly become a vicious cycle that becomes extremely hard to change when getting small tastes of success, but one that’s paramount to your longevity. It’s something I’ve had great difficulty changing on the fly, but is so important that if it requires you to take a backward step from racing in order to overcome, then a backward step you should take.

The hardest thing for me since recognizing the need to change my approach was to trust in the process and justify losing some fitness to properly address the situation. It’s as much a commitment from your support network as it is of your own; so in establishing your foundations for high performance, it’s someone like-minded that encourages and believes in the process that will best guide you to your vision. Pete Clifford, of High Performance Tri, is an example of a coach that understands the importance of creating an environment that “makes the hard seem easy”. Every individuals going to have slightly different circumstances, but all require this phenomena to get through the intense discomfort of the preparation, a prerequisite to being competitive.

Returning from the U.S disappointed with my achievements and as a result of trying to race under the aforementioned, non-conducive circumstances, it was Pete who helped me develop a plan to restructure my training/racing around building a more stable foundation. Rather than the one-dimensional approach used by so many coaches, it’s a holistic view that incorporates all aspects affecting performance (living, financial, education as well as the training environment) that Pete uses. In the end, it’s as much about the journey as the outcome, and it’s his approach that creates a mindset with the ability to control and enjoy the process (present mindset) rather than living for the product (the wrong mindset) – the secret.

I think this is why so often we see a sigh of relief and what looks like an overwhelming sense of fulfillment when some of our greatest athletes are crowned Ironman World Champions. It’s a reflection on a process that’s taken a lifetime of planning and commitment to create an opportunity… and for some, the opportunity to live a dream. You musn’t ever be afraid of taking a backward step, as sometimes it’s fundamental to moving forwards. It’s about aligning all the arrows so they’re all pointing in the same direction, working in unison, towards your vision and goals! I’m very excited about the opportunities created by changing my approach, and to anyone in a similar position, I challenge you to do the same…

ollie_70.3WC_run 70.3 Busselton 70.3 Canberra IMG_0240