You know it's a long day when you start and finish in the dark.

Sunday morning at the Gold Coast Worlds started like the picture attached. Dark! But a beautiful view across the broadwater to Seaworld.

I reported again at 4.30am to help out at the age group world champs transition. The lowest point was witnessing an athlete struggling terribly with her wetsuit, knowing that I couldn't help. I'm not sure whether the zip was stuck, or whether she thought the zip was down but it was only down to her shoulder blades. Either way, I couldn't watch - I had to walk away and think about something else. This athlete had come out of the water in a seemingly good position in her age group.

I will, however, admit to helping an older gent who couldn't find his bike. He was amongst the last five athletes to enter T2 and couldn't find where to put his bike. I know I shouldn't have, but after a good five minutes of him searching up and down the racks, I helped him find the running shoes that awaited, and a gap for his bike. He thanked me for his help; I replied that when I'm 75 years old, I hope that someone helps me a little too.

On to the Juniors and Elite Women. You know the drill by now; athlete lounge (decals again) and then off to the start line. The juniors line up in their rank order rather than selecting their position, so I didn't need to note which athletes stood in my marshalled area, just make sure they toed the line and started correctly. The elite women were also fairly well behaved. It all happened very quickly - as expected the higher seeded women chose positions at either end of the pontoon, but I was responsible for Debbie Tanner and Annabel Luxford's start.

It didn't seem too long until we were cheering Emma Moffat over the line to win not only the grand final, but also the series.

All too soon it was time for the technical team to say goodbye over a quick beer, before I left them to their well deserved celebrations. We'd come from all over the world to put on a race for the world's best, and we'd done well.

Just on dark, I headed home for a well deserved sleep.

Don't worry, it's only international TV

Today started at 3.30 with my mobile alarm, followed at 3.35 by my watch alarm. Yes, I'd been nervous about sleeping through the 4.30 start at ITU HQ at the World Champs.

After helping out on the Olympic distance race for age group, teams and paratriathletes, it was time to adjourn to the athletes lounge for Elite Men checkin. I was on decal duty, which means that if any of the athletes try to check in with incorrect body numbering, I have to take off the old ones with gaffer tape and place new ones for them. Not a bad job at all, thank you very much.

Britain's Tim Don was my first customer and he was very excited to have help on hand and happily let me manhandle his biceps and triceps. Other notable customers were Frederic Belaubre, who was a little more sheepish about having stuffed up his own numbering - not once, but on both arms and legs. It's OK Frederic, I'm here to help.

As the athlete lounge shut up shop, it was off to the start line. We'd practiced our protocol on the Under 23s, but today's had to be perfect - it was being telecast and streamed live internationally.

Amazingly, as we marched out to take our positions behind the start podium, we got a cheer from the crowd. Yes, the technical officials! It was a real buzz to be acknowledged by a crowd on such a prominent stage.

The start went almost to plan. There was a bit of movement in my area on the start, but was not able to call a false start. As we regrouped to compare notes, I discovered that there had been a false start amongst the athletes close to me, but not in my group. That explained why my guys had been restless on the start.

After a bit of a break for lunch, it was back to the finish line to report in as a back-up athlete chaperone. I was promoted up the order to spot the third placed male. I kept Jan Frodeno in my sights - he had disappeared into a corner... and then he was gone. My heart leapt into my mouth. How could I lose him? At 6'3", he's one of the tallest guys on the field of play.

I scoured the finish area, the chute beyond and started heading around towards medical. Someone else spotted him and called me back it was time to get him to the ceremony so there was no time to do much more than escort him back up to the presentation.

Whew. What a day. A few nervous moments, but all's well that ends well. Especially on international TV.

The Aussie mascot?

What a great day at the worlds.

I helped out on the U23 races today, mainly athlete registration and the starting line. A great bunch of athletes. If they're they next wave, triathlon seems to be in good hands.

Special mentions to James Seear for his second place after coming out of the swim a little off the pace; and also for the two Josh Ambergers. Yes, two. One of his mates braved having Amberger brandished across his arse by wearing one of Josh's old speed suits. He also did his hair appropriately.

In age group action, the guy pictured didn't quite get his machine into transition today... He is obviously taking his pre race hydration seriously, carrying a mini carton of VB. And he's obviousy keen - already kitted up in his team uniform, race number and time trial helmet. (The Athletic Powerhouse usually refers to these as "wanker helmets").

In any case, good luck to all the Aussies competing tomorrow - in the OD age group, Para and Teams triathlon, and to Sticksy and Courtney in the Elite Men. And I guess also to my friend Craig, even though he's representing NZ...

The runners' secret

An excellent article in The Courier Mail today about triathlon. Sure, it's a blatant sell for the World Triathlon Championships happening on the Gold Coast next weekend, and even more blatantly uses sex to do so.

It would have been very easy for a less accomplished columnist to stay with this theme. Kathleen Noonan, though, digs deeper. Might be because she often writes about running and cycling, and it's always convincing because she's a devotee herself.

She writes about our bravery, and our lust for life (and running). She writes about how we heal our lives through our exercise; about how we all need something to get ourselves through the day (of course, running's better for this than scotch).

Kathleen Noonan writes about how we're not meant for 'sitting at a desk on our growing arses in front of a computer'. That's because Kathleen Noonan believes we were born to run.

Unlike the Athletic Powerhouse, Kathleen Noonan has the power to influence hundreds of thousands of people into giving up the computer for a pair of running shoes, even for a day or two a week. Imagine what that could do for the obesity crisis?

Alas, I expect that because her writing is so connected to the runners' psyche, she largely preaches to the converted. Not that I mind. Part of me enjoys that fact that other people don't get it...

And that, my friend, is the runners' secret.

They don't call it "cycle-gaine" for nothing... Pt4

No, they don't. So what do I think I "gained"?

I have a newfound sense of adventure. At the beginning of the event, when the other teams continued on along the sealed road, my first instinct was to wonder whether they were lost. They weren't; they'd just chosen a different option to us. Early on, when things were tough, I'd wondered why we hadn't also chosen "a different option" but in retrospect, I'm glad to have had the experience I did, as hard as it was.

I gained a couple of blisters. Big ones. But they'll heal.

I gained a fantastic memory, of an excellent experience with Miri. The last couple of times I've ridden with her I've felt humbled at what a patient and encouraging person she is, and how lucky I am to have her as a friend. She stuck by me and looked after me. Thanks Miri!

We gained a second placing. Mostly, when I enter a race where there's three entrants in my category, I place third. We did well.

I gained an appreciation of how much fitter I need to be in order to contribute effectively in a team situation.

I gained an idea of what I can achieve on the mountain bike. Before Sunday, the total time I'd spent offroad on my mountain bike wouldn't have been much more than four hours in total. To spend that much time in one go, and survive as well as I have (blisters aside) is something to be proud of, and build upon...

Ironically, for all that I gained through this experience, I also learned that there's still more to gain.

They don't call it "cycle-gaine" for nothing... Pt3

The "upwards" weren't entirely done for the day, but none of them seemed as bad as the first section we'd already endured. We certainly continued, onwards and forwards, finding control points at a "high point", downstream and upstream, at a "watercourse head" and to the south east side of "spurs junction". Though neither Miri or I knew what that meant...?

I have to admit that most of the day, I followed Miri's navigation unquestionably. There were a couple of occasions when other teams asked questions about where we'd been and how far we were from the checkpoint. The first couple of times I was really very vague, before sheepishly admitting I had no idea.

It took me a couple of encounters such as this to realise that perhaps my evasive reactions may be considered by those enquirers to not be in the spirit of things. Even though the rules of rogaining clearly state that teams shall not accept assistance from, nor collaborate with, other people...

I realised my mistake and from then, I simply told the truth. "I've got no idea... I'm just following..."

We'd collected seven checkpoints, and had only about half an hour left on the clock when we encountered the boys. We were on our way to our final planned checkpoint of the day, 81. Pretty soon after this, Miri was telling me how fine we were cutting it for time, so even in the spots where the sand was like a sink hole, we had to either ride or run.

She'd been chattering away all day up ahead of me. This was one of the few things I'd understood first time. She must be serious.

So I did what I was told. We finally got back onto sealed road (for the first time since right at the start of the event) when Miri pulled over with a slight mechanical issue. I presumed it wasn't serious when I understood her for what seemed like the second time of the day.

"Keep riding as hard as you can. I'll catch you."

All of a sudden there were teams all around us. We hadn't had company like this since the start of the event. But now, with the clock winding down, there were teams everywhere, desperate to get in before the 3.30pm cutoff.

I kept riding, and Miri did catch me. I stayed on her tail and we made it back to the Hash House with just 19 seconds to spare. We handed in our chips, awaited our printout, and found our result card hung in second place. After an anxious wait, the third team in the Womens Open category finally materialised. They were third. We'd earned our second place fair and square, and only missed first place by ten points.

They don't call it "cycle-gaine" for nothing... Pt2

We headed off on a section of sealed road, along with several of the other teams, in pursuit of checkpoint 85.

We had plotted our route around some higher point values, and while we veered off onto a less beaten track, many other teams continued along the sealed road.

It wasn't long before I wondered, even if ever briefly, whether those other teams had it right. We very quickly found ourselves on terrain that I would never dream of calling a "track/path". Sure, it was ridiculously steep (up and down) but more importantly it was so rutted out that I was at a loss to pick a line. I very quickly had no choice but to push my bike (up and down). On one of the ups, I was literally unable to push any more. I let my bike drop to the ground, gasping for breath.

I quickly experienced a pang of guilt. What if Miri saw me? I immediately scrambled to get my bike upright and kept pushing. I sneaked a look at my watch. You're joking... we're only 45 minutes in???

We eventually found our first checkpoint. I'd helped Miri decide which way was "downstream" so felt I'd contributed something. "Onwards and forwards!" Miri yelled for the first of many times. I was strangely very relieved to hear her adapt from "onwards and upwards". I'd already had enough upwards, thank you very much.

They don't call it "cycle-gaine" for nothing... Pt1

Kekeboy and I arrived at the Peachester Hall, bright and early, not really sure what today would bring. Just the way I like event days to be - I've often said that the day I stop feeling any kind of emotion on race day, is the day I'll give it away.

There were no sign of our team members yet, but there was plenty of time until the race start.

Finally, at 10am the boys set off on the six hour event. Miri and I still had half an hour before the maps were issued, then another hour before our race start. We used the time to get our gear thoroughly organised, and then just chill out, before we picked up our map and tried to decipher it.

As is the custom in rogaining, the checkpoints had different values - in this case, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90 points. We looked at groupings of checkpoints geographically, knowing there was no way we would be able to collect all of them, and decided to head off in pursuit of the two groups of checkpoints to the south of the Hash House.

Miri mapped out the route, mainly on "dirt roads, track / path" according to the map legend. We attached our maps, Miri to her map board and me more amateurishly, with cable ties to my handlebars.

Until this point, we'd been set up in the Phoenix Adventure HQ around the back of the HH. When we went around the front to the start, we were startled by the number of teams also anxiously awaiting the whistle start. It was then that the excitement really kicked in! It was only a few minutes before the whistle sounded and the Grigor Peachester Four Hour Cyclegaine was on.