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Kamal2

Ten Questions with Cameron Griffiths

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Sorry mate, I missed our appointment last evening.

 

Mate, introduce yourself on 2 intro questions.

 

 

1. Personal Bio. Brief summary narrative form, from childhood, places you have lived. Marital status. Career highlights and locations.

 

 

2. Sports History. Talk about the sports you played earlier and lead that up to your first triathlon, but stop it there.

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TEN QUESTIONS.

 

Mate elaborate your answers as much as possible, following the example of most of the earlier participants.

 

 

1. Cam, per your own account you grew up poor. That was in the 80's and 90's, but it's much more like the 1950's, where money wasn't freely available as it was later. How does going up poor prepare you for adulthood, maybe lacking in basic education, have to work at an early age? Why do some people rise above that, while perhaps the majority do not?

 

 

2. Mate, talk about your entry into triathlon, your first race. I think that was in 2010? So calculating roughly, you have done 2-3 IM's per year since 2010? How do you manage that, with a family? And your work?

 

3. If you were asked to cost that out. Per year, or per race, would you give the exact numbers? Or would you minimise it? EG, that's quite an amount of cash spent on triathlon, would you admit that? Let's say your wife asks you for some numbers?

 

4. What's your PB over the IM distance? Was that a career highlight?

 

5. I think that was at Busso, which is a good solid time, but in 35-39 it's sort of borderline MOP. But close enough to FOP to allow for some encouragement. As far as medium to long term strategy, would you aim to improve that, perhaps when entering 40-44? Or you are thinking longer term, to where by attrition the competition might be less?

 

6. You also raced ITU (Age Group), and you beat a noteable trannie...was that important?

 

7. Mate, for the many Aussies who did IM Malaysia 2014, how many of them would go back again to race in those conditions? How does anyone get through a race under extreme heat?

 

8. Cam. Among the 3 disciplines, I think I could say you have no glaring weakness. Of the 3, which one would you think was worth putting more time into....to get significant improvement?

 

9. Around Pattaya, as I recall the roads are quite good. Going a short distance south to Jomtien, and maybe all the way to Rayon, I would say good, but I would be concerned more about traffic, road safety. Where do you train?

 

10. Mate, Kona qualification? Strategize that and talk about if it's important to you personally?

 

 

Thanks mate for taking the time to answer.

Edited by Kamal2

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BONUS QUESTIONS.

 

1. There's a legendary kiwi born in Christchurch. This individidual won 6 World Championships**, but never won a NZ national event. He made his fame in another country, where he is also a legend. Who would that be?

 

**World Championship is different as you move into other sports, so consider that.

 

2. NZ middle distance runner, unheard of until 1960. Won 3 Olympic Golds...can you name him?

 

 

3. Mate, let's say you are home on a visit to NZ. IM event coming up in a few weeks. You are very fit, in the middle of a training block. You get a call from an from someone you know, asking you to fill in on the wing, in a 3rd team rugby game. He's begging you. What do you say?

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1. Personal Bio. Brief summary narrative form, from childhood, places you have lived. Marital status. Career highlights and locations.

 

 

The short

 

37 years old

Born in NZ

School in Aust and NZ

Joined the Navy to get trade

Fitter/Machinist by trade now working as a Production Technician making LNG

Married to an Engineer

2 girls aged 10 and 8

Saw the world

Living in Thailand for work

 

The Long

I am 37, Born in NZ in 1977 to working class young parents, Dad was a fitter working in the dockyards on ships, Mum was a mum to My Older sister and younger brother. When I was 2 we moved to Sydney with the other half of NZ and set up camp in Dulwich Hill. The old man had 3 offers for work by the time we go to a mates house to stay. Australia was in boom times and Dad worked hard bringing home the bacon while Mum did family day care looking after all the wog European kids that lived in the area. Dad eventually got enough money to buy a house in Marrickville. Shortly after he started his own business servicing machine tools with mum cooking the books.

 

When I was 8 my parents broke up and before i knew it, i was on a flight to NZ without being able to say good bye to the old man. It was a shit time for me as i looked up to him a heap and missed him heaps. Mum took us to live in Palmerston North. 2 hours North of Wellington. When John Cleese visited Palmerston North he had this to say "If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick," It was a great place to live as a young kid growing up. Mum bought a small 3 bedroom house in a kid friendly neighborhood on the opposite side of town from the Uni. Mum started at Uni doing accounting and because we had no money, Mum had to ride to the Uni. It was only 10 km. On Dole day we would ride our bikes to the shops and help mum get the shopping home. We had a few incidents with split shopping bags hitting front wheels but it was considered character building.

I guess this is where I got my love for the bike. It gave me so much freedom. Everyday we would ride home from school on the bmx and once home then ride around the streets till mum got home or when my sister had cooked dinner. When I was 11 mum entered us kids into the Bike Safety Course in the middle of town so she could study. I won a competition for road safety and the prize was a new 10 speed. I was so excited and the next day was at the bike shop to get fitted and a new helmet. The guy at the shop was so helpful and told me anytime I needed anything to pop on in. He offered to put the bike in the car for us, but we didnt have a car so we rode home together as a family.

 

My Dads parents lived 30km away on a farm and we would ride there and stay on the farm to allow mum to study. The ride was either over some hills or through a very narrow gorge. Mum would always say "if a truck is coming from both ways then jump the barrier and wait a few seconds". Sometimes my grandparents would pick us up and that was choice as.

 

My other grandparents lived in Napier 180km away and one year we rode across there as a family over 2 days. Xmas presents and clothes on the back of each bike and a tarp and rope to string between the trees to sleep under. It was a fun ride across looking back on it but i remember my sister crying most of the way because she was scared that a friend would see us riding to holidays. The ride home was good as I didnt have to lug home the xmas presents as my grandfather drove my sister home.

 

We didnt have a car until I was about 12 or 13 and it broke down every few months. School was great but i was a bit of a loudmouth so didnt spend much time in the classrooms with teachers I didnt like. I was smart enough to know what to write in exams and passed School Certificate without any issues.

 

My mother did a fantastic job raising us kids alone and I am so proud of her coming out of poverty and giving us what we needed to go forward in life.

 

When i was 16 I moved back to Sydney to live with my Dad who had remarried. Blacktown was the place we lived and the school of hard knocks was character building to say the least. I was going nowhere quickly in that school so decided to find an apprenticeship. I wagged school one day and went to Paramatta Defence Force Recruiting Office and 3 months later I was on a plane "In the Navy". The old man was pissed that i didnt stick around for an apprenticeship with him, but I wanted to see the world.

 

I joined as a Fitter and got my trade and saw the world. The best 9 years of my life. (1994 - 2003) great mates, brilliant life skills, and fantastic adventures around the globe. This is where i met the Wife. She was a young Marine Engineer and for 17 months i pestered her for a date. Eventually she said yes and that was that. We got married in October 2001 and then 10 days later off to the Gulf I went. When over in the gulf I decided that it was time to make a move and get out of the navy. 12 months notice is required so its a long time to be in a run down period. When I got home My wife went to the gulf on another ship. I started working for my old man doing machine tool engineering, maintenance and design.

 

In 2005 we had our first Girl and 20 months later we had our second. They are now 10 and 8.

 

I worked for the old man for 3 years and then a job came up at Shell oil refinery in Western Syd. Somehow I jagged the job and had to let the old man down again.

 

I worked there as a Production Technician (we make the petrol) for 7 years and then got made redundant when they stop producing petrol there. It was a good time to take a redundancy as many large oil and gas projects were starting or expanding. None in NSW but many in WA. I bought a house with some land and made plans to move the family.

 

I took a role in Perth with a new gas operator called INPEX. My wife got a transfer to Perth with the Navy and my Sister and Brother in law both got transferred or found a job in perth. We did a 8 day road trip with 3 cars, 2 trailers, 5 kids and 40 degrees days to get over. It was a great trip but one ill never do again.

 

6 months into the job they asked for volunteers to got to Thailand to assist in the oversight of the fabrication of the Onshore Processing Plant. I put my hand up and off we went.

 

We have now been living in Pattaya, Thailand for 14 months and the wife and kids have enjoyed the change. My wife took study leave from the navy and the kids go to school at an International School. I can speak bugger all Thai but can order beer in English and say hello in Thai. I head back to Perth in September and cant wait for some normality again.

 

I guess from my humble beginnings you wouldnt have thought I would be in the position I am in today but I am a firm believer that you make your own lucky by taking a risk, throwing the dice and sometimes it comes up a six. I have been very lucky.

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2. Mate, talk about your entry into triathlon, your first race. I think that was in 2010? So calculating roughly, you have done 2-3 IM's per year since 2010? How do you manage that, with a family? And your work?

 

I got into tri 2 years after I started running.

 

When i was 23 I had a mate who lived with us for a while and he was a fat slug 120kg or so. I was about 80 wringing wet and told him he should start losing some weight. He said its hard when being fat and I said bullshit. He dared me to get to over 100kg and then i could give it a go. For a year i tried as hard as i could to pack on the pounds. I got to 99kg and stayed there for about 12 months. My mate moved out and the bet was off. I got back down to 82 kg just by not drinking 6 beers and 2 pizzas a night.

 

2 years later I got into running because I woke up one day and was 105 kg with a pilonidal cyst. google it at your own risk.

 

I ran around the block and i almost died. I started the couch to 5km and got the running bug big time. 12 months later I was doing the Sydney marathon. I blew up at 38 km and stumbled home in 3:57 after being on track for a 3:20. I was introduced to Triathlon by a mate (wedged) who I watched do 2008 PM HIM. Got the bug at that point. Borrowed a bike from a mate and did 2008 Nepean tri. 1 month later I was doing 2008 Canberra HIM.

 

I was not a swimmer but i knew how to throw the arms over to keep myself from drowning. I think i did the swim in about 38 minutes which was ok considering id only swum 5 times in the last 5 years. I finished that HIM in 5:59:55. I was hooked then.

 

2010 IMOZ - 10:49. My first Ironman after going into the training with a 12 hour number in my head. I loved racing and training so much that I entered anything and everything possible. Since I had a shift work job i would work 2 days shifts 2 night shifts then 6 days off.

My wife worked 8 days a forthnight and that allowed me the time to train and look after the kids. i would get home from a night shift, tag the wife as she walked out the door. i would get the kids ready from childcare or school and then id be on the bike or in the pool or out running. sleep for a few hours then pick up the kids ready to go to work again. On my days off I would have the kids home for the day and train once they were in bed at night.

 

I had great time management and so did the wife. We dont relax, its always something happening with either us or the kids.

 

After the perfect start to my IM racing I signed up for Busso 2010. I trained consistently for the rest of the year with an average of about 16 hours training. Swim bike and run only, none of that pilates, yoga crap, Swimming in a squad and riding and running with mates. No coach except for swimming.

 

2010 Busso - 9:55. I had a great day. Sub 10:15 was on the cards with my training but never thought i would go sub 10.

 

2011 IMOZ - 10:05. This was my best race ever. So much harder than Busso in the course and i nailed every part of my race to perfection. i dream of another day like this when I am fit and life isnt getting in the way.

 

2011 Challenge Cairns 10:57 - damn hot day. I got what I deserved in that heat. Such an awesome weekend away.

 

2011 Busso - 11:34 less said the better, TGL was swatting away killer wasps that day as i was dropping them. By this time life and kids were getting in the way of my training and the lack of motivation due to the continued high training loads I had been doing for the last few years with marathons and tri's.

 

2012 IMNZ* - 4:57 it got turned into a Half due to Steely bringing the bad weather. It was awesome to race in front of my family from NZ.

 

2012 IMOZ - 10:47. tired from the race a few weeks prior.

 

2012 IM Cairns - 10:49. Still hungover.

 

2013 IMMelb - 11:16*. Didnt train for this one. Lucky the swim was shortened

 

2013 IM Cairns - 12:49

 

2013 Busso - 13:46 I did about 30 hours training in the previous 12 months and got what i deserved. I got off the bike after a slowish ride and decided to walk until Humdrum caught me and then id run with her till the end. Because she rides like a nana i walked 22 km before she caught me and by that time i had blisters on my souls. I tried to run with her but she was off. I had a lonely 20km hobble home, even Simone walked off into the distance. On a good note I still beat Stikman by a country mile.

 

2014 IM Carins - 12:52. no training for this one.

 

2014 IM Malaysia - 16:07 I was sick, the course was hard and I was untrained. My defining moment in Ironman. Too stubborn to stop.

 

So that the races Ive done. Ive got one more signed up for at Port Mac in a few weeks and hope to be in Sub 13 territory.

 

I now do the races because I just love the following:

 

The welcome dinner and the part when we welcome the IM virgins to the club

Seeing mates finish races, be it their first or 15th

The whole weekend of like minded people out there enjoying themselves

The pain

The Joy

The beer

The Medal

The Towel

The Visor

The friendships formed during the race with random people, be it competitors or spectators.

The after party and the congratulations to the newbies

The Kona roll down.

The Beer Mile

 

When i get back to Australia later this year i will start training again and then aim for another sub 10 at a soft race somewhere.

Edited by ratdog

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3. If you were asked to cost that out. Per year, or per race, would you give the exact numbers? Or would you minimise it? EG, that's quite an amount of cash spent on triathlon, would you admit that? Let's say your wife asks you for some numbers?

 

 

I am honest with the numbers to all who ask.

 

13 races each costing about

 

$800 for race fees

$600 for accom

$1000 for flights

$200 for food

$60 Tim tams and Nutella

$300 beer

$150 merchandise

 

$3110 per race

$40k

 

plus

1 bike

lead up races

nutrition

 

Lets call it $60k ish.

 

Yes its a lot of money, and when the wife asks I say " At least i don't buy a new bike each race like some people do" I always mention these mythical people buying new bikes. It kinda makes me sound pretty good.

 

Its a healthy addiction I guess. I could be doing crack or ice or gambling.

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A long overdue invite into the 10Q Club. Welcome aboard Rattie.

That was a very interesting read.

 

The whole IM Race and Beer Mile experience is enhanced when Rattie is present, a Tranny of the highest order.

You need a 14 hour and 15 hour finish to complete the set.

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4. What's your PB over the IM distance? Was that a career highlight?

My career highlights include:

 

Sub 10 at Busso

10:05 at Port Mac

Smashing Yoyo in the Olympic ITU race in Sydney

Multiple T2 championships

11 Beer Mile finishes.

5. I think that was at Busso, which is a good solid time, but in 35-39 it's sort of borderline MOP. But close enough to FOP to allow for some encouragement. As far as medium to long term strategy, would you aim to improve that, perhaps when entering 40-44? Or you are thinking longer term, to where by attrition the competition might be less?

When i raced at my fastest I was still a good 10 spots away from jagging a spot to Kona.

 

I dont think I will live longer enough to win a spot by attrition.

6. You also raced ITU (Age Group), and you beat a noteable trannie...was that important?

Beating Yoyo was important as he knows he is/was quick over all distances, but on that day I beat him. I also beat him at Cairns one year......... T2 is where the real race is.

 

7. Mate, for the many Aussies who did IM Malaysia 2014, how many of them would go back again to race in those conditions? How does anyone get through a race under extreme heat?

IM Malaysia was a brutal race in extreme conditions. I really shouldnt have raced after coming down with something over night and spewing most of the night right up to the start of the race. A few spews in the swim and I was up against it.

 

I wont be going back to race. Id love to go watch the carnage of a few mates.

 

I think the secret to a good race in extreme heat is to be fit and conserve energy when you can. Taking it easy all day is the way to tackle it. the best of the best will go on to take the win but the hopeful KQ's will race the wrong race of the day and you will pass them as they spew in the gutters. A run walk strategy has worked well for me in the past, allowing me to take in the fluids needed and recover the heart rate.

 

8. Cam. Among the 3 disciplines, I think I could say you have no glaring weakness. Of the 3, which one would you think was worth putting more time into....to get significant improvement?

 

 

Bike for show, Run for Doe. the run is where the race is won and lost thats for sure. I was better than average for all 3 but the run is where I was consistently let down. My best run time was 3:42 at Port Mac and thats 30 minutes from my best stand alone marathon. I loved running but thought that getting out of the water 5 minutes earlier to ride with the faster bikers would be the ticket to a faster overall race, so spent a heap of time in the pool. Looking back on it I should have done an extra 20 km running a week, rather than the extra 5 km swimming. Now that we have a rolling start I am unsure of the best method to deploy.

 

 

9. Around Pattaya, as I recall the roads are quite good. Going a short distance south to Jomtien, and maybe all the way to Rayon, I would say good, but I would be concerned more about traffic, road safety. Where do you train?

 

Living and training in Pattaya is interesting. there are no public 50m swimming pools. The pool I used to go to was 25m and was open till 9 pm but was a balmy 30-35 degrees depending on the time of day. I could only swim for 45 minutes before i was stuffed and it was always alone. I've swum since IM Malaysia and that was in the Water source for Pattaya in a fatarse HIM. My next swim will be at Port mac on the Friday before the race. Lets hope I can fit into the wetsuit.

 

I ride with a bunch of great cyclists, some washed up ex pro's and some up and comers. Euro's, Poms, Aussies, and a couple of young thai blokes who race for their country. They cycle everyday from 80 - 150km. 5 or 6 of them ride over 800km a week. On Saturdays the bunch of 25 or so make it a bit of a hit out heading South with an average speed in excess of 33 km/hr which is cracking pace due to the roads and traffic about. Thai people are used to slow moving traffic and in general are very nice to us on the roads. The road conditons can be variable but during the week I head out with one or 2 others after work and feel safe on the roads to be riding home in the dark with lights on.

 

Running is bloody difficult in this humidity. The coldest I have seen it in Pattaya was 23 and that was a cold snap for 2 days. Even the dogs and cats had to have jumpers put on them. The normal temp is in the low 30's but with 80% humidity. I sweat lots at the best of time and feel that anything more than 10 km whacks me too much to be able to do my job the next day. I walk around outside for 70% of the day covered head to toe doing construction inspections. Running at night is too dangerous on the roads as the footpaths are crazy unsafe with no consistency to the surface anywhere, and anyway its not as if the heat drops off when the sun goes down.

 

I cant wait to get back to Perth and be able to train in nice temperatures.

 

10. Mate, Kona qualification? Strategize that and talk about if it's important to you personally?

Hmmm. Id love to get there under my own steam, but I dont think ive got it in me. I've seen a few guys struggle very hard for a long time to get a spot to Kona and for me it just doesnt look like fun. I might see how I go after a couple years of training consistently with a focus or going quick.

 

After Port Mac in May i will have a legacy spot which I could take but I will wait until Ive got a couple more mates who are going and go as a group.

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BONUS QUESTIONS.

 

1. There's a legendary kiwi born in Christchurch. This individidual won 6 World Championships**, but never won a NZ national event. He made his fame in another country, where he is also a legend. Who would that be?

 

**World Championship is different as you move into other sports, so consider that.

 

2. NZ middle distance runner, unheard of until 1960. Won 3 Olympic Golds...can you name him?

 

 

3. Mate, let's say you are home on a visit to NZ. IM event coming up in a few weeks. You are very fit, in the middle of a training block. You get a call from an from someone you know, asking you to fill in on the wing, in a 3rd team rugby game. He's begging you. What do you say?

 

 

1. Nope got me on that one. Darts maybe?

 

2. Peter Snell. Learnt about him at school.

 

3. Hell yes bro. I'd throw the Number 11 jersey on and be the best John Kirwin impersonator ever.

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An excellent read!

You need a 14 hour and 15 hour finish to complete the set.


Haha, and an 8 hour... good luck with that one! :smile1:.

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1. Nope got me on that one. Darts maybe?

 

2. Peter Snell. Learnt about him at school.

 

3. Hell yes bro. I'd throw the Number 11 jersey on and be the best John Kirwin impersonator ever.

..

Speedway....league racing in the UK. Ivan Mauger.

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The first time I went to a Hills club brick session, Ratty came over and introduced himself. Within about 2 minutes he was offering me a loan of his race wheels! Amazing, genuine and funny bloke I'm proud to call a mate. Great read Cam!

Edited by Stem

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Everyone has their story but yours is more interesting than most. One of the real characters of Transitions.

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Educational read. I never knew that a country mile was the same distance as a finish chute.

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Great stuff ratdog

One of the really really nice guys of triathlon and trannies (cam is one of the very small number of trannies I've gone out and deliberately met (I like to keep to myself)

Hope to see you around this place a bit more when time suits and out smashing it up MFD in a fit state soon

:-)

Cheers

Ivp

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Not a bad bloke considering he's from across the ditch...........

 

Good read Rattie

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Great read Rattie. I lived in Palmy for a year when I was a kid when my Dad moved us all here to do his Masters at Massey. John Cleese was a bit harsh I thought it was owright!

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Never forget Ratty watching Port Half. Drove down from Sydney just to watch me (thanks mate) and you could imagine the support he gave me. After the race he was like a kid in a candy store. I gotta get into this he said. True to his word he entered Canberra on the back of no real training but with his typical can-do attitude and smashed it. A true legend and a true friend.

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