For Grace Musgrove life could seem pretty good right now for the Southern Highlands local because she is halfway across the world in the Basque Country of Spain enjoying the European summer and racing triathlons. At 23 years old her journey has just begun.
Growing up in Moss Vale on the campus of Tudor House where her parents worked she was raised in an active household with two older brothers to harness her competitiveness.
Attending the local primary school at Bowral she then finished her secondary studies at Frensham girls school in Mittagong. Living in the Highlands that was where most of her training took place, however, early morning drives to the only indoor pool in the area at Picton Swim Club taught her to be resilient and organised. But she didn’t know her destiny as a triathlete waited around the corner.
Determined to be a world class runner, Musgrove won the National Cross Country title in her last year of school but that same year Jamie Turner, head coach of the international tri squad ‘The Wizards”, had invited her to live and train in the coastal town of Wollongong with the squad. At first she declined the offer because she wanted to be a runner, but in 2011 she saw the other girls from the squad traveling and racing overseas so she changed her mind and decided that she wanted to be a triathlete.
She knew Australians were more competitive on the world stage in tri and it was a great pathway for her. Within the squad everyone’s aim is to compete at the Olympics, but they are all at different stages of their journey, whether they are competing at the World Series, World and Continental Cups or the Commonwealth Games.
Spending the first half of her year training and racing in Australia the squad recently took off to Spain in May.
“It’s pretty easy once you get to Spain, we are based there just an hour from Bilbao airport in Vitoria Gastiez and everyone is doing different races so you might go away for a week then head back there after.” Grace said about her plans for overseas.
Her parents encouraged an active lifestyle when she was growing up, but now Grace thinks she has had a hand in encouraging them to get back out there.
“I always remember when I was growing up that Mum and Dad would swim and Mum would run.
“They both did tris before they had kids and then when I started triathlon, in my second year they started getting into cycling and got new road bikes. Now they ride three or four times a week.
“Mum did her first tri back in 2014 and last year she came second in Chicago at the World Sprint Championship in her age group.”
When asked if there is a bit of family competition Musgrove said there always is. “Mum was a faster runner than me back when I was 15, I remember one year we did the City to Surf together and she said she was basically walking up every hill as to not leave me.
“But they definitely keep me on my toes. If I’m having a bad day there is potential they could drop me on a ride.”
Musgrove remembers her most memorable achievement as being her great domestic season in 2013 – crowned the Australian Elite Sprint Champion and placing third at Oceana Champs that same year in Wellington. She then made her first World Championship team for under 23s in London where she placed 12th which she explained she was happy with in a modest but sincere way.
She said after all her travels she still hasn’t found a place like the Southern Highlands that she felt was home – but the Netherlands is a close comparison to the township and community. She said the roads are quiet at home which makes them really bike friendly, similar to Europe where their main form of transport is bicycles in some places.
Equivalent to a full time job, the hours Musgrove trains every week is extensive, but her tip for riders who are training or riding is to take the good with the bad.
“You have to learn to accept each session as it comes and not dwell on a poorer session, just make up for it the next time you train.
“Your body is telling you that you’re tired but it isn’t something to get down about.”
“We (The Wizards) focus on the processes of training, not the outcome. So as long as you can pick out good parts about your process like technique, then you’ve got something positive out of each session.”
“I practice this thing when training where we live in the moment and not worry about what’s in the future or behind us and that really helps me stay focused.”
Those final words ring true for any type of athlete, whether training for the Bowral Classic or any other event, it’s important to enjoy the journey.
Since Grace has been overseas she has had some great results, we can’t wait to see Grace at the Bowral Classic event in October to ask her all about it!