Rachael Goodwin struggled to stay on her road bike when the aspiring triathlete first hopped on.
Fast track almost two years, and she is set to test herself against the best triathletes at the Ironman world championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
It’s been a remarkable rise for the Sydneysider, who moved to Port Macquarie two years ago with husband Michael in search of a sea change.
At the time, she was unhappy with her body image and wanted to do something about it.
“I needed to lose weight,” she said.
“Over the course of that year I lost over 25 kilos and I’d see the triathlon club run out the back of our house and it looked like a bit of a challenge.”
“Part of moving up to Port was to simplify our lives, get healthy and happy and we love the place. I just wanted to be a good role model for my girls to get really fit and healthy again.”
Initially, Goodwin, 42, joined the gym and then, with the help of trainer Mick Maher, set about getting back into shape.
“I did weights and cardio and cleaned up my diet and lost a fair bit of weight,” she said.
“Then I wanted a bigger challenge after that, so that’s when I joined the tri club.
“I didn’t know anything about how to use road bikes and was a very poor swimmer so that’s why I got a coach.”
Goodwin’s maiden half-Ironman event was in Geelong in February, which was followed by appearances at Port Macquarie in May and then western Sydney last weekend.
After the winner of her division passed up the opportunity to head to the US, Goodwin, who finished second in her age group, jumped at the chance.
“I love America; I’ve been there a couple of times and just to be given that opportunity to race with like-minded individuals is amazing,” she said.
“I’m not expecting any amazing results or anything like that, it’s just the opportunity to go and race at a world championship level.”
Maher said there was no secret to Goodwin getting into shape.
Over the course of that year I lost over 25 kilos. I just wanted to be a good role model for my girls.
“I’m very big on eating normal, but you’ve got to keep it simple,” he said.
“Eat your vegies, eat your fruit and eat your meat, but you do need that treat at the end of the week.”
Maher said Goodwin's progress over the first three to six months had been incredible.
“Rachael is one of the most committed people I’ve come across in a long time,” he said.
“If you had have put her in a (half-Ironman) 12-to-18 months ago she wouldn’t have finished it.
“I think she fell off her bike every training session she had with me for four months.
“It became an amusing component of our sessions by the end of it.”
Goodwin will compete at the world championships in September next year.