The weather looked a little better as we headed to the swim at 7:15am with clear skies but still a howling wind. Some keen-os had headed out early with Jo to get an extra 15 minutes swimming (in the dark) and an extra 15 after to earn a “Wild Card”. Jo apparently was bullied by Simon, Paul and Kevin to swim in the pretty poor light. The rest of us headed out and bumped in to them in the ocean before heading to the beach to practise beach starts and exits. We had a very small start pen and we all belted in, round a buoy (about 75m out) and back in. Paul T did an amazing dive next to me to try and get on my feet. I busted a gut to be first out and was keeled over catching my breath at the end as did absolutely everyone as they finished. We then paired off and had a relay race which Mel and Simon quite handily won. I just managed to avoid last place which was taken by Roz and Sergio. They came a cropper from Sergio giving the first race his all not knowing that was how the pairings would be decided.
We had a pretty rushed breakfast as there were some quite ambitious ride options today and the wind was strong (even for Lanzarote) so we wanted to allow enough time so that all could do the longer option if they wanted. I had responsibility for the fast group and I recall only one occasion where there was a call to ease up and we did other than that it was a pretty full on ride. Jon hammered every climb and I just hung on as did Brett for part of it. He then wised up and eased off I reckon. Paul T and Kevin wised up from the start of most climbs. To give an idea we rode just over 4 hrs for 116km and my average watts was 250 (I average 242 for a 4:49 bike split at Busselton), I also recorded my best ever CP30. When it came to the decision on whether to ride the longer route I think everyone was wasted and we headed home.
We all headed out on a run together. Brett and Jon crept away and ran together. It’s great to see they are getting on and interesting for us to watch as so far they appear to have swum, biked and run almost shoulder to shoulder. Turns out they were one and two in their age group at UK 70.3 last year and are both trying to qualify at Lanzarote this year. My hope is if they’re shoulder to shoulder like that it’s not for the last Kona slot rather it’s fighting for podium places with both having the Kona slots in the bag. I’d decided to run longer to make up for not riding long. Heading out I knew I’d run 1:30 but kept Kevin and Paul on side by stating an hour. At the turnaround Kevin headed back but Paul was persuaded to continue with me. He recently won the Lanzarote Double Ironman so I was pretty sure it would be a no brainer for him to come with me. I suffered for it on the way back as he put me to the sword with increases in pace. After I was chuffed – ran out 9km at 5 min /K pace and back at 4:45 pace. I felt pretty strong and very pleased.
I was even more pleased when I saw just how much training everyone had done. 5 of the second group did the full ride, most of them getting nearly 6 hours ride time. We had 7 campers with over 7 hours training today including Simon who got up early to run 30 minutes before the swim and then 30 minutes off the bike. Also impressive is that 12 out of 16 managed to run 5 min / k or faster for at least 30 minutes off a very tough bike.
My day started with an early swim, as promised to one of the guys that i coach, Simon who is so far living up to my expectations of using this camp as a rare opportunity to put training first and really testing his limits. He was ready dead on time, having just returned form a 30 minute run. Paul T and Kevin were also game for an extended swim and the four of us waded into the inky seas just as the sun was considering rising for the day. had i been alone i’d not have been in there, but for me it was a good opportunity for a solid swim in the draft of four stronger swimmers. We then met the rest of the campers for a half hour of fun and games, practicing beach starts, turns and exits as a really. Phew that was tiring – but great fun. A more relaxed 15 min swim afterwards in the daylight now gave us a round hour before breakfast.
Emma and I lead a large second group around the “top of the island” – a route that takes in the two major climbs on the ironman course (Mirador Haria and del Rio)and a good opportunity to scope out the fast descents off them both. We were also lucky to be treated to some of the strongest winds i’ve ridden out here – almost 40kph according to Brett’s iPhone- making for an absolutely gruelling first couple of hours. The stronger riders in our group did our best to offer shelter to the weaker riders, who I could see were at times, busting a gut to stay on a precious wheel. I was riding solid at times against the wind with Roz right beside me – so i cant wait to see her ride data!! I reckon she was on the rivet for those first couple of hours. Thanks to Emma and Simon we managed to keep a large group of pretty varied ability together all day. we made several stops -far more than I’d expect on a 90mile route, but the conditions were hard and it was clearly going to be along day even for those choosing to ride the ‘standard’ 73mile loop.
Having done the top of the island, the group split into a return party lead by Emma and an ‘onwards’ posse, with me. the extension was actually only a further 25miles – but would take us directly into the teeth of the winds down from Teguise to La Famara, and then climbing from there through La Santa to Mancha Blanca. So a real good value 25 training miles! Mel, Ted ,the Atkins Bros and Roz joined me – and 90 seconds into the loop Matt’s chain snapped. Fortunately Roz was well equipped with a chain tool, and Matt knew his way sufficiently around a bike that, in the time it took the rest of us to eat a Powerbar, and for Ted to take 40 winks ( see picture!) it was fixed, and we were on our way. Poor Roz is just that little bit slower than the rest of the group and did a lot of the hard riding on her own off the back, but fair play to her – no complaints at all, her legs were feeling fine and she just motored along at her pace, whilst I saw the boys flagging in the final hour of a 7hr ride. Mel seemed like she could have carried on indefinitely on the front too. Conscious of the late hour and the requirement for a 30 min run off the bike, when Matt punctured just outside Tinajo we decided to split the group, with Roz, Marc and Mel riding on home whilst i waited for the Matt and Ted to fix the flat .Another professionally swift change and we were on our way -i was fully expecting to catch Roz and Mel before the end of the ride, but not so! they mast have been working really well together.
Back at the digs we all set out for a 30 shuffle together – well that was the story; actually the pace was pretty decent and offered me good 15min warm up for a 25 min block of tempo to round off my own day. It sure is fun to have so many “up for it”s on the camp…and i do hope we can keep the momentum going.