Had a few days to just relax and reflect on our first EverydayTraining Camp. I don’t think in our wildest dreams we thought it would go as well as it did. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I certainly underestimated the work involved in hosting such a camp and how tiring it would be to train everyday and do everything else. We did manage to blog everyday on the camp though the posts can be found here.
It feels like I’m moving ever more in to this world of triathlon and particularly long distance triathlon with this camp just being the next step. I’ve always enjoyed training camps, initially on a small scale with a few friends and later on a bigger scale with large groups on Epic Camp. Now we’ve realised that we can pull together a group of people and provide a most inspiring environment for people to explore their limits. Our whole aim was for this to be a real down to earth training camp – this was about Training. It wasn’t about sitting in a room somewhere with someone telling you what to eat in a race, or someone showing you how to get your wetsuit off. This was about getting out there, training and racing. It was about learning from others on the camp. If you wanted to know about nutrition you could ask Jo or I or any of the other experienced athletes on the camp. We didn’t want any choice in sessions as we felt it important that everyone was in the same boat so that a strong feeling of camaraderie was built up. We had a “wild card” system, which Jo devised, allowing some adjustment of the schedule by doing more one day to reduce the next or by an athlete going longer helping out someone that was injured or couldn’t cope. It needs refining but it provided some fun and certainly some campers made excellent use of it to help them get ready for a strong final day.
We had a mix of athletes and one worry of mine was a single person being way faster than others or one way slower. I am pleased to say that hard work by many athletes ahead of the camp meant we had none of the latter. We did have some fast guys and I knew it was my job to ensure they were sufficiently pushed. I can see going forward this will be a big motivator to be very fit coming in to the camp. Luckily I rested up properly after my winters racing and came in to some bike form just ahead of the camp.Brett and Jon provided very strong riding everyday. Jon just doesn’t know how to go easy. I was pleased to be able to comfortably hang with these guys everyday. I had to jump on their wheels on the flat / rolling sections but was able to hold my own on the hills. It made for some great riding. It was nice to see Paul and Kevin brave riding with us occasionally. I hope it future camps people will be enticed to at least try the occasional day with the fast group. Having accomplished age groupers along is great and I’ve already had comments from other campers that it’s great to be around that level of athlete. To give you an idea of the work I’ve done on the bike I’ve attached my training stress graph above. This runs from post Kona to today. That augers well for getting ready for Ironman Austria. If that graph doesn’t show it here are some figures:
6 days – 22 hrs – 630km – 8,276m ascent – average watts 247
Given my best Ironman bike splits have been at around 240 watts it shows I’ve done 22 hrs averaging above Ironman effort. I’m feeling pretty good for it.
I’m satisfied with that but far more satisfying was what the guys on the camp achieved. An average of 33 hours in the 6 days. Simon chucked himself fully into it and right from the outset was planning on doing everything and every extra thing. He was slightly false started when his bike didn’t turn up so he rode a hired bike for the first two days. Still he managed 37.5 hours over the six days. He was challenged throughout for most hours by Roz who was mere minutes behind. She covered over 700km on the bike and, I’ll be absolutely honest, she never seemed to tire. I believe this was the key to her victory in the 10k handicap race.
One of the toughest aspects of any camp where there is a ‘completion’ target is if you get injured or get close to detonation. The temptation is to just do whatever is required and risk doing long term damage for the short term goal. I’ve seen Jo have this tough decision on two Epic Camps. On this camp we had three people with this choice but I’m pleased to say that all three made the harder decision to not do certain sessions, not complete the camp BUT still all did over 30 hours training and trained hard. My hat goes off to them for that strength of character.
One of the most satisfying things for me all week was a guy I coach Paul. (I hope he won’t mind me mentioning him!). He was one of the first on the camp and I was pretty straight with him about how he had to work on his riding to be ready for this camp. Boy was he ready. The guy is one demon descender, strong on the flats and keen to learn about group riding. He was rarely dropped and very quickly learned that he could get back most time on the descents that he lost on the ascents. He threw himself in to all the races and must be pleased that he was in amongst it. I found it funny that when he came in last across the line in the handicap 10k race he looked quite despondent but little did he know he’d won the guess your time by being only 39s off ! That is pretty impressive pace judgement. To round off the camp he rode the Ironman course then ran 20k off the bike. A monster 9 hour day, the stuff of legend and something I love to see. Another years training and 3 Ironman races under his belt and he’ll be kicking arse next year.
All the races were great fun. We started with a 10 mile bike TT. Next up was a 1.2k / 4.3k aquathon where I was the marker buoy. I towed out a big orange rubber ring so people could see me. It was very interesting to see how some people took the time to chat to me as they went round. Sergio made me smile all week after he’d took the time to tell me how awesome drafting was, he looked so chuffed, I had to shout at him to get going so he didn’t lose the feet he was on. We then raced up Tabeyesco – it was tough conditions and I bust a gut, recording best every CP30 despite two slow downs for traffic en route, to get the fastest time by seconds from Jon, in 31:23. Jo and I found it amusing to think we’d softened everyone up by getting them to race in the morning when we didn’t thus allowing me to (just) get the victory ;o) Next up was 10k handicap, no watch race where everyone showed that even 4 days into a long distance camp people can race hard. Finally our swim race in massive seas (the biggest I’ve seen here) – I came in second behind Roz. Jo, who was marshalling, reckons we were the only two that managed to swim a reasonably straight course. Brett, Sergio and Paul all managed to miss the line of buoys we felt were impossible to miss. Luckily Sergio is spanish so when they approached a fishing boat they asked for directions to the buoys. It provided a worrying moment for Jo and I on the beach with me about to dive back in and swim back to them. It certainly created some banter afterwards.
The camp ended with everyone riding the Ironman Course. We staggered it with the fast group heading off 30 minutes after everyone else… it actually ended up 40 minutes and with me having to have two stops in the first 10k to sort out my gears they had a decent start. Our group was riding hard and I was pleased to see Kevin out with us, willing to suffer ;o). The longer we took to catch anyone the more pleased I was with how strong everyone was riding. The slow pack was caught at about halfway, the middle pack at Mirador Del Rio but when we stopped for lunch at the bottom of that descent the slow pack rolled in before we were done. I was impressed and very proud.
It all finished with a BBQ by the pool and then out on the town. It was pretty clear that Mel and Roz were determined to out last me and would not call it a night till they had. It was 3:50am when i finally pulled the pin. The final finishers managed a further 40 minutes.
A truly awesome experience. We have proved to ourselves that the format works and is great fun. As such we’re already starting to early planning for two camps along the same lines next winter. We’re also looking in to putting on mini version of them over weekends with the first possibly being in the run up to Wimbleball. It feels like this could be the start of something.