After a day of mostly smooth airport pick-ups, hotel check-ins and bike assembly and shake-down rides, our camp of 13 athletes, and 5 staff assembled for the formal welcome and camp introduction on Saturday evening. Having run through details of the week that will follow, including the camp points competition, handcaped races and the concept of “camp completion” …we sent them to bed with two warnings. One, that they would be loosing an hour’s sleep due to the clocks changing form winter to summertime and Two, that we may not be able to swim in the sea due to the sudden appearance of large swarms of jellyfish. There have been jellies in the bay across Peurto del Carmen since Janurary, due to some underwater volcanic activity, and although they’ been keeping themselves very scarce all week, on saturday morning they had returned with large-scale reinforcements. What a bummer! We had been unwilling to enter the water and we could hardly expect the group to do so.
Fortunately, we sent Steven in ahead to scope out the situation, and he reported “All Clear”. They disappeared just as suddenly as they came, presumably just on a day trip to the resort ,and are of in the ocean or bothering beach goers someplace else. So, we were able to get our fist session of the day done and those who wished to had the opportunity to bank a little extra swimming in case of infestations later on it the week. Due to the suddenness of their appearance, we must assume that it could happen any day through the week, and will have to assess the situation each morning . Of course we’re keeping our fingers tightly crossed that if it will happen,it wot be on the days that we have scheduled our swim-based races.
The second session of the day was a ride oriented around the 10 mile El Golfo Loop time trial. This is an exact repeat of last years’ day 1 bike race, which will be used to handicap the cycle “points” race so we were able to make some comparisons of times for the 9 campers/staff who have returned. Despite very windy conditions today which analysis of these time comparisons we reckoned to account for 40-50 seconds we did have some great performances and a few PB’s – notably Ali, Ted and Emma (all of 1 second!!). The fastest ride of the day was Kevin, who had finished in 3rd place in 2011, though he was unable to better that time due to the conditions. The big battle between Tim and Roger, our top 40-45 age groupers was easily resolved by Tim, who ha raced Ironman Lanarzote three times before AND ridden a preview lap of the route this morning, taking a wrong turn on the loop and detouring into a carpark. He must have really been pushing it!!
Here are the results
Over a relaxed coffee we split into groups for the remaining ride, a 35km route over Firemountain. With strong head winds this was quite hard on the legs, but the pace of the riding was comparatively fast in all the groups as everyone is fresh and keen, so the descent down the Donkey Track with a tail-wind was a well earned pleasure at the end of the ride. It was a relatively short day on the bike and so Steven and I were impressed with the spirit of those who used the spare time to ride a little further or do long runs.
For myself it was a blessing to run the half-hour minimum and have a little spare time in the afternoon, enabling me to join a few of the other sensible campers for Ali’s poolside stretching session and get ahead of some camp admin so that I might catch up that lost 60 minutes of sleeping.
I’m going to need it!