Finally, I can report some genuine jelly fish news! Fortunately it was only Steven and Simon who had elected to get up early and do an optional swim prior to the long ride this morning. They only swam about a km until they’d had enough stings, and joined the rest of the camp for an early and hasty breakfast. We had three groups departing at 8:20, 8:40 and 8:50am – covering the full Ironman Lanzarote bike course on the last day of a camp in which we had already averaged over 25hours of training per person in 5 days, we were not underestimating how tough this could be for some of us, and wanted to encourage as early starts, working together as a group and most efficient stops during the ride possible.
Today I was riding with the “middle” group – Ted, Marc A, Mel, Simon and Frank, were the unlucky campers who, Steven joked ,were “not likely to get a coffee stop”. Through the week these guys had been pretty evenly matched in terms of bike strength, and certainly a good pace for me over 6hrs. Today, however, I had reached the end of my reserves and mostly lead the ride form the rear, shamelessly making use of their wheels for most of the ride! Simon, lets call him the “sand-bagger’s apprentice”, was on great form, and having apparently taken things easy all week, was not up for riding at our friendly pace…and we last saw him churning away around the El Golfo loop. No-one saw him all day -he’d cracked on solo and ridden the route in 6hr50 incl. stops . I felt that the group could have used the benefit of his strength today, as the winds were not only blowing in the non-typical direction, but were blowing hard. However – like everyone, he’s paid to come here and get the most out of himself and we’re here to support that, so good on him. Lucky for us (me!) Frank was happy to wait for us and stick with the group, and “The Train” proved invaluable ride company in the second half of the ride, along the LZ1 and all the way home into a head-wind. He was riding at his own pace, but anyone who could hang on his wheel was welcome to it, seemed to be his attitude. I certainly felt it was worth busting myself to stay there – and lets just say that I was neither in my happy place, or seeing much of the scenery! Mel was riding strong, as she has all week, despite a hacking cough, and Marc and Ted remained as jolly as always. My thanks to Marc who came to the rescue when Mel had a major mechanical in the town of Haria, and my congratulations to both Mel and Frank who managed somehow to get in a sneaky coffee on two occasions!
Challenging conditions today with winds strong and from an unusual direction meaning for the majority of the day we had cross winds. The early riding was very sensible and sociable nicely ticking it along till we got to over 3 hours which was Tim’s criteria for a stop. We got all the way to Teguise where we stopped at Johnnies Bakes. Everyone loved it and resolved to pop in on the way back too!
The fun had started (i.e. pushing the pace ) on the climb to Teguise and it continued after the top up to Haria. We’d passed the other groups prior to our stop but watched them head by so it was fun to catch them and exchange a few words on the climb. Rain and cloud at the top so we didn’t hang around. In Haria we found Jo’s group with a broken chain which they’d managed to get fixed, so we continued. Emma’s slow group rolled in very shortly afterwards.
Once we hit the LZ1 we had a headwind and I felt it best to just “get it done”. The guys took it in turns to join me on the front and we gradually cranked up the pace before heading up to Teguise for the 5km climb into the wind. Rob made a false move halfway thinking we were nearly there, accelerating past us. I was impressed he was making his move so far from the end of the climb, before I realised he’d made a mistake. At the top everyone looked spent resulting in a lot of chat over our second coffee and cake being about how the work was done and we’d ride easy back. We stayed a little longer as Johnnie had just baked some hot cross buns and treated us to some.
Once back Out on the road Tim set the pace and started cranking it – before we know it most are on the rivet all along to the turn to the donkey track. Then it was plain sailing down with the tail wind before spotting Jo’s group ahead on the bypass road resulting in a chase to try and catch them before the end. It was in vain.
Brilliant ride. Roger, Tim, Rob and Kevin all worked incredibly hard at the end of a very solid week, and it was really fun to be a part of it.