Our second camp is complete and it was at least as much fun as last time which is really more than I could have hoped for since last year had been so great. A good camp is all down to the people and their attitude and again we had a great bunch. Having managed two successful and enjoyable camps gives us further assurance that we have a pretty solid formula for creating a fun and motivational environment for people to really push themselves and reset their perceived limits.
It’s a high volume week, and so not suited to everybody, but we’d always aimed to have a camp that could mix the very best age group athletes with those who are a bit more steady paced, in a way that benefited both from the experience. Watching the support at the end of our 10k handicap race on Thursday made me content that that’s what we’d done; as people finished they cheered and supported everyone else clearly understanding what each and everyone had achieved by running so hard that far in to the camp.
We shifted a few things around this time from last and introduced some new rides. In general I was happy with the changes and many will certainly stay for next year. Splitting out the aquathon from the Tabeyesco TT was definitely better and it was great that Jo was able to race the Aquathon. It means that this year we both took part in as much of the racing as we could and ensured that at least one of us stepped up to the start-line. I would like us both to race everything next year if at all possible so participants get to pit themselves against the coaches.
The wildcard system continued to provide amusement and a little incentive to everyone, together with providing a method for adjusting the relative length of the days if required which for some was a very useful feature. I don’t see this being removed- although perhaps we’ll continue to refine it!
Once again the the hotel really looked after our group, ensuring that rooms were located close to one another, late check-outs and ensuring adequate quantities of eggs! The restaurant laid a reserved table for dinner each evening, so that we all sat as one big group to eat which was fantastic.
The group trained a total of 594 hours and 26 minutes covering a total of 12,780 KM with 172,240m of bike ascent. This gave an average per person of 33:01 training, 8.9km swimming, 668km cycling and 33km running in the 6 days. This was 11 minutes more per person than last year but the split was quite a bit different. The swimming was almost identical but we covered over 1,800km more on the bike but 150km less running. This year not only were the standard rides a little longer overall but most people elected to ride long most days which meant less time for long brick runs.
The camp total hours record was broken by Marc Atkinson and it was really fun to watch the contest for this accolade between him and Simon throughout the week. Good to see a little competition for nothing more than seeing your name at the top of the list. It makes me wonder about some sort of jersey for the person with the most hours though I’m not sure promoting a pursuit of hours for the sake of them is correct.
Yet again the points competition was not only close (not as close as last year) but also a battle between one of the fastest athletes on the camp and one of the slowest. Being able to get these two competing is a success of the handicapping. In fact, Roger only passed Sarah in the last 500m of the 10k handicap.
I’m still a little perplexed by the Aquathon swim as it appeared to be 3-4 minutes slow resulting in no-one coming close to the top three of last year. Initially we put this down tide being in but the times for the handicap swim race the next day were very similar to the previous year – for instance Mel and Marc swim within 10s of last years time. I was a minute quicker which is in line with my improved swimming.
I’ll end with the 10k no watch guess your time. This year we had some excellent guesses with 3 within 30s and 5 within a minute. This means next year to get in to the time guess hall of fame will require you to guess your time to within 1:12 or less ! I like Jo’s idea of getting everyone to predict their time at the start of camp, then again immediately before the race and see which is closer.
Steven has summed up pretty well already -It was another cracking week with some great company. It’s the most satisfying feeling to be driving the guys to the airport at the end of a hard week and months of planning, and hearing how much they have enjoyed it, and are sad to be leaving.. I’ll quote Ted: “you spend all week wishing it [the pain] was over…..and then feel very sad that it is!” not exactly the choicest testimonial but it made me chuckle. We’re sad to see them go – for us it feels like we’re on camp too…and have already started discussing ideas for next time!
We owe a massive thanks once again to Emma who lead one of our ride groups each day, helped with the organisation of the races and has been taking some great photographs. I’m really looking forward to seeing her film montage shortly! Also to Helen from Tri Touch massage who, as well as joining us for most of the riding and some of the races, kept our weary athletes going with two massages each through the camp, and Ali of Mills Physio for being on hand with physiotherapy support for a few of the guys who would not have made it through the week without her treatment, and leading our daily post-training poolside stretch session. It was great to see her riding strong each day and we’re very confident that she will storm the Fred Whitton Challenge in May.
Here are the final standings at the end of the camp – the “time” column shows combined handicapped time for the swim, bike, run races and the adjacent column ( blue text) is the actual time.