This morning was the aquathlon. It was a key event for us requiring us to correctly get swim and run splits (and thus transitions) as they were essential for handicapping the remaining races and deciding on prizes. I, however, managed to have no responsibility in the timings as I was the turn marker for the swim. So whilst the others set up transition I swam out in a pretty dark see towing a big orange rubber ring which I was to hold. To keep myself in the same spot I went to one end of a line of buoys. Was I stopped swimming I felt quite warm, I guess because there was no change of water in my suit.
The race starts and Mel, as expected, lead the race. Unfortunately, in completely the wrong direction, I reckon 45 deg off course. No one else was sighting so they all followed. I had a bit of a giggling fit it was so funny, I even resort to a very loud whistle. She eventually realised what had happened and switched direction which prompted everyone else to as well. Then for her second lap she over compensated and was heading off the wrong way the other side ! Next thing I see if a wetsuit clad athlete (turns out it was Roz) dashing about 50m along the beach to the beach turn around (Jo) as she’d managed to go massively off course ! Some straight swimming in the handicap race could be what makes all the difference.
On the run (4km) it was good to see everyone giving it their all. Jon managed to chase down Mel who held on for 2nd. There were some very close fights with Sergio finishing just ahead of Paul Thompson who was then pipped to the post by a very fast finishing (super) Kev.
We managed a relaxed breakfast before departing for the ride to the bottom of Tabeyesco. We had three groups heading off … a relaxed spin group, followed by a steady group followed by a faster group aiming to arrive 37km down the road at the same time. Despite every group not quite leaving at the proposed time it worked out great with us all getting to the start within 5 minutes of each other.
Now Tabeyesco – 9.7km, 550m ascent and today a lot into a pretty solid headwind. 1 minute intervals based on Sundays TT meant that most people had someone up the road to chase. I set off last and had to take 2 minutes to sort out my note book etc…. I absolutely busted a gut on that climb. I averaged 355 watts for about 20 minutes, then it started to drop off finishing with a time of just over 31 minutes for an average of 340 watts. Everyone really worked on that climb which was great. At the top we had lunch and I gave provisional results … I had Jon winning and me second but I was slightly perplexed by my time. Emma was within 30 seconds of me and knowing how hard I’d gone I was gobsmacked – a stunning ride. Cutting to the end of the day … I sorted out the results and realised I’d neglected to take account of my 2 minute gap to Brett so I was a minute faster. Still pretty darn impressed with Emmas’ ride just not quite gobsmacked. More impressive though were all the campers who raced hard that morning at the Aquathon and still managed to give it their all. My cunning plan worked :o) though only just as I was fastest by mere seconds. Jon’s time after racing that hard in the morning was very good and I’m pretty he sure he’d have kicked my arse if he’d been floating in the see this morning rather than racing. On handicap Sergio won the race. Well deserved as he did a fantastic climb of Tabeyesco … for his efforts he wins a Retul bike fit at Freespeed.
For the return we had two options – straight back which some people took giving a chance for a bit of a regroup. The rest tagged on for about 25km but on the whole it was kept pretty steady and social. Coming down the climb Paul Weinreich came thundering by as he does. For a guy thats only been riding for 2 years and only been on a TT bike for 2 weeks he is an amazing descending. Brett was heard to comment “You’ve not had a proper bike crash have you?”
Back here one of two people took the opportunity to run off the bike and earn a wild card. I was pleased to have some company in Simon who I chatted with for our 45 minute run. He’s really testing himself this week and currently leads the total hours with over 18 hours in 3 days.
day 3 started with a BANG – an aquathon event. As steven got a head start to hi mark with his rubber ring turn buoy, i had the task of briefing an encouraging a non too enthusiastic looking group of campers into setting out their transition in the play park. the previous two days of big training is taking its toll on a few of the campers now, and small cracks are beginning to show. Sergio, having already been dragged from his room and reprimanded for his lateness, had made it almost as far as the waters edge when he noticed that his wetsuit was on back-to-front!
the race started and 13 triathletes ran and dived into the water ( well practiced the previous day) and followed Mel’s lead towards the turn-buoy, 600m off shore. As sarah and I watched from the beach, it became apparent that Mel’s navigational skills are not on a par with her swimming, and after about 400m the rest of the gang realised this also, and changed tack towards steven, who seemed to be attempting to reposition himself a little closer to their trajectory! Highly amusing spectating. The swim was 2 laps, out and back with a land buoy, and as they ran around me at the end of the first lap I couldt see that everyone was really racing this. No one knew at this point, but we’ll be using the swim spit as a basis for handicapping the swim race on thursday, so it was pleasing to see an honest effort being made. Despite having swum an extra couple of hundred meters, Mel lead the swim out in 18:55, with John second in 19:32 and Marc just behind him in 19:55.
Once every one was out of the water, I took up my position on the finish line and watched the action unfold on the run course. We had them doing 2 x 2km laps on the Calle de Playa – and again, there was no slouching this morning. Simon had made a couple of places in transition, it seemed and had improved his 5th out of the water to 3rd on the run course with Mel managing to hold John off as they closed the first lap. It was exciting viewing as positions changed, with Marc’s withdrawal and Sergio suddenly waking up and running his way up through the field. John passed Mel in the end, running a 16:38 to her 17:42 (equivalent to a 5km pb pace) and catching in the final 500m. Surprise finish of the day was Kevin’s all-out run to the line in 16:45 and Sergio’s 16:47 placing them 6th and 5th respectively – exactly as they had exited the ocean. Again it was gratifying to see everyone really get into the spirit and give such honest efforts, as this run split will determine handicap for tomorrow’s 10k. Yes – another race!!!
After a relatively leisurely breakfast, the ride departed as 3 groups. emma lead a spinning posse, followed 10 min later by a social Jo-paced ride ,Steven and the Men bringing up the rear after another 10 minute gap. The intention for all groups was to ride friendly and help each other through the 90minute ride, mostly uphill, mostly with a head-wind, to the start of the Tabayesco Time Trial. A classic Lanza-rotten challenge, the road from Tabayesco to the visitor centre and cafe at the top of Mirador de Haria is a 10km long ascent of 550m winding its way up a sheltered valley with views of the ocean behind. Not that we’d be enjoying the views today! I had a 2minute start on Emma -who caught me at the junction about 2/3rd up the climb. Her ride was 3rd fastest of the day in 32:45. Steven was quickest (31:23), followed by John (31:39). That Steven did not break 30 min, nor John who has previously ridden 25 or 26 minutes demonstrates that the windy conditions made the ride tougher than usual. That and the morning’s aquathon race ;o)
The hill climb was a ‘camp competition’ , handicapped off the El Golfo TT, by means of comparing each riders variance from teh average time for each event. This method did slightly favour the stronger hill climbers, but it was the fairest method that could be used without making the camp go through two similar events. Sergio won the competition on handicap, and receives the FreeSpeed prize of a free retul fitting service (worth £180), and is currently now leading the overall camp points competition.
Another fun day and good atmosphere at dinner. I enjoyed my first glass of wine of the camp t celebrate having made it halfway through and still hearing happy comments from the campers.