Gregory, John, Linda, Matthew, Rob, Stephen and Steven all rose early in order to fulfill their daily 30 minute swim before an early breakfast at the beginning of what we knew was to be along hard final day on camp. The fact that so many had chosen to swim despite having a wildcard is a real sign of this group’s attitude- we’ve never before had more than one or two swim before riding the Ironman route, and that was simply out of necessity for camp completion. We have been so lucky with this group of athletes – they all really seem to be “getting” into the spirit of what EverydayTraining camp is about, and we love them for it!
180km with 2, 600m ascent is a long ride, especially when tired. For the slower riders, we expect a ride of over 8 hours including essential stops. We also had a few takers for Steven’s Ironman++ route, which makes the ride 200km by adding a visit to the two extreme points of the island (Playa Blanca and Orzola ) onto the Ironman loop. To date no one has ever managed this. Both these groups had to be on the road by 8:30am in order to ensure that we returned with a little time to spare for G&Ts before the end of camp BBQ! Jo was to lead a “steady-solid” paced ride (without cake stops- so nearly no one was willing to ride with her!) around the traditional loop, which turned out to be just herself, mel and Frank. and had the luxury of a later start – 9am. The plan was to try and get the latter two groups to merge and ride a big section of the course together, and we estimated that we’d meet somewhere on the El Golfo loop or the Fire Mountain Climb.
The long route group headed out on the Ironman course before heading up Femes and down the steep side to Playa Blanca. The group got a little split and on arrival in the outskirts of Playa Blanca we realised that Matthew had not come down in the group. With no reply to a text we assumed he’d gone the wrong way down through Las Brenas so the group tried to make short work along the old road to the start of El Golfo. Matthew was not there, but a note from Jo indicated that her group was about 10 minutes ahead. Steven sent the others in to catch up with Jo whilst he skirted back through Las Brenas to search for Matthew. This final day’s ride is not only essential for completion of the camp, but after a week of riding together, we really do like to try and get around this one through teamwork and see as much of one another along the way as practically possible whilst also accounting for differing pace – not to mention our concern about the disappearance of one of the group’s most competent riders.
Meantime, all the the other groups had managed to converge with another by La Santa village, and we called a stop there which meant that Jo’s group DID get a chance for a coffee after all whist she and Steven exchanged their updates by phone. From there on we continued as two groups, with Emma’s slower pace group picking up Mel and Frank whilst Jo took lead of the Fast and Long boys whilst Steven went back to the hotel to check for Matthew. Fortunately for her there was not so much Fast left in these boys and it was a pleasant ride with Lance, Rob and Gregory through the hilly portion of the ride. It had been a mostly still day, but for a reasonably stiff breeze around the southern end of the Island – easy on the lags but it did make things feel pretty hot. Lance was clearly feeling good, and unable to resist a challenge form another rider on the Mirador de Haria climb, which Greg of course was also unable to resist, though he complianed about it the whole way up, apparently. Two big guys like that need a lot of watering, so we called an additional stop in the town of Haria, where we once again caught up with ran into Emma’s group. Rob the Pirate was feeling a bit jaded and decided to be a gent and offer his services to helping Emma’s easier paced group along, rather than add on the Orzola detour.
This is a situation where we realise how lucky we are to have Emma along as a reliable ride leader – since Jo was now accompanying only two riders on a variation of the main ride, and Steven was now riding the route in reverse to meet us and with the hope of spotting our missing man, Emma kept the majority of the camp moving along without fuss on their challenging day. In fact, two of the campers in her charge were about to “pop their 100mile cherry”……..
Jo, Gregory and Lance met Steven shortly after leaving Orzola, and the four of us worked well as a group along that beautiful coastal road towards Arrieta where all groups met once again for more fluids and a big feed. There was a slight headwind back along the LZ1 making it particularly hard on those tired legs, and especially beneficial to ride compact and allow those with a bit more energy do a greater share of the work. Reports from Emma’s group were that Rob did a splendid job of this, albeit with a little too much cheerful chitchat now that he was riding within his comfort zone! By this time we had heard news from Jana, the wonderfully helpful and friendly reception manager of our hotel, that she had seem Matt, safe and on his bike, in Mancha Blanca and we were able to relax and enjoy the ride a bit more. It eventually transpired that his rim had failed on the descent from Femes but somehow no one behind him had spotted him. It’s a long story, and coursed us some concern for several hours of the day until we had ascertained Matt’s whereabouts and that he was fine. We’ve learnt that we will need to put a few extra safeguards in place for future camps or lead rides to try and avoid this situation in future. Matthew managed to get a solid days riding in after buying a new wheel in Playa Blanca.
“Mother hen” Emma could be seen up ahead as we pushed into the wind on the awful pull from LZ1 to Teguise, shepherding her group along. All groups decided to carry on up to Teguise to avoid the awful Nazaret road – although Linda was wise enough to ride a bit of it in order to see just what all teh fuss was about, in preparation for her ironman race here in May. Lance and Jo came pretty close to putting the others to the sword as they got in sight of home along the rolling road through La Geria – both feeling relatively good at this point, or maybe just “less worse” than the rest! Nearing the end of this stretch Steven finally discovered the source of his “squeak”, that had got progressively worse through camp, when during the final surge he head a crack and found the crank spider arms had snapped in three places. Luckily it was downhill to the finish and his three companions were sympathetic ;o)
The other riders finished soon after with all looking pretty chuffed and tired with nearly 8 hours in the saddle each. Andrew and “Linda The Incredible” quickly donned running gear and headed off for a 62+ minute run. This together with Rob’s run earlier of 62 minutes were all specifically in order to please Steven, as it bumped the camps Eddington number up to 61. It’s going to be a tough one to move much in coming years. This was a very impressive effort giving them two of the three longest days ever on camp. Linda was the first person ever to swim, bike and run on the final day giving a massive 9h43 of training time. This didn’t stop her dancing with the rest in to the early hours….reportedly getting to bed past 6am!! She didn’t manage to outlast Mel in that regard, though having completed the full Ironman route with Frank in 6hr 43, had probably had a nap before the rest of us were home.
Gregory not only completed the course but together with Lance became the first to finish the Ironman++ route clocking 204km and over 3,000m ascent. This secured Gregory’s win in the camp points competition which wins him a race entry in a My Tri Club race of his choice.
This camp we managed to average 31:24 hours of training each. This includes Rob our TriTouch masseuse and Ali Mills,camp physio who, being “normal people” both did a lot less). The range for those completing the camp was from 31hr56 to 38hrs08 – easily surpassing our original goal of everyone doing 30 hours in six days. There are a lot more stats and figures where these came from, care of Steven Lord’s obsessive logging – and we will follow with a post detailing this in the next few days.
Right now, having said sad good byes to everyone as we dropped them at the airport through the day – we’re knackered! It has been a blast, and we feel so lucky to have had such a really great group of athletes come out and experience the unique sort of training environment that we try to create. This bunch, although possibly the widest spread of speed we have had amongst any group to date, have all really got stuck in and risen to the challenges we have set them through the week.
I do hope that they gain confidence, as well as fitness, as a result if having exceeded their expectations of how much they could do.
Finally – we will be running the Lanzarote Endurance Camp at the same time of year in 2014- if you’re interested please do drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.