Last May Steven and I had our first taste of riding in the Pyrenees, when we were asked to come and work as guides with our friends at Pyrenees Multisport on a training camp that they had organised for a large group of Canadian triathletes. Well, I suppose being European qualified us sufficiently to bring “local” knowledge – and our abilities to read a map got us through, and we had a fantastic time riding in the mountainous terrain that defines the Tour de France. We returned later in the year for some of our own training prior to Ironman Wales and found it to be excellent, and highly enjoyable, preparation for that race. On some of those long, long and quite climbs…we both had been thinking the same thing – about the potential to host a real high level training camp, with a cycling focus and King of the Mountains contest running through the week.
And now, here we are, about to embark on the inaugural EverydayTraining King of the Mountains Camp, Pyrenees. Most of the athletes arrived this morning (we have another arriving tomorrow evening fresh from the Chilterns 100 sportif) after a very very early start to their day, and after a very welcome spot of lunch provided by Julie, assembled bikes ready for a short “shake down’ ride. Well, never was such a ride more useful, as we had literally got no further than the gate before Andy discovered an issue with his cleat. He’d very diligently replaced his speed plays in preparation for a bike week of applying pressure to the pedals, but had entrusted the “simple” task of fitting them to his bike shop. Lets just say that for reasons not interesting enough to detail, we eventually resorted to switching to Ian’s spare set of Shimano pedals and my spare cleats….and we were off. The first dry day for a long time, it was nice to spin our legs out around the Tour of Luscan – a 45 loop of the local area, with a few cheeky little climbs to test how well those bikes had been put together. It wasn’t long before we met with the first of these…a bit of a surprise to myself who’d not ridden the loop before and an example for everyone of one of the steepest gradients that they’d encounter during the week. Poor Andy’s luck really had deserted him, as his rear hanger sheared off, costing him a few spokes in the process. Fortunately we were still within 10km of “home” and Julie was able to collect him, and take him on a trip to the bike shop. He missed out on the ride, but at least was able to repair his Powertap wheel and establish that his hanger was not fit for purpose! Better to discover that now rather than far from home, and on a Sunday . He is renting one of Pyrenees Multipsort’s Rose rental bikes and will be able to ride tomorrow.
We ran a short loop of the villages almost immediately off the bike…one of the less hilly options that will be easy to navigate and takes 30-40 minutes to run…ideal for fulfilling the camp daily run quota of 30 minutes each day for “completion”. I was pleased that there was some enthusiasm expressed for trying out some longer run routes during the camp, as I have enjoyed many recent rainy days exploring the area and have many options up my sleeve.
That said, we do have a very big week planned and study of the camp training schedule, chat about ascent, ride length and generally packed programme for the week had a couple of guys feeling slightly daunted. Those who have been on our Lanza camps were able to assure them that it’s very much achievable …and enjoyable – just not easy!
It’s our view that at the right time of year, and in combination with the right pre-camp preparation and post-camp recovery, there is great value in BIG WEEK training for endurance athletes. Not just on a fitness level, but also psychologically. Being on a camp not only provides you with the motivation to get up and go each day, but having all training sessions organized, some great ride routes planned, nutrition and vehicle support provided each day and the company of others makes it a whole lot easier. That’s not to mention being able to finish your day with a nice snack and chill by the fire followed by a home cooked dinner, rather than rushing back to domestic chores and preparations for work the next day!
We’re once again supported by Powerbar Nutrition which enables us to provide each camper with their own selection pack of sports product to keep them going through the camp.
We are able to offer a great prize to our overall camp winner in the form of a race entry to a UK Triathlon event of their choice in next year. In addition we have some special gifts and prizes from a great portfolio of additional sponsors this year:
BRING IT ON
We’ll be blogging each day whilst on the camp- so do check in to follow the guys progress!