Today was our first open water swim on the camp, dark as we piled into the TriSports van at 7am, and still a little low on light by the time we arrived on the beach ,However, it’s remarkable how fast it does get bright once the sun is above the horizon, and we were able to start our session on time at 7:30. We set out a 500m lap of buoys ( two of the permanent buoys and two of our own placed just off shore) which we swam around as a warm up before doing some sighting exercises, swimming the diagonals across our square of buoys. There was a pretty strong current ( I swear!) which compounded by the bright sunlight and relatively small size of the buoys we were sighting for, made it much harder than anticipated . I admit that I performed very poorly at this apparently simple task!
Following this demonstration of my own failure to swim a line, we paired up for a sprint relay race – an out and back to a marker 150m off shore, from a beach start. I was determined not to let my team mate Andy down with my poor sense f direction/sighting….but needn’t have worried about that as he set of in a direction almost completely perpendicular to everyone else!. It was quite amusing to watch the effect of that current, as over even a relatively short distance people were on a wide range of courses. I managed to make a much better line on my turn, and we almost had a blanket finish.
See our little video clip here – thanks to Deb and Daz for filming .
Our bike session today was based around hill repeats up the northern side of Fire Mountain. Starting at the entrance to the Volcano park it was just under 1km to the top with an ascent of about 45m. The workout included a few repetitions working on different gearing and climbing techniques…followed with a few all-out efforts to the top. I was recording times and so it became pretty competitive! I was thoroughly convinced that everyone had given their all on their final “max effort” by the end of the hour. The result were rather interesting, and demonstrated that ne or two of our campers might have been holding something in reserve during the first couple of days on camp, whilst others may already be getting close to “done in” after a full-on start. We also saw that our less experienced cyclists have gained much more confidence and picked up a lot better technical and tactical understanding of cycling…and the relatively short climb requiring an effort that didn’t require endurance allowing these guys to post impressive times. The fact that we are using these times to loosely calculate handicaps for tomorrow’s Tabayasco TT will require a degree of judgment to take these factors into account….but I think we have a reasonable idea – certainly enough to make it a fun competition and provide everyone with motivation to ride their best up their.
The “add on” ride was a route lead by Steven from the top of Fire Mountain to Playa Blanca, before making an ascent of Fermes – a climb with a frighteningly steep pitch at the top….as if we had not done enough hill work already! With a strong tail wind the group was riding at constant 45+ Kph with a short section being motor paced by a lady on a moped. They could see her smiling in her wing mirror at the five of us in a line behind her! However – this meant that the climb up Femes was into a stiff headwind which provided the opportunity for some with some fun and games along the way. The group let Andy fight into the wind until they thought he was exhausted enough for then to get away with a jump up the road. Nigel and Steven managed this and hit the steep bit first. Nigel, had never been to the island before and found the steep gradient at the top quite a shock, and was seen zig-zagging up the road. Over coffee there were a few comments that his riding up hill was a bit like Jo’s open water swimming. Alex arrived and the top and just collapsed in a heap over his bike. A cappuccino revived him as he insisted on the longer return over the La Geria, which is where he decided to launch an attack of his own! It was great to see- He’s pretty new to this sport but has improved dramatically during this week, and if he puts the work he has great potential to become a very strong cyclist.
The schedule for the afternoon was to do an own choice of run or have a sports massage and relax around to pool – there were some comments about “battered legs” and most chose the latter. I think some of them felt that the hilly 2-lap 10km run that Nigel and I did might have been less painful than the sports massage treatment that they received from Claudia!!
As I write this I can hear Steven’s afternoon pool swim session is underway, with Alex and Alexei, our least experienced swimmers really making the most of the opportunity for some one to one swim coaching and technique advice.