The third day of camp starts with what has come to be known as The Swimmer’s Aquathlon – so called because the swim portion is disproportionately long compared to the run. This year the bias was even more pronounced due to a particularly high tide, and so we estimate the swim to be ~1500m, with a 4.2km run. Transition times include the run up the beach, which of course was a little shorter this year. We use this swim/run race as a means of figuring out handicaps for our camp points competitions later in the week and it’s always one of the highlights of the camp for us. We are very lucky this year to have Sarah Bowen back as a representative of The Tri Touch massage -and generally lending a hand with camp logistics. that she was willing to assist Steven with time keeping meant that I was able to race; something that I had mixed feeling about when the early morning start came around! I’ve been struggling to shake a nasty cough/flu since Epic Camp last week ,which feels worst in the mornings – however I’m finding that a good blast of cool sea water and some high intensity breathing does it the world of good, and is tremendous fun! No excuses required for me today, I felt that i had a respectable swim and almost in a straight line thanks to sticking close by Frank the whole time (you can depend on the German for accuracy, or so I thought!) and then ran as hard as possible in order to drop him and make some gains on Mel, who I knew would have beaten me by several minutes out of the water. What I had not expected to see was so many others ahead of me, and that it would be so hard to close them down on the run. I finished around middle of the pack myself – however the consultation is that I was beaten by three of the athletes I that I coach, despite the fact that one of them, Brian, is 57 years old!! He’d had the smarts to find the feet of Matthew – who he described as a “Big Unit” and good for a draft – in the swim, and does not lack some run pace. Mel’s tenacity enabled her to hold on for third place, despite the fact that a persistent hamstring niggle has almost entirely prevented her form running for the last 2 months. That Matthew and Matt both outran me was no surprise, and I rather enjoyed the motivation of being chased down by Matt ,wondering how far through the field he’d run. Greg, however had done enough on the swim, which he backed up with a 17:05 run split to hold Matthew off -just! With 5 seconds in it, Matthew’s claims that the “inaccurately measured” course cost him the win are quite justified – however, we make no promises of accuracy, and depend entirely on the tidal patterns for consistency. What we do know is that although this certainly was a slow year (with swim splits on 2-3 minutes slower this year) – the run distance is exactly the same as it always has been.
It’s very gratifying to see Greg wearing the Vibram 5-finger footwear for this win, and all of his running on camp last year – he was introduced to the Five-Fingers, provided by Primal Lifestyle as the winner of our handicapped run competition on last year’s camp,. Initially very sceptical of the unusual looking shoes (it’s quite possible he’d never come across previously, in Poland), fortunately he claimed his prize, tried the shoes out and loved them. He’s now a true convert and owner of 6 different models. Greg will win a set of Firefly Recovery devices for today’s aquathlon win; an ideal prize to pick up mid-way through a camp like this, when recovery starts to become more and more important!
With the day’s “minimum” swim and run requirements out of the way, rides were quite relaxed – a new route of Steven’s devising which followed Ironman route from PdC to where the Race course joins El Golfo, but rather than following onto the loop as in the race, we hung a left and climbed up through Las Brenas to the base of the Steep Bit of Femes – but avoided that today – and then rode the lovely descent to Playa Blanca. Two of the ride groups converged on the Las Brenas climb ,it’s nice to see everyone else out on the road…we let Emma’s faster paced group go ahead to Yaiza, whilst I had my bunch working together up the dreadful old road between PB and Yaiza into a head wind. There were a few comments that it was a bit like a “time trial” … which I suppose it was – a team time trial – which in my opinion is a good thing for keeping a group together on that dreadful bit of road to get it over with quicker. We had a leisurely coffee stop, with all groups plus Sarah and Ellen who’d both done shorter rides to get there and meet us. With such a large (and good-looking) group, all buying coffees and ice-cream, the proprietor was sufficiently pleased with our regular repeat custom that she came and handed around pieces of cake on the house. How better to put a smile on a cyclists face? The highlight of Steven’s day came later, however when, on their longer ride route they made a second cafe stop and were given the same treatment. This was after Mel had already elected it to be a “two coffees, two cakes” stop…..which is good news for the rest of us with tomorrow’s Tabeyasco hill climb competition! hehehehe