We always keep riding the Ironman route till the final day of camp as it provides a fitting finale. The previous day is set up to encourage the earning of both swim and run wild cards so the whole day can be devoted to completing this big ride. Most campers did this but even so we had a few keen athletes meeting Jo and I for a morning swim. It was nice conditions for the “coaches 30 minutes” to satisfy the final days swim requirements.
With two groups leaving at 8:30 breakfast was the usual rushed affair trying to balance eating enough and not starting with indigestion. Wayne gets the prize for biggest plate of food, though it did mean the fast group had to listen to his complaints about it repeating on him for the first three hours of their ride.
We had a fast and slow group riding the Ironman route and another group attempting our “IronmanPlus” route which is the normal 180km route with additions to take you to Playa Blanca and Orzola providing a big loop of the whole island. We set the groups set off at intervals that hopefully means they will meet on the road at least once if not a few times as they leap frog each other during stops / extensions.
There were 8 riders in the IronmanPlus group and so with a 200k ride ahead it’s important to keep the group together and not go too hard early on. It was a windy day which made this even more important. As they came down off Fire Mountain it was agreed to push on all the way to Teguise in order to earn the treat : food at Johnnies Bakes. This required 4:15hrs of non-stop riding for 104km which was a very solid effort for everyone. As they progressed through La Santa this group passed Emma’s slow group and were able to exchange words of encouragement before heading over to Famara where Jo’s group was spotted in a cafe having a coffee stop. Jo’s break surprise from her reputation for “non stop riding” meant they group nearly crashed in their shock. She had planned to take photographic evidence of the occasion but the fast group were soon followed by Emma’s group who were also able to witness this! 15 minutes is all the time that this stop it took them to fit in a super market stop for water, drink their coffees and use the loo. Stops with this level of efficiency acceptable even on Jo’s schedule – Mel has been giving lessons , perhaps?
In Johnnies Bakes the IM+ group provided Johnnie with his single biggest order ever, as most tucked in to a two course lunch of toasties, cake, coffee and pop.
On the climb to Mirador Del Rio Steven’s and Emma’s groups came together again. It was fun to see several of the riders in the slower group tag on to the fast guys for the final climb and great to be able to get a group photo together.
From there it’s lovely fast riding home. The IM+ ride had a brief stop in Orzola for ice cream before the final 65k home. This was done in about 1:45 with strong pulls from Jon, Wayne and Matthew along the LZ1 before Mel, the camp winner, pulled the group along the spine road ahead of the fast descent back in to Puerto Del Carmen. It was agreed that Mel should lead the group down the final KMs before they stopped for hand shakes and ice creams.
So, despite the winds, tired legs and “emotional” moments, everyone got round the Ironman route with plenty of time to spare to pack bikes and ready for the end of camp party. Anthony completed his first ever 100+mile ride, and Dan rode over 200km for the first time ever. Linda, cementde her Tough Chick credentials, by heading out for a 1 hour brick run.