Well, we certainly have one “first” already on this camp – out on the town on day 1!! But despite the alleged disco dancing in Route 66, everyone was up and ready bright eyed and wetsuit clad for a 7am dip in the sea.
The second day of camp is one of only two without a race. However, there is an informal race to practice starts and exits. This morning’s swim was our starts and turns session – sure to get the adrenaline flowing!
Jo took the campers out for a warm up lap round the buoys whilst I went and placed our marker buoy (an orange rubber ring we bought during the first camp). I had to take it out a little further than normal otherwise we would have pretty much been able run round it in waste deep water. So, it was placed about 75m out, and many commented about the extra distance. We do an initial race to establish pairs for the main race, and as usual this is probably the roughest swim start I encounter all year with feet pulling (by both John and Phil) and barging into the buoy, which I inflicted on John who at one point appeared to be swimming through the buoy.
Having paired people up (fastest goes with slowest, second fastest with second slowest and so on, in order to create roughly equal teams) we then proceeded with a 4-lap relay, alternating tuns within our pairs. Most people are doubled over and gasping for air after their 150m effort, and i’m sure that everyone works so much harder for their team mate than they would in a solo effort. It’s great practice for beach race starts, I’ve had a couple of repeat campers comment that this has helped them get over the fear of a swim start. It’s amazing that just having 18 people racing in to the water can raise the adrenaline and can mimic that flat out initial effort in close contact with others.
Jo is perhaps getting tired; Matthew and I both watched as she filled her water bottle and continued to fill for a good 5seconds after it was full. She claimed it was a ‘micro nap’
Today’s ride was, we knew, going to be one of the toughest of the week, and with the strong winds it was going to be even harder. An initial 55km in to a headwind to Orzola at the North of the Island. Then a 10k 500m climb before coming back down the spine of the Island, in theory with a good tailwind all the way home. The wildcard option was to drop 300m down from Haria to climb Tabeyesco thus recce’ing the TT that we’ll race on Wednesday. Everyone would ride between 130 and 145km, with at least half of that into the teeth of a pretty heavy wind.
We had three groups today. All reported having great days ride and it sounded like everyone pulled together in to that headwind. Jo’s “medium” group could lay claim to actually being the fast group with most riding the course quicker that all but a few of the fast group and that’s despite having fewer people to share the load in to the wind. My group had fun chain ganging the majority of the head wind sections. Not only faster but the time really flies by. At Orzolo all 3 of our the groups came together briefly. We always try with our timings to have the groups meet up and this time it worked great. My group and Emma’s group met up again at the Mirador del Rio together, a quick photo stop and somehow we and we also ended up having lunch in the same cafe at Haria with them! Very social, despite different ride routes and riding pace.
The majority of the campers (all those in Jo’s group and my own group) chose to add on the descent down to climb Tabeyesco. The ride down the whole spine of the Island wasn’t as good as I’d hoped for since the wind was slightly cross rather than a direct tailwind from the typical direction. It was meant to be an easy addition but the consensus seems to be it was good but also rather cruel to go straight by the turn for our usual route home and instead finish with about 8k in to the headwind.
Everyone stayed on course for camp completion either by using the wild cards earned from running an hour yesterday (or bought off Matthew for a gin and tonic ) or by getting out and running at least 30 minutes. It means everyone had over 6 hours training for the day giving well over 11 hours for the camp so far.
Let’s see how many hit the clubs tonight!!