Well, the tone has been well and truly set by Phil and Robin – “elite” group cyclists by day and party boys by night – and one or two of our regular campers don’t need too much persuasion onto the dance floor it seems! Despite another evening of mild clubbing, everyone was assembled at 0645 for our traditional mid-camp aquathlon race. This pre breakfast swim-run race seems a bit daunting even to those who were not out on the tiles, but Steven and I always enjoy seeing how much the enthusiasm builds during the race; partly because it’s the first time that the campers, having spent 2 days “competing” on the bikes, have a chance to test one another’s running and partly as a result of the support and encouragement that everyone gives to one another throughout.
This year’s swim route was reduced to ~750m ( one triangular lap around our “new” buoy layout) with the run identical to how it has been in previous years. This brings it in line with a more traditional aquathlon ratio – rather than the seriously swim – biased aquathlon that we have had in previous years. It also made for a lot closer racing, and Steven and I watched with amusement as the whole pack swam off en-masse far to the left of the first buoy before realizing the error – at this point Mel and John gained a big gap and came out of the water first and second. Matthew followed not long afterwards and set about chasing on the run. The rest of the group came out with a spread of only 90 seconds…followed up up Robin on his own a couple of minutes later. To his credit, this disadvantage did not deter him from chasing hard on the run – his 17:09 run split was the 5th fastest run of the morning. unfortunately this was not enough to compensate for his swim and (i’m sorry Robin!) slow transition!! we had a new record speed in transition from Paul ( on his first camp), 1:13…and Paul also posted the quickest run of the morning at 16:52. This is some minutes behind our course record (set my Matthew) which may be some indication of just how hard these fast group boys (and Mel) have been riding this week.
Full results in the table below …and these will go onto The Database to calculate handicap times for out swim and run races on Thursday . You can see we’re going to have a very tight start sequence for that swim race!!
Following a relaxed breakfast, today’s ride was relatively short …102 km for the “standard” route and113km for those who wished to tag on a loop round El Golfo in the “nice” direction. The sting in the tail was an ascent up Femes – the steepest climb on the island – at ~80km, having ridden most of that into a strong wind. Yes, we really seem to have got lucky this week, getting value for money with the Lanzarote conditions, though not the strongest gales I’ve known here, it’s certainly much windier than average. This does make life hard for our lighter riders, those not accustomed to hanging tight on a wheel or anyone with deep section rims, and so we had a couple of campers gladly take a shorter route home, or even decide to forfeit their camp completion in favour of getting the most benefit from the rest of the week rather than tiring themselves out too much too early in these conditions. We switched ride leaders around between the groups today – Steven and I do like to ride with all of the campers at least once on camp – and once again all groups managed to cross paths a couple of times through the ride. My group was passed by Emma’s “medium paced” group on the climb up Femes, having ridden the extra 10km round El Golfo to get there. They opted for a coffee stop at the top, whilst my guys preferred to press on home. It was another tough slog into the wind over the Vineyards back…but with the daily run requirement fulfilled in this morning’s race, everyone had the chance for an easy afternoon and a massage and/or happy hour at the pool bar. Though, naturally, not everyone chose to…..and some headed out to run off the bike, just because…well, why not!?!