The penultimate day on camp is always very full-on and exciting day – despite a clear sense of fatigue now amongst the group – because we have the last two handicapped races which will decide our camp rankings going into the last day’s ride.
So, we begin as usual a7am start with for a 2-lap 1.2km swim race….with the athletes starting on a handicap calculated off their aquathlon swim split from earlier this week . Because that had been such a close race, the start sequence was pretty rapid fire, aside from Robin who had a 6-minute start! It was a hsame that he appeared to waste it by immediately swimming off in completely the wrong direction, the buoys being rather difficult to see from 250m away, and no one ahead to guide him! However,Emma and I then watched pretty much everyone else follow suit, taking a course with the current to the far left of the buoy. Perhaps they were following Robin! In any case, Robin had held everyone off for a good 3 minutes on the first lap, and swam a much faster second lap to cross the line in first place, having held the chasing field off. Greg followed a minute and a half behind, and then a pretty tightly bunched finish, though not the blanket that a perfectly executed handicap race could see…and as ever this is largely down to poor sighting in most cases, with contribution from general fatigue in others. Noenthe less, it was clear from the collapsed bodies, heavy breathing and laughing and general banter over breakfast that people had really found the motivation to push hard once the “prey” of a slower swimmer in front came into view!
Results from this race are here, ordered by handicap time – with points awarded to all that started:
Some quick pre breakfast calculations meant that we were able to award the prize of a neat Blueseventy rucksack to Robin, our race winner and also announce updated points standings with once race to go. At that point it was close between Phil, who was leading on Paul leading on 25 points, Phil on 24 and Dan and Jon (roomies and training buddies/arch rivals from home) joint 3rd on 23.
Before final scores would be settled, there was just a relatively short ride via Palya Blanca, up Femes and home over the vineyards to get out of the way. As ever, we make this a short ride day, with wildcard options to reduce it further for those who want to save their legs for the 10k run race in the afternoon. There is also the option, not only to extend the ride, but to tackle the climb of Femes in the big chain ring, for those who really wanted to destroy their legs ahead of a hard run! Yes, Matthew and Phil both took this on, to the amazement of the rest of the campers who left the cafe to line the roadside as they lead their group up the climb!
Later that day…we assembled for the 10km race, which we traditionally run without watches, asking everyone to make a prediction of their time prior to starting the race. we well know that people are far more conservative abiut what they will run when they guess – and this is part of the reason for this. Frank, our long standing German friend, who has not been on 5 of these camps, and run pretty consistent 10km races on day 5, STILL changed his original guess of 45 minutes to 47 minutes just prior to starting, based on the feelings in his lags at that moment. He, as ever, went on to run a 44:40 minute 10k….next year, we wont let him change his mind!!! As per the swim race, we stet the runners off on a handicap; Martin off fist this time, and again a pretty tight starting sequence so runners really had to be ready! Positions changed quite a lot through this race, as chasing runners had many “rabbits” in their sights to chase down, and Matthew ( yes,”big ring” Matthew) ran right through the field for a new course record time. Thsi meant that not only teh fastest outright run time, he also wins on handicap, a prize from Primal Lifestyle of a pair of Vibrams of his choice. The best guess, incidentally was “Irish John” who guessed within12 seconds of his actula time, and was awarded a drinks belt care of Linda’s special stash for that.
The battle between Dan and Paul was the most impressive, these two fought shoulder to shoulder
r to the line…though even though Dan crossed the line first , he knew that he actually needed to gain two places on Paul to beat him on points….so Paul starts the final day as Camp Leader. This means that provided he finishes the Ironman Ride tomorrow, thus completing the camp, he’ll win our camp prize this year…but we’ve had several people fail to do that over the years due to mechanical issues so it’s not a given!