One of the most enjoyable events on camp for us as coaches is our mini aquathlon race on day 3, which we use to gather the swim and run times required for handicapping our swim and run points races. With the swim course that we’d used in last year’s race no longer marked with permanent buoys, it was shortened to a single ~600m out and back lap to the line, – so it’s another year of new course records. The run route, however, has remained unchanged since 2010 (~4.4km) so we have nice collection of records.
With the particular group we have on cap this year, we expected some impressive times, and our “short course” contingent did not disappoint, flying around both swim and run with some tight racing. The race was won by Mike in 26:50, James just over a minute behind in 27:57 and John hot on his heels in 28:12. Heather and Faye were neck and neck out of the water, with Heather pulling away with a stronger run to finish in 30:29. It was great to have all the fastest runners we’ve ever had on camp racing each other.
The morning’s entertainment was rounded off with Steven having to sprint out on a rescue mission to save our old trusty Rubber Ring which had been detached from it’s mooring and was making it’s way towards Fuerteventura – he certainly gets a “wild card” for that swim!
Following breakfast we had the chance to ride the route that we’d been intending to take them on yesterday, but had thought better of it in those high winds, to the north of the island with a chance to check out Tabeyesco before tomorrow’s TT. We headed out as our 3 groups, all working into a headwind, which seemed pretty stiff, but mild by comparison to yesterday… and along the way the groups each passed one another first at the super-market water fill up in Famara, and then again in our favourite cafe in Teguise. . We love it when this happens as it gives everyone a chance to say hi and see that everyone is going ok. It was especially useful for Karen, who’d set out 30 minutes ahead of our first group, lead by myself and containing her husband, Rob…as reassurance that she was on the correct route, and not alone! They only just caught her before the cafe stop… and as luck had it, coordinated with both Steven’s and Emma’s groups already there. Karen got to have a social break with others after hew long solo effort, before taking a direct route home…whilst I managed to persuade my riders to roll through and hold out for a cafe stop with a view atop the Tabeyasco climb, at Mirador Haria. They were game for it – we’d been working well together, to keep everyone comfortable on this long ride after two hard days, the pace had to be very steady which doesn’t quite give us the luxury of time for multiple relaxed coffee stops.
The group split a little on the climb, each riding at a comfortable pace, Frank and Heather reaching the top before the rest of us, assessed that the the cafe was absolutely rammed full with tourist buses – no room at the inn for us!! This was pretty disappointing -I was certainly look forward to a coffee break after almost 4 hrs of riding, and I knew that for several in our group this was a very long ride already. We had no choice but to get to Teguise – “only” 10 miles and mostly down hill – but it felt like a long way at that point in the ride with energy very low.
Having made such great progress, there really was no rush at the cafe not ,though and everyone had their fill, revived spirits and ready for the relatively easy ride ( generally tail wind, and net down hill) home.
Both Steven and Emma’s groups had elected to do the longer route which continued further north, to Orzola (via the first half of the Mirador Del Rio climb) and then looped back along the coast rode with a ripping tailwind before ascending Tabeyesco – and into the Haria cafe, which by then had emptied!! . Matthew only had 75 minutes to get back for his massage. Feeling that he should shower first we decided to make a group effort to get him home. With the tailwind and some good work from everyone we got home in 58 minutes!
Meanwhile – Emma had had a major mechanical, leaving her “middle” group without a leader, and had to hand over responsibility for “leading” to those who had some knowledge of the island and the planned route, whilst she made her way back to a bike shop on public transport. Unfortunately they learned that keeping a group of riders together who are unfamiliar with one another or the roads is not as straight forward as one may assume…and there was a bit of confusion when the group split, missed a turn and no one is quite sure (or is willing to sya) exactly what happened. But, all got home safely and without too much additional riding, and peace was made in the bar at the end of the day.
It was great to see several campers out doing a brick run for a wild card – they’ll certainly appreciate it tomorrow when they can roll home from the Tabeyesco TT and put their feet up.