Day 5 of camp is a key day with lots happening and tonnes of logistics for Jo and I to handle. It’s very busy but great fun.
The day started with the handicap swim race. We try to start this as soon as we can after 7am, so I have to get out particularly early to swim out and attach our marker buoy, and back in time to join in my position at the rear of the race. We set everyone off at the intervals we’ve calculated based on their aquathlon swim. It can be quite disconcerting when over our ~1.5k course the first first swimmer is given a 10 minute gap on the last – but it always comes together and often the result is down to people’s abilities to sight. To be fair, typically the handicap works out as a disadvantage for the slower swimmers who in normal races have people to follow but in this are first ones off but also find that their swim speed is far more affected by the fatigue of the week than is the case for stronger swimmers. The last athlete off, Mike, managed to catch and pass everyone for the win. I was unable to make progress on him after his 15 second lead and was second out of the water. This is the first time on camp we’ve have someone beat me in this race … great to see. As usual there were some close sprints up the beach and with every place representing a point this was critical. Of note was Heather who came out close with two others but managed to get first across the line by sprinting up the beach – a move that proved critical and put her in second place in the points table, and 1 point ahead of James. So the leaders on points at breakfast were Mike with 32, Heather with 29 and James with 28 – close top 3 with the run race to decide it later in the day.
Here are the swim race results – showing both actual time, and handicap time – the later being the most relevant factor on camp. Karen swam a modified course – twice of what she swam on the aquathlon – hence has not been ranked in the points table:
We had a shorter ride today since we also need to fit in the run race, but it does include the steepest climb on the island, Femes. We try and time the groups to arrive at the cafe together. I lead the fast group which set off 15 minutes after the first group but was riding an extra 12k before the climb. This means we have to be on it and I tried to ‘encourage’ a solid pace throughout. We were doing well until Playa Blanca when Martin had a blow-out. He did well to control his bike. This ended up a long drawn out fix as his tyre had split and his brakes need adjusting (often not easy on these top end TT bikes). Wayne came to the rescue (yet again – useful guy to have in a group with his bike mechanic skills) when the bike rental mechanic refused to work on such a fancy TT bike – he figure out how to adjust the front brake. We all managed to regroup at the cafe after the others had left. A very rapid coffee and ice-cream before we again had to put our foot down to be back for the 10k race. We were quite chuffed to return the 25k in just under 40 minutes !! In fact, we ended up back in time for the original leave time but found Emma’s group were still not back (they’d gone over Fire Mountain) and we had to delay the start for them much to the relief of my group who now had a more leisurely turn around.
The 10k “no watches” handicap run race is always a highlight for me. Jo really hates the guess your time and no watch aspect but – appears more get some fun out of it, and as a coach acknowledges the value of running on feel rather than the constraint of data. This years race did not disappoint. The gap between (slowest) first and (fastest) last on the start line was 20 minutes – and by the finish everyone was within 6 minutes of each other with some close battles at the finish. Yet again campers all confirmed this to be a very accurate 10km course. This year we had many notable times and achievements. Firstly, Lee who boldly predicted a time that would be a 10km race PB if he were able to achieve it…and then went on to smash that estimate by 90 seconds – pretty incredible near the end of a week that has certainly been way beyond any kind of training volume he’s previously experienced in his brief time training for endurance sports. Then at the front end of the field we had three people under 40 minutes. Previously we’ve only had 5 people in total under 40 minutes. Now, to get into our top 10 pretty much takes a sub 40 effort as 10th place is 40:01 (Dan Brooks last year). So third fastest was James in 39:32. Then Matt ran right through the field starting second last and finishing second in a impressive time of 37:18 (another PB I believe) and a new course record which lasted 41s – the time it took for Mike to cross the line in a staggering 36:45. Heather had the fastest 10k of this year’s women behind Jo which placed her second in our all time ladies list with a 44:50.
As for the guesses – prizes for the biggest pessimists go to Greg who predicted 1hr and ran 46:32 and Rob who predicted 1:03:22 and ran 52:35, crossing the line first for the win on handicap. Frank, our 6-time camper, has in 5 previous camps always done times of 44:xx – in most cases he refuses to predict a time of 44:xx – in fact except on one occasion (when he guessed 9s out) he predicts slower times but runs to fast. This year I predicted for him (44:20) but just before he set off he asked to write his prediction down but I must not look at it. He crossed the line in a time of 47:05. When I looked at his prediction he’d written 47:00! He won the guess your time this year and is in joint 2nd overall with Heather and Brian in 2014 only bettered by Jo’s 3s guess in 2015 – (so despite not liking this game, she’s not so bad at it herself!)
Run results Table here
Following the race Matthew persuaded me to accompany him on a run to help contribute to the camp run Eddington number. Despite getting a 23k run day we still didn’t manage to get an Eddington number of 21 still being 3 X 21+k runs short – so that will have to wait for another year.
Mike held onto first place in the points competition (total 45 after 3 events) with James in second (40 points) having earned two more points than Heather in the run race, putting her into 3rd place. Only the Ironman route to complete tomorrow and camp completion data to be compiled for us to confirm the winner!