By Carolyn Cullings and Jason Soules
Hi all. Instead of a “race” report, we thought we would write a “camp” report. Having logged many miles of all three sports this past week, we feel like we have done at least one race!
There is a lot to write about, but we thought a quick run-down of the activities, classroom sessions, and general observations could be interesting.
Day 1 (half day): Met Joe Friel and Jim Vance (the other coach) for a 35 mile “fun” ride. Then we met for a coached swim session with Jim (2,400m).
Day 2: Long ride day. Endurance ride. 70 miles, rolling hill terrain, windy. Challenging for our first ride outside on our bikes this winter. Then did an open water swim in the lovely 55degree Mediterranean – not too far. Practiced buoy turning techniques.
Day 3: Long run (13 miles). Bike was cancelled due to misty rain. Then did a pool swim with individual videoing sessions.
Day 4: Early morning open water swim (brrr). Then a 3x 10k, 900m bike climb. We were very thankful for our compact cranks! Into the clouds, cliffs on one side. Challenging descents to say the least. Had a whole further appreciation for the Tour riders. Then a run technique session with Joe.
Day 5: Early morning open water swim. Then an hour run. Then a “recovery ride,” which turned out to be like the Gilligan’s Island “Three Hour Tour.” Very hilly, technical road out to a lighthouse – pretty ridiculous, but beautiful. Also did cornering skills along the way.
Day 6: Transition clinic in the morning with a number of mock transitions. Then a pool workout. Then a mountain TT. 25k TT up to a monastery. Again, thankful for the compact crank. After the 25k we had coffee and then rode another ~30 miles back to the hotel, going a different way with a very steep, switchback descent (steep and short, then pretty flat).
Day 7: Ran 1.5 hours. Then a 30 mile “fun” ride. Then a short aquathlon. Then celebration!! Camp was basically over.
Day 8: We decided that we hadn’t ridden enough, so we biked to our next hotel on the other side of the island (sent luggage ahead in a car). Turned out to be 100k, into the wind. This time, thank goodness for aerobars.
Day 9: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
In addition to the above, every night we had a classroom session lasting ~1.5 hours. Joe led most of the sessions and was a very knowledgeable and engaging guy. Very impressive. Topics were:
- General Long Course Training (approach, periodization, strength, endurance, speed, etc. – a lot of the stuff from The Triathlete Bible.)
- Swimming Technique (included our video analysis)
We are trying to keep this short and would be happy to share more.
Overall: Had an absolute blast! Beautiful place, well organized, great coaching, great group dynamics (Brits, Norwegians, a couple from Maine), great workouts. We learned a lot and trained a lot. We would highly recommend this camp for anyone doing a half or iron distance race next year, and want to both jumpstart the season physically, but also mentally with many new things/tools to consider and incorporate into training and racing. Some of the participants had not done a half or ironman yet, and others had done many. One guy had done 16, including 3 Konas as a qualified athlete. There was talk at the end of the week of holding the camp next year in Lanzarote, Elba, or Boulder. We would definitely consider doing it again.