Be warned – its a long one this month!
In total contrast to last month which was relatively low volume and nothing really worth writing home about, this month kicked off with a trip to a training camp in Lanzarote followed by my first ever Duathlon and finally the Sandy 10 road race.
I’ll start this blog in Lanzarote. On the flight out (which was delayed) I was slightly dubious about what to expect, I knew I have a good 30 hours plus training ahead of me but I wasn’t sure how the distances would sit with me. I am essentially a sprint \ Olympic distance athlete. I was about to join a camp of guys (and girls) that train for longer distance events year in year out. If I’m honest, I was worried I’d be heavily out of my depth, and as anyone who knows me will agree, I don’t handle failure brilliantly!
Once in Arrecife I waited for my bike box…. and waited… and waited – you get the picture right. Flight delayed, bike delayed, late transfer, late to hotel. Fortunately my coach had raided the buffet for me and got me some food to devour when I arrived. He even put my bike together whilst I was doing so. Result!
The rest of the athletes on the camp had already been out that day on a run and a bike to get to know each other so I was very much the late comer, however I was quickly welcomed into the group and these guys and girls would become my family for the next week.
After a half decent sleep Day 1 began with breakfast and then we met at the front of the hotel for the day’s bike, this would cover off 110km on the roads and take in El golfo and fire mountain, it wasn’t the last time I would see the mountain on this trip! However with a very brief snack break in the middle it was a good opportunity to get to know some of the guys and also catch the first of the sun, oh and of course the ludicrous wind that just never seems to be a tailwind! Once back at the hotel there was a chance to rest a little and refuel before the evenings swim which was a mixed set of 3.2km in the evening sun.
Day 2 would feature a much shorter loop of just 75km to Famara, La Santa and up to Teguise, again the sun was fierce and I suffered some sunburn and some wind burn. The wind was probably at its worse on this day with some vicious side winds making cycling both mentally and physically challenging. The Nazarat road (infamous for being total crap!) cost me a broken spoke which would need fixing before my next bike. Once back at the hotel, myself and another of the group, Steve, decided to take a short brick run along the coast. Again we had a few hours rest before the evenings swim session and finally dinner.
Day 3 was classed as a rest day, although I was still feeling the effects of the sun from the previous day and wasn’t feeling my best I still took part in the mini sprint triathlon. This is just a chance to have a short blast out against the rest of the group. My bike was still in the shop getting its spoke repaired so I had to do an extended Aquathlon instead of the planned triathlon. Good news is that it meant me and my partner Frankie won the mini event and the rest of the day was spent eating, resting and treating sun burn, in preparation for the next day.
Day 4 was tagged the long day. The target for the day was to ride the Iron Man bike stage of the Lanzarote Iron Man. As expected the heat, wind and terrain was just ridiculously tough and I managed to get to Teguise and Jonnie Bakes before the blistering of my sunburn got the better of me. I was annoyed to have to quit early, but I had done much further than my normal training requires. Incidentally, if you are ever in Lanzarote and in the town of Teguise do make the effort to get yourself to Jonnie Bakes cake shop – it’s amazing and the owners are top lads. No swim today which my sunburn was hugely thankful of.
Day 5 was a much shorter bike day of just 53.4km, but don’t be fooled that doesn’t mean it was easy. This ride included a nice easy pedal to the foot of Tabeyesco. Then a fierce 10km climb to the top of the mountain. Known as the Tabeyesco TT the fastest ascent was by a pro cyclist in 23 minutes. I managed it in 34 minutes, so I am pretty happy with that. After we all re-grouped we descended back to Teguise and yes, stopped at Jonnie Bakes for the final time as most of the group would be heading home tomorrow. In fact all of them but me! Loner! Anyway, due to the shorter ride and it being Steve’s birthday the coach’s hit us with a monster 4.5km swim set in the evening. Brilliant! Not! During this swim I seriously suffered with my sunburn to the point where my skin was actually coming off my arms…. not a good look and ever so slightly minging!
Day 6 and I was all alone as everyone else had left to get planes home. I decided to do the route I had missed out on during the first day. The Orzola route. This took in the north of the island which was much greener than the rest of the island and I glad I managed to get out to see it and clocked up another 64km on the bike.
Once back at my hotel my coach put me through a really tough swim set, pushing me so hard I physically had trouble lifting myself out of the pool. Brutal.
Day 7 was the last day, I had stayed in the coaches room overnight to be woken by a would-be burglar first thing. Having been so rudely awoken I was sent out on a run to complete the weeks training. Once done, we had a few hours to kill until the transfer to the airport so it was a chance to buy souvenirs, grab a bite to eat and relax.
I have to say that on reflection the week was superb, yes there was some really tough training involved but, that’s what I wanted. The other athletes were great and every one of them had their own story to tell, some more than others. Steve, if you’re reading this, yes it means you! The coaches were superb, the facilities at Sands were stunning and we were welcomed in all our Lycra clad, neoprene wearing bike wielding glory. This trip would not have been possible without funding from my sponsors. They continue to support me and I cannot wait to repay their faith in me during this season. Thanks to the guys at Inframon, as always.
The week or so that followed Lanzarote were a lot calmer which was fortunate as I think my body needed some quality recovery time. Work went through a very busy period with a major project going live so training had to take a lesser importance during this time.
On Sunday 23rd I took part in my first Duathlon. It was part of the Dorney Lake series held by F3 events. I have never done a Duathlon before so I was slightly nervous of what to expect. I was only doing the supersprint distance as a sharpener. For those reading who are not sure, a Duathlon consists of a run, bike, run rather than a swim as in triathlon. There is no way I’m getting in a lake in this weather!
The race report can be found in the race report tab above.
I made the most of the following week as I had the majority of the week off from work. I included some longer sessions than I would normally have time to do which was good. I eased off toward the end of the week in order to rest a little in preparation of the Sandy 10.
Although it is my home town race I had never done the Sandy 10 before and it’s been a while since I have raced a 10 miler so I was hopeful in the lead up of a decent PB.
This was the first time I had been back to my school since I left in 1996! Yes, it really was that long ago! It was a true trip down memory lane.
Race report also on Tab above.
So that was March, by far my heaviest training month for some time, largely due to the week in Lanzarote. Some good results in races to launch 2014 too. Looks like it’s going to be a great season. So what’s next? Well the work up to the big one in June, Austria is calling and now I have a taste for the podium this year, I want more.
Nothing planned yet for April, although I have an eye on some local races to continue to push the fitness.
I have also entered the Jenson Button Triathlon and I am raising money for Cancer Research UK. It would be great if I could raise £500 so if you can spare a few £’s then please head to www.justgiving.com/trinathan and make a donation. Alternatively text NSJB69 followed by your amount i.e. £4 to 70070.