In the past, whilst living in the UK and USA I have been on warm weather training camps at altitude. For me, more important than the benefits of being at altitude in a desired location it’s the positive effects of taking time away from work and other commitments that aid in my training and recovery. The Jindabyne Camp (organised by Bruce and Chris at Energy Link), was the first time I would experience a chance to focus solely on training since starting triathlon. With the car strategically packed to the nines Dani and I set off a day early to Jindy to enable us to find our way around. Luckily Mr Moseley had beaten us to Jindy and organised accommodation for the night. After a dip in the lake, a hardy dinner at the local pub I was set for the week.
The training for the camp was scheduled to enable us to focus on 2/3 disciplines each day and to allow for focus sessions and recovery across the week (the secret 4th discipline of the week was drinking Up&Go’s and watching movies in-between sessions – I did this a lot!). Along with some fun collaborative group sessions, mini races, strength work and technical development, the week was laid out in a structure to allow us to challenge ourselves without overdoing it. We were lucky enough to have 3 coaches which enabled more 1:1 time during the week and this was an effective tool for improvements in training. With this week as the real start towards Ironman Australia in May I was looking forward to each and every workout.
Here is my overview of the various aspects of the camp:
Only having ridden over 100km twice before, I found this discipline of the camp challenging. With some top riders in our pack I was constantly riding out of my comfort zone and having to ride well to stay with the other guys (this didn’t always go well).
Highlight: The 105km ride to Leather Barrel, and the first 8km ascent back up from it with a cheeky bakery stop at the top.
Challenging moment: Getting cramp after 100km of the long ride as we approached OF Hill. The next 50km was not fun, thanks to Joey and Lew I managed to get back on, and eventually home.
Challenging moment 2: Trying to stick with ‘The MT, Nick and Dan Express Train’ during the undulating Team Time Trial – Averaging 44km/hr (I was Andy Schleck in the group, doing the least amount of work at the front as possible).
The swim had us using a combination of open water and pool swimming. The benefit of this meant that we could focus on technique in the pool and get immediate feedback, while the open water sets were used for strength, recovery or aerobic development.
Highlight: Watching the video playback of everyone swimming technique was hilarious (and insightful).
Challenging moment: Making the mistake of swimming non-wetsuit on the last open water set and freezing in the open water! (Coach Bern was not happy with my moaning!)
The run always seems to be the hardest discipline for athletes to run in packs due to the weight bearing nature of the sport and it seemed to split people up fairly quickly. Sensibly most of the run focus was aerobic and the variety of long runs, bricks and track sets were great in challenging different aspects of my training.
Highlight: The 22km run to Mount Kosciusko (highest point in Australia) from Charlottes pass was incredible. Not only tough on the body due to the amount of climbing but the beauty of the location in which we were running (the company of Saxon and Dan wasn’t bad either).
Challenging moment: Doing 10x400m on the track in the blistering heat after a cycle, the generous 30 seconds recovery added some spice to the session, Thanks Bruce!
One of the best parts of the camp was the opportunity to share the training and experiences with some great people. The jokes, banter and time spent outside of structured workouts was very enjoyable and often humorous. With a lot of definite and varied personalities no one got away from a light ribbing in their direction.
Highlight 1: Seeing the screen debut of Michael Taylor’s Asian cousin.
Highlight 2: Following the Facebook update competition between the 2 Mike’s.
Highlight 3: Seeing Macca caught on video breastroking whilst using a pull buoy behind an elderly lady during swim squad.
Highlight 4: Rooming in ‘Beaver Lodge’ with Dani and the infamous Saxon Moseley. I had to play Mum to keep the room tidy.
Highlight 5: Camp BBQ on the last night, a chance to chat with everyone after a hard week of training and to eat 2.5 steaks and a couple of sausage sizzles for dinner!
The Camp was a blast and the excellent organisation and coaching by Energy Link made the experience very memorable. Congratulations to everyone who attended for toughing it out and achieving numerous personal goals along the way.