26 June 2006

Epic France — Prologue

With Gordo vowing not to do an updates this camp I’m under a bit of pressure to do a better job than previous camps of providing summary of our time on this trip. He says he’d rather spend his free time in the sack with his wife! Than write updates. Imagine that. So in addition to my fulfilling my crucial role as social director which is the most important role any one on the camp takes on, I’ll also have to make an effort here. The problem is we won’t have very good internet access for much of the camp. For most of the first week we’re staying at a mountain top chalet at he Cold du Soulor so we’ll just have to wait and see how often we can get to some internet access. We’re also without the big guy KP for the first time in 6 camps and he’s done a great job of providing updates even under some tough circumstances over the past few years. He’ll be missed in many ways.

The main thing I’d like to say here to begin is that this camp was exactly what I had in mind when I first came up with the idea of Epic Camps along with Pete O’Brien in 2002 while watching the Tour on our trainers in his garage on yet another freezing night down in Christchurch. I’ve always wanted to do these famous climbs that I’ve read about and watched on t.v. for so many years and also loved the idea of getting the hell out of winter.

I am glad we had some experience putting on camps in English speaking countries first though. It gave us a chance to know what we were in for. Ideally its very nice to go from place to place like the Tour does for the entire 2 weeks, but logistically it’s a nightmare for the staff to look after everyone and transport and pack up everything every day.

We’re starting and finishing in Pau and covering quite a bit of ground in the Pyrenees staying 4 nights at the Cold du Soulor and 5 nights in Font Romeau at the high altitude training center.

If you’ve read any of our previous camp updates then you know what this is all about so I wont’ spell it out again. We will have a points system again and will award a polka dot jersey and a yellow jersey to add a bit of spice and incentive to complete the entire camp. To actually do all of the planned sessions is going to be a hell of a challenge. There’s not a lot of flat running or riding on this camp.

We have a bit smaller group on this trip than we had in New Zealand on the last camp. With so much vertical gain to ride we felt it was important to make sure all campers were of a very high standard on the bike so the support crew isn’t stretched too much trying to keep track of everyone and provide aid along the way.

We’ve had a considerable amount of page views on the site during the camps but the main reason I do these updates is for the campers. At times the days seem to blend together and its nice to have a bit of a written record of what we did along with some photos. So keep that in mind when reading through my updates.