23 January 2007

When Men Were Men

The Tourmalet
In 1910, the Tour riders rode a 289km stage from Perpignan to Luchon over the cols de Port, Portet d’Aspet, Ares, then a mammoth stage from Luchon to Bayonne of 326km. Crossing the Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Soulor and Aubisque. On roads that are no better than tracks for donkeys and packhorses, worn by use, the surface strewn with stones and fallen rocks, perilous at every point. Treacherous in the descents, narrow, pitted with ruts and potholes and deep hollows gouged by logs dragged by foresters’ mules, choking with dust in dry conditions, awash with mud in the wet. Add-in the ever-present threat of hungry wild bears on the prowl, this imposing ring of cols, Peyresourde to Aubisque, came to be known as the ‘Circle of Death’.

This is an excerpt from Rouleur magazine (which is an incredible magazine by the way).

I thought this was appropriate as we digest Epic '07.
These guys took the Tour on as it was presented because it was presented.
They didn't know if they could do it but most of them ended up doing it just fine.
You never know what you're capable of until you try.

21 January 2007

Epic NZ 2007 - Epilogue

Epic NZ 2007 – Epilogue

Saturday (January 20) had some of the crew taking part in Challenge Wanaka. Even Dwan and Micheala teamed up for a relay. David Craig, Brandon, Bevan and Mark P all had very decent swim/bike efforts and Johnno did every one proud by finishing 4th over-all and earning a nice check. He really hasn’t had a proper taper for this race. Far from it as he’s been looking after us a ton on the camp and I think his marathon being near 3 hours shows he’s got a lot better results to come in the future

Lou and G-Man did just the swim in the race and finished around 51 minutes and that was a big PB for Lou who had a huge day yesterday including a 6km swim session! Perhaps the guy is finally getting in shape! Or perhaps he’s just learning how hard he can go. Regardless of why or how I know he’ll go home with a lot more confidence in his abilities than he arrived with 2 weeks ago.

Gordo and I agree that the average strength and ability of the guys on this camp was the best yet. We didn’t have any one way out of their depth. Having 8 returnees certainly helps. There are 3 guys here who will be racing pro for the first time in 2007 (Brandon, Montgomery and Bevan) and Albert, Scott and Mark are 40+ guys who are looking at somewhere near 9 hours for an IM in the near future, and racing to win some of the races they enter. Actually, Albert already wins races over-all and did it on back-to-back days in September. Add in G-Man, Johnno and Toby (9:25IM PB) and that’s a very strong group up front.

I hope to get the final points total up at some point, but I know the top of the order:
Mike Montgomery
Brandon Del Campo
Toby Radcliffe
Louis Di Guiseppe

Andrew was trying to give me a few pointers this morning (Sunday) about how I might go about contending for the yellow jersey in the future. He said I should have tacked on here or there….. etc. I had to remind him how a few guys blew themselves to bits in one way or another and that I did make my s/b/r for 11 of the days goal. I told him I did all I could to gain max points possible for me and paced myself through the camp without collapsing or injuring myself to such a degree that I had to miss sessions. If I can continue to do that for the next few years I’ll be thrilled. If I had to run one more day then I wasn’t sure I could. My right knee is in a pretty sorry state.

About the camp environment and ethos……….
I’ve always viewed one of my main roles in these camps as a guy who tries to keep us all on the same page in our attitudes towards co-operation in taking on a major challenge.
I want every one here to count on each other for help in getting through each day and pushing themselves to the limit.
We’re competing against each other every for points and pride every day, but it’s a helpful competitive spirit. We’re our own little “cell” of athletes here and we all chip in to get every last ounce of effort from each person.
I would hope that every camper would be thankful for guys like Montgomery and Brandon who are out there using the incentive of the yellow jersey to go absolutely bananas. That makes every one continually ask themselves how much they’re willing to do. Viewed this way competition is a very positive thing.

When I was a pro I had to compete against my best friends for $$$ most week-ends.
Of the 250 races I did as a pro Tinley and I raced each other for cash approximately 85 times over the years knowing that one of us would come home with considerably more cash than the other. That certainly could have strained our relationship but we realized very early in our friendship that if we trained and worked together that it was very likely that we’d be fighting for finish positions 1 & 2 instead of further down the pack if we trained separately.
Same for Mark Allen. When I moved to San Diego in the end of ’82 he was also trying to find out what he was capable of and we used to gauge our progress against each other nearly every day. Our Tuesday runs and Wednesday rides were monsters in those days and there was always an open invitation to others to tag along and help push the pace. Most times there were guys at my harder sessions there that were “shaved and tapered” to try and hammer us and I viewed them as absolutely necessary to my improvement. During most of my hard sessions back then all I needed to do was to hang on to the front pack and I would get a great work-out and improve.
The main things I viewed as the most positive aspects of setting up my training like this were:
1) I always thought I needed to save my huge psychological efforts for race day
2) I enjoy my friends company. I’m happier when being entertained by my funny friends. I train more and better when laughing often.
3) It always boosted my fitness and confidence when I could respond to the challenges my training partners gave me.

Its much more common now for athletes to spend more time alone with their Hrate monitors and power meters so there’s less group training, but I feel very strongly that there’s still an important place for competitive training in the week/month/year of any athlete trying to reach their potential.
During these camps every one has to react to situations where they are way out of their comfort zone and that builds character and race readiness in a significant way that is unique to this type of environment.

Back in 2002 when I thought of the type of athlete I wanted to attract to these camps its these kinda folks I had in mind, so its very satisfying for me to have them here and returning for more than one camp.

In planning future camps Gordo and I think it may be a good idea to move to a slightly shorter format of 8-9 days so people don’t have to take off more than 2 weeks of work to attend. Other than that possibility, I don’t envisage any big changes to the way we’re going about running the camps. I will try to make an effort in scoping out the accommodation prior to the camps. Although places like the High Country Sheep Station in Aussie and the Haast Holiday Park on this camp are very memorable!!! we all need a good nights sleep every night to get through the camps and zillions of bugs or no air conditioning in sweltering conditions make the nights too damn miserable.
Having the large communal areas to gather and eat adds a lot to the camps so we’ll continue to look for accommodation that allows us to spread out and take over the commercial kitchen area.
Gordo already has a tentative schedule for New Zealand 2008 so I’ll get him to post that.

At this moment in time the plans for future camps still include New Zealand in January and northern hemisphere spring/summer camps in Italy, Spain and back to Colorado. Scott Davis now has a house in Granada, Spain and will be there a lot this year training. I’m looking forward to hearing his ideas on routes for that camp.
We’ll do another survey after this camp to see what these guys would like to see in future and the answers to those questions will largely dictate the where, how and when of future camps.

We’ll continue to use the jerseys and the points system to add a little spice to the camps and tinker with the points system from camp to camp.. This camp I built in a few more incentives to swim faster and harder and the guys really stepped it up in that department to meet the challenge. The long bike TT was a nice change for us too.
Some geographical locations lend themselves easily to more emphasis on KOM and I’ll continue to try and include varied races as part of the camps. Its nice to be out mixing it up with fresh competitors too. Its probably not a good idea in this specific Epic environment to put too much priority on very hard running as that’s the hardest thing to recover from. We had 2 very hard aquathons in this camp and I think that’s about the max amount of hard running we should try.

Thank you to the families of the campers for allowing them to attend the camp. I know my family misses me a great deal when I’m away and I’m sure there are some real sacrifices that are made back home so these folks can do this stuff.

Thank you to our generous sponsors - HED (Steve and Annie), Coffees of Hawaii (Albert), Blue Seventy (Steve), Pro 4 (Matt) and Oomph (Chris) – a very big thank you for your support.

Our support crew – Michaela Rees, Dave Dwan, Josh Moatt, Darren Leslie, John Ellis – a very big Thank You. You’ve been fantastic and generous and great company.

A special mention, hug and kisses to Kari Davis for all of your help, humor, great company, keeping your nutty husband from being totally insane, your support and also all of your time and energy to get great photos so we have a record of this trip.

I’d like to give a sincere thanks to all you athletes who shared this camp with me. Its been huge and its been a blast and I speak for John and G-Man in saying that.
Till the next one,

Train Hard
Satiate the Need


20 January 2007



If you’re reading this then its likely that we share a common trait amongst triathletes – we’re motivated to do better at our sport. The reasons why we are so afflicted probably vary a great deal though. I think it helps us in reaching our goals to identify the basic reasons for our motivation.

I look at motivation as a 2-step process:
1) identify my goals
2) identify the mechanisms that help keep me motivated to achieve them

In identifying goals I think a good beginning is to accept that our goals are personal to us and might be completely arbitrary. They could be to run every day, to bench press 300lbs, or to lose 300lbs. If there’s something positive that gets you up and moving then I think its probably a good goal to have. I’ll give you an example of one arbitrary goal of mine that ties in well with my bigger picture goals.

Sheila’s back.
Do you remember that picture of Sheila Toarmina on the cover of Outside Magazine? The one with her running away from the camera and her rhomboids are jumping off the front cover like some sort of 3-D action figure?
I had that magazine in the magazine rack in the gym that I managed. That photo used to stare at me nearly daily for a few months and all the time I kept thinking “why is her back so much more f…n studly than mine????! I used to swim! I lifted weights all my life and pretty seriously when I retired as a pro triathlete and started personal training…etc.”.
I used that photo to get myself worked up, and I resolved that one day I was going to really work on my back so I could give her a good battle in a rear-view, double back bicep pose.
It took me about 5 years to actually get around to starting the process of building my back, but over the course of this last year I did. A large part of the reasons I did so much work on my back this year was because I had so many running injuries that I couldn’t run much, so I decided to lift and swim more to fill the void. The combination of more beef and better swimming fits in well with my more general goals of being fit and looking good.
So 2x/week nearly all year I tortured my back in the gym for an hour followed by a 3.5-5km swim session. I would hit my abs, back and chest together 2x/week and hit abs, lower body, shoulders and arms 2x/week. Real gym junkie stuff. My back work included seated rows, bent-over rows, lat pull downs, straight-arm pull-downs, chin-ups, one-arm dumbbells rows, dumbbell pull-overs, iron cross machine, rotator work with cords, swim simulation with cords (fast!), Vasa Trainer, and dumbbells, back extensions and dead lifts.

Even though I know that extra upper body muscle conflicts with my goals to run fast and ride uphill well to be able to keep up with (or smash to smithereens….) my good training partners I felt it was still worth pursuing. It was something that got me into the pool more as the gym and pool are at the same complex, and it kept my mood in positive territory over the winter months as I let my running injuries heal.

Most of us want to feel content with ourselves and a large part of reaching a satisfactory level of contentment is to feel some self esteem or pride in our accomplishments. Even the drive to make some money is mostly related to this.
I haven’t read any books on this topic so I’m speaking about my experience in dealing with people.

What actions do you take to keep you moving towards your goals?

Here’s my list:

1) Surround myself with motivated, positive people – at home, in my work, in my sport. This is my support network. They help me to feel good about doing what I do. They re-enforce my choices.
2) Read the sports page every day. Great athletes in action get me psyched.
3) Look at positive images of success of myself and others. I have them on my refrigerator.
4) Keep a list of my goals prominent. I have them as my bookmarker on my bedside.
5) Chose several very challenging events every year. I look forward to preparing for these events. I love doing the work required to take them on.
6) Reward myself for challenges/goals met. I usually make a trip to a nice place as one of my main rewards for the year.
7) Read books about extraordinary people. Watch great sport on TV.
8) Get out of bed when the alarm goes and get a cup of coffee in me asap.
9) Listen to uplifting music.

The thing I often have to remind myself of is that I can never take my own level of motivation for granted.
Its a fleeting, slippery emotive state and I need to be vigilant in looking for signs of it waning. We all get into slumps and when we do then we need to go right back to doing the things that help us get psyched up again.

Here are my main athletic/fitness/health goals for 2007 and 2008 that get me out of bed every morning with some enthusiasm.

1) Run well again. I’ve had a number of injuries over the last 6 years that have been a hindrance, but I’ve not been good at doing the preventative maintenance I need to do to stay healthy. I need very strong motivation to stretch, massage and especially ice. I hate icing.
By run well I mean be able to: a) run x-country races, b) run10km’s races regularly in under 34:30 minutes, c) run long in the hills as often as I like, d) not be in pain from injury

2) Look good.
I’m a vain person. I want to be thin/lean, tanned and look young, healthy and athletic until at least 70.

3) Get to age 50 in good shape so I can still train with the fast guys that I enjoy
training with. These Epic Camps are a good example of what I like to do with my free time.

Those might look like pretty general goals and to me they are.
I don’t fuss with the daily details or specifics too much.
I don’t set specific tri goals until very close to race day. Same for bike and run races or training sessions in general. I used to, but not any more. I try to focus on the long term goals now.

How about you??? What gets you going and keeps you in a positive mental state?
If you’re prone to slumps then perhaps going through this process yourself is worth a try.

Epic NZ 2007 Day 12

Epic NZ 2007 Day 12 - ride 85km to Wanaka, run, swim

We’ll have to ride up the other side of the Crown Range next year as well as Coronet Peak. We were a little short on mountains on this camp! The route for the ride today was a gentle 85 km to Cromwell and then along Lake Dunstan. We had a stiff headwind that slowed things down a lot and the ride took about 40 minutes longer than I anticipated. We still got to the pre-race briefing by 10am though and the race director Matt Tuck promptly put most of us to sleep with his marathon soliloquy. Which was fine with me because all I could think of for the last hour of the ride was getting back to bed.

Our motel wasn’t’ ready for check-in yet so Montgomery and I went looking for pizza.
He’s still feeling pretty good, and isn’t sick or injured which is a testament to his constitution. After 2 consecutive camp yellow jerseys he’s feeling pretty positive about his camps and his ability to pace himself through his training in general.
I hope he joins us for more camps in the future because he helps every one to lift their game including me.

Some people went back out to lengthen their rides for points and because it would be the last chance to ride on the camp. We said a quick good-bye to Clive who had a flight from Queenstown this afternoon.

The sun was blazing by now so I had a couple of cold ones and a short rest before heading over to the pool. I needed to swim and run today to finish off my goal of running every day and also to keep pushing the guys in the camp points competition. Young Toby seemed very determined to take 3rd over-all for the camp so I had to swim a set of 20 x 100 on the 1:25 to get a couple of more points to keep the pressure on him. Unfortunately I had to swim over and maim a couple of small children playing in the public lane to stay on pace. The parents of those kids didn’t seem to mind much though as no one said anything to me. Perhaps the veins bulging out of my neck and temples and my belching, dragon-fire like breathing at the end of the pool for my 5-seconds breaks between 100’s had something to do with that. Andrew Charles was aqua-running in the lane next to me and running interference, trying to keep my lane clear for me. He’s got a big job ahead of him now to get his achilles healed before IM Malaysia which is approaching pretty quickly.

A lot of us ran in the heat of the day to finish off the training for the day and the camp. I had already decided to not race tomorrow as my right knee has deteriorated significantly all week, but a 50-minute run seemed possible and I’d done too damn much suffering for 2 weeks to let that 10-point bonus slip away so I ambled out and caught some 12+ UV rays as well. It was a balmy 85 degrees when I got back at just after 6pm. Gotta love summer in central Otago. Blissfully roasting in the hot sun on a nice trail along the lake is a great way to ease the pain in this ol’ carcass.

This evening it seemed like every one was ready to let the guard down a bit. Although some are taking part in the event tomorrow in one way or another only David Craig really seems set on putting together a solid swim/bike. He’s paced himself through the camp remarkably well. The others seem less committed to the effort.

Epic NZ 2007 Day 11 – Activities Day!

A bunch of silly ol’ buggers running around in lycra doin’ ridiculous stuff.
That’s my summary of today and I hope it stays that way.
We all need a little goofing off and R & R and since some people are gonna take part in the race this week-end and have pre-race stuff to do tomorrow, we decided today would be the best day to really chill out.

In France we put a run up a ski mountain and a 4km uphill TT on the bike into the “EpicMan” mix. That gave me a bit more of an edge as those are my strengths. This time Johnno and G-Man made every single event take place on horizontal surfaces!! As my flat speed left town about 18 years ago I knew I would finish mid-pack at best.

We did have a few surprises today. Young Jarret from Newfoundland chucked the big stone like a seasoned strongman! He also took out the 1km quite handily.
Aerobics instructor Bevan set a new record for the press-ups at 100. That’s a hell of an effort after what he’s been through the last 10 days. My measly 41 push-ups was quite a dis-appointment after having trained for it since July.
Watching the 400IM heats is always a highlight of the camps. Today was no different.
Its good to see the guys showing a little humility.

G-Man took out both running events quite handily. With Brandon being injured and Johnno not taking part he had it pretty easy really. But he did look pretty snappy.

In the afternoon we took a stroll in town for chow and internet and some of us had a nap. I really needed it.
Some went to the pool to swim even though there were no points available today for s/b/r like normal. Tomorrow is the last day and it looks like Mike Montgomery has the yellow wrapped up. Toby has pushed me out of the top 3 (but there’s still tomorrow! J ) but I’m still hanging in for the green jersey for best old fart.

Tomorrow is an early roll-out to get to the race briefing in Wanaka by 10:30. So I hope not to polish off the rest of the bottle of Jaimeson that Mooney, Dwan and I have been whittlin’ away……….

18 January 2007

Epic NZ 2007 Day 10 – swim, ride 130km Wanaka – Alexandra, run

A few things I forgot to mention about yesterday……… or was it the day before????
At the aquathon (swim 750m, run 5km) Gordo took it out after making up 30 seconds on Johnno out of the water. Very impressive. It was also good to see Beven get running again ( he got 5th behind G, Brandon, Johnno, Albert) after about 6 weeks off from running coming into the camp. He’s got IM NZ in 6 weeks and he’s getting a bit anxious about his running.

Bevan, Brandon and Mike Montgomery are all racing pro for the first time this year and all hoping for a big breakthrough. It will be interesting to follow their progress through the year. When Chris McDonald was hammering us in 2003 at about 89kgs it was clear to see he had a motor. But he also had a very good work ethic and these guys certainly do too. There are a lot of things that can go awry to de-rail them from their goals, but from what I’ve seen on this camp I’d say they are on track for a great year.

There are a couple of other guys here this year who seem like completely different people from last year. Last year both Mark P and Scott Davis brought injuries and consequently inadequate fitness to the camp. This year they’ve both been hitting every session and even going for some bonus points. Mark seems determined to bust my balls every damn day on the bike! Today was no different. He was up front hammering into a headwind all day and I was a whimpering mess trying to hold a wheel. Scott did 10 x 200m on the 2:50 with me in the pool this morning – damn fine effort considering we’re at day 10 and completely shelled.

How today went ……
Some people hopped in a van at 6am to get to the pool. That was a bit early for me! So I got in with Albert, Scott and Beven at 6:40. My set of 200’s for an extra couple of points went OK. It was nice to feel somewhat comfortable in one sport today. Albert was in the lane next to me and knew after the first 200 that he wasn’t going to make it. Some people went down to the lake to swim their 3km and froze their asses off. They said it was a hell of a lot different than yesterday morning which is interesting. Wonder what temp the water will be on Saturday for Challenge Wanaka?

Some people ran as well as swam before heading out on the bike. We rolled out at 9am and after w-up G-Man hit a set of all-out 3 minute reps on the bike and Brandon jumped on for the ride and the paceline went to hell. It was a 20-mile climb to the top of the Crown Range with the last 4km a lot steeper than I remember. I used that 34 x 25 a lot again! But what a beautiful day again today. The descent down towards Queenstown is a fun one. Lots of switchbacks. After the descent we had a drink stop to re-group and then had a lot of fun racing down to Cromwell. Lots of attacks. Headwind all the way, so great day to stay in the vortex behind the G-Train. Mark P took aver after the Cromwell drink stop for the last 30km to Alexandra. Very tough ride. Lots of hammering today.

We arrived at the Holiday park to a nice lunch spread for us. Not a ton of luxury here at this place! J but the crew have once again made a great effort for us. Some people went out for more kms right away, others went running. Lou went for a 2-hour run followed by another 30km on the bike and I suggested he may need to see a shrink when he gets back home! He seems to be having a lot of fun racking up the miles now and is starting to look pretty invulnerable.

Albert, Brandon, Bevan and I went for a run along the Otago Rail Trail. Its 150km from one end to the other and quite nice way to see some of the Central Otago badlands. It’s a damn desert out here! Completely the opposite of the West Coast.

Some folks hopped in my Van to take a drive to Queenstown. The rest of us had dinner here cooked up by our support crew, followed by a little Q & A which is always nice. After having put on 6 of these camps previously one of the things we can hopefully provide is useful guidelines on how to use the camp in the context of the whole year. Some people have races coming up very soon, others not for many months.

Every one seems to be very bubbly tonight. Perhaps it’s the prospect of making it through the camp, or maybe every one is just a bit more relaxed around each other. Tomorrow is activities day too, so not too much pain on tap to wake up to.

16 January 2007

Epic NZ 2007 Day 8 - Wanaka

We spent the whole day in Wanaka today. What a neat little town.
Some of us are taking part in some way or another in the new IM distance race here on Saturday - Challenge Wanaka.
What a dramatic, challenging course they've put together here.
We did the swim course as a camp event this morning along with quite a few others already in town for the event. The water here is crystal clear and about 16 degrees C so very pleasant. Its also surprisingly shallow the whole way on the swim course so its easy to see the bottom as well as the feet in front of you. Gorgeous lake for swimming.
We had no swell today for te race so it went pretty quick.
I followed the pack content in the draft for the first 1km until they veared off course after one of the turns. I shouted out to the lead kayaker to see if she was gonna lead us in a straight line on the course and she yelled back "yes, follow me!" so I hit it hard over towards her and got a good gap until the others realized their mistake.
We had Belinda and Justin Granger in our bunch today so nice to have a few others to race other than ourselves.
I hobbled up the beach sorta wrecked from yesterdays aquathon, and ended up first just a toe ahead of G-Man and then Albert but Scott Davis and Mark P were also right there in the pack at 51+ minutes.

After breakfst people had the rst of the day to do as they wanted. I chose to to the minimum camp daily of 60km ride and 50 minute run. Mike Montogomery rode to Queenstown and back! Holy shit! That was huge.
Quite a few long runs were done too which surprised me. It was a sunny, hot 85 degrees most of the day so nice to get some heat. KP if you're reading this you'll be glad to hear this DLTT member was boiling all day and I'm now a nice shade of purple.
Good to see Toby passing me on the points table today. He went to the pool as well this afternoon to do another swim and 1km of that included the bands only. The guy is hanging in there! Andrew Charles still has an inflamed achilles so he went to do his run in the pool but its not really deep enough to water run so he got quite a few funny looks from the kids in the pool! HA!

A few beers were drunk and a big trough of guacamole was eaten with a barrel of chips this afternoon prior to dinner. The guys were generally making pigs of themselves when not training - a sure sign of deep fatigue. Funny to watch and fun to be a part of!

Gordo's been egging me on to blog more and better and he does have a good point, but I just havent' been up to it or had the time. His massive blogging effort came on a day when he was snuggled up in bed all day (no bike or run!!!) with his duvet in Moana when I was leading the charge up Arthurs Pass!
Johnno has just arrived at the internet place now (at 8:50pm) and it closes in 10 minutes so I know he won't be doing a hell of a lot more than sending off some photos.........
More tomorrow. Cheers! Scott

Epic NZDay 7

Epic NZ 2007 Day 7 – lake swim, ride 160km (past Haast), run

The actual glacier (Franz Joeseph Glacier) is actually about 5km from the town. Some people naturally would have liked to view the glacier but it was socked in with cloud and rain so we didn’t see it. We also whipped through the town near Fox Glacier on our ride today so no glaciers to be seen for us. Since this is my first time ever on this part of the island I was a little dis-appointed.
I was more dis-appointed to find 4 massive, steep hills to climb straight out of the gate this morning. I just wasn’t ready for it! I thought I wouldn’t have to use my 34x25 any more on this trip after going up Arthur’s Pass a few days ago but I used it a lot today. And we had a steady rain falling again, the 5th wet ride so far on the camp. I guess this is what I get for choosing a route that goes down the West Coast! Damn its wet here. Absolutely beautiful and pristine wilderness, but not really a place for human habitation. I can see why it’s a World Heritage area. I hope the possums don’t eat it all up because I’d like my grand-kids to be able to see this place.

It was a different ride today with Gordo breaking a spoke right away and Albert just cruising. They never caught up to us so we never saw them on the ride. Normally they take the wind a lot and keep things pretty steady and sensible. Instead we had Brandon hammering at the front with that “let’s get this f…n ride over with” look on his face. For a guy chasing the Yellow jersey I thought he was being a bit careless with his energy! But it was nice to be able to sit in and see the kms whiz past.

We had a short drink stop and a short lunch/snack of 10 minutes during our 5 hour journey today. Not a lot of chit chat.
I came in to eat and get a quick nap. It seemed like all I could think about during the ride today was going back to sleep.
Some people went back out to add some more to the ride as always.

Mike Montgomery’s totals for the week (7 days):
Swim – 26.4km
Bike – 978 miles/1540? Kms with no aerobars
Run – 84.5 miles

Just consider those numbers for a moment.

I’m fairly certain that’s a record week for any Epic Camper. RoboSeth may have come close to similar hours at Epic Aussie but it was a bit hillier there so I don’t think his mileage would have been as much.
We try not to discourage anyone from really going for it here in terms of either quantity or quality. These camps are all about exploring limits.

Here’s some training hours of others for the first week:
David Craig from Wellington – 50.5 hours
Clive Asplen from Penticton – 55 hours
Me – I don’t know! As I’m trying not to think about it. In general this camp has had more volume than previous camps.
Most people still do have a little snap in their legs though, which is surprising. Mark P didn’t seem to feel any pain in his legs today and Mike M was able to punch out some hard surges to close gaps at any time.

I did my 50 minute run with Brandon and Beven who are always entertaining. Both of these guys have been athletes all their lives and its fun to hear the stories of their childhood.

We’re staying at Haast Beach Holiday Park. Glad we booked this place months ago as this place is full. Kinda hard to figure out why, but there seems to be thousands of folks wanting to stay here! J We did make it to a nice buffet for dinner last night which was also nice because it gives the support crew a night off from cooking. There were about 60 geriatrics from Gore (down south) in the restaurant that we had to battle in the buffet line. Hopefully their bruises will heal quick J

That’s all for today…………..….. I’m whacked.

13 January 2007

Epic NZ 2007 Days 5 & 6

Its Saturday evening at the end of Day 6 and I've bot 20 minuts before it closes and my typing is crap, and its all getting a bit foggy upstairs as the days blend together so I'll do my best here to remember what I did.

Friday - Day - 5

We woke up in Moana and did a 3km swim, 11km trail run aquathon for points to start the day. 1:25 hammerfest for the front of the pack and quite a bit longer for those not-so-speedy int he water. We had Newsome to tow us arund the lake so I drifted to the in New Zealand. back to enjoy some draft. I got to run with G-Man and Mark P (I'll stop mis-spelling his name from here on out.....) wich was a nice treat. G-Man was kinda cruisin' and Mark ran a 4:07 mile in college so I knew I would get a bit out-kicked at the end but it was nice to have some company to pull me along.
The Albernator missed the train on the swm but came zipping past us at heart-attack pace! and quickly ran to 2nd while Brandon cruised on past us later to get 3rd.
Very solid effort by quite a few of the campers.

We split up into various groups to ride today. I wanted to lead a ride up Arthurs Pass which is the steepest climb in New Zealand. I used a 34 x 25 today which is barely enough. It was 65km to the top and a few of us bailed out there. Some folks rode back as well. Brandona and Mike are gradually pulling away in the hunt for yellow.

So that was it for me. Nice dinner in the restaurant across the road again. Short day!
I don't know what the hell every one else did..........

Saturday - Day 6 - I'll let the other guys give you some totals from the week so far but I know there are some very big numbers being put up. After tomorrow it will be a full week so I'll try to get some numbers. For example though - Andrew Charles usually swims about 2km per week and he's already done 22km in 6 days!

We swam first.
I put up a few sets people could do for bonus points and most people chose the easiest option today - 20 x 100 on 1:30. I did my 1km with a band around my akles to get another point to stay in the hunt for the old farts jersey. Some people did another 6km session.

The folks who swam shorter roled out early as the weather was supposed to deteriorate through the day on the ride to Franz Joeseph Glacier 137km away. And it did. Wet all day although temps were around the 15-20C range. Not a lot of chit-chat today in my group. Just getting it done.

Some people tacked on again for more points which I thought was damn impressive. Tough to head back out there in the torrent when you've got a nice hot shower and tons of good food there waiing for you. I took a nap! and then slooged out my 50 minute run. Wet, wet, wet dn tomorrow is lookingmuch the same as we head further south.

That's all I've got! Pretty lethargic after a nice glass of red courtesy of Scott and Kari Davis and a massage from John. I'll tryto get something a bit more thought-provoking written up in the next few days. Now its time for an ice cream and bed.

11 January 2007

ECNZ07 Day 3

Epic NZ 2007 Day 3 – run, swim, ride 228km Hanmer – Moana

I’m glad I didn’t write this up yesterday when I was done. I needed a couple of beers and a good nights sleep to help put the day in perspective. If I had written it up then my blog would have looked like this:

5:15am – wake-u, coffee, 2 crumpets with honey

5:48 – run easy 50 minutes in rain, drink my big salty carb drink

6:50 – hop in van, drive to pool, swim 3km as 12 x (100I.M., 150 f/s)

8am – drive back to eat, pack, get rain gear on

9am: crank up iPod on old Rock playlist, ride to Moana – 228km with lots of cool rain and hills and climbing twice over the southern alps. Stop 5 minutes at 50km for drink, stop 20+ minutes at 100km to change clothes and eat, stop at 145km to eat, get coffee, fix Brandon’s under seat bottle cages that were rattling off, stop at 190km for drink, finish ride at 6pm very f…..in relieved to get my raw ass off that f…n bike seat.

7pm: beer and dinner at a great restaurant with great people! and life is starting to get good again and memory of f….n miserably wet ride starting to fade…

9pm: stretch while watching Red Zinger/Coors Classic DVD’s a buddy and France Epic camper Ed bought for me for Christmas. Sweat dreams…………

Now that I’m writing this the following day the above still looks very accurate, but my mood has improved. I always tell myself that the one thing you can change about reality is your attitude towards it – your perspective. And even though I did remind myself about 1,000 times yesterday that I’d rather do this stuff than a million other things………. sometimes the pain in my body gets the edge in the attention battle for prominence in my brain.

As we continue to get up day after day and continue to do Epic days my hope is always that its get easier to accept the fatigue and discomfort and start to get a deep feeling of confidence in what we’re all capable of.

There were a couple of casualties today. Its very hard to hop in a van to get a lift when everyone else is out there continuing the struggle to meet the challenge, but sometimes illness or injury get the better of us. Hopefully those guys will re-group soon to get back out there.

ECNZ07 day 2

Day 2 – Kaikoura – Hanmer Springs – swim, 135km ride, run

Kaikoura has a neat old 33&1/3 meter pool right on the ocean front. So we headed down there to swim. It was a cool 76 degrees F so most of us wore wetsuits. I wanted to try out my new Blue Seventy gloves and booties which we’ll be able to use at Challenge

Wanaka on January 20th. They take some getting used to but they feel like they’ll help a hell of a lot in freezing water.

Some guys stayed in to complete a 6km swim for extra points plus did a 1km swim with a band around their ankles for an extra point. Things are getting interesting already! And it looks like my time in Yellow will be short.

After breakfast we headed out through the hills via Waiau to Hanmer Springs 135km away. The route to Hanmer through Waiau is all what Newsom calls New Zealand “rolling hills”. Most of us hung onto the stronger riders who were saving a bit for tomorrow’s huge effort. But some of the guys got dropped on the hills and missed the train through the flatter part of the ride near the end. The G-Man was spending his usual time at the front to keep things very honest and got quite a bit of help from Beven and Newsom today.

The front group was motoring along at between 40-45kph on the flats so it makes a hell of a difference if you miss the train.

We only had 2 short snack stops to get the ride done a bit quicker too. Upon reaching the Hanmer Forest Camp (which has been pleasantly re-furbished!) some went right back out to get some more kms for bonus points. Some went running and some long runs were done for points. Brandon and Mike Montgomery both ran 2 & ½ hours! to pull away in the camp yellow jersey competition.

Hanmer is one of the best places in NZ to run. Lots of marked trails here through the forest plus miles of logging roads to explore. It’s only a 90 minute drive or 135km ride directly from Christchurch so many of us who live here often come here to train.

The crew made us a great dinner tonight! and in general have already outdone previous camps. This is the 3rd camp we’ve had the privilege to have Michaela and she really understands what’s needed. Dave Dwan is along for the 3rd time as well and always has good humor to make the long days more pleasant. Our mechanic/massage therapist John Ellis is along for his second camp and does a great job as a jack of all trades as well.

I’d like to think that our support crew is one of the aspects of our camps that set us apart. These folks are rock solid.

Some of us headed down to soak in the thermal baths (hot-pools) that this little town is known for. Very nice, relaxing thing to do. Its raining now as I write this and hopefully most of it will come down tonight and tomorrow will be mostly dry.

Kari Davis just walked in with some chocolate bikkies! So that’s the end of my report for tonight…………………

08 January 2007

EC:NZ'07 Day 1

Day 1: Christchurch – Kaikoura
Run, swim, 185km ride with a 70kmTT at the end.

The days started with coffee and light snack at 6:15 followed by an easy 50 minute run along the beach. Then we went to swim. We’ve started off a few camps with a timed 2km swim and that’s been a good challenge so we’ve kept it as a regular feature. Last year Monica Byrn pulled along a paceline at 1:20/100 long course and a few of us hung on. This year we don’t have quite the same firepower in the water as previous camps. Albert Boyce was flying in at 8am so he couldn’t make the swim. John Newsom spread out the faster swimmers to lead 4 lanes so there was no chance for all the faster people to draft off of each other. That left Scott Davis and I to lead the charge. I felt fantastic and actually held 1:20/100 on my own easier than I did drafting last year. Very encouraging! As a bonus I started off the camp leading the points! which is a nice surprise. Maybe Newsome will post some results on his blog. After breakfast we headed off on the bike at 11am.

The ride to Kaikoura is flat for 100km, then hilly for 85km. Young guns Brandon Del Campo and Bevan James-Eyles pulled us along at a very fast clip for the first 50km so we made great time with relatively little effort. After that we hit some hills to the lunch stop in Cheviot and by then it was a balmy 85+ degrees F. We’ve put a 70kmTT for the last part of the ride and it was a damn tough ride. Beven took that out in 2 hours flat with Brandon just behind and me in 3rd at 6 minutes back. That was a big effort! But it put me in the camp Yellow Jersey so it was worth it! I’ve got one day in yellow now after 6 camps...

Day 1 Pics here

The Kaikoura coast is magnificent on a fine day—it really is New Zealand scenery at its finest. I hope the guys had a chance to look around for the last hour. Some of us tacked on to go over 200km for the ride to get some extra points. Looks like we have a few contenders playing the game!

All in all a good day. The sun isn’t setting until after 9pm right now so a nice long, relaxing evening. A short stroll across the road to get an ice cream was a great way to end the day.