25 January 2008

Epic Prologue - NZ 2008

Often times when building up my training to get ready for these camps I have many brilliant ideas for my journal entries but forget about them by the time I get home. Sound familiar?
This year I decided to try a little harder to improve on jotting down some notes as soon as I got home and even put a pen and pad in my cycling goodie bag to record thoughts on the fly.
Hopefully these thoughts will serve some one well at some point or at least entertain a little. I always feel like I’m the funniest guy I know when I’m chuckling to myself 50 miles from nowhere. Good thing for me I like my own company! or the last 25 years would have been pretty miserable.

This year we’re lucky to have Tara Norton along on the camp.
We don’t get enough women on these camps and hopefully that will change!
Over the years at these camps we’ve been fortunate to have Monica Byrn, Bella Comeford, Marilyn McDonald and now Tara along to help us gain true perspective on what characteristics enable a person to achieve IM excellence.Most of the top IM women in the world don’t have an amazing top end on the bike or run and even they will often get dropped when the “racing” starts or the hills ramp up very steeply. Marilyn was probably the exception to this rule as she’s an incredible climber and bike racer.In addition - women seem to have more pacing prudence and less ego tied up in staying in the pace line at all costs. I’m sure many of you out there will have noticed this in your own group rides/swims/runs at home. Some guys just can’t comprehend how a woman they can drop in every single session they do can somehow kick heir ass by miles in an IM. Here at the camp we see it time and time again.I love the hard parts of group sessions and the fun involved in hammering and seeing if I can hang onto the hotshots in the group, but I realize its not my ability to hang on in those situations that will have the greatest impact on my racing success. I can’t rely on those moments to define my success or failure in my race preparation.
The key as these women show us repeatedly is how to back up their steady training with more steady training week after week after week. In IM training and racing it’s the same ol’ tortoise and hare scenario.. I’m sure at least one camper is going to get a solid dose of humility on this camp! and that’s a good thing. I just hope its not me! Sometimes its much better to give than to receive. :-)
Tara arrived a little early to escape the cold of Toronto and promptly kicked my butt on some of the hardest climbs we have around here. And she hasn’t ridden up a hill in months! Albert Boyce also arrived early and promptly proceeded to do the exact same thing the following day. I suppose its time to “freshen” as G-Man says. I’m feeling kinda wupped.
I’m mostly just trying to survive the first 4 days of this camp as I think it will be the hardest first 4 days we’ve ever done.
Gordo wanted to try an 8-day format for the camps this year to see if it suited the campers better as the previous format of 12 days of Epic training has tended to put people a little too deep into a hole. Since we’ve got quite a few returning campers it will be interesting to hear their feedback in a couple of months after they’ve had time to digest this one and see how they’ve recovered.
We’re also using a route similar to the one we used for the first Epic in 2003 and the G-Man has been good about reminding me often how I failed to finish the very first ride we did to Tekapo. I do remember I hardly took a turn on the front of the paceline that ride but John Mergler and Chris McDonald slowly ground me to a pulp.
We have had bigger groups since that camp so now there’s more room to hide at the back!As I’ve said before I do this camp blog mostly for the campers who are often too tired to record their own thoughts each day or even remember where we went or what the hell we did. It all gets a bit fuzzy upstairs after a few days.
Its also for past campers with whom I’ve had the pleasure of spending many long, enjoyable days with. Hopefully you previous campers will get your memories of previous camps refreshed. All good stuff.

To my good friends KP and Klas especially – we’ll be thinking of you, laughing at the crazy stuff we did, and you’ll be missed!