01 January 2010

EC NZ '10 Prologue

Well this is going to be quite an adventure.

This is the biggest group we've had at Epic - I think its 22 campers but we'll see who actually shows up.

Along with all that is involved with looking after such a big group we are also moving locations every day which is brutal on the support crew. In all previous camps we've tried to reduce the amount of shifting from place to place due to the strain it places on the support crew, but to cover the length of NZ we obviously couldn't do that.

So in considering if we could pull this off one of the main considerations was if we were sure of our support crew and having Dave Dwan return to lead the crew was the crucial part. Dave's been leading the support for 5 years now and his energy and direction allow us to keep changing the routes and locations.

One of the ongoing attractions of the camps for me is to go to new places, see new sights, take on new challenges and although it would be easier for all of us to use the same format each camp, its not going to happen. We have a lot of returning campers as well and its important to provide some fresh terrain for them too. I want everyone to be in suspense to a degree as to what's coming and whether they'll be able to pace themselves through the camp without knowing exactly what's coming up.

These camps are mostly about the experience. What we do each day is affected by so many things including the people we're sharing the moments with. My lasting memories of each camp are the shared experience of taking on incredible challenges. Doing the same routes and sessions alone doesn't appeal to me that much. I couldn' push myself to get it all done alone anyway.

It looks like Clas Bjorling is back!!!

We've had so many good times together over the years and Clas has been the one who's thrown in the most Epic sessions during the camps over the years. His 43km run on about Day 10 over the massive hills from Thredbow to Jindabyne (in around 3 hours!) at the Epic Aussie Camp still gives me goosebumps. When you train for a couple of weeks with a guy that goes 8:15 you're bound to see some f...n incredible shit.

We've had a lot of fast people at the camps over the years in addition to Gordo - Clas, Bjorn, Jonas, Bella, Monica, Tara - those are people who any tri fan would recognize by just their first names. Stephen Bayliss and Chris McDonald have also joined us so we've been able to see first hand just how strong the best pros are.

But its been the older age group guys who have given me the most food for thought.

When we think of a triathlon trainigng camp we mostly consider it to be a stepping stone towards a goal of an event or series of events. Nowadays the Ironman is the main thing that comes to mind.

Let me put this too you - what if John Collins had created the Ironman to be a 2-week stage race covering s/b/r for about 8 hours/day?

If he had then what we think of as Iroman would be just that and the 2.4/112/26.2 would not exist. That is does and that we train for it is totaly arbitrary. It could just as easily have been a race to complete 1,000 push-ups, 1,000 sit-ups and 1,000 chin-ups.

What I'm getting at here is at Epic we've provided a format for a particular type of athlete to shine in a way that isnt' available to them anywhere else. To me the fact that they may not go on to do 8 hours in Kona isn't a reflection of them failing to prepare properly, its just that the current IM format doesn't really suit their strengths any more than a bench press contest does.

And I like that!

Judging a persons tri ability based solely on a sprint tri or Oly dstance or IM doesnt' always give the best picture of their strengths any more than judging a persons cycling ability on the Individual Pursuit vs. Paris-Roubaix or the Tour de France.
I wish there were more tri stage races like the Triple T but even longer. I would have ate those up when I was a pro and would enjoy racing them even more as an age grouper. Until then I'll keep putting on Epic as long as my legs will allow.
Speaking of which........
My f..n legs are a pain in the ass!
I've been able to get through all of the camps except for 2 small segments of 2 rides during the first camp in '03. Getting through all of the scheduled runs this time is looking unlikely at this moment in time. My calves are both injured.
I can't really describe how much this pisses me off. We've come up with a special award for this camp that we've never done before - every camper that completes all scheduled sessions for the entire camp will get one and I really want to get one of those awards!
My running has been abysmal most of the last 8 years with only a few small highlights during that period. Running well at Epic Colorado (around '04 I think) stands out as a period when I was really running well. I still have some goals to attend to that involve running so I still need to stay hopeful and positive that I can turn things around.

One postive is that I'm definitely in nitrogen balance!! HA! That's a joke and the photos will certainly give you an idea of what I mean.
This year I'm heavier than I've ever been by quite a lot. A hell of a lot of pumping the heavy steel and a hell of a lot of protein have gone into this body in the last 2 years. I've got enough fuel on board for 6 trips the length of NZ.
Plus we've got a beer sponsor this year so it doesn't look like I'll be triming down all that much this trip unless I get sick.

I plan on blogging every day like I normally do and it looks like others will join in as well so we should have a good record of this camp. I dont' do a hell of a lot of admin for these camps so i feel like the least I can do is to put down a few thoughts for campers to reflect on years later as it all seems like such a blur during the camp.
We also have a video crew along this time. They're making a documentary and I'll let John fill you in as to the why and how but the end result should be a very special keepsake for every Epic athlete attending this year.

Enough for now - time to go pack the bike as I've got a 5:30am departure for the airport tomorrow.