26 August 2011

Managing energy

August 26


Another great article by Alan Couzens and I certainly coudnt' have covered this topic better.

Having just finished another Epic Camp this article is timely.  At Epic we aim to force the campers to deal with this issue on a hourly basis due to the nature of the camps with competitive elements and super tough sessions day after day.  Every time we reach deep into the well we are asking ourselves how much it will cost later in the day and the week.
 Some people seem to have the knack for pacing through a monster week, others seem surprised when the tank is absolutely empty.
Having 8:15 IM guy Clas Bjorling along on the camp was also a good reminder that if we dig deep enough we can dig a hole so deep we may not come out for the rest of the year or perhaps even longer.  His battles with chronic fatigue/adrenal failure took a few years to work through and now he's super cautious with how he parcels out his energy.
 As a coach I always find one of my main jobs is assessing risk vs. reward when it comes to reaching for more fitness.  Risk assessment - that's my specialty! I know to others I often seem careless or reckless with my own body and training but I'm certainly not.  Yes, I do love to play hard but am always on guard not to obliterate myself.  I often look like I'm near death, but I always know the next day I can crank out some good work
The words I like to use to describe my general approach to training and racing are stimulate and satiate, not annihilate and obliterate.  As my good buddy Gordo often says: "choose wisely"


25 August 2011

Epic Camp France 2011 - Epilogue

Epic Camp France 2011 - Epilogue
August 22

We had a nice dinner last night in downtown Lyon although I could keep from sweating and no amount of cool beverages could shake the weariness from my bones.
 I did have a chance to catch up with Rob DePinto (an Aussie living in Hong Kong) which was long over-due. You'd think we would have tons of time to sit down and chat on these camps but if you want to get some sleep then you are best to hit the sack right after dinner, and Rob has certainly needed his sleep on this trip.  Rob's got some neat races coming up later in the year including 70.3 Taiwan and IM Cozumel so would like to use this camp as a springboard to get ready for those.
 The Yellow Jersey went to Steven Lord and I can't think of a person I'd rather see out there on the road in various countries riding around with a Yellow Jersey with the Epic Camp name on it.  He is the kind of person I had in mind when I set up this camp biz and he's been such a pleasure to be around and get to know.  He and his partner Jo Carritt are putting on some camps now and I'm sure they do a great job.  Go to Steven's website - www.stevenlord.me.uk for more info on their camps and coaching services.
  The KOM jersey went to Clas and although he wasn't his usual superman on this camp and doesn't have any races looming immediately to get ready for, his class is always evident and I hope those campers who watched him were able to appreciate the fitness a guy who's gone 8:15 for an IM has.  Clas is also doing some coaching now and his experience and thoughtful approach to this sport would be helpful to anyone - www.clasbjorling.com.
 The Green jersey went to Rob Palmer who showed determination to squeeze every last ounce out of himself from the beginning to end of the camp.  He pushed every single climb right to the end, contested every event and also took his turns at the front when he could. Rob is an under-stated, efficient, consistent, hard-working age-grouper who's gone well under 10 hours already.
 Our 2 Polish campers haven't gotten a mention thus-far in my blogs and there's a reason for that - they prefer to fly under the radar.  But I want it to go on the record that they were fabulous company, the easiest campers to look after that I've ever had at any of our camps, and I was really pleased they came along to take on the challenge even though it was a massive under-taking for them.
What a nice bunch of people to spend time with.  It was everything I expected.

This was my 13th Epic Camp since starting this adventure in '03.  Since my 5-year break from Tri's after "retiring" as a pro in '95 these camps have been the main focus of my participation in the Tri world.  Yes I've raced a lot of events since getting back into the participation side of the sport at age 40, but these camps have been the highlights and certainly I'll miss the unique atmosphere and challenge these camps have given me.
I've made so many great friends at these camps over the years and I look forward to future holidays with them.

Some totals for this camp:
Cycling - 1067km ridden over the 8 days including 20,000m of vertical gain, most of it done at a hard effort with KOM's on every big climb.. That's a hell of a lot of work on the bike.
Running - there were 3 run races - 1) the Embrunman Tri, 2) the aquathon and 3) the run race up in Alp D'Huez.
Swimming - We didnt' swim every day but there was ample opportunity to swim a lot and swim hard if anyone wanted to include the swim sets for extra points.
I don't have the camp point totals so will get Russell or John put those up in their blogs.

Future Camps - I've been planning on putting on some age 50+ camps with my good buddy coach KP (Kevin Purcell) for a long time and I'll get off my lazy butt and get those going soon.  Really looking forward to doing something that's a little closer to 50% training camp & 50% holiday.   I still want to include some significant,  challenging training, but only enough to satiate and stimulate, not anihilate.   I'll make sure to spread the word about those once I actually get everything in place.

I'd like to say a big Thank You to my good friend John Newsom for organizing the camp once again.   He's got enough to do with his coaching, race directing, podcasting, and family without to choose not to run these camps.  Its great to see him taking part in the entire camp once again and enjoying the challenges he's set out for everyone.  Both John and I are racing in November in hopes of qualifying for the NZ team for the ITU Olympic Distance World Champs in Auckland 2012 and John needs to race decent to make the team.  That shouldn't be too hard for him.  Getting on the podium next October will be a tough assignment though and I look forward to seeing him try and squeeze in the training to do that.
 John will put on other camps so check in at www.IMtalk.me (and listen to the podcasts!) for news of those.  At the moment he's in the final planning stages for a camp in May/June in Kona that includes racing the Honu 70.3, so contact him if you're interested in that one.
      Thanks to Julie and Ian Wright of www.pyreneesmultisport.com for once again looking after us and to Anna Beadle who gave great massage, energy and support.   This is the smallest support crew we've had on any Epic Camp and these 3 worked their tails off for us.
  Thank you to our generous sponsors and friends who've supported us: High 5, Blueseventy, Fuelbelt, XTri, HED, Oomph and Coffees of Hawaii.
Cheers from France.

We've got a great, sunny, warm day here at home in Christchurch so I'm just heading out for an easy spin.
Life is good!

Train Hard, Satiate the Need.


22 August 2011

Epic Camp France 2011 Day 8 - Annecy - Lyon

Epic Camp France 2011 Day 8 - Annecy - Lyon
August 21

The main feature of the day was the Col de Columbier:   

There were a few runs and swims done early today for those looking for camp completion and to s/b/r every day.  Beautiful, calm, warm morning.
After breakfast we rolled out at 8:15 to what looked like another scorcher.  The forecast was 36C predicted for Annecy today so I added a little extra sodium to my High 5 sports drink to begin the day as well as sticking an extra bottle in my back pocket.
 The gruppetto wisely set off about an hour before we did and I can honestly say I'm looking forward to the day I can start with that group!
  Since it was Sunday and very hot and in holiday season the roads were very quiet and Newsom led us out at a sedate pace to keep anyone from getting lost.  After about 30 minutes I could sense that this might be an all-day affair so cranked it up a notch to get the group going.
 We had a quick drink stop at the bottom of the Columbier and then the grinding began again in earnest.  That is one mean, bad-ass climb.  Its beautifully shaded from the forest,  but the grade is a a relentless 8-9% most of the way up its 4,000ft gain.  I was in my 30x25 most of the way.  Oh man was that a tough hour.
 There was some sort of cycling event taking place on that mountain today and some medals were being given out at the top.   Clas managed to scorer one of those as they thought he was in the event!
 The other side is significantly steeper and I was happy to be going down it, not up.
From there we had a lot of descending and some great, quiet country roads.
  Only one more grunty climb for the camp that had about 1,000ft of vertical @5-7% and Randy finally got going and cranked me up to max effort for about 20 minutes.  It felt really good to be able to ride well on the last climb and it got me in a  positive mood although the exhaustion was clearly setting in.Randy came to this camp quite a bit under-done and heavy and he's struggled on the massive steep climbs, but he's certainly ending the camp in a lot better shape.
 Ian found a great shady spot for lunch near the top of this climb and it was a quiet, tired group and no one seemed in any hurry to get going on the last 70km to our hotel.
 As we descended into 37C heat and some wind Steven hit the front for his typical last hour+ pull of the camp and although we were suffering to hold on its better to move right along than to get dropped and be out there on your own for another 20-30 minutes.
 With about 10km to go a few of us pulled over to an automated petrol station to get cold drinks out of the machines - luckily John and Clas had some coins as I didn't and the machines didn't take notes.   I didn't know it got this hot in France.
 Felt  good to get to the end, but as Julie Wright pointed out there's always a big of melancholy at the thought of it being over.
More tomorrow when I get some rest and time to write up an epilogue.
Cheers, Scott


Epic Camp France 2011 Day 7 - Annecy Day 2

Epic Camp France 2011 Day 7 in Annecy

Newsom sensibly adjusted the route for the ride today to delete the last climb that was on the plan.
There's still about 10,000ft of climbing today on one small climb and 2 massive ones.  In this heat it was always going to be a challenge to get through the day.
We started with a 3km swim in the lake which seemed calmer and cleaner than yesterday.  Nice morning.  Very quiet at 7am.  This lake will be an absolute zoo later as its Saturday and it will be over 30C here today.
After breakfast we rolled out at 9:10am on what looked to be about a 6-hour ride time day.  If you average 25km hour here you're doing damn good in the high mountains.
  We had some great guests along today - Rachael Joyce (5th and 6th in Kona the last 2 years), neo-pro Tamsyn Lewis from the UK, her boyfriend Deklin from London and former Epic Camper Piet who lives just down the road.
I hope we can get a photo of Rachael as my training buddies back home will be extremely jealous!  She's one tidy little unit! Goes up mountains damn fast too - only Clas could stay with her.
  The route included  Col du Forclaz (400m vertical gain @7-10%), Col Du Pre'(4,000ft. gain) and the Col d' Saisses (3500ft. gain).
 We had another mountain top lunch in the hot sun again today - this one on the Saisses.  Can't complain about the weather this camp.
  Once we got roling again we had it pretty easy back to Annecy with lots of time on the bike path and then around the other side of the lake with a little tempo and fun and games injected into the last 30 minutes.  It was around 33C in town and the lake was absolutely packed with people enjoying the sun and water.  Almost everyone ran and it was cookin'.
The hotel we're staying in has an exceptional chef and he put on another fantastic meal tonight.  I've been wanting to eat outside since the weather's been so good but the air conditioning in this dining room is very pleasant indeed.
 I took my "international booze expert & drinking guide" Douglas's suggestion to add a little Calvados to the drinks menu tonight.  His suggestions never fail to please.  Tonights recommendation was a yummy apple brandy - very smooth.  Then out with some of the guys for one cooling ale before bedtime.  Randy wandered over to the lake for a dip at 10:45pm to cool off.
Another great day in the Alps.
Cheers, Scott


Epic Camp France 2011 Day 6 - Annecy

Epic Camp France 2011 - Day 6 in Annecy

Having never been here before I was a little hesitant to follow John's suggestion that we spend 3 nights here.  I prefer to stay in small places if possible during these camps so its quiet, the homestyle hospitality is great, there's some good trails to run near-by and little traffic to hassle with.
But this city is gorgeous!  Really looking forward to a stroll through the city today. 
As I write this most of the campers are done for the day.
We started with an Aquathon - a Newsom specialty.  He's very balanced and quick with super transitions so he's hard to beat at these things.
The swim was about 1km and the run was about 5km.
I just did the swim since I can't run and managed to stay warm.  Not cold at all.  I'd guess at a water temp of around 22C.
Lord and Newsom took off and pulled away quickly, leaving me to navigate for the rest of us and I came out with Clas, Russell and Zach.  Clas set to work quickly and made up a minute+ to Newsom in no time at all.  Good to see him flying along once again, especially considering he hasn't done one hard/fast run this year. Lord held on for 3rd, Zach 4th and Douglas surprisingly held off Russell for 5th.  The old geezer was really rolling!
Breakfast had some exceptional crepes ( I know - photos or it didnt happen - I'll get them tomorrow) and then some R&R before a 10:30 roll-out for the ride up yet another mountain.
Here's the climb for those inclined to look for great climbs:
16km and 4,000ft gain.  KOM at the top so the pace was on right from the start.
Clas took it from Zach by standing nearly the entire climb with Rob Palmer hanging right there with the studs the whole way. 
I was thrilled to get to the top as it was a real sufferfest for me with "old man's back" and not much in the tank.
It was a big cloudy and shaded, so not as hot as it could have been and when we had lunch at a cafe at the top the sun did come out right on cue.
Great view of Mt. Blanc from that mt. top.  
I suppose its just another of the thousand great climbs in France.  We saw a whole bunch of what looked like average folks on that mountain today.  Your perspective about what a hard ride is would certainly be different if you lived here.
Some of us took the long way down which included some great descending with very little traffic.  So only 45 km for that route, but a lot of challenge and fun packed into it.
My trining for the day was done, but Steven headed out for another 2-hour run.  What's the saying about a madman (Englishman) out int he mid-day sun?  It was a cookin' 32C here while he was running.  
I slept!
The KOM is still a close battle but the Yellow jersey is virtually out of reach now with our 12-hour rule. 
Tomorrow is a killer day with 3 very hard climbs in 30C+, plus a swim in the am and a run in the heat pm.
Everyone is holding up OK though except me!  No real illness or injury since the camp began and everyone is holding up really well. 



19 August 2011

Epic Camp France 2011 Day 5- Briancon - Annecy

Epic Camp France 2011 Day 5 - Briancon - Annecy (& observation of Russell Cox)
August 18

While the others had a leisurely tourist run around Briancon prior to breakfast I had some work done on my ailing calves by our massage therapist Anna. Id’ like to get back to some gentle running once I get back home and know the first step is to get them rubbed daily for a week+.
Having struggled with calf problems for the 10 years leading up to 2010 I know how to get them better and thought I was doing OK with my maintenance, but have obviously lapsed.
My 20-month injury-free period prior to last week has given me time to become complacent about the work I need to do to keep running.
We rolled out the door at 9:10am after breakfast and had a nice w/up of around 10km up the Cold d’Lauretet before Steven Lord decided to keep the pace “honest”.  When I heard him say that we still had over 20km to go to the top of the Galibier so I cranked up the iPod in anticipation of the pain to come.
 As Steven, Clas and Zach slowly pulled off into the distance I settled in behind John hoping for another steady tow up a mountain.  And what a mountain it is.
The Galibier certainly deserves respect.  Its a magnificent climb and the views rival the Dolomites for granduer.  
Zach got the KOM and evened up the points between him and Clas, Steven was right there followed by Rob Palmer from Singapore.  That’s right - Singapore!  Not a mountain to be found there but the guy seems very at home here in the Alps.
There were a hell of a lot of cyclists out on the mountain today just like yesterday on the Alp D’Huez. 
The descent down the other side is long.  Very long.
There’s a little blip of a climb out of the town you come to (forget the name) that is near the top of the Telegraphe which was  very fun descent.  We re-grouped at the bottom where Newsom saw he had a puncture on his front wheel - lucky he didn’t go down with that.
From where we stopped at the bottom of the Telegraphe to the top of the Galibier there is a total of 2200m of ascent.  That would be a long day going up.  My arms were sore from the descent!
Then we had a very long, straight run on a pretty busy road to cover the next 50km to lunch.  Russell and Rob P quickly got us through the next 50km gradual descent to lunch into a hot headwind. 
    A little sidebar here............Russell Cox.
Its been really gratifying for me to see Russell’s maturation as an athlete.  This is his 4th Epic Camp (its Steven's 4th also) so I’ve got to see a lot of him over the years, have followed his progress and results at races, and like to think these camps have played a  role in his development as an athlete.
  I’ve called him a “slow learner” in the past and that was a bit harsh because he’s learned this trade well from the beginning.  What is fair to say though is he’s not a speedy developer at this long stuff, but his diligent, patient work over the last 5 years is showing now.   He’s a great example of the tortoise and the hare scenario.  IM racing takes time for most people, some longer than others. He’s learnt to enjoy the process which is absolutely critical if you aren’t a speedy developer.  
  Its been really great to see Russell take the role of setting the tempo at the front on the flat and gradual downhill parts of the ride.  Gordo used to take on that role when he was leading these camps and Russell had spent lot of time on previous camps sitting in, seeing just how strong you need to be to sit at the front hour after hour, day after day when you’re just as tired as everyone else.  To pull very steady for hours at 40-45kph when you know everyone behind you is getting a very easy ride takes a lot of character -  fitness, strength and character that takes a damn long time and a ton of work to gain.
 30 C at lunch and I shouldn’t have eaten so much because the next climb which looked like a little blip on the altitude profile next to the Galibier turned out to be a knarly 8km grunt which was started at 3pm in the heat of the day at over 30C.  That’s the hottest I have been in a very long time - since Kona ’10 I think.  I was melting.
      Lunch in the sun - this desert lizard was a happy camper.
 But the smile soon wore off as it was nearly straight up into the next climb a few minutes after we got going again. 
 Douglas led the way up the climb and although he looked a bit like a drown rat at the top the guy can certainly climb well when he wants to, especially considering the previous 4 days and his age ( 51 ).  This is his 5th Epic Camp and he never ceases to surprise me with a spurt now and then when he's feeling good.
    One more decent climb of 7km and then we finally dropped into Annecy.  What a fabulous spot.  Looks a bit to me like the Lake Como area of Italy.  Big lake, lots of $$$, zillions of holiday-makers along the lake.  We hoped on the bike path for the last 10km around the lake to our accom. due to the roads being bumper-bumper. The whole place is just packed.  We arrived at 5:45.  That's 8.5 hours and 185km after setting out and lunch was our only significant break of over 10 minutes.  
Nice to see Randy at dinner and catch up on his solo day.  He opted for a headstart to take it easier up the first climb but was feeling better today so we never caught up to him.  Long way to go on your own in a strange land.  Without the Garmin GPS going solo would be a hell of a lot harder.
Great dinner tonight. A generous supply of wine and a wonderful, perky receptionist/waitress helped the mood considerably.
 We had a good chuckle early-er to see Clas come down to the lobby _shirtless_ a couple of times to ask this pretty young lady something...........


Epic Camp France 2011 Day 4 - Briancon - Alp D'Huez and f...n back!

Epic Camp France 2011 - Day 4  Cold de Lauretet (both ways) & Alp D'Huez
August 17

8am roll-out for a big day in the Alps.
The gruppetto wisely got a head start today as there was 3 big climbs on the route with a run up around the top of the Alp D'Huez village before lunch and then the ride back to Briancon.
We rode friendly but firm out of the city and it was warm and not a cloud in the sky.  Lots of people out on bikes in both directions on this climb. As we were near the top we could see the road up the Galibier which is on the route to Annecy tomorrow.
  Fun descent down the other side to the base of the Alp.  Looks to be about 35km back up that sucker on the return.  That's gonna be a damn long one.
 We re-gathered for a fuel stop to start up the Alp together and time it as there is an official, marked start and finish on that climb.
There must've been a thousand people or more on that mountain today and its only a Wednesday,  Typical August day on the Alp?? You'd have to say that cycling is a massive tourist injection to this region just as it is in the Dolomites.  Every shape, size and age of cyclist on the mountain today and kids (mostly) on downhill bikes on the trails at the top using the chairlift to get up to the incredibly high trails.
  Zach set the tempo on the climb right from the start and I wanted to get into a hard rythm from the start in hopes of getting under an hour so went with him for the first 10 minutes or so.  At that point I was already drenched and reality was impacting!!! so settled into a more realistic rythm as Clas bridged up and those 2 sped out of sight.  At the 30-minute mark I was through one bottle as it was certainly over 30C.
Rob Palmer came past about then and gradually pulled away and Russell Cox and super crew Ian Wright were slowly gaining on me.  Once I hit the 4km to go point I came back to life as it gets a little less steep and there was some breeze.  Felt really great to be able to hammer up that mountain.
Zach led the way in a very respectable 51+, Clas 2nd in 52+, Palmer in 55, me in 56:34, Russell in 57+, Ian in 58+, can't recall the rest but know Newsom was happy to get under an hour (just......).
Beer, shirt off, and a lounge chair and I could have called it a day right there!  :-)
   Really happy to ride so well up this mountain today.  The last time I did it with my buddies with whom we do cycling holiday trips with it took me about an hour and 9 minutes and it was sleeting and 3C at the top and I was a miserably hung-over (there's a trend here..... ).  If I can get over here fit and 10lbs lighter I'd like to take a shot at going closer to 50 minutes when its not 30C.

The group did a tough 10+ km run with the first loop as a w/up! an the second loop as a race.  Very tough route at over 6,000ft.  I would have loved to run but had to settle for some retail therapy instead!   Needed some new bib shorts anyway.......
The ride back was a pretty quiet affair.  Not much discussion going on and I rode with John (pulling of course) and Christine.  Our crew gave us a water stop along the way thank goodness and then John made an executive decision to pull into a shop in Le Grave for a cold drink and I must say my choice of  Hogarrden never tasted better.
The last 10km up the Lauretet was OK.  Of all the really long climbs leading up to over 2,000m elevation this one seems to be the most friendly with grades of 3-5%.
For most it was a quick snack and off to the pool and with my leadership already in tatters I opted to stay put (guess where........)
Great day out!


18 August 2011

Epic Camp France 2011 Day 3 - Embrun - Briancon

Epic Camp France Day 3 - Embrun - Briancon
Tuesday August 16

Started out with a beautiful run through the forest at 5,000ft from our lodge but my right calf got strained very early and I had to U-turn and walk back.
Hard to put into words how awful it feels to give up hope of camp completion points and not be able to run! Really seems like I'm going to go out of this last Epic Camp on a sour note.
The rest of the day was spent trying to focus on the wonderful riding here and reminding myself of the enjoyment I get from riding and the company of other like-minded people.
We had a doozy of a climb over the Cold De Vars enroute to the main climb of the day - the Cold I'Zoard. By the time we hit the Vars it was already over 30C and I was melting.  I had to watch the entire front group ride up the road and just try and survive.
Lunch at the top of the Vars was spectacular!  I felt 100% better after lunch and a ripping descent down the Vars.
  The I'Zoard was as tough as I remembered and I was feeling better and also had some great tunes blasting on my iPod.  Felt a lot more like my old self.
  After having ridden the main climbs of the long distance EmbrunMan now over the last 2 days I appreciate the event a hell of a lot more than I did.  As a pro I often spent so little time reflecting on my past races that I never remembered them in any significant way.  I was always focusing on the next race or was just in a general zombie state from fatigue.
 We took it a little more carefully on the way down into Briancon.  What a spectacular city.
We arrived about an hour quicker than we thought we would as it was "only" 160km with nearly 10,000ft of climbing as opposed to the 180km we thought it was, and of course Steven zipped off to the pool to get in a 6km session with some extra sets for more points.  He's putting a lock on the Yellow jersey.
I had a beer (or two....) and ate and all was right with the world again although I know I won't run for a while.
Everyone made it safe and sound (no crashes.....)and our support crew found some great treats to surprise us with yet again.
Looking forward to tomorrow.


17 August 2011

Epic Camp France 2011 Day 2 - Embrun Oly Distance Tri

Epic Camp France 2011 - Day 2  Embrun Olympic Distance Tri
What a fantastic race.
I was fortunate to win the EmbrunMan long distance race in ’92 and also raced the Oly Distance race in ’93 or ’94 and raced OK.  Lessing took that one out fairly comfortably as I recall.  He did the 43km bike ride in 1:25 int he race and that was several minutes quicker than anyone else, so that indicates the difficulty of the course.
 The race Director did remember me and made us feel most welcome.
We had an 8:30 start and got there plenty early so had tons of time to chill out. 
In the race we all got a bit pummeled at the start as you do in all French races, but Steven, Zach and Newsom were in the main pack at the front.
Once on the bike Zach put the rest of us to shame and ended up about 4 minutes ahead of Newsom in 2nd, then Rob Palmer, Russell Cox, Steven, then me followed very shortly by our super crew Ian Wright who was doing his first race in quite a few years.  
Great to see you back in action Ian!!
   Everyone raved about the race afterwards.  It really is a fantastic venue and well-organized race with tons of enthusiastic spectators.
 After we had some lunch a few of us rode up to the main part of the city where there’s a pedestrian mall with bars and restaurants.  The marathon of the long distance race does 2 loop through there and its a fantastic atmosphere.  That was actually about the only thing I remembered from my race there 19 years ago.  Its a damn hard run and after seeing this course again I have moved up my result there to one of my 3 best performance of my career.  
 Then we had to climb back up to our mountain top chalet accom and that was a mean 10km climb.  But the sun was out, the beer and the company at the top were first rate.
What a great day.
Steven Lord set out for a 2.5 hour mountain run to make his bid for the Yellow jersey.
I have a feeling that by tomorrow night he will have sufficiently discouraged any one else from even chasing him. 
Tomorrow’s schedule includes 2 major climbs including the Col I’Zoard and we end up in Briancon which has to be one of the most beautiful cities in France.
Hope we get some photos posted!  Looks to be another beautiful, sunny, hot day tomorrow.


Epic Camp France 2011 Day 1 - Lyon - Embrun

Epic Camp France 2011 - Day 1  Lyon - Embrun   120km+ 
 For those of you who love Google there’s the link of the route today.  Many on the camp have some GPS device which makes life a little easier when riding in foreign lands.
On our 125km ride today there was plenty of tempo which was a little surprising considering what’s in store over the 8 days of the camp.
 Even 50-yr old Dr. Douglas Scott was hammering at the front for a while early in the ride, and I know he’s been sick and was in Hong Kong for a week just prior to the camp and un-able to train at all.  And this is his 4th Epic Camp! 
I was thinking as I was hanging onto the back of the paceline that I’d like to know what the hell he was thinking but I couldn’t actually get up there to ask.
  We did have one KOM on the route today and Clas took it out with Zack Poehlman from San Diego in 2nd.  I think its pretty clear that unless those guys are shattered or wanting to cruise a bit that they will be getting most of the KOM points on this camp.  
 I was dropped well before the KOM by most of the group including Christine Hemphill who lives near Annecy.  She’s obviously very comfortable riding int he mountains. 
After the KOM we had a drink stop so I was able to get back on and we cruised to Embrun but had one more big climb to get over as we rode some of the Tri course backwards.
Total elevation gain for the day was around 2,000m.

Since we needed to leave our bikes in transition overnight we went straight to the transition and registration in town.  After mucking around trying to get Clas into the race we finally got going on a shortened run (30 minutes) and swim 20 minutes). 
  The Oly Distance race we’re doing has been full since May and sells out immediately.  The race director Mr. Iacono generously let us in when I contacted him in April.  But they haven’t allowed last minute entries since the mid-90’s.
And its amazing they fill the race because its a bloody incredible course with over 3,000ft of hard climb on the 43km bike course.  Randy was commenting that you really couldn’t get 90% of the average triathletes in the IUSA to even complete a course like this.
 We drove up to our accom (up the D9) at the gite-de-la-drayetel , Hamaeau de la Montagne.
The reason I spell that all out is because we want to remember the nasty 2,000ft climb over 10km that we’ll be riding tomorrow after the race............
Damn good day so start the camp except for 2 small incidents!
  Douglas and Steven crashed en-route to Embrun with Steven breaking his derailleur hanger and then a few guys tumbled over at about 5km/hour uphill en-route to registration.  2 silly tumbles that took off a fair amount of skin.  Luckily Steven packed a spare hanger for this trip.  Who (except him) would think of that???

I'll leave it to the others with camera's and blogging savvy to post some photos. 
I love this place!


Epic Camp France 2011 Prologue

Epic Camp France 2011  Prologue  
August 13


Photo - Nice '83.  Molina on left, Mark Allen on right with no helmet!  My love affair with cycling in France had begin.......

Well this is the last one for me.
Without any sense of conceit I can say that it was a great idea and I’m glad I followed through with the idea of these camps. 
They’ve been a great addition to my life since 2003.
I hope some one will continue to put them on in a similar fashion because I know there’s a market for what we’re doing here.
 When Gordo and I first started with this idea we knew there would be a limited market since the criterion for inclusion was such that there was only going to be a very small % of the Tri population that could even consider applying.  That was always fine for me.  I never intended this to be a very popular idea.  On the contrary I wanted it to be exclusive.  
The intention from the start was to provide a positively competitive environment such that every participant would know that they wouldn’t  be held back in any way.  No waiting around for those less fit or as determined to go hard.
 Unfortunately for me the time has come when I can no longer expect to keep up with the average Epic Camper.  Age and injury are conspiring against me!  And the last thing I want is to have to last, or be a spectator at these camps.  I’m either all in or I’m out because that’s what I’ve required of everyone else.
  Steven Lord and I have already been competing for the “sandbagger of the camp” award as some of us often do prior to Epic.  He doesn’t believe that I am less fit for this camp than any previous Epic, but I know the truth! If I can get my camp completion points it will be a small miracle since that will require running at least 8km every day along with doing the races we’ve got lined up that include running.
The last time we came to France was 2006 and that trip was through the Pyrenees.  Luckily we were able to secure the help of Ian and Julie Wright from www.pyreneesmultisport.com.  After that camp I knew I didn’t want to think about holding a camp in Europe without them so they also gave us a hand at Epic Italy and now are on hand to help us get through the Alps.   I’m sure I’ll be visiting them many times over the rest of my life as they always make coming to France such an enjoyable, easy experience for anyone they host.
We’ve got Epic Vets Randy Weintraub, Douglas Scott, Steven Lord, Russell Cos and Clas Bjorling along this camp as well as some new faces including 2 guys from Poland.  I hear they don’t speak much English!  I’ve yet to meet them but Newsom tells me they truly understand the worldly language of beer so I’m sure we’ll get along just fine..........
Tomorrow we are going to drive a little ways out of Lyon so we can have a relatively light day of 120+km riding, swim, run.  We also need to register for the Olympic Distance Tri in Embrun which is on Monday, so we’ve got to get to Embrun in time to do that, hence the van ride.
  I’ll state once again that I write these blogs mainly so the participants will have a record of what we did.  It all gets a bit hazy after a few days and without photos and written memories it all just seems to vanish in a world of fatigue.
  These camps alsp provide me with the right stimulation and environment to write on topics near and dear to me, so I hope to summon enough energy to include some of my normal Epic musings.
Hopefully I can get an update out every day or two.
I do get tired on these things..........
Cheers,  Scott