30 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 10

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 10
August 29

In Lake Louise    Epic Ethos and fit adventures

About the Epic Ethos

Sir Steven Lord; who has taken home a couple (?) Yellow jerseys; has set a high mark, and the ethos for the camps ethical committee to carve into the stone Epic Camp commandments for future campers to live up to.
  With Lord's impetus we've fine-tuned the points system over the years and most of the changes have to do with transparency.
 As you probably know by now the points system is designed to push the campers to their max, and the ways to acquire points are almost all based on an honour system.  If you want to tack on or do extra stuff for points then no one is there to witness it for the most part.
 We have had some very sketchy folks over the years who tried to game the system but I'm happy to say they are either now fat and lazy or in prison.
  One of Lord's main contributions was to instigate the "declaration rule" which is an announcement to the camp if you are going to do extra stuff for points.  You just say what you're going to do, then anyone else who wants to tag along or do something else to stay in the points game can decide what they want to do, and they also announce that.
  This accomplishes 3 things:
1) it leverages the person's determination to follow through by announcing what he's going to do
because everyone will then be checking to see if he/she actually did it.
2) It further confirms that self-belief and a solid work ethic are 2 integral parts to success in any endeavour, the camp being one of the least important in our lives.
3) It allows everyone to know what they are up against in the pursuit of Yellow.

During the camp you have the opportunity to sit in the bunch and only put out effort when it counts for points.  Or in the pool on the sets for bonus points you can draft by leaving 2-3 seconds after the person in front of you and sucking feet the whole set.  Steven Lord, Gordo and some of the other high achievers who've had on the camp over the years would rather cut their heads off with a chainsaw than do that stuff!  We try to pass on that ethos.
The essence of the camp ethos is that hard work pays off and if you are cutting corners then you're only cheating yourself.  I believe its a very worthwhile message to contemplate thoroughly and often.
The thing that's critical for us to remember is that the whole camp environment is about a group working together to get the most out of each of us.  Its a team effort.  Can't lose sight of that.

Adventures through Fitness

I vividly remember many moments as a pro in the 80's and early 90's when I was able to do wonderful things that required an excellent level of fitness and I hared those experiences with my friends.  One of the main things I promised myself a million times during those years was that when I was old and grey I would keep myself fit enough to enjoy similar wonderful adventures.
 Epic Camp is an outcome of those promises.
And the walk/run we did to Sentiniel Pass today was also an outcome of those promises, though it was Newsom's adventurous spirit that found the route.

To be able to experience what we did this morning is the type of gift only a fit body can help deliver.

You can't get the same experience by taking a flight over the area or just watching a video of it.  No way. So I reminded myself once again to do a better job of looking after my body and not abusing it to such a degree that I'm prone to do.
These types of adventures are one of the main sources of joy in my life and I really do hope to continue to do similar stuff for many years to come.
I do fee sorry for people (especially young people) who can't get to do this type of thing on their own two feet because doing stuff like this helps us to fully appreciate the natural beauty and wonder of our planet and I feel that helps us to want to savour and maintain it better for future generations.
Plus its a really great way to get high! (figuratively and actually).

Day 10 - a) what we did today (camp minimums for camp completion points) and b) the craziness that pursuit of the Yellow Jersey involved.
 a) Ride up a mountain 15km to the Lake Morzine.  Run up the trails 6+km from 6,000ft. to 8500ft to Senteniel Pass, then run back down, then ride back down.  Looked to be about 3.5-4 hours of effort. That was followed by lunch and for me - a spa with a couple beers and a nap.  Perfect.
Then there was:
b) Young Adamski to begin with. He decides to really go for it again with only 2 days left his options are limited.  So after a good lunch he heads out to run 20km with the second 10km including the fat run set of 7x1km with 1 minute rest between reps.  That's a damn big effort after pour mt. journey this morning.
THEN! He comes in, has a quick bite to eat, loads his pockets with food/phone/money/ipod/jacket and heads out to ride at least 90km and possibly 120km if energy allows.  He gets 1 point for every 30km and will most likely miss dinner as he started training at 9:15am this morning so can finish at 9:15pm.

Adam B - He got an early start to run 10km before we set out on the ride to the trip run.  After our outing he set out to ride long.  Ended up doing 150km with Gary as training hack for the first 120km to Banff and back. So that's about 5 hours of additional training to the camp minimum of approx 3.5 hours.
Lucky for him he has a good mate in Gary who is supportive of his tri goals, including coming on this camp and the pursuit of Yellow.  So Gary got drug out there for the extra riding
We should all be so lucky to have friends like that.
Besides that he left most of his 12-pack in the fridge and since he was gone all day and obviously wasn't gonna be able to get to it I was able to help myself to it!  Cheers, Gary.

Tomorrow is another scenic run in the am up around Lake Louise then a 200km ride to Calgary.

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29 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 10

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 10
August 28

Sunwhapta Falls - Lake Louise - 178km

We kinda figured we'd get some wet weather at some point and as it continued to pour all night long last night I thought we'd be lucky to not get hammered.
But there was only a light drizzle as we set out to run to Honeymoon Lake 4km away for our swim.
The lake is mis-named for sure.  Only penguins and Germans would honeymoon here.  Scenic yes, but cold as f...
Newsom had said the day before that he's hop in, make a call on distance minimum and let us know so we held him to that.  But he got all wishy-washy and said we could go as long as we could tolerate.
I'm not a lover of cold water but I lasted as long as he did and when we got out most were long gone.
Kudos to Lou and Gareth for staying in so long.  Lou because he's old and scrawny, Gareth because he gave that lake a beating it won't forget for decades.

Run back, pack, coffee, break and a 10am roll-out and the forecast was for wet and cold and it proved to be accurate.
When you pack for a trip like this you bring everything you might possibly need for cold swims and rides.  Unless you forget! Douglas and I were moaning the fact that we left all of our best cold water swim and cycling kit at home.  Damn.
But I was better prepared than most with my helmet jacket, Assos winter cycling gloves (thank you Rebecca!!!). best booties and jacket.   The new Epic cycling jerseys Newsom gave to every camper are also great for winter riding.  Loved that today.
We had 2KOM's on tap today at 55km and 135km and I was in no shape to be anywhere near the action for those.  I decided I was going to be happy just to finish, stay warm and get to a beer and a hot tub asap upon arrival.  Listened to a couple of episodes of IMTalk and one of the Rich Roll podcast and that certainly helped the hours tick by.
There weren't a whole lot of views you'd want to see along the Icefields Parkway due to the cloud and rain, but occasionally we got a bit.
Highlight of the day for me was the yummy, warm veggie soup Dwan jacked up from the kitchen in Sanwhapta before we left.  Magic. Between that and the Snickers bars (Rob hill - 4 at one stop, Phil Patterson - 5!!!) Lucky the crew didn't pull those out early in the camp as we'v definitely got some folks with a taste for chocolate.  I only had 2  :-)

So it was a long ride.  Over 6,000ft. of vertical gain on the ride and twice well over 6500ft in elevation.  Been a long time since I was at altitude and I certainly felt it today.
Gary has a wee hole in the mid-seam of his tights with chamois and if it gets any bigger then no one is going to be able to sit behind him.  Perhaps its a blow-hole to let off steam???
Spent quite a bit of it with young Adamski who was (in Gordo's words) "feeling the affects of an appropriate training stimulus" from the last 9 days.  Dude was very close to throwing in the towel all day.

We all made it.
But John Ballard nearly didn't.
He might not want me to go into details of his incredible moment today but I will say it was one of the most amazing sights I've ever seen from another rider during all my years on a bike.  Absolutely flabber-fkng-gasting.

Dinner at our hotel tonight.  Wonderful buffett but we still went for a stroll for ice-cream with our fearless ice-cream hunt leader Leah leading the way.  The girl has the nose for the smell of ice-cream.
I opted for a wee dram and some port to round out my supply of evening choices.  Gary found some beer - this time with alcohol included.  So we sit here typing away, each with our own version of the day.

Hope we get a bit of clear weather so we can see where we are tomorrow.  Newsom has chosen a very scenic mountain run as plan "A" and if its wet then a flatter choice of plan "B".  Will let you know how it goes. Cheers.

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28 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 9 ( I think )

Epic Camp Canada 2014
August 27 - Day 9

Jasper - Sunwhapta Falls - 93km (including the bike commute to swim)
It always looks like a very manageable day on paper.
The schedule was ride 8km to lake, swim, ride back, pack up, break, 10:30 roll out for ride, run on arrival.  Doesn't look all that challenging does it?

But is day f... Day 9 and some of us are feeling kinda wh_uuuuu_pped.
So the sleep-in was much appreciated.
The cold lake probably wouldn't have felt that cold on days 1-3, but today it had a real bite to it.
My goal was to just cruise but after 10 minutes I realised I needed to hammer to not freeze to death so hammer I did. After the swim Douglas and I were berating ourselves for all of the cold-water neoprene stuff we left behind at home. My gloves, booties and hood would have been very nice today!
 But we found a nice fireplace to sit by for a few minutes and a coffee in a lodge right there with a great view and things changed from cold to OK in a couple minutes.
It ain't all pain and misery on Epic Camp (but sorry for the rest of you miserable plebs who missed out  .......).

Another good break from the crew and time to ride.
The route was changed a bit from the original plan due to a rockslide on one of the climbs so the only  KOM came along very soon on the ride.
Seems only one person mistook which climb we were doing and that D.O.T.D was me.
So feeling like it was time to show a bit of the ol' TERMINATOR I wound it up early to see who was committed for the KOM.  I zipped right on by the turn up the mountain we were supposed to go up and a few km later turned up the climb I _thought_ we were going to go up.
Kept the hammer down off the front for about 5km up the climb before looking back on a long straight to finally realize there was no posse chasing me down.
So I kept it steady to the top just in case and tried to enjoy the stunning locale. 12km up a magic climb.
After descending I still really had no idea where the hell everyone went as I asked the gal park ranger if there was any other big climbs like this one near-by and she described a few that didn't resemble any I knew we might do.
So befuddled and thinking I was keeping my streak of senior moments alive I wandered towards our destination.  Stopped to turn on an IMTalk podcast (got some catching up to do) and Charlsey and Rob Hill roll up!  they informed me what the hell happened and we kept rolling along with Charlsey pulling most of it as Hill and I weren't at our best to say the least.

Eventually Douglas and B2 motored past but the others didn't! So we all arrived at our accom close together except for Adam B, Gary, ash and Petro who added "my" climb to the route + more .

A bite to eat and drink, out for an hour run on some trails (and also the highway for me and a pretty tired looking John Ballard), some nice waterfall views, a quick catch-up on e-mails, dinner and a few laughs and another day done.  The Stanford Kid Adamski ripped off a sub-40 10km on the highway which isn' flat by any means which showed he's very sincere about staying in the hunt for the yellow jersey.
Poor Shannon was in tears (of laughter) at dinner when she ordered a lime and soda and only a slice of lime showed up!!!  Meals were pre-ordered once again due to John's efficiency so we didn't have to wait too long.
I had received a good tip on a good cocktail from Douglas - a drink called a "Rusty Nail".  I was going to save it for the last night but it was on the menu here (who woulda thunk it??? ) so seemed like a message from above.
Heard that David Rowe was way up there in the KOM battle today and that seems quite out of character for him so will ask him tomorrow how that all transpired.
Once again we had a spunky waitress, this time in wonderfully worn black leather pants so all is right with the world.  G'nite.

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27 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 8

Epic camp Canada 2014 Day 8
August 26

Jasper  recovery day (only swim events day+ = 3km or more, 2+ hour trails run, 60km ride)
Could be called a "Molina recovery Day" back in the day.

6am in the pool for 500m w/up before the swim events.
We do this as another challenge.  That's all.
Epic Camp is about taking people way outside their comfort zone so they realize its not that big a deal to suffer doing something they don't normally do. No one dies!  And we all need to re-enforce the idea that we become better athletes by over-coming challenge.
Today the events were Epic staples - 400m IM (The "Dolan"), 200m kick with a kick board and 50m sprint.  This year we decided to not do any dive starts as we don't exactly have a group of campers who were ex-swimmers!  Monica Caplan (Byrn) who did a couple of Epic Camps  will be very disappointed to see some of the swim times.
 We certainly had a lot of laughs as always.
My own swims were Epic worsts without a doubt.  After a massive year of swimming to get ready for the ITU Oly Distance World Champs in Auckland in 2012 I lost my swim mojo in a big way and only in the last month prior to this camp have I been able to get it back.  It took a trip to Brisbane to stay with Charlsey and Shannon and the wonderful outdoor pools in Brisbane to get me going again.
The Stanford Kid Adamski took out all 3 races handily.  He nearly lapped me in the 200m kick!

Some stayed in the pool after the minimum 3km to get extra stuff done for points.  I was particularly impressed by Newsom doing his 3km IM set after his first 3km.  Even if you're a decent medley swimmer that 3km IM set takes at least 50 minutes continuous.  That's a big commitment at this point!  Lou also stayed in do pound out a set of 20x100 on the 1:35 for another point.  1 point!
Such is the points game we all love taking part of on Epic.

Walked back, another great breaky by our crew and a 10:30 departure for 2-hour runs.
Fabulous trails here in Jasper and with the help of maps Newsom took one grip one way and Zach led our wee group of 4 another way.  See Petro, Gareth or Zach's photos of our 3-lake loop.
Plenty of vertical for our group but we didn't get lost like the other group which ended up doing around 2:50 for most.  Newsom came back dirty as hell with a bloody knee! so they obviously found some fun trails.

Lunch and a very quick change onto the bikes for many to get the minimum 60km done.
I had a beer, a nap and a massage!
Those are the essential "recovery" tactics for me - always have been.
So I rolled out @4pm going back out the highway we came into Jasper on as I knew it was pretty flat, smooth and headwind and uphill going out, downhill, tailwind back.  Perfect.  Really enjoyed a few Hamish and Andy podcasts (Sydney DJ's) and an episode of MarathonTalk.  2 hours flew by.

8 of us blokes made it over to  the Jasper Brewing company for beers, burgers, hot wings ....... Perfect.  Even had a spunky waitress from Sydney in  an absolutely killer pair of jeans to serve us.
If heaven ain't at least this good then I'll be bitterly dis-appointed.
Then a little stroll through town for some gelato and a bit of catching up on e-mails/blogs and its good-night time.  A wee bit of Jack Daniels Honey to wash down my anti-oxidants and melatonin and I expect to sleep the sleep of a contented camper.

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26 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 7

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 7
August 25th ( I think)

Blue River - Jasper 210km

Kinda losing track of the days now.  Had to ask what day of the camp and the date just now and its not just due to the beverages.

The day started at 6am on the beach with a 2km swim in the lake 30m from our cabins followed by a 7km run, all "before breakfast" as Bardsley would say. Nice little lake about 1km around the edge. Warm! I ran along the tracks again in the opposite direction.  No bear sightings but saw a nice hawk.
Reminded me of my Colorado days.

Michelle whipped up some wonderful pancakes for us today.  Too bad for me I was last to get to them  as the authentic Canadian maple syrup had only a few drops left!  Last time I get to breakfast last I can assure you.

Big ride today of 210k and once again Charlsey rolled out prior to the grupetto which was about 30 minutes before us on the road.  Didn't take our group long to get rolling and at the first aid station at 52km we weren't far behind.  Charlsey waited there for us which meant he rode with us!! Which was nice as I hadn't seen him on his bike for a while.
The clear, concise instructions before the ride was that after the first aid stain anyone would be free to ride as they chose to the KOM at 130km although there would be another aid station at 100km for those who whose to use it.  As we approached that aid station Petro made it very clear he wasn't stopping with a 500Watt attack.  So 30km from the KOM with a significant climb enrolee it was all on.
I knew it was way to early to chase to settled in behind "Don't Miss That Train" Olsen as I knew he's blow by everyone on the decent or the flat leading to the final climb and that proved to be a wise move.   Still didn't change me from a mule to a racehorse on the club but at lest put me in a good position to see Shannon teach the boys a bit about climbing!  Girl can motor.
Keep in mind she's ridden the whole camp with no aerobats so she's got to be a bit pooped from that by now.
Zach took the KOM with young Adamski 2nd andShannon 3rd ahead of Petro.  That's right - Petro got chicked so all of you who have been hearing about his climbing prowess for the last couple of months now can take his bravado with a grain of salt ....... I had the opportunity to grab a few places in the last 400m so figured I might as well make a bit more effort.  Not that many KOM's on this trip so I really do need to show a bit more of my former self.

At lunch after the climb I was thinking about how many Tri vets we have on this camp.  Newsom did his first tri's in '91.  Lou (39 IM's) and Petro started in the mid-80's and my first tri was in '80.  Charlsey's done about 40+ IM's.  Some real stickability here and you can see it reflected in their attitudes every day.
We've also had quite a few people at the camps over the years who've come and gone in the sport - kinda "part-timers" really who came and went after a few seasons. Brandon Del Campo, Gordo, Mike Montgomery and Scott Davis come to mind .......    Mind you Montgomery had a really valid reason for taking a sustained break from the sport.

Lovely dinner tonight at our hotel here in Jasper.  4 courses including cheesecake and a fine Pale Ale for me.  Life is good on Epic (especially cracking jokes at our missing friends expense! HA!)
Lots of stories of previous Epic Camps tonight at dinner - good fun as Charlsey has amazing recall.
Early start tomorrow as we're in the pool at 6am.  We've got it reserved for ourselves for the first hour so might have a few fun and games to begin with.
Cheers from Jasper.

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25 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 - Day 6

Epic Camp Camp Canada 2014
Day 6

Clearwater - Blue River - 110km (and catching the train)

Today's format - swim/bike/run - kinda familiar by now eh.
Had a good nights sleep with Dave Rowe as a very easy room-mate to have.
Lour had a room to himself next door and thank goodness no one had to share with him because the noxious gasses emanating from his G.I tract probably melted the wall-paper in there.  Lucky for him he had a fan in there on full blast or he'd be dead for sure.

Was amazed to see the make-over Gareth had this morning.  He looked like a new man!  Just the day before he resembled the Lochness Monster, but today with a shave and a what looked to be a beautiful coiffure I almost didn't recognise him!  From the wiley grin on his face my guess is he also did a bit of man-scaping too!  You know that free, fresh, clean feeling just after a good man-scaping session - can't beat that really ............

A bit of coffee and then a leisurely lap of the lake + a bit to get 3km.  Wonderful.
Shower, pack, break and off at 9am for the ride to Bl;ur River.
Charlsey set off _before_ the gruppetto! which is an Epic Camp first I think.
The gruppetto is growing and they set off about 30 minutes before us.
The ride profile looked pretty flat and so I expected us to stay together but once Douglas hit the front on a 1-2% incline and melted most of the peleton there was just 4 of us left.  I wan't too worried as we had Glenn "Don't Miss That Train" Olsen with us.  I think Douglas looked back after about 15 minutes to realize no one was with him and eased off to let us catch up.
Once Glenn took over we were motoring along at 50+kph and I had a feeling we wouldn't be seeing the others again.
We did see Zach pulling into the aid station at 52km mark just as we were pulling out and we got the last 60km done pretty quick.
Glenn reminded me of some of the training partners I've had over the years, especially Chris "Big Sexy" McDonald.  In the early days before Chris went pro he would pull me around Canterbury back-country taking a peek behind every 30 minutes or so to make sure I was OK. I'd just give him a nod or a thumbs-up and he'd just continue to crank out the kms.
Perhaps you've had a training partner like that?  You take one look at their legs and say to yourself "hmmmmmm ...  that dude can probably do 20 reps of 500lbs on the leg press no worries at all ......"

I listened to 2 great podcasts on the ride today from Newsom and B.J. Eyles "Legends of Triathlon".  Appropriately they were two Canadians - Lisa Bentley and Steve King.  Really enjoyed listening to Lisa's story as her career started a few years after mine ended so I didn't know much about her.  Steve King's recollections of IM Canada certainly brought back a lot of memories.  I wish I had that sorta recall.

Upon arrival in Blur River at our sweet accom. at Mike Wiegele  we went for a run since they were still prepping the rooms.  Wonderful cabins!  I'll make sure we get some photos as I will be asking my dear, wonderful, generous, patient, loving wife to build me one of these in NZ soon!

My run went out around the wee lake we're next to and then out along the railroad tracks.  Sunny, hot, wonderful if I didn't think about how much my legs were gone.
When I was a kid in High School just starting my serious running during the summer between my sophomore and junior years (10-11 for you non-Americans) I often ran along the railroad tracks in West Pittsburg, CA where I grew up.  Was remembering how my younger brother Sean (about age 8-10?) and his even younger friend Xavier from 3 houses down the road used to catch rattle snakes along those railroad tracks, bring them home and keep them in a trash can in the back yard.  Once when my mom went to put out the trash she nearly had a heart attack when she saw 3 decent sized rattlers in there.  Seems like Sean used to get a hiding for something or another nearly every day.

Most of the time when I "run" at the pace I ran today I'd call it active tanning.  But today in the middle of an Epic Camp it's a considerable training stimulus.  Gordo always joked about "getting an appropriate training stimulus".  Feeling like I got that today.  He'll probably know how I'm "recovering" right now as I finish my blog.

Some guys just coming in from a 2-hour run.  The Epic camp craziness is really starting to ramp up now.  Steven Lord we miss you!

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24 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 5

Epic Camp Canada Day 5
August 23

Clinton - Clearwater - 190km

Very straightforward day today - run/bike/swim.
Most people decide to run only the minimum 10km but Adam Bardsley went for 2 hours.  Pretty clear he's going for max points on this camp as he later swam 6km in the lake upon arrival in Clearwater.
Our run was kinda hilly and when Newsom led the group up another hill on the way back to town a few of us decided an out and back on the flat highway was a better option.

There was a fairly large gruppeto today who headed out to ride about 30+ minutes before us.   Sensible move as there were no KOM's to think about so it was just about getting the 190km mostly flat riding done.
 Our group moved along very steadily and thankfully for all of us Glenn's bike was back in order and he dutifully pulled us along most of the way.
Some great riding & scenery and at the risk of sounding like a broken record - damn good.
One fabulous descent as well where we zipped through about 7km @80kph+ (Fegan's wife should be aware of this apparently .... ).  Think I got a bit of wind-burn there.
Lunch at 160km then a flat 30km to Clearwater.

I keep expecting to find the lakes cold but this one is the warmest yet at about 20c.  Surely we're bound to get a frigid one at some point???? But we're swimming here again in the morning so perhaps not.
No motorised vehicles of any kind on the lake today.  Fantastic.

Some people did 6km today including Phil and young Adamski who's thinking of putting himself in a position for the Yellow Jersey.  Makes the camp a hell of a lot more interesting!  We're about 1/2 way through now and no real detonations, so will try to manage the carnage as well as possible when it does start to mount.
 We did have one mishap today with John Ballard missing an important turn at about the 30km point into  the ride.  He ended up with 200+km almost all on his own.  Cell phone coverage was non-existent most of the way so very hard to find out where the hell he was!

Nice dinner tonight and Douglas Scott and I split a nice bottle of Chardonnay.  Very civilised indeed.
Hope you're getting a chance to read the other blogs and especially see the photos others are posting.

I promise to share a few useful thoughts for you dedicated readers tomorrow!  When doing a training camp whether an organised camp or with just a few others there are certainly a few things we've learned over the years that are worth sharing.  More on that idea tomorrow. Cheers from Clearwater, B.C. Canada.

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23 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 4

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 4
August 22

In Clinton - Tri Race

This will be short as I'm kinda wrecked!
Just the facts today.
Promise to be more informative and entertaining in the next few days but probably not tomorrow as we have a 9+ hour day planned.

Today was going to be short on total hours, but high on quality.
The plan was to ride 20km to a lake, do a recce swim of 1km to make sure we marked out a 2km swim fairly accurately, then do a Tri race of 2km, 52km, 10km.
Pretty straight forward for most.
But Glenn was on a "fixy" as he had no rear derailluer.(spelling!)
But he soldiered on with it which was damn impressive.

Swim - was an out-n-back into a chop on the way out, with it on the way back.
I knew it was tougher going out so decided to make sure people had to work so took it out and was amazed to see only Petro on my feet at the turn-around.  Kept is steady back and we were out in 26 minutes which he informs me was 30m short of 2km on the GPS.  We had about 2 minutes? lead on the next bunch which was Shannon, Newsom, Zach and Adamski (younger Adam's new nickname).
The others were all over the lake!

Bike - slightly down with the wind on legs 1 & 3, the opposite on leg 2.
Petro got rollin' about 10km into it and was gone and then Adamski soled through at a similar clip.
Barry was also moving well as was Zach who was just going steady and with no aero bars still shot out of sight from me pretty quick.
Newsom had his whole bars setup come loose and had doe major allen key work to do to get it safe to ride.
Shannon also had no aero bars which probably cost here 3-4 minutes on this course yet she stayed pretty darn close.

Run - slightly up and down for a 5km lap x 2.
Pretty un-eventful really except for me having to watch Adamski, Phil and Adam B. run like I used to be able to run eons ago.  Mark P also ran damn good to take 2nd keeping Adamski honest.  Very impressive performance on all 3 legs of the Tri by Petro and I'm sure there was some snooping' around for the empty blood bags in our room today .......

So I'm shot to pieces.
Quick lunch then off in the van with Charlsey to get Glenn's bike to Kamloops to get fixed and back, about 2:30 drive time.  We had some time to kill while the mechanic fixed Glenn's bike so we had to  stop for a beer and garlic ribs(me) and steak and chips for Charlsey (but he did have _diet_ coke ....... ).

We got back just in time for dinner which was a good thing because we were running low on snacks in the van and Charlsey was getting kinda hungry!  We're gonna pass around the hat and I'll be contributing to his stomach stapling fund after the camp is over.

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22 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 3

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 3
August 21

Lillooet - Clinton

First a few notes from yesterday that I forgot or mistakes.
There's only one Andrew here - Andrew Charles.  The young guy I mentioned is Adam, not Andrew (Charles).
Charlsey's not young and probably won't be in the fight for an aquathon or KOM title on this camp........
Young Andrew is a Stanford Grad - Electrical engineering.  Smart dude.  Single too, so you single girls out there don't let his spectacles put you off asking him out.
Shannon was 5th up that mountain yesterday - did I mention that?? Something's not right there and I'm going to find out how she f... did and it get the truth out!  HA!

So onwards.  Seems like its been a week already.
Started with a swim in a lake (Seaton) that was bliss.  Clean as any lake you've ever been in surrounded by towering cliffs that looked to be around 6-8,000ft. up.  Big lake too.  Some folks did 6km, I did 3 which went by pretty quick.  With GPS watches its hard to cheat anymore.
Then some sensible pricks got their runs done but i just couldn't face it so soon in the day after such a nice swim - didn't want to bring myself down!
Gary got an honourable mention for doing only 7km then had to stop for a crap, didn't feel well and thought he was gonna be holding everyone up if he carried on so stopped only to realize there was no big hurry and ended up doing 10k after the ride.  He is Scottish? Hmmmm ..... Seems slightly off but I can't be too sure as I can only understand about 30% opt what he says.

Thought we were in for a full cooked breaky which turned out anything but, so a little disappointed there since we were staying at a motel with restaurant attached.  Some days I need my eggs!  Am I getting to be a cranky, finicky old bastard fuss in' over stuff I shouldn't let bother me?

Ride - 110km with about 5,000ft of climbing.
Steady pace all the way with Petro, and Glen later into the wind.
Dude can motor.  Reminded me a bit of uber-biker Bjporn Andersson who came along on a couple of camps.  The difference is with Glen you are working solidly to stay in the vortex behind him and with Bjorn if you were silly enough to try and hang in there behind him then you were left completely spent after a few minutes gazing at the vapour trail he left behind.
Unfortunately Glenn snapped his rear derailleur at about 70km which is quite a pickle for the crew to fix since we are out there in the boonies. Perhaps tomorrow afternoon I can drive to Kamloops to get it fixed?
Douglas got another pitch flat today which is really puzzling as he weighs about as much as Chris Froome does in the off-season so how can there be any real pressure on his tires when he hits a bump???

There was a big slide on the highway getting here which held up part of the group for 20+ minutes while tractors worked to clear the road so some of us were already done with lunch by they time they arrived.

The lovely Shannon-arella drug me out for our run after an hours snooze and if she hadn't my camp completion was in jeopardy! as laying down seemed like the only thing I could conceive of doing for the rest of the day.  But got it done.  Thanks Shannon.

Dinner was here at this very nice motel and was very good.  Once again very nice to not go far and to have dinner ready when we walked in.
We handed out jerseys for the first time and they are:
Old Farts (45+ sorry Barry.....) Petro in the lead.
KOM - Zach one point ahead - we've only had one KOM so far.
Newsom in Yellow and not looking to be charitable to anyone about giving it away.

Tomorrow is a relatively short day for camp completion.
We're riding 20km to a lake, doing a 1km warm-up swim just to make sure the distance is accurate, then doing a Tri race with a 2km swim, about 50km ride and 10km run.
Perhaps there will be some sun tomorrow afternoon but this ain't "Tan Camp" (Justin Daerr's term)!
I (along with KP) should have thought of doing a "Tan Camp" many years ago, but I guess there's still time for that.

Rooming with Petro tonight which seems a bit familiar.  I know to be the first one asleep!  This is his 5th Epic Camp - gonna get him a punchcard I s'pose.  He seems pretty relaxed but is one connected dude.  Instagram, Snapchat, text, phone, Strava, you name it - he's working' it.
I'm just the opposite - happy to be a caveman.  G'nite.

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21 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2104 - Day 2

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 2
August 20

Whistler - Lillooet

Had a few senior moments in today that have me in a bit of a sorry state!
To start the day we biked 8km to the lake where IM Canada (the new one in Whistler) starts.
We did an equation race that consisted of a 2km (approx) swim and 6km flat run.
I had put lace locks on my run shoes in the morning upon waking and left a massive, loop of shoelace on each shoe - you can tell already where this is going ........
Swim went good with Petrofessa, Newsom, Zach, Shannon and Lou all out together and the others not too far behind as it was a bit short.....
I was feeling OK after my usual crummy transition when I tripped on my shoe lace and went down hard on my shoulder. Got the stuffing knocked out of me and poor Shannon was right behind to witness it.
I recovered OK with some road rash and finished in the middle of the field with Newsom just taking it out from young Andrew with the surprising Barry 3rd? Phil patterson may have had the fastest run but the older Andrew can also f...n fly.  Surprise of the day was the mildly un-athletic-looking Gary who had a storming last km sprint.  Dude can motor!
8km "easy" (hilly) spin back to our accom and I was kinda ready to call it a day.

Bike - Was supposed to be a cruisy 50+ km to the bottom of a massive climb, a re-group then a KOM race.
But we don't tell anyone they can't ride hard if they feel like it, so we actually motored right along after the first 8km with some impressive pulls from Rob hill (9:0-something at IM Melbourne to take out the 50-54 age group) and Gary with Glen off the front for most of it.
This climb is a doozy.  If you look on Strava you'll see a very good time is under an hour and at this point into the camp I was thinking that target would be tough to reach.
But Zach and young Andrew obviously have eyes on the KOM jersey and rocked up that thing in 54 and 55 minutes with Petro 3rd.  I swear it felt like 100 degrees for the first 3 minutes which is about 15% incline.  steep!  Thank goodness I had my triple chainring cuz I was in my 30x27 a lot.
Suffice it to say I got up that damn climb, severe cramps again today.  I'm just not ready for this!
Poor Phil looked very unlike his usual self on that climb.  My guess is all the intensity of the first 36 hours has had a pretty big effect.

The reward down the other side was worth it though.
That road might be the nicest stretch of road I've ever ridden.  Magic.  Lots of 50-60kph segments, perfectly smooth road, incredible scenery, very little traffic.
Some sneaky kick-ass steep segments at the end but by then we were in the last 20k of the ride so was mostly recover by then.
Rob and I got a bit lost and took a detour to the lake we're swimming in tomorrow and it looks wonderful, if cold.  We'll see.

Dinner at a Greek restaurant tonight which was fine.  Everyone seemed in really good spirits.  Mostly liked it because it was right across the street from our hotel.  I'm pretty shattered. More tomorrow.

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Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 1

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 1
August 18

Vancouver - Whistler

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 1
August 19  Vancouver - Whistler

Last evenings briefing and dinner went fine.  
John has the forsight to ask everyone to pre-order their meals before the camp so the restaurant knows the order in advance so we don’t need to wait too long for meals. 
Briefing went fine with way fewer questions than I recall at previous briefings and I put that down to people having read previous blogs or spoken with previous campers.
We give a schedule and maps as well as GPS files for the rides so everyone knows what to expect.  We also tell everyone the points system in advance so they can plan ahead to where they may want to go for some extra points.

6:15 am departure after coffee and a snack. Super Dave Dwan has it all ready by 5:45 which is heaven for all of us. This morning first up:
run to pool the long way along the river 10km, swim, run 2+km back to hotel.
The pool we swam in is 135m long!  Looks like a small, clean lake.
We did a short w/up then a 1373m race for points which caused the locals a bit of stife as the mass start was a bit of a thrashfest apparently! 
Newsom set the pace from the outset and took it out with Zac on his feet and I was on Zac’s feet. Petro and Shannon sat on for quite a while before Petro’s total lack of swim prep started to show.  Reality impacting! (from Al Pacino in “The Scent of a Woman”).
Quite a few people did the 1km bands only for an extra point which suprised me because its hard enough in a 25m pool.  In that pool its nearly a miracle!  I tried but gave up after 100m.

After the jog back to the hotel over the Burrard bridge we had to pack our suitcases before coming down to breakfast so the crew could start pacing up the truck.  

Bike to Whistler 120km with some hills, some fast riding and lots of cramps (not only me).
Newsom nearly blows the whole camp to smithereens in the first 60km!  
After a nice cruisy ride out of town on bike paths once we hit the highway Johnny rides tempo for an hour.  Then he pulls over to let some one else take over and I could feel the swell of pride drifting all the way back to me 12 bikes back. 10km later the carnage is already accruing. 
At the first aid stop I promptly roll out leaving my water bottles on the table!  Uh-Oh.  Its warm and I need that stuff!  Lucklily Shannon offers me one of her bottles and gently nurses me to the next aid station.  Riders are spread out for miles, partly due to 6 punctures which was a ride record for Epic I think. 
Until we hit Squamish there was a lot of riding on the side of the highway between a ditch on one side and one of those recessed rumble strips on the other side. Not a lot of room there and when you’re trying to sit in a paceline at 50kph you do tend to hit a lot of crap.
Some of missed the turn-off to the accom as it came sooner than expected, about 5km before the actual town of Whistler.  Very nice accom here at the athletes hostel.  
They let us set up lunch and cooked us a great dinner.  The rate is $37/night per person which is a damn good deal if you ask me.  Would be a great place to stay if you wanted to come up and train on the IM Whistler course.
Lots of people in town tonight as we popped up into the village for a drink.  Neat place.  certainly has that ski resort town feeling.  Guess its the height of summer holiday season here as its a Tuesday night and it was pumpin’.
 9:30pm now - lights out for me.  I’m pooped.  Way more pooped than I’d prefer to be after Day 1.  Damn.

Tomorrow morning we have one of Johnny’s famous Aquathons.  So we’ll ride our bikes the 7-8km to the lake where the IM Whistler swim is, do the Aquathon, ride back for breakfast, then ride to ???? (have to look it up on the map........)  Lillooet. 

16 August 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Prologue

Epic Camp Canada 2014 - Prologue
August 16

Seems like its been a while!  And indeed it has. 
Let’s start with a review the impetus to start this adventure as that initial idea still is what drives what the camps have to offer.
  I used to watch the coverage of the Tour in my friend Pete’s garage and we would dream of riding those routes that the Tour covered.  We also thought it would be nice to do so with some runs and swims along the way and some good friends and a bit of racing here and there to keep the quality up.  So essentially we were thinking of a trip that was part training camp, part stage race, part touristy food and drink.  
Pete went on to put on the 5-Passes Tour which still exists and I do it most years.  In the beginning it had a real Tri emphasis with swims and runs along the way but the market in NZ was so small he eventually changed it to a cycling only tour.

At the time my buddy Gordo Byrn was living the dream in Christchurch and he and I decided to form a little company and put on our own version of the type of monster training camp we were excited to personally do.  The plan was to do every s/b/r right along with the campers to show them “what it takes” - the kinda training many pro’s do during their big volume camp periods.
  We were aware that there were already many bike trips put on by many different organizations around the world.  We weren’t thinking we’d like to fit into that category.  What was quite different was our desire to require a very high standard for consideration for entry.  One of the basic guidelines was prospective campers needed to have ridden 5:30 for and IM bike leg and have a finish time of around 10.5 hours or under.  We understood from the start that by doing so we’d limit the potential Epic Camper numbers substantially, but figured there were enough folks out there who fit into the group of people we might attract to join us.
  We also wanted to set up a points competition that included bonus points for tacking on extra training, points for races along the way and for doing certain training sets with very tough target times.  All of this was to ensure the quality of the training remained high and environment very competitive. 
  My other reason for thinking that we’d get enough people to make this venture viable is I had done a hell of a lot of IM’s and was looking to do something different.  I wanted a different Tri challenge than just going to another IM and I figured there were lots of people who felt that way.

One of the main things I wanted to include in this camp was to either go to my favorite training areas in the world or go to new places.  If you look at the recent proliferation of ultra Tri’s that are substantially harder and different than what was offered for the first 20+ year of our sport its easy to see there are many people looking for different challenges.
Here’s my current list of interesting “challenging!” triathlons:

Altriman IM Tri in the Pyrenees  -   http://www.altriman.com/fr/index.php
The Brutal - in the UK - a doozy! -  http://www.thebrutal.co.uk/full_brutal.html
Starts in Edinburgh, Scotland.  point- point  8700ft on the bike,  8200ft on the run - trails!                                    http://www.ratracecitytosummit.com/#up
Celtman in Scotland                    http://www.cxtri.com/
NorseMan Extreme                     http://www.nxtri.com/
SwissMan Extreme                      http://www.suixtri.com/en/
Embrun Man in france                 http://www.embrunman.com/
Alp Duez Tri  France                    http://www.alpetriathlon.com/en
UltraMan Hawaii                           http://ultramanlive.com/
UltraMan Canada                         http://ultramancanada.com/
UltraMan UK                                http://www.ultramanuk.com/
SavageMan Triathlon (1/2 IM)    http://www.winthefight.org/savageman/
Leadman  Bend, Oregon            http://www.leadmantri.com/page/show/288888-home
PowerMan Duathlon Zofingen    http://www.powerman.ch/en

In 2003 we held our first Epic on the South Island of New Zealand and all of those guys (no women that year) have become some of my best friends.  Clas Bjorling, Chris McDonald (still an age grouper at that point) Kevin Purcell (KP) and Andrew Charles were among that 2003 group and they all went on to do quite a few camps with me.
 Some of the other superstars we’ve had join us over the years are Bjorn Andersson, Jonas Colting, Monica Kaplan (later Byrn), Stephen Bayliss, Bella Comeford (later Bayliss), Marilyn Chychota (later MacDonald and then back to Chychota!), Tara Norton, Stephen Lord, Joanna Carritt. 

John Newson came into the picture quite early as a much-needed organizational wizard and camp support and eventually took over running things as Gordo moved onto a sane family life.

We had 2 camps per year most years until I started to get kinda pooped! and Newsom was busy building his coaching business and adding kids to his family. Now that I’m 54 and slowing considerably I feel like I don’t have anywhere near the same ability to give all the campers a good push or actually show them “what it takes” so will soon leave it to John to decide whether he wants to carry on with this idea.

Tara has taken the idea to set up Epic Woman camps and has done so very well.  Stephen Lord and Jo Carritt have been running their own camps on Lanzarote for a few years now with great success.  So if this does end up to be my last Epic then it will have been a very good run indeed and lasted much longer than I ever intended or expected but I have a good feeling about the concept living on.

So here we go! Into the Canadian Rockies for another adventure. I’ll do my best to blog daily starting on August 18 or 19th so I can have a record of what we did. Its very easy to forget what you did even yesterday once you get as tired as we'll get.
Here’s the general outline of the camp cycling component:

August 19th - Vancouver - Whistler 150km
20th - Whistler - Lilleot  130km
21st - Lilleot - Clinton  110km via Marble Canyon Lake
22nd - in Clinton 100km incl Green Lake
23rd - Clinton - Clearwater  190km
24th - Clearwater - Blue River  110km (or 190?)
25th - Blue River - Jasper 210km
26th - In Jasper 30km ( that’s the minimum for points)
27th - Jasper - Sanwapta Falls  115km
28th - Sanwapta Falls - Lake Louise  178km
29th - In Lake Louise 30km (is the minimum for points)
30th - Lake Louise - Calgary  200km

Unless we have a race then every day will include a swim of at least 3km and a run of at least 8km to get camp completion points.  So in general and as a _minimum_ that’s approx 2 hours/day of additional training per day in addition to the rides listed.  

Really looking forward to it!

Cheers, Scott

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