02 September 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Epilogue

Epic Camp Canada 2014 - Epilogue
September 1

Better get this done before it all fades away.
Special thanks to Dave Rowe and Zach who get my vote for best E'pic photos.  I don't take photos so all of you who have and put them into your blogs will help me remember things so much more vividly.
 I think I'd like to make it back to Lake Louise one day for a summer backpack trip so I can take it all in at a more leisurely pace.  And I might actually see a f... bear.

Hopefully you've all stolen the ones you've liked that others took.
Dwan has also posted photos every day on on his Facebook page.

Think this was Epic Camp 12 or 13 for me.  Will have to try and retrieve previous blogs at some point to count them up.  Stuff on the internet doesn't always last for-ever which is a good reminder to me to save some momentos and memories in some other, permanent form.
  I still have the hat Julie Moss gave us on a training camp in '91 (?) on what she called the "Tour de Trout".  Its a baseball cap with a trout tail poking out the back and the head out the front just above the visor.  I have it hanging on my cycling stuff rack in the garage and take a look at it most days before heading out to ride.

So we're all done.
My assessment is that everyone got pushed at least to the point they were prepared to go to.  There's a lot of pride in such a group setting and its tough to be last or giving the impression you really don't want to try very hard.
Lucky for most of us that Charlsey put his hand up straight-away to be lantern rouge as it takes a lot of pressure off of everyone.  His camp experience and stories from previous camps also help to put everything into perspective.  There was only a touch of the madness we've seen on some previous camps and no one went home in a body bag.

I'd like to make a special mention to the job Michelle Breffle did for us on this camp.
When she agreed to be support there was supposed to be 4 crew.  That we ended up with only 3 made her job twice as hard and long but she carried it off with good humor and incredible efficiency.
 On a camp like this we really do need people with multiple skills and a guy like Mark Kendal who can work on any bike, do massage, drive all damn day, lug bags and also tag along on some great training adventures is critical element to the camps success.  Over the years we've had John Ellis to fill that role so we know how much we need a person like Mark.  Thanks Mark for your company most of all.
 Dwan has done about 6 or 7 of these.  I'm rooming with him in Vancouver so just asked him and he's having a bit of a 'senior moment" and can't recall. Just gave him a few of these "senior moments" mints Petro gave me.  Pretty yummy.
John knows how essential Dwan is and that's why he's here.  We've just driven the van back 960km from Calgary to take it back, and the extra left-over stuff in it.  I'm glad he has the ability to take in the magic of the places we visit in the few moments of free time he has along the way.  When we're so f... tired he does a good job of reminding us to take a look around and savour the wonderful experience.  So I'd like to say a big thank you once again to Dave for doing all he does for us.

Newsom has been in charge of these camps for a very long time now.
They are his camps since Gordo stepped back from being an integral part of them.
John does all the research, finds the accom, books all the rentals, shops for all the essentials, pays the bills, invoices you all, checks to see if there's road works on the route, etc., etc.
 I'm just the social director and on this camp I fell a bit short on that as I was kinda pooped!  I could not do 1/2 of what he does as well as all the training and even this amount of training at the pace we do it at is getting harder to do.
John takes the responsibility of delivering a great camp experience very seriously and I know all the campers can feel that.
He's planning future camps in Kona (Epic "Light") and a biggie in France in 2016 when he turns 40 so if you're interested in those make sure you're on his mailing list for those.

OK - for you faithful readers who've read through my ramblings here's something I hope you'll find of value in a concise form:
Some of my essentials to cover if you are considering doing your own camp.

1) pick people you really like and are good company
2) be clear in your objectives for the camp and then stick to them
3) have several pairs of great "7-hours in the rain" cycling shorts
4) bring your best storm gear for riding in bad weather - pack that first!
5) get good bootie butter and a prescription for 2% hydrocortisone creme to save your ass when its in trouble
6) Have a good GPS watch or bike computer and download the maps pre-trip if possible.  This is the last trip I ever do without a good GPS system.  Bring the hard copies of the maps too and study them a bit.
7) Get new, best, sturdy wheels and tires available.  I rode Continental Gatorskin harrdsells and I didn't flat or even pump them up once during the trip.  I also rode them 1,000km before the trip in Aussie prior to this camp.
8) Eat good food, limit the crap, take a significant amount of anti-oxidants in the weeks leading into the camp, during it and afterwards for weeks.  I put 1,000-2,000mgs of Vitamin C powder into my first 2 bottles every day and take my supplements every night.  I might wash them down with a fine tipple, but I never forget to take them.
9) bring a spirit of adventure.  Things may change along the way but if you hold onto the right attitude you'll come away from it all content.

Thanks to all the campers for their fabulous company and comradeship.  Its been a wonderful journey.

Satiate The Need,

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01 September 2014

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 11

Epic Camp Canada 2014 Day 12
August 31 (a day late)

Lake Louise - Calgary - 201km

Big Day!
Newsom set the camp minimum run for today to be a run from Lake Louise up to Lake Agnes and then back to our accom which he guessed to be about 10km.
He had left at 6:05am (very punctual is our Newsom) to do the same run but run up there from the accom which added about 1,000ft of vertical.
  The trails here are incredibly good.
After yesterday's run and today's I have covered a lot of them and there's a hell of a lot more here  to explore.  The trails we ran today were very smooth and wide.  Very run-able.
There's a log cabin restaurant at Lake Agnes that I'd love to have as my batch!   Gorgeous spot.
So our group was out there on foot for about 90 minutes.  Not exactly a cruisy jog before our long ride but "It Ain't Easy Camp" as everyone's come to expect by now.

Quick pack-up and I was dead last to breakfast again.  But to my surprise Michelle put out all the stuff that we weren't able to save since it was the last day so started with a half a tub of maple walnut ice-cream followed by lots of wonderful left-overs.
Can't remember if it was today or yesterday but after my run I glanced over to Gary's bed on the way into our room and it was covered with bike food/bars including about 6 Snickers bars.  He didn't need that many!  :-)  So Adamski and I uploaded one each to help the buddha-belly out a bit.

So off we go for our last ride of the camp.
The plan was to have a big re-group at about the 150km point to ride in together for the last 50km.  so that meant an easy w/up, me romping to a quick "prestige" KOM and then Newsom taking over to get us rolling for the next 40km.
I remember he did the same thing on one of our Nelson based camps when he rolled us out on the last day of that camp from Collingwood to the base of Takaka Hill super steady.

Fast roads, great winds and we ripped it towards Vancouver.
Barry Breffle (Bsquared) was once again busting my balls so I had to back off and ride more mellow but had a good Talk Ultra podcast to listen to and had young Adamski in tow with his Garmin to make sure we didn't make any wrong turns so it went by so easy.

We had a few more punctures today to wait for, but no big deal and after a leisurely lunch on the road-side we cruised riding friendly into and through Calgary to our accom on the other side of town.

Very happy to arrive at the Marriott.
Charlsey was already packing his bike!
He had left about 90 minutes before us and did it all on his own but still seemed in good spirits.  Must have something to do with his recent marriage to the lovely Shannon-a-rella!
Most of us had a quick shower and down to the bar before dinner.
Dinner was good!  another wonderful restaurant meal with everything pre-ordered except for drinks.  Lots of booze going down! with Gary becoming more incoherent with every drink.  Dude can really slobber all over you in a situation like this.
Fantastic evening remembering funny and extraordinary moments over the last 11 days.
Special thanks to John Ballard for the cocktails.

Adam B wrapped up the Yellow Jersey, Zach the polka-dot and Lou the Red jersey for (BOF).
   I'd like to make a special mention here of our two fabulous Kiwi woman who showed exceptional grit and resiliency - Shannon for her climbing ability on her bike and Leah for her stickability every single day.  Tough, tough women.

Epilogue to follow soon with some camp wrap-up thoughts and some tips for those of you who might do a big training camp in the future.
Dwan and I drove the van back to Vancouver today - 930km. All day driving.
I might have to ask for those kms to be added as a last tack-on!

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