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A training camp to remember…..

I’ve been on many a cycling camp in Lanzarote and lucky for me, had the opportunity to go again last week. This time with Primed Coaching’s coach Oliver Harkin and his trusty side kick coach Paddy Mc Laughlin, some athletes he coaches, and some who well, just came along for the ride. It was perfect timing for I’m planning Ironman Maastricht at the end of July.

Myself and Paul arrived out a day earlier than the main group and settled into Sands Beach Resort in Costa Teguise. A resort ideally located for a week’s triathlon camp. 8 lane 25m pool, a gorgeous sea right beside the hotel, ample running terrain and right on your doorstep, the wonderful climbing that Lanzarote has to offer cyclists.

Day 1: Saturday 103km

We loosened out our legs with a nice 103km ride from Costa Teguise taking in Tahiche, Teguise, Mustache, Tinajo, La Santa, Famara, Tequise, Arrietta and back to the hotel. Climbing 1500m along the way, felt good, little wind which was a super bonus.

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Day 2: Sunday 3km swim, 65km bike, 9km run

The main group and our mate Donal arrived on the Saturday evening and the official training kicked off at 6.50am Sunday with a 3km pool swim, lots of broken 400’s as the main set. We kicked off on the bike at 11am with a trip to Orzola, a quiet fishing village on the north of the Island and back, 65km and a 40min brick run. Paul and myself brought our TT bikes, Paul an S-Works SHIV (He needs the high stack bnased on his height, 2.02m and also for positional purposes for long distance racing. I brought my new E-119 Tri which is completely awesome. Wheels Paul had a set of firecrest 404’s and I had firecrest 202 front and 303 rear. Our aim was to maximize time in the TT position for the week. In fact, as the week progressed I was able to work on Paul’s position and get him lower at the cockpit end improving his aerodynamics, while still maintaining comfort. There was a group dinner that evening to get to know each other. All level of abilities were at the camp and by the end of the first night you could tell, it would be fun week.

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Day 3: Monday 3km swim, 103km bike, 4.5km run

Another a.m. pool swim, approx 3km. Bike roll out was at 10 today as everybody had their rental bikes and were good to go. This ride got a little more lumpy taking in 2 of the famous Lanzarote climbs, Timanfaya and also the climb from Famara back up to Teguise. Another 103km in the bank and a 20min off road brick run.

Day 4: Tuesday 100km hilly bike

A technique swim session for day 4, which I missed and then a hill rep day. My favourite day of the week. Started with a 20km roll out and then we climbed Tabayesco, rolled down to Haria village and on to Arrietta, before climbing back up to Haria and back down Tabayesco. We then repeated this, back up Tabayesco, down to Arrietta, back up to Tabayesco and then on up to the top of the Haria climb. A few showers today but they were very welcomed.It was super hot. A quick break and then we headed back to the hotel another 45mins. No bike run today. The combined climbs totalled approx 2000m. As if that wasn’t enough Paddy’s legendary “hard core” core class on the stability balls was later on in the afternoon: lots of sweating, slipping, sliding and grunting in the sauna like conditions.

Day 5: Wednesday 3km swim, 18.5km run

Morning swim, this was becoming a habit! This time I wore the wetsuit. Tough main session…. 19 x 100 off 1.45, well tough for me and I was swimming on feet, thanks for the draft Phil. I also had planned a long run. Took off early, pre 10am before the hot sun arrived and did a nice mix of costal paths, trail and road for 18.5km, 90mins, not too shabby considering by this stage I had close to 370km biking in the legs over the previous few days. For those not doing a very long run Oliver hosted a technique run session. The afternoon consisted of a nice wetsuit sea swim and a few beach starts out to a human buoy (thanks Paddy) and back in, excellent fun and great for sighting and a little rough and tumble.

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Day 6: Thursday 2.5km swim, 160km bike

Morning swim – wasn’t feeling at all good this morning. There was a bug going around and had hit a few of the group so initial thoughts were I was next on its hit list…. Started swim in the skin suit but felt really constricted so went back to togs but struggled through the session. By the end, I was so cold I legged it for a shower and bed for 30mins to see if I would be good for the ride. Had to do a few mind games today with myself to get through it. Paul was out front for most of the day and Phil, Donal and myself held up the rear. Paul held and excellent pace (he was on animal form all week) and we did a good 3 hrs before stopping in Club La Santa for some lunch. The new additional block looks amazing, what a facility. We hit the road again and climbed back to Soo, Teguise and back towards Costa Teguise. Donal and Phil headed off as they were done, 120km in the bank. Paul and myself continued, I did 160km, Paul 175km. No brick run today, I was chuffed as I was spent. The mind games worked. Got my long cycle in and didn’t get what I thought was the vomiting big the others had. I was chuffed.

Day 7: Friday 95km bike 6km run

Friday we climbed the last 2 of the remaining climbs on the Lanzarote Ironman route, Haria and Mirador Del Rio. 2 cracking climbs and Mirador Del Rio has one of the most spectacular views of La Grassiosa as you crest the top of the climb. Now you are a little spent at this stage but you just have to stop and take in its beauty, simply stunning. After the optional few photos we rolled on to Orzola for some grub and were unfortunate to have the worst worst worst waiter in the world serve us. Really… manners cost nothing! I decided to head back on my own to the hotel, 35km solo the TT. I hadn’t planned to go hard but I just seemed to naturally pick up the pace so went for it, picking off cyclists along the way. They didn’t know they were the hare but they were to me. I was lucky with the wind, in fact we were lucky all week, the wind Gods looked down on us. I managed a good pace back and didn’t come out of position at all. I was happy out. A 30min trail brick run after completed the day and the obligatory 15min stand in the sea to help the legs recover.

We had an evening group dinner as most of the group were heading back Saturday…a few of us, namely Paul, Donal, Deirdre, Brian, Ciaran, John and myself headed off after the meal to a local and….. We’ll, let’s be honest, it became a session. Beer was drunk, songs were sung, people danced with the waitress, some flaked and snuck off home while the remaining stalwarts hit a karaoke bar to finish off the evening, classy! There are photos….. but I promised not to show them, sorry.

Day 8: Saturday Rest day

We took a complete a day off, no choice, little bit of a hangover, and became tourists for the day. Thank God we did. My quads were shot… A lie in and then Donal, Paul and myself headed over to El Golfo for lunch, Porto Calero for ice cream (it was a holiday after all) and a little sun in the afternoon. That was enough. I don’t know how people do the sun lounger thing for 2 weeks…. I was bored after an hour.

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Day 9: Sunday 8km run

Our last day, bikes had been packed so we went for an 8km morning run to loosen out the legs. It was a little overcast so perfect. A final trip to Tequise, this time in a car and to the weekly Sunday market for a few hours. There must have been at leat 200 stalls up there. Everything from artisan products, leather goods, food stalls. A must trip if you come here. Paul got a hand-painted t-shirt of Darth Vadar so left a very happy man.

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Well that’s it, holiday/training camp is over and it’s back to reality. What a great 9 days training we had. We totally lucked out on the weather, great sun, only a little wind and minimal rain during the week. The Primed Coaching camp was extremely well thought out and led expertly by Oliver and Paddy. There was a great bunch of people, all levels of ability and some great banter in the pool and on the bikes. A trip I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who wants to incorporate quality training into their season. Roll on IM Maastricht.

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