Karel and I knew that we wanted to make our camp bike heavy simply because our terrain is amazing for improving bike fitness. With all of our rolling hills, mountains and punchy climbs, you have no choice but to ride and get stronger.
However, a big part of a bike-focused camp is making sure that our campers understand how to ride their bikes. Yes, it's very easy to sit on a bike and just pedal but many athletes do not know (or never take the time to learn) how to use their gears properly, how to descend and climb in the "proper" line, how to fuel/hydrate while riding (especially during intense efforts or while climbing/descending), how to sit properly on the bike and how to anticipate climbs and when to stand, sit or to stay aero (specific to triathletes).
And then you see/hear triathletes that will put deep dish race wheels on their bike but struggle to ride in a straight line due to wind resistance and difficulty controlling the bike. The triathletes will forget to install a climbing cassette in hilly terrain races and without understanding how to change gears, they waste precious energy in the legs that can be used for the run. And lastly, many triathletes will chase a specific MPH pace for the bike regardless of the terrain and forget that the fastest ride is the one where you can run strong off the bike.
At 7:30am, the campers met us down the road on their bikes and we all went on a recon ride of the run route that we would be running off the bike. After our 7 mile warm-up ride (which was quite welcomed as it was hilly but very conversational pace). Then we made our way 10 minutes down the road to the base of Paris Mountain.
The ride today was twice up Paris mountain. It's a 2.5 mile climb with only two steeper sections but after all that our campers experienced and accomplished, Paris Mountain was an "easy" climb. The only thing that made it hard was that our campers were climbing it after 3 days and over 10,000 feet of climbing already.
On the first ride up, our campers could ride at any pace. We wanted them to work on their bike skills going up and to understand the terrain. Just like in a race when you can pre-ride/drive the course, you can anticipate climbs a lot better when you know what's coming.
The descend down Paris Mountain is a great place to improve descending confidence because you don't go directly down once you arrive to the peak. There are several rolling hills on the top of Paris Mountain and then you eventually make your way down. There are no sketchy sections and every turn offers a view as to what's to come so it's one of those climbs where you can descend and not be worried about having to quickly break before another switchback.
The course is extremely technical on a bike (after Paris Mountain) but we knew that our campers had the skills to feel confident on the changing terrain. To understand how technical the climbs are - in less than 3 miles you will go through every gear on every chain ring (big/small), stand, sit and be aero.
After the technical section was complete, we regrouped and did the climb up Paris Mountain one more time. However, this time - best effort!!
With the climb taking most of our campers between 14-18 minutes, we told our campers to ignore the pain in their legs and give the best effort possible. Everyone pushed hard and was breathing heavy at the top but no one gave up - it was an incredible sight to see for me and Karel.
We then descending on the same side that we climbed and heading back to our house to quickly transition to the run.
Our awesome SAG support had brought all of our campers run gear to our house in the changing tent (garage) and we all did a little dynamic warm-up and it was off for our last run/workout of camp!
The weather was absolutely amazing - in the upper 70's, which was welcomed by our exhausted bodies.
It was nice to have all of our campers start together. As pictured below, this is our street which is a .25 mile climb out of our neighborhood. Karel and I get to climb this for every run, which certainly makes us tougher as it's not easy to start climbing immediately when you start running.
I had drawn a map of our run which happens to be one of my most favorite run courses around where I live. It includes about 800-1000 feet of climbing in around 7 miles but with all the scenery, it goes by really quickly. And there are no shortage of hills!
We all ran a mile, walked 20 seconds for the entire run and amazingly kept a strong pace even though we kept it conversational until the last two miles.
We had our SAG crew out on the course around mile 3 so that we could all refill our bottles. Even though it was cool outside, underdrinking/fueling was not an option. After 3 days of training and our previous 2+ hour ride with 3000+ feet of climbing, an underfueled body would not perform.
After the SAG stop, the climbs got a bit longer and the descends got a bit shorter. For the final push, the last 2 miles were strong with a best effort up the Roe Ford Road hill where we live.
It was great to see my group push really hard on terrain that they had never experienced in their life for 4 days of training. Joe, Adam and Justine finished super strong...and Justine even out-sprinted me! You go girl!
We all waited until everyone was finished and as typical Trimarni camp practice, we all cheer for each other until everyone is finished with the very last workout.
Our oldest camper (but certainly no less strong than the rest of us), Jim N ran super hard up the hill. Karel ran (run/walk) the entire 7 miles with Jim and we all finished together.
It felt so great to be done with camp and after 4 days of exhausting training, our campers were a few days of recovery away from a mega boost in fitness.
When we got back to our house, it was time for delicious and refreshing watermelon to go along with our recovery drinks (which were pre-made and kept cold in the cooler).
Karel and I gave our final talk for the camp and told our campers how proud we were of their dedication, commitment and great energy at camp.
We also had our campers talk about their experiences which was great for us, as coaches, to understand what makes their camp experience so great.
Thank you Tricia for giving us the best SAG support!! I know camp would not have been so successful without your help and support. You really made my job easier to coach the campers so I really appreciate all the behind the scene work that you did to help us out!
Thank you Elizabeth for giving great positive energy throughout the camp and for taking the most amazing pictures to capture every highlight during the camp. You also made some amazing meals which was super important for our campers to have happy tummies.
And thank you to the Swamp Rabbit Lodge for providing the best lodging environment for our campers and last but certainly not least, a BIG thank you to the Trimarni Team sponsors for supporting our camps and our athletes.
BIKING: ~10 hours and 11,600+ feet of climbing
RUNNING: ~4.5 hours and 3,300+ feet of climbing
We are so excited to plan our next Greenville camp for 2016....and we plan to have more than one!
We hope to see you there!