6/28/17

Trimarni endurance camp reflections - day 3


We saved the longest and hardest camp ride for day 3 of camp. This route included between 4000-6300 feet of climbing. Our campers knew that this would be their last day of riding at camp and we wanted it to be a ride to remember.

We have said it over and over again but we just love our cycling playground. We have endless cycling routes and we never get bored on our variable terrain. The views are spectacular, the roads are quiet (and car friendly) and you are forced to become a stronger, more skillful and smarter rider just by riding in and around Greenville.

Knowing that our campers would be mentally and physically exhausted on day 3 of camp, we gave our campers two options for rides. One ride started at Hotel Domestique (~50 miles) at 8am and the other ride started at 7:30am from the camp lodge. Although we had two ride options, we selected which campers would be in which group. We wanted to make sure that day 3 of camp made sense for every athlete, since it was going to be a challenging route regardless of the total miles.

Assistant coach Joe and I decided to ride to Hotel Domestique from the lodge so we left at 6:45am to meet our group of campers at the hotel by 8am. This was a nice opportunity for Joe and I to chat and to spin our legs before riding with our campers. Once we met up with our group, we headed out to the watershed and up the ~10 mile gradual climb until we reached the NC border. Once we were welcomed with smooth pavement, we descended and climbed our way into Saluda before we reached the 28-mile Green River Cove loop. 


The ride to the start of the loop is a beautiful one so we made sure to encourage our campers to ride steady and to save the legs for the 17-switchbacks that occur in the last 2.5 miles of the 28 mile loop. Yes, you read that right - seventeen switchbacks in 2.5 miles!! 



Here are some pictures from the first part of our ride until the SAG stop. 






















Once again, we were treated with amazing weather and very few cars on the road. I don't think a single car passed us for over 15 miles on the Green River Cove loop! 


My group ended up beating Karel's group to the SAG stop so we restocked our bottles and snapped a few pics before heading out on the road again for another 10 miles until we reached the switchbacks. 

I made sure to keep the effort mellow for the next 10 miles and it was nice for us all to just enjoy riding, while enjoying the beautiful views. Once we reached the switchbacks, it was time to go to work! Eventually, Karel's group caught us on the switchbacks so it was fun for us all to be on the same part of the course together, with everyone grinding away until the top. 





Once again, every camper made it to the top. It was not easy but everyone was determined to get to the top. These switchbacks are no joke but Karel and I made sure to instruct our athletes on the best line to take in each switchback to minimize the steepness of the grade and how to establish a good rhythm when climbing switchbacks. The support among the campers was incredible and the group setting really helped some campers stretch their limits and push beyond physical capabilities. 


At the top, we all grouped together and congratulated everyone for conquering such a tough loop (the first part of the Green River Cove loop is not easy with several steep climbs and descends). We then broke into two groups and made our way back through Saluda until we reached the SC border, before descending down the watershed for the next ~10 miles. 


After returning back to Hotel Domestique, we split into two groups again with one group finishing the ride and starting a 10-20 min hilly run from the hotel (there's nothing flat to run on at hotel D!) where the other group (now joined by me and Joe) heading back to the lodge, where they would then do their 10-20 min run off the bike. The pace on the bike was steady all the way back and our campers did amazing. Both groups embraced the uncomfortable and overcame a lot to finish the workout. We were incredible proud of everyone! 

Tim, Michaela and Elizabeth working those hills together. 

Kevin taking a breather. 

Sandra looking strong. 

Stephanie focused and strong. 
Although we finished the workout around 1:30pm, our campers still had another run scheduled for Saturday. Even though it was an optional run, every camper went out at 4:30pm for an EZ 10-30 minute run on the trail. Talk about teammwork and motivation! 


In the evening, we had a Q&A session with our campers and we also talked about how to get to that next level as an endurance triathlete and what it takes to perform well in endurance events. It was a great 1-hour chat and come 8:30pm, our campers were exhausted and ready for bed.

With only one more day of camp to go, we knew an open water swim + long hilly run at Lake Jocassee would be the perfect way to end camp. And we were not going to take it easy on them.
Just when our campers thought that they didn't have any more energy, mental strength or focus for another day of training, the group environment and supportive atmosphere at a camp made our campers do things that they never thought was possible with their body.