Another awesome weekend with Taupo doing its best to impersonate a tropical paradise with very hot temperatures and a fair bit of humidity as well. We are truly blessed to live here in Taupo, it is in my opinion, the best place to live and train in the NZ summer. The variety of rides and runs is tremendous and we get to swim in the water that most of the people in the upper North Island drink!
I was lucky enough this weekend to be a part of the Cam Brown training camp based in Taupo with around 25 athletes of varying abilities. Being based in Taupo allows the athletes to become familiar with the course and feel what its like riding back to Taupo into the wind and how massive those wee hills on the run course actually are when your fatigued. There were a number of Iron Virgins as well as some seasoned IMers and Coast to Coasters taking part. It was a really good bunch of people and nice to meet and be motivated by some fresh faces. As always at these camps there was one individual who fit the old saying of "all the gears and no ideas". It was very funny when after shelling out plenty of questionable advise to anyone who listened he promptly fell off his bike at one of the pre-ride briefings :-O. However, I'm sure he learnt a lot from the wise council of Brown and Watson and will go away a more educated and humble athlete;)
Friday was a pretty lax day with me just doing a normal squad session in the a.m and then a group 1hr run in the avo. This was more a meet and greet time and a chance for people to become accustomed with the environment and lodgings etc.
Day 2 was a biggie, Andy MacKay and I were given the task of swimming the IM course, and then meet the rest of the crew at the motel for a 200km ride, completing the full course plus a bit tapped on the end. We had our fair share of efforts to do as well so it was a full on workout. I have just changed saddles to a ISM racer that took a bit of getting used to but was very happy with how it felt and helped my position on my QROO Lucero. We then had a run off the bike that was pretty intense, I held Cam and Andy for 15 mins but even with my new Pearl Izumi Streak racing flats the pace was too quick for me so I chose to back off and run my own pace back to base camp. The shoes felt great and will be my choice for the IMNZ run. All in all a great day and I was very happy with how I scrubbed up.
Sunday came with the intimidating prospect of running for 2.5hrs with one of the best runners in the sport! After a leisurely start the group soon thinned to 6 with Coach Mark Watson half wheeling all of us, cranking up the pace to around 4 min kms. I found this quite fun and was happy with how my legs felt so went with him. Mark isn't in the best shape of his life at present so he had a 5 min rest just before the run turnaround before jumping back into the group and slowly turning the screw again! We went with him and were back into town before we knew it. Mark pulled the pin and limped off looking for a coffee and cream bun and the group thinned to 4, Brown, Cam Durno, Andy MacKay and me. We decided to do the last hour off road so ran the beautiful mountain bike tracks to Huka Falls and back up the other side to town. The sun was shining and the cicadas chorus was deafening, long may this Summer continue! It was a great run and I was rapt with how I felt.
There is still room to improve before IM so it will be a case of staying smart and listening to the bod before the taper starts and Race Day is upon us. I'm like a kid in a candy store at the moment and can't wait to get to March 7 and show myself how fit I have become!
Take care, tune in next week....