Mid season training camps are always a great way to test your fitness, refine some skills and educate your mind. You’ve put in several months of solid training, some early season racing and the chance to bridge the gap until the later season “A” races roll around. A quality shot of group training (and in this case racing!) is always value added. Once again the squad plus a few friends headed up to Clermont, FL and set up shop at the AAA TriCamp.
We didn’t even fully unpack on Friday before we headed out to Lake Minneola for some afternoon training! Starting off with some strength work in the lake we knocked out just over 2K of steady efforts, paddle work, gear changes and suicides. The 200M buoy line makes pool based training very doable in the lake – very nice indeed! Next up we jump on the bikes for an easy cruise out to Sugarloaf – the highest (natural) point of elevation in Florida. We did repeats up and over the main face and the backside, which is no slouch either! I’ve ridden Sugarloaf many, many times but have never descended it – new speed record was set at just under 50mph! Hang on tight! After about an hour of that fun we rode back to the lake for a nice 4 mile shake out run in the 93 degree afternoon sun – nothing easy about that. Back at camp we ate an awesome dinner catered by Rollin’ Oats – if you don’t know about them, you need to check them out for sure.
Saturday brought a great addition to our ‘normal’ camp format – a race! There happened to be a sprint triathlon in Clermont so the timing was perfect for us. The coaches stayed out of the action to cheer and take pictures but the squad tore it up! Despite the flogging they took the day before they all stepped up and had great races. Our squad managed to sweep the overall female podium as well as the Masters female champ. Add in a few other age groups wins, podium slots and PR’s and it was a great start to the day for sure. But this is camp, so the fun was just starting.
Straight from the race course and back to the lake for more open water swim work. Nothing major, just a 1 or 2K stretch swim to keep the body loose post race. Then we headed back to base camp to refuel and promptly jumped on the bikes and headed out for some 5K time trial repeats on the bike at Van Fleet State Trail. Time trialing is hard enough – but doing 3 X 5K all out efforts after a race in the morning takes things to a whole other level. But the troops did great and we logged another 35 miles round trip on the bikes. Done yet? Nope. How about some 1K running repeats on the grass track? Sounds… Awful! Again in the 93 degree heat and full sun, after a race, a lake swim, bike time trials – but this is camp! Time to test your limits and grow up a bit.
After some lounging around and soaking in the pool, we enjoyed eating up some quality information about nutritional habits that favor athletes and fuel for peak performance and recovery. Dinner was awesome – perhaps a bit of a deviation from the dietary guidelines we covered but an all you can eat pizza and salad buffet catered by Tour De Pizza was exactly what we needed. It was a well deserved treat for sure. There might have even been a beer consumed at some point!
Since Friday and Saturday had been focused mainly power and speed, we designed Sunday to be more about strength and endurance based work. Since the squad was already pretty well fatigued, it was the perfect day to dial back the efforts and go long. The morning started with a good dynamic warm up, some run drills and a 10+ mile long run. We followed this up with breakfast and then (again!) grabbed our bikes and headed out to lake Minneolafor our long ride. Plan was to get a good 3 hours or 60 miles in the saddle on some of the smaller, less traveled routes around Clermont. This worked out great since it allowed us to break up into some smaller groups and work as teams to pull each other through the fatigue and to get the session done. We regrouped back at camp, packed our gear and sadly said our goodbyes. There really is something special about a training camp. The chance to really focus yourself and your energy into the sport that you love and to be surrounded by people doing the same – it really is nice. I can’t say enough about our squad, their efforts and their attitudes. They soaked up the training and education like sponges. They never complained and they bonded like siblings. Always a pleasure to see the relationships strengthen. Until next time…