Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A week at La Santa… and not a single Reindeer in sight!

Well, back from a fantastic week of training at Club La Santa in Lanzarote. I've cycled more here in a week than I probably have outside for the past year.

We were part of the Robin Brew triathlon training camp - what a really lovely, friendly bunch of people! We were instantly welcomed and made to feel part of the group, despite missing the first 3 days of the 10 day course.

Robin's sporting CV is immense and he is very gifted as a coach, putting his points across with ease and giving you the confidence to try new techniques or to push yourself further than you thought possible.

His swimming highlights include:

  • Olympic Record - 200m IM, Los Angeles 1984
  • Commonwealth Silver Medal - 200IM, Brisbane 1982
  • European Championship Finals, 1983,1985
  • Current World Record - 15hrs 35min Two way English Channel Relay Swim,1985
  • Masters World Records - 100m IM, 200m IM, 400m IM, 1500Freestyle
Despite the fact that Robin normally teaches Olympic and Commonwealth level athletes, at no point did we ever feel unworthy of his time. He has explained the swimming technique in a way that makes total sense - all I need to go and do now is keep on putting the time in in the pool to ingrain the correct muscle memory. For anyone remotely interested in improving any aspect of their triathlon performance I'd thoroughly recommend spending time in one of his coaching camps.

If you don't know much about Lanzarote (as I did before going), then all you need to know is it is a volcanic outcrop in the Atlantic Ocean, with more hills than you can shake a big stick at and a headwind strong enough for you to think your rear brake has seized!
So, in essence, a perfect place to cycle!

Drivers on the island were excellent - slowing and moving right over the other side of the road to pass cyclists  - something UK drivers could learn.

We squeezed in roughly 20 hours of training; 5.6km swimming (2:20), 30km running (2:42) and 350km cycling, including 5100m of climbing (14:36) and burned about 16,200 kCalories. Not too shabby for a week's efforts.

The swimming went well and I posted a new p.b. of 39 seconds for 50m - beating the missus into the bargain! I've now got a couple of things to concentrate on in my stroke and hopefully I'll get to do this later today…

Running was great - I seemed to fly along on the track and posted a couple of 7 minute miles - not especially fast, but not too bad following 3.5 and 5 hours of cycling, respectively.

I'll admit that the cycling was pretty tough, especially given I have really only been cycling for the past year. There were times when I honestly thought I couldn't push harder and the temptation was there to take your foot off the gas and coast home, tail between legs. But I put those thoughts to the back of my mind, gritted my teeth and shouted at myself to keep on going. Funny how much more satisfying finishing a ride is when you know you have given it your best shot.

I was (hilariously) mistaken for a member of the GB cycling team whilst sitting at a cafe waiting for a bowl of tasty Canarian soup to come. If they'd seen me cycle before that, they'd have realised I bought the top from Wiggle and hadn't 'earned' it!!!

Me and the better half after a quick run around the track following another gruelling cycle session!

At the top of Mirador - with Celine McPhilips (going for Nationals) and Andy Wilson (competing in his first Ironman in Lanzarote in May this year) - good luck folks!!

At the the start of the climb - keep pedalling, don't stop!!! 

At the top of Mt Tabayesco - a great view following a steady 10km climb! Just as well there were cafes at the top of each mountain selling coffee and cake.

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