Friday, August 17, 2018
I could not be more excited about this! After Kona in 2016, I took some time off triathlon to enjoy other aspects of life a little more. Since then, I think I've swam maybe four times, run a bunch, and biked some. Suffice to say, I've got a lot of work to do before I'm ready for ECF2019.
My goals will be a little different this time. In previous years, I went deep trying to win the yellow jersey, and honestly, I think it made the camp less fun than it could have been. Don't get me wrong, it was fantastic going deeper into the fitness well than I ever thought possible, but I was also pushing to get to Kona and EC was a means to an end.
This year, I have no ironman races planned. I will still go to the camp as fit as humanly possible, but I was it seems fun, take pictures of the beautiful views, and drink a touch more French wine. I want to get to know the campers a little bit more. I also want to "pass the torch" and cheer on the next yellow jersey winner.
I also want to post a list of things I've learned from previous camps that will help me prepare for next summer:
1.) Be a fit as humanly possible and taper like it's your A-race. Epic Camp is no joke. For the entire duration of the camp, you'll be expected to work out 8-10 hours a week including high intensity sessions. Few people have ever gone this big. Treat it with the respect it deserves.
2.) Don't blow your load on Day 1. ECF2019 will be 11 days long. You need to strategically exert your effort. Go easy when you have the opportunity to go easy. Go hard-ish in the few situations where it's appropriate to go hard.
3.) Bring a large duffle with wheels. The camp support crew will love you for this.
4.) Bring slippers that you can comfortably wear *with socks on* in your day pack. We will take several breaks during the bike rides, and it's nice to take your cycling shoes off for a few minutes. Bringing traditional flip flops doesn't work well. Something like Crocs would make the most sense.
5.) Arrive healthy to the camp. There's nothing worse than missing out on events because you're injured.
6.) Arrive EARLY! Last time my bike didn't arrive until day 10 of the camp. I had to rent a bike I wasn't used to for the first part of the camp, and I didn't have my wetsuit. This killed me. It also made earning yellow extremely difficult as it put me way behind.
7.) Bring the right phone charger!
8.) Bring any expected medications! Last time I got a pretty nasty fungal infection during the camp.
9.) Bring 2.5% Hydrocortisone cream. VERY IMPORTANT. Saddle sores will absolutely rip you apart. The stronger 2.5% Hydrocortisone cream makes this tolerable. But be careful: Using this cream too often is not good for your skin. It thins the skin and can do more harm in the long run with prolonged use.
10.) Train on hills as much as you can. Train on mountains. Be a GREAT climber on the bike. ECF2019 will have an enormous amount of climbing. I also want some challengers for the Polkadot Jersey. :-)
More tips to be added as I think about them...
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Saturday, August 6, 2016
- My parents: My #1 fans who drove 2500 miles across the country to see my race A FOURTH TIME. Four years in a row they did this. They put up with my pre-race shit without even blinking an eye. Logistics are always taken care of, and when I drop F-bombs the morning of the race, it’s immediately forgotten. And if you thought I was happy about qualifying for Kona, you should have seen my mom who has been dreaming about Hawaii for 35 YEARS! This one is for you, mom. Congrats on your Hawaii vacation.
- My cheer squad: Brigitte, Michelle, Mike, Wilder, Sarah, Astan, Alex, Amy, Nick, Appleby, and everyone else who was following at home. I looked forward to every lap because I knew exactly where my cheer squad would be. And without fail, it picked me up every single time. It’s impossible to walk when people are cheering for you! Thank you for making the 2+ hour drive both ways!
- David Roche: Thank you for coaching me through the good times and bad. There were a lot of highs and a lot of lows, but you gave me some tough advice when I needed it.
- Rafal from Spring Sports Nutrition. Your gels were absolutely ESSENTIAL to my success. GI issues have killed me race after race, and this time I finally felt what it was like to run without worrying about my stomach.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Today was a day filled with internal turmoil. John said that he would not be tacking on today, and I was just over two points away from yellow. If I tacked on, then it would come down to whoever won the triathlon race today. Tacking on after the race is a little unsportsmanlike, but it’s technically within the rules.
I decided to tack on in the morning before the race. I wanted to do an easy 30k ride just to close the points gap a little. Closing the gap a little would give me a wider buffer for the triathlon race. I’ve been getting up really early this entire camp, so getting up early to ride at 6:30am was no big deal. I just headed towards Thonos again since it’s a reasonably easy downhill on the way out and an easy spin on the way back.
I was back by 7:45 for breakfast and had a lot of time to mentally prepare for the race. We rolled out at 9am and spun up the hill to the lake. We set up our transitions and got a ride to the far end of the lake to do the swim.
The swim was a long “drag race” from one end to the other. I FINALLY was able to swim in my wetsuit, and it felt fantastic. The freezing cold water didn’t seem so bad. Actually, it was quite nice and refreshing. I stayed within sight of John for most of the swim, but towards the end he got away from me. I wasn’t sure just how far, but I imagine he had three or four minutes on me.
I got out on my bike quickly, but as soon as the climb started, I dropped my chain. It got jammed between the crank and the frame, so I had to muscle it out and sliced my thumb in the process. It was bleeding a lot, but with the adrenaline, I couldn’t feel a thing. Given that I didn’t know how far ahead John and Shannon were, I dug super deep and biked as hard as I could. I knew there was a big descent that I could recover on, so I wouldn’t give up much going hard. About halfway up, I caught Shannon, and I could see John with 1km to go to the summit.
I am a pretty good descender, so I figured I could probably catch John on the way down. I wasn’t suicidal on the descent, but I was definitely a bit reckless. It paid off though; I caught John just before the bottom of the descent before town. We still had a short 2km climb back to the lake, so there was still a bit of riding left to do.
John got to T2 just as I was leaving, so I stepped on the gas. I didn’t feel like I was running all that fast, but it was enough to hold John off. At each turn around the lake, I looked back and saw him slowly fading. I was still expecting him to surge, so I kept the pace as high as I could for all three laps. I crossed first and heard that John had fallen back quite a bit. I finished right at 38min 10k pace for 9km. Given that this was the last day of camp, I’m pretty blown away by that. We all hung around until everyone finished. It was the activity of the camp for most, so it was pretty emotional. Some smiled, some laughed, and some cried.
Now this is where the internal turmoil starts for me. Given that I won the race, I was less than a point behind yellow. I could tack on and take yellow, or I could let John have it. He said he wouldn’t tack on, so it was essentiall my call.
I decided to do it. I tacked on a 30k bike for that last point that I needed. A lot of people are going to make me feel bad about this, but I don’t feel bad for a second. There are a lot of reasons why I did it too. I was handicapped this entire camp. In case you didn’t know, I got my bike and wetsuit at night on day 9 which meant for nine days I was fighting and uphill battle. On day one, I missed a competition that would have netted me three points which meant I would have had a solid lead for yellow for the entire camp. For that reason, I needed to make up points whenever I had the opportunity, and it just so happened that that opportunity was on the very last day.
And that’s a wrap. Another Epic Camp in the books. I look forward to enjoying future camps and not chasing any jerseys. I’m done with the points competition. Future camps will be all about drinking beer, eating ice cream, and enjoying being on my bike with cool people.