Saturday, 26 December 2009

epic camp, length of new zealand: preparations

This table shows the schedule for epic Camp NZ 2010. It's a pretty special camp this year as we'll be covering the length of both islands - north to south during the 15 days of the training camp. This is longer than the previous two epic's that i've been on, and since i've managed to get myself nicely toasted in just 8 days in previous years, i will probably be approaching it with a slightly different attitude. Epic NZ 2009 i failed to complete the camp due to a sprain that i picked up on the first day. it's highly unusual for me to get such a bad injury that i am completely unable to train, but just my luck, by day 3 my right VMO was so sore that i simply could not run. so, i missed a day's riding and a couple of the compulsory 50 min runs. it could be said that the injury might have ben avoided had i not decided to 'tack on' an extra ride up to porters pass (in addition to an extra 50 min run to the pool first thing that morning) with Steven and Russel. Porters pass is a helluva steep climb, and just the sort of place where things can go 'twang'. but it was fun, and in the spirit of the camp and set the tone for teh week ahead (just like in Italy '08 when steven and i head out for a 2.5hr run after the ride on the first day, most people thought that was highly foolish way to start the camp) - and in that case, worth it.

However, with the added dimension of being presented with an opportunity to ride (and run, and swim)the length of the country, failure to complete would be really really disappointing, so i'll certainly start off by playing a little safer. As you can see from teh schedule, we will not be short of a challenge in any case! Our christmas day's ride certainly tired me out, demonstrating that i am not as 'long distance fit' as i have been in the past coming into these camps.
However, the following day i did manage to pull myself through a swim, bike run day (which included a set on 30min Aet intervals on the bike) - and by the end of it was feeling pretty good. I think the thing that gets me through these camps, where i am invariably the weakest cyclist, one of the least competent swimmers and lacking in speed on the run in comparison to the guys, is my ability to keep 'bringing it' when fatigued. ok, what i bring may not amount to much by the later stages of the camp, but i'll manage to bring SOMETHING and often surprise myself in the process. That, i admit, is good for my confidence when you tend to see a lot of people fading after the mid point of the camp - giving up on the 'games' in the name of preserving enough to get through the compulsory content.

But 15 days? wow. i'm used to relatively high volume training ( this week i've trained 42 hrs with a swim to do -but admitedly that's a very big week), but on epic there's also a lot of intensity. especially for the weaker riders sitting at close to threshold simply to stay connected to the bunch - the rest of whom are feeling that it's a pretty relaxed pace, and saving themselves for the TT, or KOM, at the end of the ride! For me, and others close to my ability, the best thing that can happen here is hat teh big guns break from the front early, splitting the group into separate and more evenly matched packs for the ride. This is likely to screw and KOM chances (unless the organisation allows us to re-group shortly prior to any climbing competitions) for those in the trailing pack, but will enable us to meter out our resources more economically on the point-to -point riding and have something in reserve for any points races...and more importantly, the following days!

Gordo has been offering a lot of advice - some valuable saddle area care tips included, but what i think will be the most useful is his recommendation to sit down and think about what we each want to achieve on this camp, to write it down, and bring it along. He's right - it all gets slightly mad after a few days when the vibe of the camp really gets going, and you kind of forget about the rest of your world, plans, objectives, responsibilities and priorities. There are plenty of stories of past 'campers' who've destroyed entire racing seasons by getting too carried away on the Epic buzz.

so this year my camp objectives are as follows:
1) to achieve a positive fitness benefit from the camp. that one will be very difficult to judge, since what appears to be positive training, may have negative fitness effect sometime later on, down the line. I am racing IMNZ after the camp - if i get the balance right, this is a fantastic boost in my training for that race. I will be reminding myself of this frequently when those chances to get a few points up on another arise!
2) to complete the camp
3) to stay with the bunch on the bike each day - all day! i got dropped a few times in NZ and italy. Although i don't mind riding alone at all, it does make a longer day, harder work and holds the team up. It'll mean doing a lot less than my fair share of work, but I think it's fair to say that most strong riders would be happy for that to be the case, rather than be held up frequently waiting for me and my tail wagon along the route.
4) give 100% in all the races
5) eat sensibly -there'll be plenty of GOOD food that will help my recovery and fueling - so no need to cram the junk, just because it's available.
6) try not to get too crabby (perhaps that should be higher up the prioriy order!!)

I cant wait!!

by the way - i will be blogging to the Epic Team Blog during the camp, so check it out for updates

1 comment:

Rob Quantrell said...

Hi Jo,

Really interesting to read your thoughts - i'll be one of the slowest athletes at Epic Camp this year and my goals are very similar to yours with the exception that I expect to do a lot of riding alone!

Gordo's words really hit home - i've (obv) never done anything like this before and each day will be a whole new challenge. Very much looking forward to it,

see you both soon,


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