There is an old adage, ‘practise makes perfect’ and that certainly seems to be true for me with triathlon. Slowly, with more training, my times have improved and my event distances have increased. To keep the progression through 2023 I will need even more practise and one way to achieve that is to start earlier in the year.
The Canary Islands are in the Goldilocks zone with a great all year round climate that is ‘not too hot, not too cold and just about right’. Tenerife has an active volcano, Gran Canaria has its continental contrasts and Lanzarote, oh yes, that has a triathlon event I believe.
So, with snow on the ground in England, my wife and I landed in Arrecife airport to join the DO3 Triathlon Training Camp – Lanzarote. OMG what had I done? Six solid days of swim, bike and run. Will I be able to keep up? Will the body hold up? Is this really a good idea? With the sun shining, a light breeze and 20 degrees on the thermometer at least the Goldilocks part was holding true; it was just those three BEARS of the swim, bike, run variety that were worrying me.
After a short transfer to the Sands Beach Resort in Costa Teguise we checked in to our generous sized apartment with balcony and sea view. Then off to meet the Do3 coaches Dave Knight and Corinne Moss, both GB age group team representatives and experienced triathletes. Of course, this was also the first chance to meet my fellow victims….. I mean athletes. There were 5 of us, all at similar levels of enthusiasm and ability. It was particularly heartening to see a Team Cherwell colleague and regular swimmer, Sophie Black with me on the course. Dave and Corinne made it clear we were there to have fun, nothing was compulsory and we should only to take part in the activities we wanted to. Boot camp this was not. The focus was on developing and improving our technique. This was going to be a good week.
We were not the only triathlon training camp in resort, other English and German teams were in residence. My general impression was they were on slightly more intensive camps and having much less fun. One drawback, with all the ‘fitness in the air’ is that I kept finding myself walking about resort bolt upright with my stomach sucked in. Who was I kidding???
Our mornings generally started with a swim session in the resort’s 8 lane, 25m pool. The video of my technique was interesting to watch, I have plenty of room for improvement and was given clear direction of what I should work on. There was one open water session in the safe waters of Costa Teguise Bay led by Victor, the local swim guide. What a pleasure to come out of the sea after 45 minutes swimming without having blue hands and not shivering uncontrollably.
Most days followed on with a bike ride. Somewhere between 30 and 60 miles. The real treat was the fantastic quality of the road surfaces and the stunning scenery. The highlights were the 8km climb up the Tabayesco Valley to the observatory at the top, closely followed by the iconic long drag up Fire Mountain. Coach Dave would often pop up at the road side with camera or drone to take pictures and video, that is as long as the local constabulary did not spot him first.
We did less running but what we did was quality, from Brick sessions to a series of MMM (Moderate, Medium, Mad) repeats and onto the final day with some hill reps. With our running the temperature played it’s part, note to self; definitely apply sun screen, wear a hat and take water with you every time you venture out.
In no time at all my Strava feed had gone from Day 1 to Day 6. There were some quality swimming hours, 220 miles on the bike and over 20 miles running. The scenery had changed from volcanic cones and lava flows to seaside promenades, cliffs and view points. We had stuck together as a group, supported one another and achieved our goals.
I would recommend taking a partner. Having my wife there with me was a godsend, keeping me sane and organised. Rest assured any non-participants, Jan will testify that there is plenty to do in the resort beyond swim, bike, run all day.
I can definitely say a spring warm weather training camp is a good way to start off the triathlon season. Do3 run a good programme and I would recommend it.
Goldilocks performed exactly as expected but there is a long way to go if I am to tame the 3 bears.
Lee Davies, Lanzarote 2023
PS Thanks to Ben Heaney for the loan of the bike box, so glad I was able to have my own bike with me for the week.