Warm weather training. It sounds good doesn’t it?
Like a proper athlete.
A few months ago I received an email which contained a link to a triathlon training camp. Out of curiosity I had look, thinking that it would be way above my level of fitness/competence.
Which is how I discovered the lovely Mas Pelegri near Girona in Catalonia. The organised training camp sounded a bit too much like hard work but you can book a stay and then take advantage of the activities available – cycling, swimming and more – with or without coaching.
Spending a week in Spain honing my training with a month to go before the triathlon seemed like the perfect opportunity. And with cheap flights direct from Manchester to Girona it didn’t break the bank either.
We chose to rent mountain bikes for the week (Simon hadn’t been on a bike for many years) and I also arranged an open water swimming lesson. The plan was to get in plenty of cycling and swimming but also enjoy the local scenery and do a bit of sightseeing.
For our first bike ride we headed down to nearby Banyoles which hosted the rowing for the Barcelona Olympics. We didn’t want to overdo it, so a cold drink at a lakeside cafe seemed a good idea!
And we certainly needed the boost for the ride back which included a long slow climb. All my cycling training to date had been on the flat roads and paths around Chorlton and clearly my legs were not up the task of getting me up a hill. After much huffing and puffing (and a couple of rests) I finally made it to the top.
But it was a harsh reminder of just how far I still have to go to get myself fit after all those years of inactivity.
The next day it was time to get in the lake for my open water swimming session. Fiona (who owns Mas Pelegri with husband Gareth) took myself and fellow guest Karen down to the Club Natacio in Banyoles. It was a first outing for my brand new wetsuit – the water was too warm to really need it but I wanted to practice swimming in the suit. Not to mention getting it on and off!
I really enjoyed it – the weed touching my feet was a bit off-putting but we had a great session learning about sighting, rounding buoys and rolling on your back for a breather when out of puff.
My next goal for the holiday was to do a mini training triathlon – swim, bike and walk in succession. I decided to do roughly 2/3 of the distances I will be tackling at Eton Dorney – a 300m swim, 13.5km bike ride and 3km walk. With Simon manning the stopwatch I set off in the hotel pool (in my running gear – minus shoes, of course) then set off on the bike still dripping having managed to get my shoes and socks on over wet feet. After a loop around the back roads near the hotel it was off the bike and out again at a fast walk.
Overall I was really pleased – I completed the 3 sections in a total of 1.5 hours. Unfortunately, Simon was so busy with the stop watch and trying to catch me up on the bike phase that he didn’t take any photos.
After all that effort, the next day we decided we’d earned a break so headed off to the coast and the pretty town of Cadaques. And did practically nothing. We pottered a bit, sat in a beachside cafe and drank coffee. Pottered a bit more. Went to a seafront restaurant and ate lunch. Pottered a bit more before driving back. Perfect!
Enough lazing about. The following day I had planned for a long (for us) bike ride to really get some training miles in my legs. We’d worked out a 37km route which took us through little villages and up and down quite a few hills. However, the weather didn’t play ball. It started out dull and damp but we set off anyway.
But at around the 25km mark it got nasty – thunder, lightening and torrential rain. With both of us soaked to the skin, unable to see the road properly through our glasses and thunder crashing around us, we had to abandon. Oh the ignominy! Even calling the cavalry wasn’t easy – Simon’s smartphone getting very confused by the heavy raindrops falling on the screen. Eventually he got through and the ever helpful Fiona came out in the van to pick us up.
Compared with that, the remainder of the holiday was uneventful. More cycling and swimming combined with sightseeing and relaxing (not to mention a couple of rather large lunches).
Overall a fabulous holiday and a great way to get fitter and prepare for the triathlon. Even if I did feel completely exhausted by the end of it!