After 11 weeks of training, I have officially lost all the fat I put on (8.6KG) from the Transition Phase and put myself into some of the best fitness I have ever been in. This with 11 weeks to go and the most race-specific training makes me excited to continue on with the 2nd half of the season. It’s been 219.4 hours or 19.9hrs/week consisting of 10K of swimming, 312KM of cycling, and 50KM of running per week with the biggest week being 25.5hours. This is split over nearly 20 workouts per week and again on my mostly vegan diet. I bought cheese this week to make a polenta lasagna and felt bad. After all, I’m eating Parmesan cheese which is THE most acid forming food you can consume, made from breast-milk… of a freakin cow.
Besides re-planning this season so I am able to get in 2 long rides per week with the 5-6 hour long ride on Sunday and a 3-4 hour ride on Wednesdays, Base 2 was about building aerobic base and doing a few things differently than we have in the past. We built up over 3 weeks culminating with the 32nd running of the Alice Springs Sprint Triathlon (see other post for full recap of that event). Then it was rest and test week.
Overall, all 3 tests had good and bad points. The swim was 15:19 vs my PB of 15:09 but sleep was rubbish during the week, the Bike FTP test was 300 which was the same as 4 weeks prior and low compared to my 345PB but resulted in my fastest ever split at 44KPH for 30minutes and the highest HR I ever held at 155 for the LTHR 20min lap. The run pace was rubbish at 7:18/mile but HR improved from 151 to 152 for the LTHR 20min lap.
After the Saturday run test it was on to a swim w/ 400medley w/u, and then 2x1KM with Chelsea and Duncan. I coached them to hold a moderate Zone 3 effort as dictated in our plan. I went 17:29 and 17:27 with pull buoy as usual. I felt that I performed right where I should be. Back home we packed up and headed out.
Fiona and I typically try to get away 1 or 2x/ season to have a bit of a training camp. Our longest was last season where we headed to the Grampians for a 40hour week of Mountain climbing, trail running, and small pool swimming (Damn you Stawell) that helped propel Fiona to 5th amateur female, 2nd in her A/G, and that coveted spot to Kona. With all going on, this weekend was best for all of our friends.
135KM West of Alice Springs we descended upon Glen Helen on the banks of the oldest river in the world, the Finke River. It was the site of a 3 part triathlon from the 1990’s where the likes of Chris McCormack, Greg Welsh, and European Legends took part in a 3 part stage Time Trial Triathlon. (I have the video thanks to Ian Sharp). Tami and Nat took our 4×4 out the night before and climbed Mt Sonder for Sunrise where Fi and I got engaged back in August 2013. Deanne arrived just before us. And, right behind us with the CATERPILLAR across the windshield and one of the best volunteers the ASTC ever saw. To his side, wife, Lynn Treis. The 7 of us arrived at 3PM and I gave some instruction for a 5PM depart of a light bike to Ormiston Gorge for a fresh water swim. Fi and I headed for a 30min run along the larapinta trail where we had run the 45KM Ultra back in August 2015 where Fiona took 2nd to one of the top Ultra-Runners in the world. We took some shots of the giant hole through ancient rock then returned over sand, bush, and ancient lands of an environment that has sustained human life for 60,000 Years.
We all locked and loaded for the 20min ride to Ormiston and half way through my just replaced tube was nearly flat. I kept it upright and then we had our first instruction session on how to fix a flat for the group using both C02 and Pump. After some fun in the impressively filled Ormiston Gorge where one of our own ASTC athletes had lived for quiet sometime, Kylie Cowan with her Ranger Husband and family, we headed back to Glen Helen as we watched the sun fall beyond the hills where Lasseter descended upon his billion dollar gold reef back in the 1920’s. (We saw his cave where he lived coming back from Ironman Western Australia 2013 when we drove 1,000KM along dirt track across half the continent).
Some freshening up and a feast of chips and dips, hummus, pasta with homemade pesto, veggie burgers, and beef for the Non-Vegetarians! :-P. Several Reckordelig Ciders to make sure I’m hydrated! Lol. The moon was full and bright but only needed to sleep on top of the sleeping bag in shorts since the winter cold hasn’t quite hit yet. 5:15AM wake up Cinnabons, RedBulls, and bananas and 6AM the group was set to go. I coached us to have a 20min w/u, then a 1hour solid Z2 effort to Tylers Pass which is a climb that finishes with a nice 10% suffer fest with outlooks to the 300million year old Gosses Bluff meteor crater. After some jokes I kept the crew moving. 20minutes later I rallied the troops and told us to do a 20min piece at Z3 or solid effort. This was 249watts for me. After we regrouped and then advised on another 20min piece now hard at race pace IM or HIM. I went 263 watts on HR of 134 which is in-line with what I look to achieve at IM Cairns. We finished with one last little buster for the lookout to Mt Sonder. Pete Treis was behind us the entire time jamming to his tunes and providing water, ice, drinks, photos… it was awesome. We also talked about nutrition, hydration, and some tips/suggestions for managing this. 2 of these athletes will be going to Busselton 70.3 and then another, Nat, has only done 1 triathlon last week taking 2nd place but who we have convinced to do the Olympic in 2 weeks and stay in Alice Permanently???. Then Tami, just back from Sri Lanka also doing the Olympic and the Tavis Johannsen Ultra (A memorial triathlon dedicated to someone who was at the founding of triathlon in the Red Center but was taken too young). He also created a now popular bike shop in Mooloolaba where a lot of pros go). Then you have Fi and I going for our 7th and 8th Ironmans. So it was a completely well rounded group and the camaraderie was infectious. It felt very much like the family our Sydney/Busso group of 2015 became. (Reuniting next week for the NT Sportsperson of the year of which 3 were nominated!!! Karen McPherson 60yr old qualifies for Kona in her first ironman, Fiona qualifies breaking 10 hours and 4th amateur, and then the entire team who took 1st in the Category IV triathlon club awards). Shout out to Deb Page who spent countless hours of her precious time on this; we hope to see you at Ironman New Zealand 2017.
We brought the group back to the carpark, slammed a coke, and as they went for their 30min brick run, Fi and I headed to Peak 2 to finish our 5 hour bike ride. We finished with a 20min brick. Looking at my 8 year long running Excel Based Log, this was the 2nd fastest/strongest bike ride outside of BDO’s and Tests. It was my 57th – 5 hour ride since August 2009 and 4th in 4 weeks. I only had 2 – 5 hour rides leading up to my first Ironman, Ironman Cairns in 2012. I don’t know what the hell I was doing!!!
We finished with lunch and packed up and headed out. Each one of us learned something about ourselves on this trip and where we need to improve. We all picked up some new skills and that was the purpose of this camp. It was such a great experience and I can’t wait till the next one!