Following the success of last year’s Blackwater Triathlon Club spring training camp in Lanzarote, 13 of the club’s finest athletes once again braved the balmy temperatures and spectacular scenery of the Canaries in an effort to get a head start on the triathlon season.
Having survived the perils of “The Beast From The East” the previous weekend it was a pleasant change for the BTC crew as they touched down in Puerto del Carmen on the afternoon of Tuesday the 6th of March. Thermal underwear was discarded in favour of shorts and tee shirts and gallons of sun cream were applied to post Irish winter pale limbs and faces. The first order of business was to head to Renner bike hire to collect the bikes that they would be using for the week. The good people at Renner provided everyone with some very nice carbon bikes, with Dave Bartley opting for an aero bike, ideal for the windy conditions in Lanzarote. Bikes acquired it was time to check in to the accommodation and head out for some food at the Red Crab restaurant, overlooking the harbour.
Everyone was up bright and early on Wednesday morning and on the beach for 07:15 to meet the open water swim coach Paul Cardwell Hounam. Paul, a Scot who is married to a Norwegian lady, gave a briefing on the tides & currents around Puerto del Carmen beach, and then it was into the water for a 1 hr swim session. Conditions were cloudy and windy, but the water was a glorious 18 degrees Celcius, definitely a little more comfortable than the reservoir in March! After the swim it was time for breakfast and a change in to bike gear for the first of the week’s cycles. The loop was from Puerto del Carmen going west around Yaiza, along the coast road past El Golfo, then up to Femes from the steep side. They went out in two groups, but arrived within minutes of each other at the summit. There was a break for lunch in Femes before the 5km cycle back to base. Some of the hardier souls went for a short run along the promenade & back in the late afternoon before everyone gathered in the “Bodega” in the old town that evening for a much needed meal.
Thursday morning began with another sea swimming session, 2.8km in the water with an emphasis on sighting and drafting. The cycle route on Thursday was from Puerto del Carmen to Teguise, where the crew stopped at “Jonny Bakes” cafe for coffee, then on to Tahiche & up to Tabayesco for another climb. There were two groups again with local lad Hussein leading out group 2. First up to the top (Los Helechos) was Mick Mulcahy followed by Dave Bartley. The day was very warm which made the made the 9.6km climb that little bit more of a challenge. A much needed lunch break at Los Helechos was followed by a swift, technical descent through hairpin bends down into Los Valles & south of Montana Blanca back to Puerto del Carmen (70 km approx.). Once again the day finished with a team dinner, this time at an Indian restaurant along the waterfront. There was a change of routine on the Friday morning with a relatively easy cycle to start the day to facilitate recovery following the exertions of the previous day. The day was sunny and warm as the group headed out along a scenic route from Puerto del Carmen down to Puerto Calero and then north through Timanfaya National Park where the road appears to climb to infinity. Conditions were perfect with a slight breeze and a clear sky. The road surface was exceptional and the views were spectacular! After the gradual pull up to Montanas del Fuego, it was practically downhill all the way through Tinajo and on to the village of La Santa and the sports resort “Club La Santa”. Boasting two 50m heated outdoor swimming pools and a 400m running track among its facilities, this beachside complex was well worth the visit. The grub was good too.
Again, we split into 2 groups on the return leg to Puerto del Carmen through Tiagua, Mozaga and San Bartolome. Post cycle Yoga-Nidra session was courtesy of club stalwart Brighid Liston, before the crew headed off to Costa Teguise for the afternoon swim session at the Occidental Hotel 50m pool. Swim coach Paul focused on stroke technique and breathing. The team dinner on Friday was at Italian restaurant adjacent to Fariones Hotel in Puerto del Carmen.
The Saturday morning swim session began at 7.30am and consisted of triathlon specific interval sessions with swim and beach run “recovery”, building up and tapering down, as well as duck-diving, T1 tricks for beach exit and getting your wetsuit off effectively. The weather was clear and sunny. Once again the crew split in to two groups for the cycle. The first group opted to head for the north of the island to Mirador del Rio, and back through Arrieta, Tahiche, Teguise and Masdasche to Puerto del Carmen (115km approx.), with the second group taking a slightly easier option. The restaurant choice that evening was a local fish restaurant, “Santi”, in the old town. The Sunday was planned as a recovery day and as luck would have it Patrick Hanley of Avondhu Physiotherapy was holidaying just down the road and kindly provided the guys and girls with an early morning coreflex recovery session. Some people opted for a light run and others for an easy cycle later on in the day. There were also one or two who swam the Ironman swim course at Puerto del Carmen beach. Clearly their idea of an easy recovery day wasn’t exactly easy. Monday had another early morning swim session with Paul, focused on further improving everyone’s open water swim skill set with drafting, roll-overs and buoy turn technique. The cycle was a leisurely 25km “jolly” to Arrecife for coffee & cake on the 17th floor cafe bar of the Gran Hotel. The weather was hot with moderate breeze (23 degrees C). The bikes were returned late in the afternoon and the team had their last team dinner at a Polish restaurant near the harbour. The trip had combined excellent training with a culinary trip around the world. The gang were sad to head home from their trip on Tuesday morning and all agreed it was well worth the time and effort. Well done to the organisers and everyone who took part.