Friday, August 12, 2011

Epic France Prologue #1

I arrived in France yesterday after the usual epic journey we take when we go anywhere from NZ. I left home 11am Tuesday and arrived at my accommodation 4am Thursday NZT with 4hrs sleep under my belt - it will be all worth it though when we start riding. On my arrival I drove our day 1 route to Embrun. It’s our only day of the camp without a mountain in it but holly molly it was by no means flat. Today I drive up to Annecy to check day 3 & 5 routes which will take in some massive climbs including the Galibier and the Izoard. I get the feeling we have bitten off a bit more than we can chew on this camp with regards to the distance and altitude gains on our bike routes. But that’s exactly what these camps are all about. It’s got to seem almost impossible - I’ve certainly got some major apprehension in my stomach and I’m sure the other campers will be feeling the same.

Our last Epic was the length of NZ at the start of 2010. Since then I’ve run a couple of marathons but the tri training has been pretty slim.  My priorities have been on dealing with the earthquakes we’ve suffered in Christchurch, family (2 and 4 year old kids) and building my business. At the risk of being the first to start the sand bagging for lack of fitness leading into this camp I am simply not in the shape I should be for this camp but I will make it through. Smart strategy will be the key. Scott asked me when was the last time I raced a tri and I think it was a sprint tri way back in December 09 so with us taking part in the Embrun Olympic Distance race on Monday I need to be careful. So my training in the lead up to this camp has really just been to get out the door 6-7 times a week and do what I can – which was usually getting out when I could for a 1-1.5hr ride typically 90% hills or a 45-60min run in the hills. It was very rarely that I hit double digits for my weekly hours total. I arranged a mid winter camp for 4 big days of riding to ensure I had at least a few long rides under my belt. So I’m not riding the hills terribly but my endurance and specifically muscular endurance on the flat is poor. The Embrun race on the bike is not going to be pretty at all!

So what am I looking to achieve out of this camp? Well, I really enjoy organising camps and events so my main priority is for a smooth camp with all the athletes having a good time.  If that means sacrificing some of my own training so be it. Whilst most of the athletes on the camp have been preparing specifically for the camp (and for some it is their “event” for this year) I’m hoping it will be the springboard to get some power back on the bike. The ITU world champs are in NZ next year and I want to see if I can be towards the top of my AG. My biking has always been my weakness and hardest to build. As we all know it’s the most time consuming of the three sports which is a challenge as surplus time is not a luxury I have with a young family. As far as performance on the camp goes, I will pick and choose a few days to see if I can give the fast guys a hurry up. Hopes for the yellow jersey are slim to none as I just can’t see myself tacking on.

We’ve got a good sized crew for the camp. There are 17 of us in total including 3 support crew. Madman Lord is back to defend the yellow jersey. Regular campers Russ Cox, Randy Weintraub and Douglas Scott are here along with Clas Bjorling. The rest are newcomers and we have one female Christine Hemphill.  Thankfully we have the services of Ian & Julie Wright from Pyrenees Multiport to keep us on track along with our masseuse Anna Beadle.

So now it’s time for you to sit back and watch the madness of Epic Camp unravel over the next 8 days from Sunday. Scott, myself, Russ and Steven will be blogging daily and I will be uploading photo’s when I can. Internet connections, as usual in France, might be a bit patchy but I will be writing daily and trying to get some audio up on IMTalk when I can


  1. Have a great time and make Douglas do some work!

  2. sorry that i wont be there for this one John, but i know you'll have put together a great final epic camp ...and some impressive performances too.
    I look forward to following you and the guys (and girl) this week