By Athlete Ambassador, Lesley Maisey
Even though I have done several triathlons, there is always something to learn so off to Lifesport camp I went on the May long weekend. Here is a summary of my weekend take-aways:
Lesson 1: You can never be too prepared (aka take LOTS of stuff)
As I packed up on Friday afternoon leaving North Vancouver and driving the 75-90 minutes to Whistler, I was glad I was the sole person in my car. My hatch was full, the back seat was full and my bike was on the roof. One very small person could have fit in the front seat provided my passenger would not mind holding onto my road snacks, coffee, water, CDs, wallet, and phone as they were currently occupying the front seat and floor. Training camp, especially in mountainous regions like Whistler, meant being prepared for any weather. The days leading up to camp were warm but the prediction for the weekend was not as favorable. I needed enough to comfortably dress for 3 rides, 2 runs and 1 swim, so I took practically everything I owned for these 3 days away.
Lesson 2: You will be hungry
Along with every piece of biking gear and an array of athletic clothes, I also packed training nutrition and regular food. It can be a bit more expensive to grocery shop in village towns like Whistler and I was not sure how energetic I would be in and around training requirements. In order to avoid the “just feed me now, so fast food will do!” starvation foraging, I packed chicken, eggs, peanut butter, veggies, humus, whole grain bread, flavored coconut water and yogurt so I would have good choices for dinner and breakfast. During training, I use Hammer Perpetuem, Heed, bars and gels. Recoverite is my go-to for recovery and I knew I would need a bit of this for the weekend ahead. Into the hatch went my small cooler and large bag of training fuel.
Lesson 3: Be flexible
The training camp plan was established a few weeks out and I went to camp prepared for the schedule. The Friday night email from Dan Smith, one of the coaches, changed the plan completely due to the change in forecasted weather. For some, this could be unsettling especially if there were expectations of what the weekend would be like. It is important to keep the main objective in mind – this is training so an opportunity to network with other athletes, learn from the coaching team, and get outside swimming, riding and running. It’s time to shake off the winter cobwebs from training indoors. Keep calm, carry on and roll with it.
Lesson 4: Have an open mind
While the camp is run by great coaches like Mark Shorter and Lance Watson, the attendees have varying degrees of triathlon and race experience. The coaches facilitate learning by formally lecturing on various topics but there are many opportunities to learn from others. Conversations with newbies, veterans, and pros can all result in lessons learned/reinforced or things to ponder – and when you are out for 100km and 60km rides it is good to have mental things to chew on!
Lesson 5: Anything can happen
This probably goes along with lesson 3 in being flexible but it is worth it to have this as a stand-alone lesson. My Sunday ride did not go as planned. It started out cloudy, it rained climbing up the Callaghan Valley, and the descent back down to Highway 99 was wet and blustery. I had just started to leave the bone chilled feeling behind about 10km outside of Whistler when I got a flat tire. When the roads are wet, it is harder to see small hazards and I picked up a hitch-hiker in the form of a small chunk of glass in my rear tire. I was prepared to handle this as I had a spare tube, tire levers and CO2 cartridges; however, this was the first flat with my new wheels and I had very cold hands. Try as I might, I did not have the dexterity to get that darn tire off the rim! My fingers were not functional and the longer I stood in the rain fighting it, the colder I was getting. I was rescued by the camp support vehicle driven by Mark squared (Overton and Shorter) and with the wonderful technology of the combustion engine finally got warm as my green machine and I were transported back to camp headquarters. On this day, I was very thankful for the longer brick run as a method of generating some internal heat.
Camp was fun! A shout out to Lifesport Coaching for an action packed weekend. I worked hard, played hard, and recovered well. I am now looking forward to my season-opener triathlon on June 12.