Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wildcats training camp.

As some of you may know I am now the head trainer for the Wildcats Swiss triathlon team. The process to get this position was a long one and I have to say a huge thank you straight way to the Wildcats for getting me a work visa so this Kiwi boy who lives in Germany could have a job in Switzerland!

Nice view from Hotel!
So the main planning for this camp was already done before I started and I felt like I was playing catch up a little getting ready for the camp, mainly because I had so much other stuff happening as well. Still I was so looking forward to heading to Italy and helping athletes.

We had adults and the younger athletes with us for this camp. I like this as it gives the young athletes a chance to meet the adults and see how hard they train, and the adults get to meet and talk to the future of the sport.

Day 1 – Saturday 28.3.

Well just about day 2 as some of the athletes were at training on the Friday night. Where we ran and swam.

After an early start we set off from Basel and headed to Kaltern in Süd-Tirol, Italy. Once we got there the sun was shinning off the beautiful lake with a little castle on a hill. Yes I was already thinking about running to the castle!

After quickly finding our rooms, sorting out gear, we all headed out to run around the lake. It was a nice easy run and a chance to chat and see what the athletes wanted from the week!

Day Total – 1 hour running

Day 2 – Sunday 29.3.  

We headed out for a nice ride, in sun and 17 degrees, it just about felt like summer to me after 8 degrees in Germany.

After lunch it was time to head to the Castle. Once we got there we found no one had brought a camera with them…. No one…. 5 of us and no phone or camera…. I ask you what is the world coming too. After a little look around we headed out along a wonderful trail to some rock formations. We got great views down to the valley below.
Day total – 2.30 hours cycling and 2 hours running

Day 3 – Monday 30.3.

First think we all loaded up in vans and headed to the swimming pool. We had been told we would have 3 lanes all to ourselves for an hour and a half and the athletes were really looking forward to the first swim session. Once in the pool there was a problem. What we had be told would be reserved, wasn’t infact all the lanes had old people doing breath stroke or half drowning. After talking to the head life guard who didn’t know anything about us coming did more some of the slow old people out the fast lane so we could swim. It wasn’t a complete loss, but not perfect to say the least.

The days main training was originally planned as a long ride day. But because the weather wasn’t looking super I decided to have a shorter ride and run after. The plan was a nice 3 to 4 hours….. Joe and Em will understand this…. The map looked great! 6 hours later we got back to the hotel and the long ride was done! Well done to Sven Altermatt that still went and did the 2 km run off the bike!

We were joined by long time Wildcat, Cybèle. I know that makes her sound old, but she is a great Junior athlete who has the ability and drive to do very well in this demanding sport of triathlon. She headed out with us for about an hour before heading back to base to recover from a hard weekend at the national selections.

Day total – 6 to 6:30 hours cycling
Day 4 – Tuesday 31.3.

Very early we had swimming today. We had to be on time and do a very fast transition from locker room to pool so we could get a couple of lanes for use to use. And it worked!

Today after swimming we had interval day. First of all running intervals and after lunch it was time for a little ride. Sven, Tobi, Michael and Dominik (He is one of my great cycling coaches) headed out for some tempo riding.

While Cybèle, Patrick and I headed for a more civilized steady ride.

I had been building a 1st of April joke, saying that tomorrow all the athletes would do a triathlon. It would be a swim in the lake a ride around the hill and a run to the Castle…. It is fair to say some people were very very worried. I did come clean telling people it was a joke. It would have been a great and fun thing to do, if the water wasn’t 12 degrees!

Days totals – 1:15 hours Running and 2:45 hours cycling

Day 5 – Wednesday 1.4.

The rest day… and man was it windy. The only day of wind, and I felt hammered. Legs of stone, we headed out for an easy leg spin and I stayed in the front just to keep everyone from attacking me. It was nice and easy…. Still the head wind home sucked big time, and that is saying something when you are from New Zealand and race in Belgium.

After lunch we all walked into a nice village and had the best Italian ice cream that I have ever had! I just about want to go back, just for the ice cream. Yes it was that good.

Day 6 – Thursday 2.4.

This is always were training camps get interesting! You body starts saying no, and your mind says only a couple of days to go…. I can do it.

First thing was swimming and once again it was the fast transition, once we were in the pool it was all good till an old Italian man started yelling at the ladies in his swimming lane, in fact he yelled at everyone and throw is pool buoy across the room and then his goggles…. After much hand waving and shouting he did carm  down and swim again….. But talk about firery Italian

We headed out on a nice ride, the group stayed together for just under 2 hours then we split into two groups. One group heading for a climb and the other heading home to recover before running.

Once everyone was back from riding we went for a little hill run. I had been told by the boss of the hotel that the run up was hard but down was good, and he runs it when he can and loves it. He also said it is only about 10km and about an hour.

I think he hasn’t run it. Up was hard and ok, but down was difficult if you were not used to offroad running and wearing hard core road running shoes. It also became clear that it was going to be longer then 1 hour! Cybèle and I slowed down a little on the descents to stay safe and to protect our legs on the slippery stone. I am sure after about 2 minutes she wanted to sprint past me as I told her stories about rocks, calling them Turtles and Rats. Turtles being the rock you stand on and they stay still and Rats being rocks that when you stand on them they move.

Now looking back I am surprised she didn’t get a rat and hit me with it. Thanks for that Cybèle.

Day totals – 3:30 hours cycling and 1:30 hours running.

Day 7 – Friday 3.4.

Another big ride day, infact it was pass day. The route I had planned included 2 passes, the first being the Gampen pass and the second being the Mendola pass. It was a really beautiful day, the sun was out, it was a little chilly but wow what views.

We did notice an interesting fact while we were riding. Everyone was out on race wheels. Really they were! Amazing, how much money was spinning out on the road, just for a training ride! I was truly impressed.

Once we were back at the hotel I headed out alone back upto the little Castle for some photos. I have to say my legs were feeling the volume of training. It was nice running at my tempo and on the way down I really opened up the legs and hammered down the hill! Man it was fun… full speed, limited control and killer views.

Day total – 5:30 hours cycling and 1:15 running.

Day 8 – Saturday 4.4.

As we were heading home today we had to do a short training, so we did transition training. Run, bike, run, bike, run, bike. It was only a shortish run and bike but the fast transitions the athletes were doing had me really impressed. Sven and Cybèle were amazing. They started out nice and slow and then hit real speed by the end. The effort that was put in was fantastic!

Then sadly it was time to head home. I would have loved another week to really get my legs working, but work was calling!

Go Sven!
I have to thank you to a few people, firstly to the athletes they all worked really hard to make the most out of the camp. The other trainers that were on the camp, Fabienne (Head of the young athletes), Andrea, Andi and Dominik, a huge thank you for all your help. Katja for all the fantastic support, help and organising so much behind the senses.

Thank you so much everyone and I am looking forward to next year.


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