Like many 10 year olds (and yuppies who take their hobbies way too seriously), I escaped the city and spent a long weekend at camp in upstate New York. But not just any camp. This was (drum roll) triathlon camp! Shocker. So what does one do at triathlon camp?
For starters, this wasn’t my first rodeo. In February 2014, I attended the appropriately-named Smashcamp in Tucson, which included a 100 mile bike ride, 100 x 100 yard swim, 25 straight miles of riding up a mountain, and a half marathon through the desert. This year’s Tri Valor camp also had the beautiful scenery (Lake Placid), tough workouts (riding the Ironman course backward, which means a 10k ascent at the end), fantastic coaches, and supportive atmosphere from the previous camp.
However, there were some major differences. For one thing, I was able to drive this time, rather than fly. Pros: no bike dis-/assembly, plane tickets, or jet lag. Cons: long solo drive, extra costs to stay in hotels to break up the trip each way (though I did have some good beer near King of Prussia, PA, on the way back). This camp was also quite reasonably priced; $400 included three nights of lodging, some food, swim cap and visor, insurance, and four days of workouts. There were five coaches on hand, two of whom are professional triathletes, who participated in the workouts with us. It was great to run with coach Kurt and get feedback on my form, try to keep up with coach/pro Ericka on the bike, nerd out over race nutrition with coach/pro Jennie, get a swim stroke critique from coach Curt, and then strategize my race season over a beer with Coach Mary. Yes, as in, my coach Mary! We finally got to meet in person, and she’s so incredibly enthusiastic, hilarious, and caring, I’m already looking forward to the next camp.
The best part was that the camp was very personalized. Some athletes were training for sprint and olympic-level races, whereas others were gearing up for an Ironman. Speeds ranged from beginner to pro. And then you had me, who will soon be undertaking a multi-stage swim-run in Switzerland. But that was the beauty of this camp: not only would people help me practice the weird logistics of my race (swimming tethered together, in running shoes), someone was also training for a similar race! I think this photo captures the essence of camp: supportive teammates and coaches helping each athlete get exactly the experience they need.