FRIST THINGS FIRST. If you’ve enjoyed these blogs or gleened any information from the other articles on the Buccaneer Website (which Gary set up purely as a resource to help athletes improve) then I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little donation to Gary’s chosen charity. No sugar coating. As it stands Gary’s 3year old boy will be in a wheelchair by the time he’s a teenager and his current life-expectancy is somewhere in his 20s. That could be you or your children or your children’s children. You can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fegan/ or you can text DMDM66 + the amount to 70070. Do it…now…please.
All over. Gone. Look forward, don’t look back. Back to reality. Suck up the normality. Appreciate what you’ve experienced. Appreciate what you’ve got even more. ‘Stop looking at what you aint got and start being thankful for what you do got.’
Predominantly this was a training camp so it seems reasonable that we start there. Here’s an extract from my Prologue :-
‘Used to have a reputation for being a bit of a monster trainer, me. If someone was tacking on, then so was I. If someone was bailing on the run off the bike, then I wasn’t. If someone fancied an easier day and a lie in, then I didn’t. I’ve climbed over locked gates early in the morning to go for a run when my fellow campers slept. I’ve missed dinner to run after the group got lost and took A LOT longer than expected on the bike. I’ve gone out for a century ride mid-camp in the Pyrenees when my fellow campers decided an unscheduled rest day at a local Spa was a good idea. Not to me it wasn’t. We were on a training camp – the clue’s in the title. I guess in terms of volume my ethos is: If someone else can then I can. (In fact I’ve even run along feeling like death on a FeganCamp chanting ‘If Mike Montgomery can, I can’ – if you’ve listened to the old podcasts that might make sense…and I’m talking about the training not the financial advice!) That’s probably what first drew me to Epic Camp – through the podcasts from Bevan and John – the appeal of being in an environment where burying yourself is the norm. A few years older and I’m probably not quite at the extreme end of that spectrum anymore.’
Maybe age hasn’t mellowed me quite as much as I thought. There’s life in the old dog yet and all that. Eat, sleep, train, repeat. You won’t get many opportunities to live in an environment like this so I guess I was all for giving the envelope a gentle nudge. Here’s the tale of the tape :
|1||Vancouver to Whistler||3k||0:55||76miles||4:15||13.39mile||1:44||6:55||3 runs 1x10k tack on + 1k bands only|
|2||Whistler to Lilooet||1k||0:15||112miles||6:46||4miles||0:24||7:24||30k tack on|
|3||Lilooet to Clinton||6k||1:40||66miles||3:53||6.22miles||0:49||6:22||No tack on.|
|4||Clinton Tri||3k||0:50||81miles||4:33||6.22miles||44:30||6:11||60k bike tack on.|
|5||Clinton to Clearwater||6k||1:45||137miles||7:06||13.6miles||2:00||10:51||30k bike, 3k swim 10k run tack on|
|6||Clearwater to Blue River||6k||1:45||70miles||3:34||13.5miles||2:00||7:19||3k swim tack on 10k run tack on|
|7||Blue River to Jasper||2k||0:34||131miles||6:15||4.4miles||0:37||7:26||No tack ons.|
|8||Gala Jasper||6k||2:30||42miles||2:40||6.22miles||1:06||6:16||3k swim tack on.|
|9||Jasper to Sunwapta||3k||0:50||98miles||6:12||5.2miles||0:50||7:52||60k bike tack on.|
|10||Sunwapta to Lake Louise||3k||0:52||130miles||6:35||4.7miles||0:40||8:18||30k bike tack on.|
|11||Lake Louise||0||0||110miles||6:00||13:35mile||2:53||8:53||10k am tack on, 150k bike tack on.|
|12||Lake Lousie to Calgary||0||0||162miles||8:07||12.44mile||1:36||9:43||7x1k reps in 4:10 + 60k bike tack on.|
So I guess by any measure that’s a decent block of training. Too much? Who knows? Didn’t really feel like it at the time. There was only one session, the run after the Gala in Jasper, where I felt I was over-reaching so I about turned and got some shut eye – then put in a good KOM showing the next day. Interestingly I never once struggled to get out of bed or swing my leg over my top tube. There was the occasional time where putting the wetsuit on felt like a bit of an effort but all in managing myself physically wasn’t a problem. I had zero DOMS or aches and pains. The KOMS were a little painful at times but then going hard for an hour or so is always going to hurt – even outside the camp environment. Mentally once or twice I was pretty shelled with heavy eyelids but with a lot of training, a lot of blogging and not a lot of uninterrupted sleep then staying sharp was always going to be a big ask.
For my money there’s an awful lot of bollocks talked in the world of endurance (or any) sport about recovery aids and nutrition and potions and the like. If you don’t believe me then just ask yourself why Powerade (which is about getting calories into your system via fluids as an energy drink) made a Powerade Zero which has NO CALORIES in it. Isn’t that just coloured water? If the masses buy it they’ll make it – they aren’t in the market of sports nutrition they’re in the market of taking money from your bank account and putting it in theirs. Do we really think that other companies aren’t similar? I’m not convinced by a lot of the science behind most of the other things on the market. I don’t own compression gear, I don’t take any supplements, I didn’t know what Normatecs were until I saw Sleeveless looking legless, I don’t do massage or stretching or core work or gym work or anything else other than swim, bike and run (and eat normal food and try and sleep 7-8hours a day). I took one thing with me to Epic and that was a large pot of Sudocreme – which is basically for nappy rash. My saddle’s the one that came with the bike 6 years ago and my under carriage fared just fine. Don’t believe the hype – JFT and KISS.
In terms of favourite sessions then for swimming it would have to be the Dutch Lake in Clearwater. Super warm and the scenery was stunning. Probably helped by the fact the swim was in the afternoon. The lake at Blue River runs it close if only for the kiddies’ slide we went down every lap. On the bike the KOMS were a real highlight. Finding myself near the front on the first climb and going toe to toe with the Legend that is Petro before I really knew him was surreal and unexpected. The second KOM was pretty special as we headed to Clearwater. Knowing you had to stay in the bunch to get to the bottom with a chance was a new experience. The closest I’ve ever been to a bike race. After reaching the climb in the group then all the attacks at the bottom just made it all the more exciting but strangely enough the ride to Lake Louise in the miserable weather probably just shaded it for me. The very essence of Epic. Attacks from the get go, a break in the peloton which I managed to get myself into and talk myself into staying there after being on the brink of sitting up many times and then being attacked on the second climb, not making the break, but slowly reeling the big units back in when the road steepened again. Awesome memories. On the run there wasn’t a lot to float my boat. The first jog to the pool in Vancouver was cool as Gary and I found ourselves on the front and it was our first taste of Epic. Running 2 hours with Gary including jumping on a moving train just cos we could and would probably never get the chance again was cool. Not a huge fan of trail running and scenery (although Sentinel Pass was a hoot) so the real highlight has to be the last day 430am km reps at altitude. Still not sure how I managed that given I had been plodding most runs well over John’s 5min per km rule without feeling I could go much faster. I just built the pace on the first rep and managed to hold it there for the duration. Once I’d finished the first one I knew it was going to be possible to complete 6 more. A great feeling given the chase for the yellow at the time.
I took a lot of photos. Not something I’ve been inclined to do before. When you’ve got David GoPRowe and Pietro-selfie in the group it’s hard not to. Glad their influence rubbed off on me. Not renowned for my abilities to look around and take in the moment, smell the roses and all that but it’s definitely better that way. I’ve got some awesome photos that I’ll cherish for a long time as a result and here’s a few of my favourites from the trip.
I’ve previously shied away from sharing experiences etc. being innately private but Petro’s got me wired on SnapChat and Instagram…I even took my phone with me on my jog this morning – something I’d never considered doing before. Thanks guys – feels like a definite improvement in my life experience…but I’m still a little way short of F***book thankfully.
The objective was to complete Epic, do a lot of training and have fun. Scored pretty highly on all fronts. How did I end up with the yellow? I’ve got no idea. Before the camp started I hadn’t really looked at the points system. I didn’t have a strategy as I didn’t have it as an objective. I didn’t do the bands only on day one for the point I did it cos you can’t come on Epic and not do it. I tacked on with Phil in Clinton so he could get the jersey and because we had an afternoon free not so I could get a couple of extra points. Once I found out I was only 3 points away then I thought it would be my one shot at holding the jersey before I got swallowed up by the pack. So day 4 was a little mad with a 2hour run, 220k bike (30k tack on) and 6k swim on arrival. Then I returned to type and just tacked on where I could as that was the non-yellow plan. Others were a lot more interested in the points than me at this point. Days 6-9 I kept expecting John to announce I’d lost the jersey. Then it became a case of wanting to take it for the last 3 days. The Day10 KOMs were the last and I knew KOM standings would be added to the overall hence why I struggled to stay in the break before the first and kept pushing when I’d been dropped on the 2nd. I would now be making ground where I expected to be losing ground – Adam K had beaten me on the 1st two KOMs. The 150k tack on (thanks for the company Gary) on Day 11 was a bit extreme especially as the last 30k were in atrocious conditions and then it was just a case of one big last push with k reps and additional 10k and then 60k before breakfast. It was just about doing the session I was on and then moving on. If I’d have thought about it rationally I wouldn’t have attempted a pretty solid training day BEFORE the 200k ride to Calgary. So now I’ve got the yellow all I need to do is avoid the curse and hence stay out of bed long term, out of retirement, out of jail and out of Vibrams! Wish me luck – although I’m pretty confident of avoiding the last two!
END OF TERM REPORT CARD
To everyone one the camp thank you for what you brought to it. Here’s the end of term report. First up the ubiquitous support crew.
Michelle – a lot of unseen hardwork behind the scenes. Always felt a little bad that whilst you were pointing out all the dishes to make sure people didn’t miss out the only acknowledgement you got was the back of heads as people shovelled mountains onto their plates. Hopefully the amount we got through was a good measure of our gratitude. Glad your reservations were unfounded and you had a great experience.
Mark – popped up everywhere always making sure we had just what we needed. Made every person feel like they had their own personal mechanic by remembering what issues they were having and checking they had been resolved. There were 38 wheels there and yet you seemed to know each one personally and feel responsible for its performance. Thanks.
D-squared – was pretty sure that boundless enthusiasm and nothing’s too much trouble attitude would reduce throughout the camp. If anything it increased. Takes a special kind of person to retain composure and empathy (esp when we were just being dicks) in that environment for that long. Awesome job.
Gareth – when he pushed himself he revealed an ability that was often hidden. Don’t be afraid to push yourself – and get some swim analysis done. I wasted several years working hard and getting nowhere.
Glenn – calves that look more like heffers. The last thing you wanted to see on the front – esp as camp wore on. Looks like you’ve got all the tools to kill it at Florida. Hope your run can do the inevitable bike split justice.
Petro – thanks for your encouragement and advice. It was everything I’d hoped and more hanging with you. Special kudos for the fly out, fly in for Paige. The right thing to do that I’m sure I wouldn’t have done. Hope to catch up in Kona but I won’t be going sub-Petro!
David – great to finally meet my team mate. Had a lot of fun and showed your abilities when you wanted to. Maximised your Epic experience. Hope Wales is good to you. We must meet at a halfway house for coffee sometime. (We live about 120k apart.)
Shannon – monster strong all week. Takes everything in, always smiling and more than capable of playing with the big boys. The world’s your lobster if you believe.
Charleso – old hand at this with some sage advice and always positive. Aware of his fitness and just rolled out the miles he was capable of. Perfect lanterne rouge. 30-odd IM’s says it all.
Hillo – Mr Bike. Guy looks like he was born on a bike. Sooo smooth. Awesomely consistent on the front. Look forward to catching up in Kona but with a 9:06 to your name you’ll be getting the first round in!
Headroom – what a willing worker. Always on or near the front when possible. Shooting for the Narcoleptic award with Louis. Guess wobblegate woke you up a bit!
Sleeveless – what a great guy. Always smiling, selflessly looking after others at every opportunity. Loved your ability to just keep pushing right to the end. 15m pool – you still dizzy? Go do Roth – it’s awesome.
Phil – that’s some run speed you got there. Quite a weapon. Did some great work on the front for extended periods too. No one will ever forget the first #epicexplosion either – it was huge!!
Johnbo – you should be in the circus. All that juggling of duties and the comedy clown bike with bits falling off all the time. Really don’t know how you combined the athlete and organiser roles and excelled at both. Can’t believe Project2014 is nearly over. Hope Kona is good to you.
Dr Death – one position on the bike, one speed on the bike…irrespective of terrain. Lost count of the number of times you disappeared at an alarming rate off the front. Amazing to see it after your big crash back in April. Inspirational. Really enjoyed our roll into Lilooet.
Leah – one tough cookie. Selfless. No complaints (everything was ‘Great’) just got on with it every single day, every single session. Really hope the Worlds go well for you. It would be richly deserved.
B-squared – top bombing in the races. Solid swim, bike and run. Nice. Hope your conservative approach to the Epic madness pays off at Chatanooga.
Zach – the silent assassin. King of the Mountains for sure by some margin. Had some fun times riding with you. All the best for the imminent arrival.
Adam K – thanks for pushing me to get the experience I wanted. I’m sure you’ll come back stronger for the experience. Remember it’s sub-Buddha or bust in Tahoe.
Sea Biscuit – thanks for the opportunity to train with a legend. No special privileges, just one of the boys. The Jockey’s Hat and the missed turning are two of the stand out comedy moments of the camp. Great to see what a passion you still have after so many years. Object lesson to us all…just cos you aren’t as fast as you once were doesn’t mean it’s over…you can still take Newsom down in a swim! Keeping asking those questions.
Gary – been a tough year for you on several fronts, my friend. Pretty sure this was all you wanted it to be. Thanks for making it so much more than it would have been without you and thank you for inspiring me to be the athlete I’m capable of being after too many years of going through the motions. Sub-Buddha in Kona would be great; with-Buddha would be better and would cap off an amazing year for me.
Shopping Cart Guy – Last but definitely not least. Whoever you are, wherever you are right now, thanks for helping me retain some perspective in this crazy bubble. Thanks for making me want to be a better version of myself. Next time I’ll stop, offer what I have on me and give you 5minutes of my (not as precious as I like to think it is) time. Better 5minutes late than on time – sometimes. I hope you find peace my friend.