Molina’s Epic Camp Canada 2014 – Prologue

With three members of the Buccaneer Tri team (Adam, David & Gary) about to head off to Epic Camp Canada, Scott Molina sets the scene.


Seems like its been a while! And indeed it has.

Let’s start by reviewing the impetus behind this adventure, since that initial idea still is what drives the camps.

I used to watch the coverage of the Tour in my friend Pete’s garage. We would dream of riding those routes that the Tour covered. We also thought it would be nice to do so with some runs and swims along the way and some good friends and a bit of racing here and there to keep the quality up. So essentially we were thinking of a trip that was part training camp, part stage race, part touristy food and drink.
Pete went on to stage the 5-Passes Tour which still exists – I do it most years. In the beginning it had a real triathlon emphasis with swims and runs along the way but the market in NZ was so small he eventually changed it to a cycling-only tour.

At the time my buddy Gordo Byrn was living the dream in Christchurch. He and I decided to form a little company and put on our own version of the type of monster training camp we were personally excited to do. The plan was to do every swim/bike/rrun right along with the campers to show them “what it takes” – the kind of training many pro’s do during their big volume camp periods.

We were aware that there were already many bike trips put on by many different organizations around the world. We weren’t thinking we’d like to fit into that category. What was quite different was our desire to require a very high standard for entry consideration. One of the basic guidelines was prospective campers needed to have ridden 5:30 for an IM bike leg and have a finish time of around 10 hours or under. We understood from the start that by doing so we’d limit the potential Epic Camper numbers substantially, but figured there were enough folks out there who fit this criteria who we might be able to attract.

We also wanted to set up a points competition that included bonus points for tacking on extra training, points for races along the way and for doing certain training sets with very tough target times. All of this was to ensure the quality of the training remained high and environment very competitive.

My other reason for thinking that we’d get enough people to make this venture viable is I had done a hell of a lot of IMs and was looking to do something different. I wanted a different Tri challenge than just going to another IM and I figured there were lots of people who felt that way.

One of the main things I wanted to do through this camp was to either go to my favorite training areas in the world or go to new places. If you look at the recent proliferation of Ultra Triathlons which are substantially harder than what was offered for the first 20+ year of our sport it’s easy to see there are many people looking for different challenges. Here’s my current list of interesting (challenging!) triathlons:

  • Altriman IM Tri Pyrenees –
  • The Brutal (a doozy!) – 
  • Celtman
  • NorseMan Extreme
  • SwissMan Extreme
  • EmbrunMan
  • City to Summit (starts in Edinburgh, Scotland. point- point 8700ft on the bike, 8200ft on therun – trails!)
  • Alp Duez Tri
  • UltraMan Hawaii
  • UltraMan Canada
  • UltraMan UK
  • SavageMan Triathlon (1/2 IM)
  • Leadman Bend, Oregon
  • PowerMan Duathlon Zofingen

In 2003 we held our first Epic on the South Island of New Zealand and all of those guys (no women that year) have become some of my best friends. Clas Bjorling, Chris McDonald (still an age grouper at that point) Kevin Purcell and Andrew Charles were among that group and all went on to do quite a few subsequent camps with me.

Some of the other superstars we’ve had join us over the years are Bjorn Andersson, Jonas Colting, Monica Kaplan (later Byrn), Stephen Bayliss, Bella Comeford (later Bayliss), Marilyn Chychota (later MacDonald and then back to Chychota!), Tara Norton… the list goes on! John Newson came into the picture quite early as a much-needed organizational wizard and camp support and eventually took over running things as Gordo moved onto a sane family life.

We had 2 camps per year most years until I started to get a bit tired (!) and Newsom was busy building his coaching business and adding kids to his family. Now that I’m 54 and slowing considerably, I feel like I don’t have anywhere near the same ability to give all the campers a good push or actually show them “what it takes” so will soon leave it to John to decide whether he wants to carry on with this idea.

Tara Norton has taken the idea to set up Epic Woman camps and has done so very well. Stephen Lord and Jo Carritt have been running their own camps on Lanzarote for a few years now with great success. So if this does end up to be my last Epic then it will have been a very good run indeed and lasted much longer than I ever intended or expected but I have a good feeling about the concept living on.

So here we go! Into the Canadian Rockies for another adventure. I’ll do my best to blog daily starting on August 18 or 19th so I can have a record of what we did.
Here’s the general outline of the camp cycling component:

August 19th – Vancouver – Whistler 150km
20th – Whistler – Lilleot 130km
21st – Lilleot – Clinton 110km via Marble Canyon Lake 22nd – in Clinton 100km incl Green Lake
23rd – Clinton – Clearwater 190km
24th – Clearwater – Blue River 110km (or 190?)
25th – Blue River – Jasper 210km
26th – In Jasper 30km ( that’s the minimum for points) 27th – Jasper – Sanwapta Falls 115km
28th – Sanwapta Falls – Lake Louise 178km
29th – In Lake Louise 30km (is the minimum for points) 30th – Lake Louise – Calgary 200km

Unless we have a race then every day will include a swim of at least 3km and a run of at least 8km to get camp completion points. So in general and as a _minimum_ that’s approx 2 hours of additional training per day in addition to the rides listed.

Really looking forward to it!

Cheers, Scott

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