Winter training camp 2017

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It’s that time of year again when we have to sum up an incredible inter semester break in just a few short paragraphs. Safe to say that this year’s trip to Spain did not disappoint and everybody excelled themselves in more ways than one. From athletes who had never cycled more than 40km riding as far as 180km, to seasoned racers chasing each other up mountains, and total beginners completing a half ironman, our trip had it all.

The week began less eventfully than last year, with a smooth journey out to our hotel in Aguilas on Sunday and a short coastal spin to check our bikes were all in one piece.

Monday morning soon arrived and some were up early for a swim before the much awaited buffet breakfast. We were well fuelled for a day of sun, sweat and mountains and before we knew it almost half the group had beaten their previous longest rides and highest climbs.

Tuesday, better known as Hill Climb Day, brought with it the first of the week’s mechanical problems. In fact over the next few days, we (mostly Tate, Connor & Tom) probably brought the local cycling shop enough business to keep them going until next years trip. First to the top of the main climb were Cal and Luke, with Fran not far behind taking the win for the girls. From here, we split off into smaller groups to tackle a selection of distances, further climbs and cafe stops. On returning to the hotel, those who still had strength in their legs headed out for a run, while others hit the beach for some down time.

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In true ISB tradition, Wednesday’s “Rest Day” was kicked off with another swim followed by the all important sprint competition. This was a close and hard fought battle, with reigning men’s champion Luke knocked out early and Mike taking the title. The girl’s competition was another close one, but Kate came out on top to retain her title. With the excitement over, everybody headed out for a short ride to a cafe for lunch and the afternoon was occupied by more open water swimming, running and relaxing on the beach.

Having rested up well on Wednesday, challenge day dawned bright and early the next morning. After an early breakfast, several groups set out at sunrise to tackle monster challenges including rides of up to 223km and a half ironman distance triathlon.  After being hindered by a few mechanicals, and one or two stationary crashes, as the sun set, 44 triathletes returned to the hotel all in one piece and having achieved some incredible things.

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The only way to follow challenge day was a lie in and a trip to a tri club favourite cafe, No.363. This, of course, was followed by more hills and more impressive riding. Having spent far too much time in the cafe earlier, Ash was desperate to be home before sunset for a swim so the ride home was flat and fast with Merran showing her strength on the front and Emma and Haydn clinging in the wheels.

Saturday came far too soon and with it, the final challenges of the week. This included over 20 athletes (including several who started the week in the beginner group) tackling the brutal climb up La Mezquita, Sam running his first half marathon, and Emily eating 14 pancakes for breakfast.

Our ISB trip offers something for everyone, from beginners to elite athletes (and even the vegans) and develops relationships between members so that despite being a relatively large club, we are a really close knit community of friends and athletes.

We would like to say a huge thanks to all those who helped with organising and leading rides on the trip, most especially to Lucy and Felix, and to our awesome sponsors Sportstix and Blueseventy for their continued support.