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Your Custom Camp - Colorado Endurance Guides
In March - Tucson Spring Training
In June - Boulder Summer Camp
EC Team Member, Brady DeHoust shares answers to FAQ:
The Group Dynamic
Worked well for me. The purpose of the camp for each ranged from IM prep and big volume, to getting away from home and riding through some gorgeous parts of the US. Nonetheless, everyone was there in good spirits and positive attitudes. With the duration of the camp, I don't think there was enough time to get "training-angry", so the overall mood was good all week. I'm preparing for IM CDA (late June), so the camp fit nicely timing wise. Plus, it'd allow the opportunity to chat 1:1 with Gordo and the other coaches - which proved invaluable (see Coaches section).
The Daily Routine
For a first time run through of this camp, it was well organized; I think it'll run even smoother next go around. You need to show up prepared to be organized yourself; otherwise, you'll always be preparing for what's next and may loose out on being able to relax at points. Each night at dinner, we were briefed on the following day's training, what options were available for max training time, start times (actually, more like "be ready by" times), and what time breakfast would be served. For the early days, we had coffee and breakfast snacks at 6a. I don't know Monica personally, but I do know two things about her: (a) she's a kick @ss swimmer, (b) she can bake some mean muffins and banana bread! We also had breakfast options served by the hotel.
Training - How Much and What?
Obviously, the camps are cycling focused. At the least, the core workout time of any day was a ride. It's up to you how much you do. My goal was to average 5 hours of training of s/b/r on any full day we had (Tue-Sat). We had a sweet pool center to use in Grand Junction for morning or evening swimming. Running ranged from driving to a trail head for tough terrain running, or going out on your own at any time. The meat of the training was the cycling. Ride maps are provided at the beginning of camp, but they're generally not needed as you'll always find yourself with someone. Scott (mechanic/sag) was invaluable on the rides. If he wasn't sweeping behind to check how riders were doing or to see if anyone had mechanicals, he was setting up the aid station at a predetermined spot so we could calorie-up and refill the bottles. The aid stations provided all you needed and some -- bars, powders, water, and other calorie dense food. Lunch was ready when the rides were complete - usually a table of lunch meat, lettuce, toppings, wraps, bread, pickles, avocado, tomato, chips, cookies, soda, water, etc.
Easily said - the coaches are there for YOU. My observation is that they do everything they can to make the "work" to stay organized and on track transparent to the campers. Really, all the campers need to be concerned with is: being ready to go at the set time, eating, training, and resting. I observed Gordo going over a season-specific block of training at dinner for one camper. The late announcement that Chris "Big Sexy" and Marilyn McDonald would attend was icing on an already sweet cake (just off of a 3rd place finish at IM St. George). I signed up for this camp well before I knew I'd have the opportunity to climb Grand Mesa for two hours side-by-side with a 3x IM champ and hands down cool "mate" (had to say it!). In hindsight, there were probably times I wished Marilyn was NOT there for the amount of difficulty and she put me in on the bike ... holy sh*t she's strong! JD kept things organized and on time. I picked his brain re: specific run training during a 45-minute transition run. And Denny Meeker became my day-to-day buddy. He's an unbelievably strong athlete and a solid benchmark for me. I was so happy to finally hear him admit that his legs were tired during a two hour run on the final day of camp, because before that, the dude just cruises along as though nothing is ever difficult.
How You Travel
I traveled from Virginia, so I had to either fly or ship my bike. My suggestion to all who are flying: (a) factor in the airline bike fee charge to your flight cost. I showed up to the Delta counter early Monday morning and shelled out $240 to get my bags and bike to CO, (b) check carrier shipping costs to/from the camp. I wound up shipping my bike home for $75 using FedEx. This also helped with space and not having to lug around a bike case back to the airport. If I had to do it over, I would ship the bike and have a pre-printed return label for the return.
Whether you're putting in a high volume block for an upcoming IM, getting away to do some beautiful riding, or like to JFT, do a camp. The tools, resources, and training will be there and you decide how to use/implement it for your goals. With the span of personalities and abilities, everything seems to smooth out and is not heavily skewed one way or the other; said another way: there's always someone to ride with. Plus, you've got to try some of Monica's baking!