Before kicking into the 2018 season it has been a tradition of mine to complete an intense camp. For the past seven years, my parents have organised a training camp in Wanaka during December. It all started off when I was 12 years old and was competing as a triathlete. At this point I was still living in Auckland. The training in Auckland was pretty restrictive. Therefore, my parents decided to organise an endurance camp in Wanaka for our training squad. Since then the camp has developed over the years; Becoming a pre-season camp for the Mike Greer Homes Women’s cycling team.
Day One: Lets Go Climb Some Mountains
The first day began in Queenstown. Where everybody gathered at the airport. It was a stunner of a day, but was slightly too hot considering we were climbing up mountains!
We started off the day by climbing up Coronet Peak. This is probably one of the hardest climbs around where I live. It is only 8 km long, however it averages out at 10%. Obviously, it was not going to be an easy climb. We were a competitive bunch of girls and all love so tough training gains. Therefore it was a hard climb all the way to the top!
By the time I got to the top I was dying from the heat – but so was everyone else! We were all keen to hit the decent and get some air-flowing. There was about 15 km till we reached the crown range. It was nice to spin along for a little bit. However we all knew more pain was about to arrive, as the road up the crown range began to approach.
This climb was not so bad. We all span up the first part at a good tempo. No one wanted to blow their legs before the last section – well I definitely did not want too! As we rode up the last section steep gradient caused the group to naturally split. I was left hanging onto our teams mountain goat. Grace seemed to spin effortlessly up the climb, while I was left huffing and puffing behind her!
From the top it was all down hill to Wanaka. However knowing our luck, it was headwind the whole way. I’m pretty sure everyone was glad to see Wanaka township, as we had spent over four hours pedaling away.
Day Two: Against the Clock
Day two was time trial efforts. The session everyone loves to hate… but I secretly enjoy.
Luckily, we only had to do one effort by ourselves. It is always tough battling by yourself, so it was nice being able to do the rest of the session with others. This also helped us ‘gel’ more as riders. Especially, as I had not done much riding with some of the girls. The whole group are pretty experienced, and I thought we rode together as a unit really well!
The session was finished off with some good old competition. We split into two teams and did some lead out races. These are always really fun and further focus on working as a group. Of course there was some carnage, as we didn’t really know where the finish was place. I thought this added an extra element of fun, but our team managed it really well. Even though everyone blew to bits!
Day Three: Cracking the Two Hundred
The long ride day was made of several hours on the bike, beautiful views, magic brownie and very tired legs!
Again, it was another stunner of a day. With temperatures hitting above 30 degrees. There was also not much wind, which made for a very enjoyable ride. Lets be honest, know one enjoys a head wind. Especially the classic northwester that normally hits Wanaka. The ride took us from Wanaka township out past the Gates of Haast and towards Pleasant Point. It was relatively hilly with some decent climbing, so obviously that meant for some little efforts. You cant just ride an easy tempo for the whole 200 km, some efforts always make for a more entertaining ride!
Along the way we were all blessed with some of Annabel’s baking. I was introduced to her magic brownie and man it was good! The salty touch on top was pure perfection. Especially when sweating up a storm in the heat, the sweet and salty was a must have.
Coming back into Wanaka, I was defiantly starting to feel smashed. Several hours of spinning around was started to take its toll and my brain was beginning to get a little foggy. I think a good feed and sleepy time was well and truly needed.
Day Four: Tips From a World Champion
Our day off training meant we could get out and do something a little different. This week I got to meet Annabel who is a World Champion paddle boarder. We all got lucky, and she decided to take us out paddling for the morning. I learnt some useful tips and got to zip around on her paddle board.
After some solo time, me and Phoebe tried two up paddling. After lots of falling in and laughter we eventually managed to both get up and paddle around for a bit. This was so much fun but we were both a bit uncoordinated together. I don’t think we should take on two-up racing any time soon!
Next up, was river time. We got to paddle down the Clutha to the Albert Town bridge. This was so much fun, but i think I ended up floating the whole way. It was nice to just chill, relax and enjoy floating around.
After a morning on the water, it was time for some new kit! It was exciting seeing the rad kit that Ninove had produced for us. We spent the rest of the afternoon doing a photo-shoot in our new gear… excited to see the awesome shots of the team!
We better look speedy aha!
Day Five: More efforts…
Just to make us crack a little more, we had a morning full of intense efforts. From hill repeats to quick sprints. The morning definitely made the legs burn.
This sort of session is usually very difficult by yourself, but by being around my team mates we were all able to push and motivate each other. Especially the sprinting at the end. When sprinting by myself, its not quite the same as having it out with others. The little bit of competitions always adds an extra element of fun and excitement.
However, I must admit I was well and truly ready for some coffee at the end of the session!
I am pretty sure I spent the rest of the day dead on my bed… recovery is important guys.
Day Six: Wind down
With camp winding down with our U19’s off to race the Novice Tour it was just a few of us left to finish off with a long flat ride to stretch the legs and admire the central landscape after a week of pushing each other to new highs. We kept it flat but with plenty of epic vistas as we looped around the Ardgour valley at the back of Tarras.
You always feel a sense of loss when its time to say good by to your team mates but that speaks for itself when it comes to the bonds made and friendships strengthened.
That’s another camp done and dusted and the scene set for another great season on the bike with Mike Greer homes Womens Cycling Team and Team Illuminate.
Bring on the racing!