Ben spent a few days out in France on a training camp. He's produced a diary of how each day went, mixing up cycling, swimming a running. Ben is really upping his game for triathlons for 2018.
Scheduling my annual training week in France directly after my my A race for the year might seem mad, but Les Stables in the Dordogne is not like most training camps. Run by the wonderful Mark and Sibs, it's a place to come and meet up with friends from around the UK and Europe, get some quality training in, but mainly have a bit of fun in the sunshine. Based around a converted stables, we have acres of land to enjoy, an 800m track, a 25m heated pool, a river for open water swimming, forest to run in and hundreds of kilometres of perfect French roads to ride.
Day one is a fairly relaxed affair. We kicked off with a 50k ride out into the countryside, ridden mainly to see where everyone's fitness is. So, easy with some bursts of tempo and a bit of cheeky racing. To save travel hassle I hired a Trek Emonda, which is pretty decent for a hire steed. Pro tip: when hiring a bike take your own saddle, and you can jump right on that thing and be comfy from km one. Zack is out here as a helper to Mark and Sibs. He’s looking to make the performance team at Loughborough university next year, and he's a demon on the bike. We raced a long shallow descent hard, but mainly I was just burying myself to hold his wheel.
By the time we got back, there was just enough time to fill my face with a pile of pasta before it was pool time. Sibs is the swim coach here and I come back here largely for her input to my stroke. She basically taught me to swim fast when I first started racing triathlons. It's a quick warm up set and then a 100m filmed rep. Time after to kick around by the pool and check out everyone's technique, before we all gather for feedback.
The good news is the work I've been doing has paid off. Apparently this is, the best Sibs has ever seen me swim. The bad news is that means I need to work on pure speed, so rather that technique sets, I've got a week of speed work to do.
But for tonight, that can wait. I'm gonna grab another Erdinger (carbs, you know!) and watch some athletics.