Well, my camp hangover has slowly cleared and I am in serious missing-everyone mode. It’s crazy how 5 days can feel like a month with people that you had never even met before! Although, this year was a special year at camp as many of the campers were also TeamHPB-ers. So, we knew each other virtually as we have a strong internet base for our team to support and promote each other’s training and races. But, having time in person to train together was a whole other adventure! I was also lucky enough to be coaching this year alongside Hillary and Maik.
We also had a special guest, Holly Bennett, in the house to be my +1 for the week She wrote a pretty awesome article about the camp you can read here.
-Day two had me riding with some of the newbies to the crew, and to 70.3′s, etc. After a long climb up Madera Canyon, we descended and then I dropped the bomb: time to learn how to ride a paceline! Coaching how to ride bikes is something that I really love and is definitely a highlight of my job. I was really excited to have the chance to work with these girls on a day when a paceline would be key to getting us home efficiently: and they rocked it!! As I was cruising in the back of the line watching them execute this on a road that has it’s share of challenges for a paceline situation (traffic, bumps, some gravel, etc), I actually got goosebumps! Well done ladies!
-100 x 100! There is nothing quite like getting through the first 10 of your 100 x 100′s and seeing a flash of lightning in the sky! Not ideal!!! But the campers took it in stride. A Starbucks and Pico break lead to moving a quick ride to earlier in the day. By the time we got in the water it was pouring and 4pm. Starting a 3 hour swim like that is going to test your mental strength! But I was so proud of everyone for getting through it, especially Nancy who knocked out her first 100×100 set with Jillian, finishing UNDER THE LIGHTS. So cool! Almost like Friday Night Lights football….except swimming in AZ. But Hillary is kind of like Coach Taylor, so I’ll go with it. If only Tim Riggins was at Mt. Lemmon the next day…..
-We are all pretty sure Hillary will never believe us about the epic conditions atop Lemmon, so let me tell you: IT WAS EPIC. Falling short to only the time I was biking in the cold/snow/rain of Lake Placid last year over memorial day, I have rarely been out on 2 wheels in conditions that crazy. Of course, the storm blew through in about 20 minutes, so by the time all of the crew was atop the mountain they didn’t quite believe us. No matter the weather, the shivers, the layers of clothes, the trashbags people wore though, you only saw smiles.
-Remember that time we got turned around on the trails in the desert? Okay, okay, I’ll take partial responsibility on this one. Granted, you can see civilization from most areas on the trails, so you’re never really far from safety, it is quite easy to get turned around on the rocky paths among the cacti! My group ended up taking a detour….or two…..or three. But eventually we made it back, giving good affirmation to the term of “adventure run” for the session……
My own motto for the week which I incessantly tried to impose on the rest of the group was ”Everything is cool! Everything is fun!” This motto is something I would hear Hillary singing to her puppies the week prior to camp (Other variations include “Everything is exciting!”). It got stuck in my head, and I realized it was a great thing to say to myself when things started to get…..interesting. As always, I am a firm believer that you can trick your mind into believing what it needs to until things actually start to turn around. And sure enough, I think every day had a moment where reminding ourselves about this was important.
Camp is a very special place and its one where attitude really does dictate your experience. And as Hillary reminded us, attitudes are contagious! We were so lucky to have a group of campers who’s attitudes were positive and up for any challenge we through their way. There was struggle — both mentally and physically — of course. But the group that comes to this camp comes because they want that struggle. It’s something that each person actually seeks out to find…..and, no doubt, you’ll find it at a camp lead by Hillary Biscay herself. But every person at that camp also knew that within themselves was the ability to overcome those struggles and be successful. There is no better feeling than 5 days of that leading into a race season.
Thank you to all the campers who made that week special and successful! Bring on the races!