It’s hard to believe we have closed out another Ironman Coeur d’Alene training camp and that the race is just around the corner — where has the time gone? This season we had 14 athletes and four coaches make their way over to scenic Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Each year TN Multisports solicits the opinions of past participants to ensure we are offering a world-class experience. Training camps are not designed to be easy, nor should they be so difficult the athlete will not be able to recover in time for their next training session. With input from all the TN coaches, we settled on an agenda that we felt was manageable for not only the athletes but the staff as well.
As always, camp kicked off with the mandatory meeting Thursday evening to go over the weekend itinerary, set expectations, and conduct a quick Q and A. On Friday morning the athletes participated in a race-specific swim session at the KROC Center directed by Teresa Nelson. One athlete’s take on the 60 minute session: “I really appreciated the time Teresa dedicated to our lane to answer any and all swim-related questions.” From the pool, all athletes made their way back to the hotel for a quick breakfast before meeting in the parking lot 60 minutes later to start their 112 mile bike ride. The weather forecast was not looking great leading up to Friday, so it was a welcome sign to leave the KROC Center with the glorious sun shining.
As part of all TN Multisports training camps, the bike ride is 100% supported. All athletes check in a special needs bag that they have access to at over five locations on the course. With the first of three groups scheduled to leave at 9 am, I set up the coolers with ice, Powerbar Perform, water, Coke, Snickers, etc., while Teresa and Vicki were leading the first two groups with Paul pulling up the rear with the third group. After making their way to the turnaround on I-95, the athletes were set up for a fast 20 miles back to town with a tailwind blowing at 10-12 mph.
Ironman CDA changed the bike course in 2012, so Teresa and I decided to treat the athletes to the old course for their second 56 mile loop. The old course is a thousand times more enjoyable with zero semi-trucks buzzing left and right. All athletes powered through the long hilly ride, which covers 100+ miles with over 5,700 feet of climbing. Next up: off the bike for a quick 30 minute transition run to make sure everyone remembered how to run. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t sleep much, but I can tell you I slept well that night as I did some serious chasing of some very fit athletes during the day!
Day #1 recap:
- 60 minute swim
- 100+ mile bike
- 20-30 minute T run
- One flat tire
- Mark’s favorite quote of the day: “Shit, have we been going uphill the entire 20 miles?!”
That Friday night it was off to dinner at Fire, a local favorite on Sherman Ave. It is nice to get out of training gear and have a good bite with our fellow athletes.
On Saturday it was back on the bikes for one loop of the new course out on I-95. For those who have never trained or raced in Coeur d’Alene, I-95 is very similar to I-90. There are tons of semis, crappy shoulder in places, and lots of debris. This day we were not as lucky with the weather as it was 43 degrees to start with a steady rain. By the time athletes made the 4k climb, it was a constant 10-15 mph headwind with moderate rain the entire way to the Sutter Road turnaround. Teresa was driving the support vehicle and she had a happy trigger finger, taking many photos of the athletes working hard (and working harder to stay warm!). The turnaround made for some fast splits headed back to town. One group covered the 20 mile section 16 minutes faster coming back than heading out (ouch).
For all those racing Ironman Coeur d’Alene on Sunday, take note: pacing loop #1 is imperative. I can 100% guarantee many will implode if they go out too hard on loop #1. All athletes went 40+ miles and again, there was only one flat tire to report. WIN!
After a two hour lunch break/recovery nap, it was time to head down to transition to start the long run. It is absolutely critical to practice on this run course as there is a nice little hill athletes will tackle twice on race day. Vicki and Teresa headed out with the support car and made the long run extremely enjoyable for all athletes. The key to nailing the run course in CDA is staying within your HR zones and not getting carried away going up and over the 0.6 mile hill. Not only do you have to crest the hill, you have to run down the back side to hit the timing mat and head right back up. Even split this run course and you have run yourself up the board. All athletes ran 1:30-2:30. Mark’s favorite quote of the day: “Man, this camp is hard! I have climbed Mt. Rainier but this is HARD.”
On Sunday, once again it was back on the bikes for the Higgins Point out and back (the opening 18 miles of bike course). A quick transition and it was off to do a little open water swim in the frigid 54 degree temps of lake CDA. Let me just say this is the first time in four Coeur d’Alene camps that we have attempted to get in the water. The only reason we did this was so the athletes could get used to very cold water. The past two races the water has been recorded at 53 and 55 degrees. At camp we were right in the middle at 54 degrees. 10-15 minutes was all that we needed to realize this would be a cold swim no matter how much it warmed up the next month.
Lake CDA has the ability to drop 4-5 degrees in a 48 hour period very easily. A few didn’t get past their shoulders but heck, I don’t blame them. Much discussion was made over the new “self-seeded” swim start; I guess we’ll have to see how that plays out. Camp concluded after the swim and I am pretty sure all athletes and coaches got exactly what they bargained for.
On behalf of the entire staff at TN Multisports, I would like to congratulate each and every athlete for not only completing a very intense camp but for doing it with a smile on their faces. I can feel good about saying every person was out of their comfort zone at one point or another during camp. I would also like to thank everyone that attended for trusting in TN Multisports to provide a top-level experience that they will remember and cherish for some time to come. We’d also like to give a special shout out to our sponsors. Powerbar, thank you for the massive support, you are the best. Thanks also to Brooke and Reed at Speedy Reedy, the best tri shop around.
And last but not least, a HUGE thanks to all the athletes for making this one hell of a training camp! Next up, the official Ironman Whistler training camp July 25th-28th.
Here are a few stats from the weekend:
- Started camp with 1,004 Powerbar gels
- Started camp with 10 containers of Powerbar Perform
- Started camp with over 250 Powerbar recovery bars
- Started camp with over 250 Powerbars
- Total flat tires for 18 riders covering over 2,200 miles: 2
- Bonks that required hitching a ride in the SAG wagon: 0!! (first time ever!)
- Workouts that started late: 0
- Bike time: 11.5+ hours
- Run time: 2:30+ hours
- Swim time: 1:10+ hours