The preparation camp in cycling heaven – Gran Canaria

Z ekipo triatloncev ŠRK Celje Z ekipo triatloncev ŠRK Celje

The first plan of preparation for assault on victory at RAAM 2013 included the preparation race in Florida, the Sebring 24h Cycling race, which I had to cancel due to budget limitations.

The Triathlon Team from Celje saved me with the invitation to join them at the preparation camp at Gran Canaria, which was very cheap (less than 800EUR for 16 days). So, on February 12th, in the middle of snow-storm we headed towards the airport in Bergamo (Italy). Worried sick that we will miss our plane, because the roads were not free of snow, and the driver was driving a measly 45km/h. We had luck, as the roads cleared by the Italian border and we made it in time for the flight to Las Palmas. Some 5 hours later we were taking our winter jackets off in the sunshine and 25°C heat.

Because of bad winter conditions in Slovenia I haven’t been training on the road much and the main goal of the preparation camp was to do as many base kilometers. There is no flat terrain on Gran Canaria, so I knew it would include lots of climbing. The guys couldn’t believe that I in my 27 years of cycling haven’t been on Gran Canaria yet. It was overwhelming to see how many cyclists and triathletes train on the roard of GC. The roads in every direction were simply full of cyclists and the drivers were very tolerant, which was to expect considering the turistic nature of the Islands.

Unfortunately, the camp didn’t start as I wished for. During the flight they manager (again?) to mess up my rear derraliur, which took some time (and the mechanic in Maspalomas) to fix. To top this missfortune up, I began feeling very bad during the second training ride. Even so, I wanted to finish the training according my plan, so I did the whole 160km. After the training I could hardly walk up to my room, as I was feeling dizzy and powerless. The thermometer told the whole story, as I had the temperature of over 38°C. After I rested a bit, I went to the nearby drugstore, where I bought some spanish medicine for a flu and cold. For two days I only slept and drank tea and rested and hoped it would go away in a few days. My spirit was on an all time low and I was even considering flying back to Slovenia, because I didn’t see a sense in coming to GC to lie in bad and sleep whole days. At that scenario ma dreams of winning RAAM would dissapear in smoke, as this bloc of training was one of the most important in my training schedule. Kind of a shock therapy for the organism to wake up from all the indoor trainer miles and prepair the base for all the later work.

Luckily for me, Irma knows me sometimes better than myself, she insisted that I stay, get better and make as much as I can. The winter in Slovenia was in fact getting worse at the time and there was no point for me of going home. She was right, as she usually is, thank you <3! Luckily the temperature did go down by the end of day 2 and on the third day, I went out riding slowly just to see if I am OK or not. It was either get sick(er) or get better. I was still coughing badly and not feeling at ease, but the temperature stayed bellow 37°C even after the ride. So in next days I increased the mileage and when also my morning pulse returned to my normal (under 40/min), it was a clear sign I can “start” the real preparation. Those lost days are not returning anyway, but it was time to ride and ride and ride...

In 13 rides (2 before the illnes and 11 after it), I covered 2355km with more than 40.000m of climbing. When possible, I joined my roommates triathletes for the first part of the training and added a few hours after they finished. My rides were from 6h to 10h long. I did two loops around the island, with Palmitos loop added at the end. Wanting to do the most, even my recovery ride was 160km long. ;) I finished the camp very satisfied, even if I had planned for a few hundreds of kilometers more. What can you do? You just cannot fight your body and the illness, but I salvaged the situation and got the most of it. I am sure I will be back at the Canarian Islands, but for now I am hoping the Spring comes quickly and takes the snow away, so I can continue my preparation on Slovenian roads. Only 3 more months until start of RAAM...

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