The List

The off season adventures of Sam and Flic

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Camp Sweat & Nonsense: Day 4

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The final day. How has it come around so quickly? Don’t want to go home. Especially as it looks miserable and cold back in Blighty.

So time to swim again today and this time we are going to do it properly. Trisuit up and head down to the beach. Tentative start then we swim out to a buoy that must be at least a mile offshore do four reps between two buoys a minimum of 500m apart and then swim back to shore. Pretty pleased with ourselves. Barefoot run back to the apartment. Struggle out of wet trisuits and really struggle into dry tiny Lycra (change needed for ultimate tanning apparel on our upcoming bike). Sam sees a side of Flic that no friend should really see but after yesterday’s vistas nothing blinds anymore.

Finally squeezed into our Lycra then it’s onto our bikes for today’s set. 20 mins “easy” – its all uphill so there is no real easy. Then as if that wasn’t already hard enough the plan calls for 40 minutes in race mode. That means pushing as hard as you can until you a) vomit b) sweat buckets through your eyelids c) go blind d) dribble uncontrollably or e) all of the above.

Pretty easy then. Erm. Then what should be the fun bit. The descent. But the descents are hard, especially if you don’t have any brake pads left (Flic). But the love for the speed takes over for Flic. Speed + fear + clamped on claws = fun times. For Flic.
Sam, not so much. A little. Maybe.
Back down in just 25 mins. Not as much wind as Thursday so the wind wobbles are controllable. Still a vibrating road though. Not so enjoyable this time.

Then it’s sunbathing and bike packing time. This means finding any wind-free slither of sun we can and lying in it. Oh and lathering yourself up with either Coconut Oil (Flic) or Baby Oil (Sam). There is still a competition going on remember!

Time for more chorizo. Not sure how many we’ve eaten. Wonder if there’s horse in it? Tasty nonetheless.

Sunbathe some more and start thinking about checking out. Please don’t make us go home.

Final session of the day. 45 mins of running. First we deposit our bikes and bags with the lovely Susanne. She looks at us.
“Are you going back to England like that?”
We are in tiny shorts and sports bras.
Er. Maybe.
Run first though.

Somehow it seems we are running back towards the nudest beach. How’d that happen? Oh well. We’ve seen it all now.

15 mins easy. And we actually are running easy for a change. But that’s because we know what’s coming next. 15 mins of sprints. 30 secs hard, 30 secs back into the wind. Love it. Nice to get some speed back. Apart from when we run out of road and start having to do the hard sprints into the wind. Arggghhhh.
Not even any dingle dangles to distract us. Blessing? Maybe.
Then the “cool down” is 15 mins running head first into the beeping wind. Urgh. Won’t be sad to say goodbye to that, but we love it hard so wouldn’t have it any other way really.

Can’t believe that’s it. All over. Maybe a quick five mins more in the sun.
Good job too.
Guy at the airport: “Where were you two staying?”
Us: “El Medano”
Guy: “Remind me to stay there next time. It was only 28 where I was so no tan.”
Us: “Er. It was 22 (minus five with the wind) where we were.”

If there’s one thing we know how to do well. It’s tan.
And sweat.
And do nonsense.

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Camp Sweat & Nonsense: Day 3

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Swim day. Oh no. Not our favourite. But on go the trisuits. In goes a sharp intake of breath and we head down to the beach. And so the excuses begin. First off. The waves are too big and dangerous. Second. There’s rocks so we can’t even get in the water. Third. There’s no other idiots swimming. Ah, bollox. There’s some people. Hmmm. Fourth? Windsurfers and kitesurfers might decapitate us? Right. Let’s just do this. We almost rode up a mountain with absolutely no fuel. We can do a little swim in the sea surely.

And there it is. The first of many sightings of nakedness today that we really don’t need to see.

Right. In we get. Slowest race start EVER. Cue one or two girly squeals, mainly from Sam.
Eventually we get going. No bashing into each other, which is an improvement. Water clear, not entirely warm and not entirely flat but we swim for what feels like a long time. In fact it’s probably only 5 mins. Stop. Chat. Keep going. Stop. Turn around. Go back. Hard to know how far you’ve gone when you don’t know times and there’s no real distance markers. We’ve had enough so easily talk ourselves out of the water and back to the apartment for a second breakfast and some competitive sunbathing.

Competitive sunbathing is actually competitive wind resisting. Covered in goose pimples as the wind makes the 22 degree heat feel like minus 5. We battle on though. A race is a race.

Big run of the day coming up so the sun (wind) bathing has to come to an end at midday.

Shorts on, trainers on and out we go. No racing today, 90 minute run. Steady Eddie. Lovely gentle run out to Montaña Roja. Then it’s time to climb. Being us, we find the steepest elevation and start scrambling up that. It’s not advisable to do a run on loose volcanic rock in your Nike Frees. Not awesome for grippage but at least our feet are working hard. Get almost to the top and see a track. Ah. Carry on up it to the top. Awesome views. Decide to do hill reps. Down the track we go. Weeeeeeeeeeeeee. All the way to the bottom. Turn around. This will be easier than the scramble. Off we set. Ooh this is fun. Ah. Actually this is hard. Legs don’t work. Hmmm. Pause. Giggle. Pull ourselves together then push on up. Hurrah! Down we go again, weaving in and out of hikers. Getting a bit busy so we carry on off road exploring. And boy oh boy do we see some sights. Quite by accident. Honest. First off is the brownest of bottoms hidden away in a little cove. We take a pic. Busted. Giggles must carry in the wind! Run on. Sam face plants. Obviously distracted thinking back to the naked man. On we run. Ooh this is nice. Flat. Ah. Sand. Ouch. Run a bit more. Turn around. Holy moly wind. Can. Not. Move. Struggle on. Arggghhhh. Our eyes. Another naked man. This time a massive Buddha style chap, luckily for us just about covering his bits. Run on. Arghhhhh. Naked old man. Sam gets a full frontal. Flic gets the saggy behind. Note to selves: Do not run through naturist beach again.

To calm our nerves from all the nakedness (we’re terribly innocent after all) we decide we better do a bit more sunbathing. Not a great deal of sun on the roof though and even less that is out of the wind but we find a tiny slither that is sheltered. Not enough room to sit or lie so Flic being the pro tanner she is stands up against the wall pretending she’s lying down. Genius.

Sunbathe and faff for a bit then it’s time for a strength session. Flic’s specialism. Find a kids playground. Boot the kids out and then get to work.

Warm up with mobility, balance and dynamic stretching. One of us is good at this. The other looks either like your dad at the school disco or someone having a mild epileptic fit.

Quite a lot of these involve bending forward and sticking your ass out which Flic potentially should not being doing in a kid’s playground in the ridiculously short shorts she has on.

Then it’s on to the main set. Five trisets of lower, upper then core exercises using the playground equipment.

Seesaw – had to have faith in each other that we wouldn’t let go and knock each other out. Surprised that worked!

At least 15 gazillion million types of jumpy exercisey thingys. Picked out especially for Sam as she loves them so much and is so graceful and was never called an elephant ballerina when she was little.

Lots of fun on the swings. Quite expert swingers it seems.

Lots of giggles and hard work. A perfect end to another fun and sweaty and nonsense filled day on our awesome camp.

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Camp Sweat & Nonsense: Day 2

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Some how we managed to sleep for almost 9hrs. How did that happen? Sam only ever sleeps between 4 and 5hrs and Flic never any more than 6.5. Still, we needed it for what today would bring.

Today is Mount Teide day.

Bikes and Giant ass packs fully loaded with eats. Spare inner tubes. Tools. Map. Water bottles full. Everything we could possibly need. Off we set.

Out along the coastal road. Flat. Ish. Wind behind us. This is more like it. Then at about 10k the climb starts. Back into the lowest gear and grind it out.

About a third of the way up the climb, Sam says to Flic: “Shit, I’ve forgotten any money.”
Flic to Sam: “Shit. Me too.”

Hmmm. What now? Too far up to turn back but we will need more water and knowing us, more food. And we were looking forward to the much hyped coffee stop at Vilaflor. Hmmm. We decide we’ll just have to tough it out. Idiots. Standard.

Climb some more. Mostly it’s awesome. The views are stunning. But every so often a dark moment washes over us. We both go very, very quiet. Not something that happens much, especially if we don’t have Twitter to be messing around on.

Relentless climbing. 6% feeling like flats again but 9% somehow feels like 20%. Urgh. How much further until our first stop at Vilaflor?

See a sign. 6 more km. Someone told us it was only 40k to Mount Teide. Hmmm. We are already at 34km. And the sign that said 6km to Vilaflor also said 33 to Teide. We try and come up with reasonings for this not to be a km measurement. Fail.

Suddenly feeling very sleepy and out of water. Major dark moment. But then see 1km to Vilaflor sign. Hallelujah. Ah, but we’ve got no deniro. Surely someone will just fill our water bottles? Nope. Apparently not. People in the cafe at Vilaflor not as nice to cyclists as the guys at the top of Box Hill. Sent on our way.

What to do? We won’t make it to the top on nothing. Are we stupid enough to try that? Potentially. Then, as if sent from heaven, a group of lovely Scottish people come and talk to us to find out what these two mentalist girls are doing. We say we are climbing to the top of the mountain but have forgotten all our money so might not make it. They start handing over all their change. We say, we can’t take your money. They insist. Actually fallen in love with them. They may have quite literally saved our lives.

Like children that have just been given their pocket money we head off to the nearest shop to see what we can buy. Flic comes out with a 5 litre bottle of water.

“What?”, she says when Sam looks quizzically at her, “it was only 90 cents.”

Next stop coffee. A language mistake sees two white coffees ordered. Error and €3 wasted. Sam downs both as milk goes nowhere near Flic. Two black coffees ordered and two oranges. Almost human again.

Now time to get back on our bikes and continue climbing. Steeper now. Gradient seems to hover between 7% and 12%. Legs are ruined. But at least we’ve got some fuel in our bodies and on our person now so it’s time to use today’s mantra – Shut up legs – and just keep climbing. Start seeing lots of cyclists heading down the mountain. Jealous. Altitude also starting to have an effect. Hard to take big deep breaths and we are feeling sick. Flic’s superior strength and power sees her pull away a bit while Sam continues to grind it out (Sam: I was totally just looking at the scenery not struggling. Honest.)
We regroup at a vista point that puts us above the clouds. Glorious. A quick couple of mins here to comfort each other that we are both feeling sick, seeing stars and are in a generous amount of pain. Brilliant. Shall we carry on up then? Yeah.

Off we climb. A few more dark moments and then we see it. A sign that says we are on El Teide. Big smiles break out across our faces. We’ve bloody done it. But the challenge is to go all the way to the cable car station. So on we go. Ooh. Some flats. Ooh and some descents. Ah, some more climbing. Then after 61km and 4hrs 18mins of almost entirely climbing we pull in at the cable car stop. Whoop whoop. High five big hug. Smug feeling. Amazing.

Like celebrities up here. Photos taken, someone asking if we are Team Sky and another not believing Flic’s done it on a TT. Ha.

Spend 10-15 mins soaking up the sun and views. And enjoying the mildly vibrating road.

Now it’s time to head down. But there’s a bit more climbing to do first. It seems to go up for longer than it went down but eventually we are ready to descend. Hmmm. Better put some clothes on as it is bloody freezing. Off we whizz.

Trip back down to Vilaflor takes about a 10th of the time it took to go up. We still have some of the lovely Scots’ money left so buy a chorizo (our second of the day. Oops) and two more coffees. Warm up then back out on the road for the whizz down. Head back to El Medano through Granadilla. Descent is cool. Lots of switchbacks but it is ridiculously cold and quite scary. Gripping on for dear life. And there’s that bloody wind again that rattles us around on the road. It causes us to physically wobble on our bikes. Flic uses the super quads to stop the wind wobbles. Sam just gets a fit of the giggles. Not quite as effective.

48km of descending. 1.32 hrs to get back to sea level. Almost as difficult as climbing. But finally we are home. We delicately clamber off our bikes. Ruined. Hug. Wonder what the Hell we are doing. Broken. Then reminisce. Giggle. How on earth do we get ourselves into stupid situations but always come out the other side having survived it all?

This time we have those four great Scots to thank. And perhaps our sheer bloody mindedness.

Already looking forward to tomorrow’s adventure.

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Camp Sweat & Nonsense: Day 1

Ridiculously early start even for us. Is it appropriate to have eaten four breakfasts before 8am? Hmmm.
15 visits to the sports luggage man before eventually being able to put our overstuffed bike boxes on the flight at Gatwick Airport.

Sleazyjet flight average. Bit of nodding dog action. But hoo bloody rah, here comes the sun. Touch down in Tenerife. Bright sunshine, 20 degrees. It is clear that Flic is itching to reduce her clothing levels to near minimal.

Bit of a palaver getting the bikes back. Last lot through the system. Eventually we get them. Didn’t help that it was in the basement and we were desperate for sun. Did help that the lift we were in had been graffitied to say 69 – a special reminder of Team 69 in Monaco (Sam, Flic and Troy).

The lovely Susanne comes and picks us up from the airport and insists on dragging Flic’s heavy bike box. Er has she not seen Flic’s guns? What about helping Sam out!

Get to the apartment and oh my god. We have lucked out. €55 a night for a beautiful apartment with roof terrace and hot tub. Boom!

Roof terrace is only accessible by a spiral staircase but that doesn’t stop us from hauling our bikes up there in bits to build. The sun is out after all!

Good news for Flic as Ferg is filthy and there’s a shower up here. We decide its a bike shower, not person shower.

Bikes being built. Sam’s almost done but then starts pacing around. The idiot thinks she’s lost a bit of her bike because her saddle won’t stay up. Half an hour of combing the apartment on her hands and knees follows. Flic soaks up the sun. Taking the lead in the tanning comp. Maybe she’s hidden the supposed missing part. Some time later, Flic points out that Sam was just putting the screw in the wrong hole…again.

So after discovering free wifi and the obligatory tweeting, Facebooking and more tweeting. Then maybe one more tweet. We stop faffing, get our bikes and head out onto the open road. When we say open we mean uphill. The training plan says 1-2 hours easy spin. Hmm. Well we are in our easiest gear. Start climbing. Nice and steady. The climbing is relentless but when the gradient drops to 6% it’s amazing how it feels like a flat road. Today’s route is out of El Medano, through Castro San Isidro, then up to Granadilla. Stop here for a quick drink break and photo opportunity. Mild error in judgment as now we have a hill start. Keep on climbing and then turn off towards San Miguel and some welcome downhills. The scenery is amazing. Not all downhill back to El Medano though, a few sneaky climbs, then the bloody wind hits. From all directions. Cue some horizontal riding, serious core training and literally white knuckle riding. So it turns out even if we do want to take it easy we’ve managed to pick the windiest place on the island to stay.

Back to our awesome apartment. Straight up the spiral staircase to the roof terrace. There is one small square of sunlight left. Two chairs. Two sun worshippers. It’s not that warm. Goosepimples. But the sun is out and there is a tanning competition going on here.

But we also have a run to do so we better get our asses back into gear.

Sam to Flic: “That’s disgusting.”
Flic to Sam: “I’ll sort my dirty bucket afterwards.”

Er. We’ll leave you to decipher what that means (note: read back to the dirty Ferg bit you dirty buggers).

So, shorts on. Trainers on and out into the streets we head. Training plan says 30 mins easy run. Now you see the problem with that is that both of us think the other is running easy and deep down inside we are probably trying to out run each other. That’s great for training. Not so great for sticking to the plan. That said, the run is awesome. Out along the boardwalk then into the sand and over some moon-style sand dunes. Turn around at 15 mins and there’s that bloody wind again!

Battle on. Turn to each other.
“Is this you running easy?”
“No, I’m trying to keep up with you.”
“Er, I’m trying to keep up with you.”
“Oh. Shall we slow it down?”

We didn’t.
Run to supermarket. Choff chorizo.
Eggs.
Now what?
Hot tub?
Oh, go on then.

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