Tag Archives: hot tub

Day 5 of Pyrenees Tri Camp with Embrace Sports

5 May

Day five had been labelled as ‘Mystery Monday’ – essentially it was a chance to change plan according to the weather, so it was decided that we would tackle Col D’Aspin.

Day 5 plan

Day 5 plan

The day started with a clear sky, so I was keen to get my trainers on.

farmhouse panorama

Morning run

Unfortunately, I was struggling to run because of my bruised leg and the pain in my arm. We got to a turning point and were given the option of extending the run into the woods. Graeme encouraged me and told me that it would be fun, but I was conscious that I would hold everyone up, so I refused.

morning run

Early morning run with Graeme

In hindsight, this was a mistake as the others who went into the woods seemed to have a lot of fun, but I was aware that my lack of ability meant that I was constantly holding the group up 😦

IMG_2639 IMG_2638

(There was an obstacle course in the woods, so people had a lot of fun there… including, Louise [above]).

We had porridge for breakfast again, but I was physically sick with fear. I was absolutely terrified about getting on my bike again. Fortunately, Graeme had thought hard about a plan and had worked out how all of the coaches could get out on their bikes and be able to pick me up form the top of the mountain.

I put my trainers in a bag and then we cycled up to a nearby industrial estate so that we could practise transitions. Again I felt frustrated by my injuries as I’ve practised my mount and spent a lot of time on my dismount (I’ve even used it in all of the races that I’ve done since I was in Lagos). Unfortunately, my inability to put any weight on my right arm meant that it was really difficult for me to balance myself properly on the bike. As soon as my arm has recovered, I’m going to find a quiet path/road somewhere that I can practise this.

Transition training

After the brief transition training session, we were joined by Louise and Bernadette, who’d had a little rest. We set off from the industrial estate and, before long, we were at a long downhill. My heart was in my mouth and I know that I was going very slowly, but I was really afraid.

Trip to Aspin

Finally, we were at the base of Aspin, where we were met by Alan with the van. Louise was doubtful that she would climb the mountain, but I encouraged her that we could do it. The start of the Col was quite gentle, so it lulled me into a false sense of security. I kept going and was determined that I would make it to the top, but was wondering when Alan would come past.

Rear view on the way to Aspin

Part way up the mountain, I could see a couple of men herding cows across the road. In my mind, I was urging the cows on, as I didn’t want to lose my momentum. Fortunately, they finished crossing the road just in time for me to go past.

For some reason, I thought the climb was 5km, which always sounds manageable as it’s the distance of parkrun. However, I realised that it was actually 12km (I had both numbers in my head). When I got to 5km, I felt that I was doing OK, so I continued.

Some time later, I saw a crazy cyclist coming down the hill at over 70km/h (43mph). I couldn’t believe how fast the figure in black was moving… until I realised that it was Graeme. He was heading down to get the van from Alan.

5km from the top, Graeme was waiting in a lay by with the van. It was a relief to see him. I needed to drink some water, but couldn’t reach the bottle with my bad arm. I decided to stop for a minute to stretch my legs and have a drink. I was a little worried about trying to start again as it’s never easy to clip in and get moving on an incline. Graeme helped me to set off again and said that he’d see me at the top.

My confidence started to fade, as it was incredibly hot, so I found a wall about 3km from the top (just in case I couldn’t unclip) and then drank some more water. I was aware that I was going slowly and getting tired in the heat.

At 1km from the top, I could see the summit, but it felt so far away. I paused again in the shade of a tree to drink the last of my water, before doing the final climb.

Reaching the summit of Col D'Aspin

Reaching the summit of Col D’Aspin © Embrace Sports

I could see my fellow triathletes waiting for me and felt so pleased that I had conquered the Col.


Made it!

Made it! © Embrace Sports

I was grateful that my bike is incredibly light as I was still unable to use my right arm properly!

I was grateful that my bike is incredibly light as I was still unable to use my right arm properly!

I wondered whether I would be able to cycle down, but knowing that there were some steep drops and hairpins, I knew that I wouldn’t be able t managed it, so I was relieved to get back in the van with Graeme and head back. I did wonder whether I would get out at the bottom for the final ride home, but in the end we headed straight back to the farm-house,

After arriving back early from Col D’Aspin, I helped Graeme in the kitchen. It was BBQ night, so there was plenty of chopping to be done. I wasn’t able to chop cabbage, but I was able to peel and slice the eggs, chop feta and prepare potatoes for wedges. I also made the veggie kebabs for Kat and I.

BBQ salads

BBQ Pyrenees

For me, this was the most successful day of the holiday and I felt a good sense of achievement.

Day 3 of Pyrenees Tri Camp with Embrace Sports

3 May

There was a slight change to the original schedule as we had already visited the sports shop, so the core class was moved to Saturday.

Saturday's plan

Saturday’s plan

After eating some porridge, some of the group decided to cycle to the lake. I was still injured, so I made the sensible decision to go to the lake in the minibus and I didn’t swim as I knew I would be unable to put my wetsuit on. I was bitterly disappointed as I really wanted to be able to show how much my swimming had improved since November.

The lake looked beautiful: calm and clear. About 200m out were some rocks, which made a convenient turning point.

The lake

The lake

I watched everyone get into the water and do some laps. I had been told that the lake was quite shallow, but was surprised when I was able to see Graeme standing near to the rocks.

Alan and Stu at the lake

Alan and Stu at the lake


Jonno, Neill and Bernadette


Helen and Louise

I went for a walk around the lake and was amused by the signs prohibiting swimming. The coaches had already mentioned that we would see these and that as part of an organised group, we would be perfectly safe and that there was no reason why we shouldn’t swim.

No swimming!

No swimming!

Kat, Graeme and Neil

Kat, Graeme and Neil

Some people said they thought the lake was very cold, but when I dipped my hand in, I thought it felt significantly warmer than Lakeside.

When we got back, some people used the hot tub. It was suggested that it might help my arm, but I couldn’t face trying to get changed again as it was painful.

hot tub party

Helen, Poppy, Alex, Kat, Jonno and Elena

After lunch, Neil went through some basic bike maintenance with us. I’ve watched people demonstrate how to replace an inner tube on many occasions now, but I’ve never had to do it myself (and hope that I never have to!) Neil also explained about how to ensure that your brakes are set up correctly.

Bike maintenance 101 with Neil

Bike maintenance 101 with Neil

In the afternoon, everyone went out for a 35km bike ride to visit the larger lake in the vicinity. Unfortunately, my arm was too painful for me to join them, so I just stayed at the farmhouse. After everyone had gone, I realised that I should have asked for my bike to be put on the turbo trainer. Instead, I took the opportunity to organise some of my possessions and laundry as well as reading some emails.

Trip to the lake without me

Trip to the lake without me

I felt quite sad that I was missing out on the fun, but hoped that some rest would mean that I could join in with everything the next day.

I changed into my running clothes, so that I would be able to join in with the brick run, but it wasn’t easy as my arm throbbed with every step. It was a 50 minute session:

  • 15 minute warm up
  • 10×1 minute hard with equal recovery
  • 15 minute warm down

We then had a core session with Kat. I was unable to do a plank, as I couldn’t put weight on my arm, but I was able to join in with most of the class, which helped to make me feel like I was part of the group again.

Core Pyrenees

In the evening we went out for dinner in a French restaurant. As expected, there wasn’t really a choice for vegetarians – fortunately, I now eat omelettes, so I was OK. I was also good and resisted dessert as I didn’t feel that I had earned it.

French restaurant

French restaurant 2

I enjoyed getting to know Elena and Alex, the Russian couple, a bit more. It was really interesting to learn that they are Event Directors of Moscow parkrun and that parkrun has changed their lives in the same way that it has changed mine!