Four months of a UK winter is tough work especially when trying to get some solid training in for the forth coming race season. So it was a welcome sight to see the endless blue sky and sparkling ocean as the plane came down to land at Arecefie airport in Lanzarote.
Ahead was 10 days of getting uncomfortable in the heat and winds in preparation for Challenge Fuerteventura a half Iron distance race on the next door island.
As ever I was joined by my training buddy Billy Hodgson whose parents had recently purchased an apartment in Puerto Del Carmen which was to be our base, (Thank you, Emma and Paul) Our stay did have one or two conditions one of which was that no cleated bike shoes were to be worn on in the apartment which is a top tip if you don't want to upset your neighbours on the floor below.
Being only a few yards away from the official Ironman Lanzarote swim start meant easy access to open water swimming, as in previous years it would be a pretty steep familiarity curve for the next few days getting back into the groove with swimming in the sea. In addition it was the the first time I had to thoroughly test out my newly commissioned Snugg Slipstream Hyperflex wetsuit, (thanks to Malcolm and the team at Snugg wetsuits) the fit of the suit was amazing and where before I felt like I had be shoe horned into my previous suits this one just seemed to bend and flex in line with the way my body moved. In the water the neoprene was warm and buoyant and without the bulk I am a definite convert to the made to measure suit.
In previous years of acclimatisation training in North Cyprus the training schedule had been quite "forgiving". However, it seemed that this time round Darryl Carter our Be Kool Racing Coach had set us on a somewhat steeper path, Certainly on paper it looked harder, but when it came to knocking out the sessions they came fairly easily, which is probably testament to to his ability to read and progress his athletes as opposed to our skills.
The Canaries are renowned for their weather, hot and windy is generally how Lanzarote is described. Back in the November training camp it had been a shock to the system trying to battle against the relentless head and cross winds on the bike as well as the bizarre feeling of being pushed up a hill if you were lucky enough to be climbing with the wind behind you. This time around whilst the temperature was hotter and the winds just as relentless, I seemed to relax more easily into the environment knocking out one of our familiar trips out to Timanfya and San Barteloome with no real dramas.
The temperature and wind speed seem to both be in parity at the moment with temperature rising to about 27 degrees by about 1500hrs and the wind around 20mph gusting up to 27mph. Its amazing how after a few days of training in the heat one gradually gets into the groove, plus the constant need to have a bottle at hand at all times to keep the hydration up.
Over the next few days the training will enter into its Taper phase getting the body fully rested and prepared for the race ahead, updates to follow on that soon.