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IronCamp January 2016 Day 3

Today the IronCamp programme got into full swing, with the first of the significant biking session. 104km's in total at fairly easy pace, starting from our base at Puerto Del Carman then onto the short climb to Femes, onwards to



Day 5: Lost in the Lava Fields

Summary of the day

Well the day started straight forward enough with an easy 40 minute session of open water swimming with some race entry and exits into and out of the water including trying to perfect our “dolphining” skills. Then it was back to the apartment to chill out and relax for a couple of hours prior to the larger session of the day.

This main session would have us return to our remote base in the lava fields to further explore one of the routes that had previously been laid out by my coach. The route was designed to be scenic and challenging with the expectation of us completing at least 20km in around the 2 hour mark. The first five km started well enough with us heading out along a trail over the lichen encrusted lava fields towards the first main feature in our path.

From a distance the lichen does give the black lava more of a rolling moorland type of appearance, and it’s not until you get up close and personal that you realise that this "young’ rock is anything but pleasant or inviting. its generally very course and sharp and capable of easily shredding anything it comes into contact with be it your kit, shoes or skin.

As navigator for this session my Garmin was telling us that we were safely on track and with the kms ticking away quite nicely and gradually cranking up the pace prior to our first ascent of the day. On reaching our first volcano (which we were due to circumnavigate) was pretty much were it all started to go wrong. the watch indicated that we had gone off course and that we were now minus 18 metres adrift of the correct course. This in my head made no logical sense other then perhaps it the minus number had a bearing on our elevation. It was at this point that I suggested that we should get back on course by ascending the volcano face. There was a narrow track craved into the side and we made a slow march upwards. The wind was howling around as we scrambled up the face trying to avoid lacerating our hands open on the Pumice stone, I kept staring at the Garmin and the “off course” numbers just weren’t moving, as we headed up the vista opening up before us was pretty spectacular although I confess it wasn’t really my primary focus at that point in time.

A final push up some rain gullies saw us onto the top lip of the crater, the numbers hadn’t moved but the view both inside the crater and across the wide open expanse was really breath taking, that of course might also have been the wind which was relentlessly trying to batter us off the top. The stats on the watch were even more adrift now than they had been at the bottom, and it was clear that my bright idea was not the solution to getting us back on track. We were venturing in the realm where few tourists tread and with good reason, this wasn’t for the faint hearted. The top lip of the crater was about a metre in width but shrank down to barely shoulder width in places. With the wind so strong and driving rain it was difficult to easily communicate with each other and picking out a path around the crater gradually got harder and harder until of course it fizzled out completely. This left us in the position of descending down the various rain gullies and loose rock without mortally injuring ourselves. Slowly and very carefully we got back to the base of the volcano, needless to say the watch still said we were off course. we tried a few more times to pick up the route be it wasn’t having any off it and eventually it was with heavy hearts that we retraced our steps back to the car. After dropping off a few bits we carried on from the car down a trail we had used previously to make up the full amount of time.

In terms of quality workout it didn’t rate that highly, however, from an adventure and near death experience probably up there at around 9 out of 10. We will be back later in the week to conquer the volcano run, perhaps with a little more study of the route before hand.

Training session: Swim

Session Plan:

30 to 40 minutes, practice entry and exits into the water incorporate some dolphining practice around 2 x 15 minutes of light swimming.

Session Execution and Report:

Pretty straight forward, really got the heart rate up doing the race starts, still feel a little flat when doing my dolphin dives.

Training session: Run

Session Plan:

2 hours steady pace on the lava fields, try to pick up the pace on the flat, explore and enjoy

Session Execution and Report:

made up to 2 hours but not quite how I had imagined


  • Swim:
  • Run: