It is the start of July and the weather is hot, but members of our triathlon team, Training Tri, decided to join Julio and I for a practice run of the proposed Alcala La Real half distance triathlon. As the weather is hot at this time of the year (the actual race being proposed for end of May or latest first week in June) we decided to do the swim and cycle on Saturday and the run on Sunday and we also shorted the distances a bit to accommodate the weather.
Julio and I woke around 5.30am and had a quick coffee and toast before heading into town to meet Custodio (our friend and support driver for the day) and Nono (owner of our local bike shop, Voy en Bike and the future race director). We drove to the swim start which was at the Embalse de Cubillas, Granada, where the other team members (Mayca, Paqui, Javier, Oscar, Thomas) and the Training Tri bosses, (Pako and Carlitos) arriving around 8am. We were also joined by friends from Alcala La Real Mechy and Javi, whose young son Alejandro was joining for the swim. We also had another friend (Luis) who kindly agreed to support us cyclist by riding behind on his motor bike with some provisions of water and gels in case of need. Finally, Tonie (who is also a member of Training Tri) with her son Oliver joined to support the swim on a canoe to provide help if needed and as the buoys were a little hard to spot a much-needed focal point to follow. We started the swim about 8.30am, covering approximately 1,200m. We then set off for the 70km bike (cutting the route by 20km), first climbing up to the town of Colomera and then after a short downhill up again to follow the road along the lake of Colomera and down into the town of Benalua de la Villas. We turned right out of town and followed the road for the slightly shorter distance than would be for the race, turning at 10km to then go back down the same road and heading to Alcala La Real. We had two stops at what would be the proposed drink stations for the race where we enjoyed some much-needed shade, oranges, melon slices, bananas and gels, together with the chance to refill water bottles. As it was not a race, we all stayed pretty much together, re-grouping at the drink stations and tops of the climbs, etc, and arrived together into Alcala La Real around 1.30pm, tired, h0t, but having enjoyed a nice day of training together.
We went directly to lunch at the Shell Garage (where they have a large restaurant which for the group offered a Menu del Día – a three course lunch for 10 Euros – not usually available on the weekends).
Following a good lunch, we all went up to the house (Cortijo Los Olivos) for a much-needed shower, and siesta. Tonie and Oliver arrived around 5pm at the house to join us for dinner and to run with us the next day.
Around 6.30pm we all met up in the kitchen for coffee and banana bread and relaxed at the house for a bit longer before heading into town for dinner at around 8pm. Pako and Carlitos went to the local supermarket before dinner to buy some drinks and snacks to enjoy on the pool terrace back at the cortijo later. So, after dinner it was back home and we ended up having a lovely, if rather late (and I mean late 1.30-2am), night having a few drinks and sitting out under what was almost a full moon looking out over the mountains. It was a lovely end to a lovely day.
Unfortunately, we had to get up early the next morning as we had people waiting in town for us at 8am to do the proposed 10-13 km run. I set our alarm for 6.30am and put on a pot of strong coffee and then woke everyone else around 7am to have a caffeine boost before heading to town around 7.30am. Waiting for us was Mayca from our Training Tri group, and some friends from Alcala La Real who wanted to join for the run, Jorge, Oscar and Chele and Alejandro (the young boy who swam yesterday and who was very keen to participate – I think Pako will have to recruit him as our youngest member after this weekend). Mechy and Javi were on hand to help and set up the drinks station and Pako and Carlitos went to a couple of points on the course to direct people the right way. We set off running around 8.30am and after running out of town we then had to climb to the base of La Mota (the castle) and down back into town where we had a drinks station at the 5km mark just before the Carril de bici (cycle track) where there was a further down and back route of 4km each way to make it a 13km run. However, for those who wanted you could turn at any point to shorten the distance and of course for the actual half distance race there would be a marker to turn for an 11km first loop to be followed by a second loop of the same distance for the full 21km.
Everyone had a good run, even those of us on only 4-5hours sleep, and we all went for a well-earned breakfast and coffee again at the Shell Garage restaurant. After breakfast we all returned to the cortijo where some of us (Javier, Tonie, Oscar, Alejandro and little Oliver) had a go at swimming using our Endless Pool machine. Everyone agreed that it although it was quite hard to swim against (as it is a constant speed meaning you always have to make an effort) but a great swimming training aid.
It was then time to say goodbye to everyone until the next time when we look forward to holding a training camp for Training Tri hopefully later this year.
Write up by Janice & photos by Julio