Thanyapura Training Camp
A long weekend in Singapore meant we jumped at the opportunity to get out of town and avoid the monotony of Singapore Cycling routes (east loop, west loop, or east AND west loop…that’s all we got!) and with Bintan 70.3 coming up fast it would be good to get a solid weekend in. Myself and about a dozen of my cycling team mates from Arrivo Primo Singapura team (Italian for “arrive first” coz that what we do……..) headed up to Phuket for 3 full days of triathlete heaven.
First session on Friday morning was a long run. There is a 7.5km loop around the hotel complex. The ability of the group varies but they have marked the shoulder of the road with blue dots and arrows at each turn so even the most directionally challenged people like myself can find their way. The roads are really quite and mostly residential and the terrain is mostly flat with a few little rolling hills. I only got chased by a stray dog once so that was positive. They don’t like being squirted with Gatorade so I got out of it unscathed. Nothing like spiking the heart rate and realising you really need to get your rabies shots for the monkey zone at IM Langkawi! How far you go is also up to you – or in reality up to what Kate puts on my program, so after 3 laps I was happy to have session 1 and 22.5km in the bank.
Time for coffee! It wouldn't be suitable for triathletes if they couldn’t serve a decent coffee, which is often hard to come by in Asia but I can attest the coffee (and fresh coconuts) is good!
Pretty happy with my run, I decided to put together my bike. Now I am not the savviest of bike mechanics…And my TT bike is pretty new….That’s not an excuse because what I did was really amateur. I was putting in the seat post and I had tightened up one side completely. As I was doing the other side, the bolt snapped. Tip for young players – you should be tightening up the bolts simultaneously. I had snapped the bolt of clean inside my frame!!! Stressing out as I had a heap of riding this weekend and no bike we jumped in a car and went up to a bike store we knew. They looked at it and said they didn’t have the tool to fix it but I could hire a sweet, almost new road bike for the weekend. Phew! Tip: If you are heading to Thanyapura and don’t want to cart your bike, get in touch with Siam Bikes, it’s about $30AUD a day and they can drop off and pick it up from the hotel. If you have a bike fit measurement send it to them before you get there and they can set the bike to your fitting! (This is not a paid plug - I’m just still so grateful I could ride!). Crisis averted (sort of – the bolt is still in my bike 2 weeks later because I can’t find someone in SG to fix it!)
Back to the hotel for lunch and a 1 hour ride to freshen up the legs and then a nap before the evening swim session. The swim session was run by the new head coach, Sergio Borges. It was pretty tough! I do most of my swimming on my own so I relished being back in a squad situation. A tough tempo 3.5km set later, day one was finished and it was time for a celebratory protein smoothie from the cafe.
The food at Thanyapura is really good, but is not overly cheap, especially by Thai standards so that night we decided to take the scooters we hired and go for dinner. I was very, very happy to crawl in to bed.
Next morning involved a 6am swim session into bike intervals at 7.30. I thought the swim would be fairly low key. I was so wrong. A broken 1900m at reps way faster than my race pace (and my current ability). The lungs were burning and I then had 30 minutes to get change and go nuts at the breakfast buffet before the bike session. The intervals take place fairly close to the hotel. It’s about a 10 minute ride out of the hotel before you hit the course and then we ride one length of it as a reccy. Then it’s go time. 4x10km. The first 2 are solid efforts working up the hills and then recover down. Then a big gear effort on the third before a final all-out effort. Tough work, but I must admit the views along the coastline were fairly spectacular.
One of the best things about Thanyapura is the ability to recover from sessions. Everything is close by. It’s a 5 minute walk from your room to training. The food is healthy and options for everyone. I was able to have a giant lunch, a big nap and a quick dip in the pool and it wasn’t even time for my next session yet so I had another nap before jumping on the treadmill for my run. My team mates took their scooters to the beach for open water swim but as it is the wet season in Thailand, the life guards thwarted their plans :P
Third and final day. Long ride day. There are two options 110km or 150km. The pace is pretty comfortable and there is a range of abilities within the group. The ride takes you north, off Phuket island along the coast line to the Home Life Bakery at 55kms. Any ride that involves stopping at a bakery is a great ride in my opinion! Quick stop for the famous banana bread and a coffee and there is the option of continuing on for the 150km which takes you further north or back the same way we came. I took the shorter option as I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities for 150+km rides leading in to Langkawi (right Kate?!). There are a number of sprint points on the ride. I’m not going to give them away as you can find out for yourselves like I did on my first visit :P A quick run off the bike around the custom 500m running track (easier to do 1km reps) and I was well and truly done!!
A big lunch and some cheeky cocktails to bring the weekend to a close. It’s a fabulous set up and great for training, especially if you have any hot races coming up….maybe a GK Endurance camp?!