Blog post written by Stephanie
6th & 7th May 2023 – the weekend designated for the celebration of newly coronated King Charles. But we’re athletes and the only Kings we celebrate are KOMs. And so it was that 40 LFTC’ers descended on the island of Mallorca.
40 (honorary) Brits descending on Mallorca, sounds like a standard Bank Holiday I hear you say, watch out Magaluf they’re coming for you. But not this time, instead we were headed for the dazzling strips of VIVA Blue Hotel in Alcudia.
With 40 people and 7 days, there are too many stories to recount. Instead, we’ll take some inspiration from the late great Albert Einstein who said that “the only mistake in life is the lesson not learned”. In which case, here are the lessons we learnt along the way and perhaps this means that anyone setting their eyes on club camp for next year, can learn some lessons with us too.
Lesson 1: Always do the biggest hills in the first couple of days
By front loading the biggest routes and hills at the beginning of the week you’ll ensure your legs stay fresh and ready for the rest of the week. If you want an extra bit of freshness, make sure to follow up Sa Calobra (120km route with 2,128m elevation) with a ‘relaxed’ strength session run by an ex-marine.
Lesson 2: Whenever you go for a cycle, do it with 39 other people.
Day 1 taught us that the best way to cycle is in groups of no less than 20 people. Cycling in massive groups delivers coherence, cohesion and clarity. The locals will love it, the tourists will love it, the other cyclists will certainly love it…and guess what, you’ll love it too.
Lesson 3: You snooze, you lose.
Literally. You snooze past the sunrise sea swim at 6:30am not only do you lose the opportunity for kudos on your strava, you lose the opportunity for award-winning sunrise pics to help gain you extra kudos.
Lesson 4: If you’re looking for moral support, turn your training session into a charity event
#Swim4Graham was the most attended event of the week. More attendance than daily 4pm sauna, more attendance than Bryony’s 10k swim (despite being over double the distance), more attendance than Dan’s end of week award ceremony and, yes, some even say, more attendance than JK’s opening ‘no-selfies-on-the-bike’ speech.
Lesson 5: Always make the most of the breakfast buffet.
Are you really getting your money’s worth if you’re not stealing from the breakfast buffet? Are you fuelling properly if you don’t have a Guiness world record breaking sandwich stuffed into your pocket? The answer to both questions is no.
Top tip: sandwiches taste even better if made holding hands.
Top tip no.2: if you get stopped and searched by hotel staff on the way out of breakfast, feign ignorance.
Lesson 6: If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
A lesson taught by our top contenders for most bodily exposure award – if you have got it, flaunt it, at any opportunity, all the time. Top of a mountain? Flaunt it. Everyone else wearing a wetsuit? Flaunt it. In a restaurant? Flaunt it.
Top tip: An even more important lesson learnt, perhaps doing a downward dog hip opening yoga session on a public beach, is not the best time to flaunt it.
Lesson 7: There’s no better recovery than a free spa
4pm was when the free hotel spa opened. At precisely 4pm, you would find approx. 10-20 LFTC’ers descending on the spa in their ‘fun’ swimming gear. The spa was the place where we really separated the strong from the weak, it doesn’t matter how quickly you can cycle Sa Calobra if you can’t sit in the sauna for more than 2 minutes. Laura’s strength reigned supreme with her unmatched ability to sit comfortably in the ice pool for 10 minute intervals.
Top tip: try going on Club Camp with someone who is taking massage classes. Thanks for the free massages, Kaja!
Lesson 8: Look where you’re going whilst cycling
You would think this was one that would be well known amongst a group of serious cyclists. But sometimes, you just need reminding.
(Yes more scantily dressed bodily exposure… it’s a theme)
Lesson 9: If you take an Irishman to an Irish pub, he will down a pint of guinness
It’s fair to say that a few lessons were learnt on our Big Night Out but this was certainly the most memorable. One fine Friday evening, we mustered up the courage to leave the vicinity of the hotel and venture a whole 100m down the road. The vibe was dead – the bar was empty, we looked like a weird motley hen group (mostly because Liz was actually pretending it was her hen do) and the bartenders didn’t seem thrilled by our custom. “There’s an Irish pub down the road”, it was said. “What if it’s even worse?” others said. A small party of people were carefully selected for a recce. The recce returned and the conclusion: the Irish pub was markedly better. But, people were now settled into their cocktails and conversations. No one is quite sure how it happened, but it was agreed that if we went to the Irish pub, JK would down a pint of Guinness. The group headed over and before jackets were even off of shoulders, JK was at the bar downing a pint of Guinness readily prepared.
Lesson 10: Friends are made over Aperols
6pm: Aperol hour. Allowing 1 or 2 aperols before a strict 7pm dinner time (enforced by hungry triathletes, raring at the bit for some carbs). Led in charge by Aperol King – Sean and Aperol Queen – Lauren. Aperol Hour remains the constant uniter of the ‘23 Club Camp group – countless rides, runs, swims, gym sessions have been touted in the whatsapp group. But nothing rallies the team, quite like an aperol.
So, all in all, a fantastic week and resoundingly successful club camp. Fun was had, friends made, fitness gained, aperol gulped and carbs devoured.
An ABSOLUTELY HUGE shout out and appreciation to the lead organisers: Aude, Bryony and Ryan as well as everyone in between that put so much hard work into making it a great week for all.
Looking forward to Club Camp 2024 and implementing the lessons learnt.