Dispatch: This One Time, At Tri Camp…

  • By Holly Bennett
  • Published Mar 6, 2014
  • Updated Mar 31, 2016 at 4:15 PM UTC


The second day of camp dawned full of sunshine, perfectly hot and dry conditions for the renowned “Shootout” ride to Madera Canyon. Within a few miles we split into three distinct groups according to pace, with one coach leading each posse of campers. My group (the slowest of the bunch) stuck with Alyssa for the long steady ride, which included a 10-mile climb up the canyon and pace line practice (a first for most of our crew) on the return home. I got to know Donna from Houston–a mother of five, whose children are now old enough that after 25 years of prioritizing parenthood she can take time out for herself to train for Ironman 70.3 Galveston (her race experience to date consists only of sprints); Jillian from Boston–a veteran of Ironman Lake Placid, currently training for the Boston Marathon and several 70.3’s; and Steph from Virginia–a heretofore sprint and Olympic distance racer readying for Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, with enough positive spunk and sparkle to get her to any finish line. The gorgeous scenery, fun friendships and great guidance from Alyssa made the miles fly by–and made me all but forget the pain of six hours spent freshly back in the saddle.

I’m not one to eat much before most workouts, but I knew I had to down something in the hour gap between our long ride and impending afternoon swim. Though tempted by the burritos that Hillary brought home, the fear of underwater bean burps dissuaded me. Instead I downed some almonds, a banana and a chocolate Vega protein drink (one of Hillary’s favorite recovery foods, which despite smelling slightly like alfalfa in its powdered form tastes delicious when mixed with water).

The swim set focused on fast 25’s with bands around our ankles. As a newbie to the ankle band I needed tips to try and keep afloat. Hillary told me to fling my arms around as fast as possible, use my core muscles to dolphin kick and keep my eyes down and hips and butt up. Instead I flailed through the water, feeling like I was making a foiled attempt to pat my head, rub my belly and prevent myself from drowning all at once (at times my toes even scraped the shallow pool bottom, destroying a perfectly good pedicure). Yes, my core really is that weak–but Hillary promised that the same drill was initially hard for her (which says a lot, coming from a former Olympic Trials swimmer), and that if I keep at it I’ll eventually develop that elusive core strength.

Once home from the pool I couldn’t wrap my mouth around that burrito fast enough. And that was just a warm up to dinner; Cat fixed us a gigantic kale salad, roast potatoes and a platter of chips and hummus. I’m pretty sure something chocolate was also involved–healthy and delicious fueling is a major focus of the Biscay-Twelsiek household and the programs that Hillary crafts for all her athletes. The remainder of the night was spent in a near-catatonic state on the couch, enjoying the muscle-flushing benefits of Hillary’s Recovery Pump boots while watching her BFF Meredith Kessler crush the course record at Ironman New Zealand–a perfect dose of inspiration before the next big day of camp.

Quote of the Day:

“I want to hug you, I’m so happy to see you!” – Steph to Robin (our wonderful sag wagon driver) at the top of the Madera Canyon climb.

By the Numbers:
90-95 miles (distance we rode)
5 flat tires, 1 broken wheel, 1 pothole-induced crash (mechanical issues and minor accidents sustained)
2500-3000 yards (distance we swam)
16 campers (all smashed but smiling)

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