by Tim Ford
MX Endurance wrapped up our first ever Super Camp in Phuket in March. Athletes from all over the world congregated in what is one of the most ideal training locations for triathlon.
For those people who have never considered Phuket for their training it is a hotspot for elite athletes, with a constantly rotating roster of professional athletes and national teams. The Norwegian Triathlon team including 70.3 world Champion, Gustav Iden and 70.3 World Record Holder Kristian Blummenfelt had just left before the camp kicked off.
This camp was the first time MX had run a high-volume training camp instead of a skills camp around a race. There was lots of training on the agenda, with a big focus on the bike. With people coming in from different climates, the biggest challenge many would face was the Phuket heat and humidity.
We kicked off with a welcome dinner and a sweepstakes. Everyone drew a name from a hat. If your athlete was the first to have a meltdown (there were many during the week) you would win a prize. We then ran through some basics, like pack riding etiquette and what to do in an emergency and went to bed ready to kick off the big week of training.
The week certainly did deliver with the group covering nearly 800km (500 miles) cycling, 60km (37.5 miles) running and nearly 30km (18.75 miles) of swimming.
There were tempo rides, TT efforts, long coffee rides and some seriously steep hills. Despite our differing fitness and experience levels, everyone got it done with an effort to try and never leave anyone behind.
Like with the bike, there were varying run sessions: a track session with Z Coaching, runs off the bike and longer steady runs.
Making the most of Phuket, swims were held both in the pool and in the ocean with some longer-volume swims as well as technique-focused sessions in both the pool and water.
A big focus of this camp was equipping athletes with skills they could take home to continue to improve on, with coaches making an effort to spend as much time with each athlete as possible during the week to work on any weaknesses or problem areas.
In addition to this, the majority of the group ate together and regularly got massages after a hard day of training to make sure the body was ready for the next day’s onslaught.
By Thursday, most people were getting tired and the decision was made to skip the pool session and instead head to Blue Tree Phuket for an afternoon of fun. Blue Tree is a new waterpark in Phuket with slides, jumps and a whole host of other options.
Some highlights of the week:
- Hal “The Colonel” Cross from Australia somehow swimming backwards while attempting a kick drill (but also making the most improvements from the session).
- Craig Toh from Singapore having the first meltdown and needing to take a taxi home but then finishing the week as one of the strongest athletes.
- Jørn Andersen from Norway finally developing a tan and crushing every climb or TT effort on the bike and laughing at the people who tried to go with him when he “just smashed it.”
- Brian Dion from Canada waging psychological warfare on the Colonel on our longest bike ride and leaving him a broken man on our last day.
- Terry Jones from Australia barely breaking a sweat all week and finishing the last tempo ride saying, “I could have just kept going.”
- Elechia Jones also from Australia never ever giving up and sticking with the boys all day on every ride. Jaime Pineda and Elechia Jones actually deserve a special shout out for probably doing it tougher than most of the other people on the camp but never complaining and getting almost every session done.
- Lucy Richardson and her husband Neil from the UK were our local guides and helped to make sure everyone knew the best places to eat and where to get the best massages. Neil was even kind enough to host a yoga session and ride around on a bike with drinks for our long run session.
- Dez Ford from Australia was a bit of a camp ninja popping up for our run sessions while she focused on her upcoming ultra-marathon and ticking over 100km running for the week for her first time.
It was a big week with lots of volume and hard training, but everyone came together and got it done.
"I am extremely happy and grateful to have been part of this amazing experience, and in some of the best company. It was a time to train hard, dig deep, and put in a lot of miles, but also most importantly, to catch up with old friends and to meet some amazing new people!" - Brian Dion
"I had the privilege of spending a week with some new and old friends whilst seeing the sites of Phuket doing what we all love. MX Endurance Phuket Camp. MX Endurance put on an amazing camp. I won't lie I thought that I would struggle through most of the sets and would be holding people back. Not once did I feel this way, you made sure it was inclusive." - Elechia Jones
"I had a blast, met friends again and made some new ones as well! A great bunch of rock stars and I'm so happy that I got to meet them. I hope too catch up with all of you at a race or the next camp, and yeah, just get onboard for the next camp when it pops!" - Jørn Andersen