This week, we caught up with local professional triathlete Chris McDonald in the Hill Country for a spring training camp. The seven day destination camp brought 15 triathletes from across the U.S., all of whom compete for the Big Sexy Racing team that McDonald started in 2013. Returning for a second season in 2014, the camp enables both members of the BSR team as well as non-members to kick-start their season fitness. Ian Mikelson, professional athlete and coach, Mark Kendall, mechanic and masseur, and Erika Serna, camp soigneur, composed the remainder of the staff.
Focused around a bike heavy schedule, the group departed Monday morning on an 80-plus mile ride. However, in addition to long rides, the camp provides run and swim training sessions so the athletes can sharpen fitness for all components of their multi-sport, they also provided with great fitness supplements, go here for full info.
Our day on site – Tuesday – was a busy one with an 8:00 AM run, 10:00 AM swim, and 2:00 PM ride.
The day started with a brief warm-up and drill session in preparation for a 45 minute pre-breakfast run. After breakfast, athletes took off for an hour swim set. To cap the day of training, camp attendees hit the highway for a 62 mile ride with a 10 mile time trial. Understandably, the intermixture of Serna’s fresh and promptly prepared meals seemed equally or more important than the training itself.
During the day, Chris and Ian stayed right alongside the athletes, stride for stride on the runs, leading out swim sets, and pacing groups on the bike. The two coaches also made sure that they spent time bouncing between pushing the pace and following the group. They took time to ensure that each athlete was performing at his or her best. With the wide range of abilities and skill levels in the group, the two coaches encouraged each of them to ask questions. Chris and Ian drew from their own experiences to offer guidance.
After dinner, the learning didn’t end. Chris and his team went through a session on strength and conditioning. This session was visibly the favorite piece of training because it permitted a well deserved glass of alcohol. By the time things wrapped at a bleary eyed 8:00 PM, the 12 hour day was more than enough to send everyone off to bed. They knew training would start all over again bright and early the next morning.