The Diary of a T:Zero Coach on Camp...
By Head Coach Em Quinn
It was an absolute privilege to have been contact by the St George triathlon club a few months ago asking our interest in conducting a training camp in their home town. Having received a grant from Triathlon Queensland, the club was looking at having a weekend that would expose the athletes to some higher knowledge, some quality training and some educational tools that can be ingrained within the future training plans of the club. This was an opportunity simply too good to refuse :)
Friday 10th November, 8am saw the head coaches roll out in Scotty’s black van that looks as though you are travelling with hitmen from the Mafia! As we loaded in the bikes, bags and endless amounts of merchandise and snacks, we were all super excited and a little nervous for our venture west. Breaking the trip up with a pit stop in Dalby and a catch up with T:Zero athlete Shane Lee, we were back on the road after an amazing lunch from Urban Paddock (seriously one of the best cafes we have ever set foot in). We arrived in St George at 3pm Friday and checked into the Riverland hotel, a very simple little motel ran by super friendly staff who were very excited to see some new faces. After a little rest and some social media catch up (no reception for 4 hours can take its toll!), it was time to meet the athletes from the St George triathlon club. As we introduced ourselves and spoke about what we had planned for the weekend the nerves immediately vanished! It was evident from the moment we met the crew that this weekend was going to be super fun, relaxed and a learning experience for not only the athletes but also the coaches.
After handing out the welcome packs and going through some formalities, the evening was then spent with coach Scotty conducting a dry land/core session and Coach Em leading a technical swim session finished off with some variable pace work and some relay action to create a little inter club banter. It was evident that the athletes took a lot away from the drill/technique focused session and even in only one hour were amazed at how some little changes can make huge differences in stroke rate and efficiency.
The evening came around very quickly and it was out to the Saint (local St George pub) for dinner. It was so wonderful to share a genuine country pub meal with the locals and hear all about what they do, their work life and learn more about this quite, cute little country town we were in. After basking in the excitement of local raffles and money wheels and a few drinks, it was time to head back to the motel and hit the sack.
5:15am Saturday morning rolled around very quickly, Coach Scotty and Em were on the bikes riding with the group, whilst Coach Rich had decked the Mafia hitman van into what looked like a Tour De France cycling support vehicle! All athletes were ready to roll out at 5:30am and the 2 hour ride consisted of a group warm up and cool down, with some individual race pace and above race pace efforts. Nothing can describe the pure bliss of these country roads, they were simply sensational and with no traffic lights and only one or two cars seen during the course of the ride, we could really enjoy the country air and hit some speed! Following the ride athletes quickly transitioned into running gear for a short 15 minute run off the bike. 8am rolled around and the local pool began to be inundated with little ones! Kids from as young as 4 through to 12 wheeling their bikes in and setting up a transition area more precise than any adult we have ever seen! 8am every Saturday morning see’s the local St George Triathlon club host a kids race. The juniors raced in distances from 15m/1.6km/800m through to 50m/3.2km/1.6km and each and every one of them gave it 110% with the biggest smile. It was such a wonderful experience to not only be involved in this event, but to also meet and run alongside some of the little ones as they grit their teeth to tick off a personal best or even just run a little further than last time. The coaches were so impressed by their attitude that not only did we award two prize packs on the day, but shall also be express posting all of the St George tri kids a T:Zero swim cap for their race this Saturday. This really is what the sport is about, grass roots, healthy, happy and active little faces of our future champions!
Following mini tri’s it was time to hit the local café for some much needed breakfast, again this felt more like a catch up between friends chatting and laughing than a triathlon camp. Following breakfast it was over to the local school for some presentations. Rich spoke about goal setting, mental toughness and of course his recent race of UM Australia and current world record holder status. Em spoke about the training and planning associated with stepping up from the Olympic distance to the 70.3 distance and Scotty rounded off the session with a chat on race day nutrition. A delicious lunch was catered by the local school P & C and this provided another opportunity to better get to know each of the athletes. Following lunch it was down to the Ballone River from some running drills and functional strength exercises, before putting athletes through a fast paced mini triathlon, which each athlete completed twice with a 5 minute break between each. A super fun, yet tough way to round out an awesome day two of camp!
Heading back to the Riverland motel it was time for some serious tracking of the T:Zero athletes in IM Malaysia and some much needed food. As luck would have it, the local Gala ball was being held tonight and saw people from right across rural Queensland hit St George to dress up and party! Whilst working, trying to sleep and frantically tracking athletes, it seemed only fitting to have quite a few roudy ball goers drinking XXXX from the back of their utes in the car park whilst blaring Kenny Rogers and other country mash ups as they got themselves well into party mode! 7pm rolled around and we were lucky enough to hit the local Chinese restaurant “ The Asian Pearl” for what was likely the worst meal any of us had ever had, not to mention the impeccable service :) However, we weren’t going to let that dampen our spirits and were looking forward to the 1am wake up when our motel residents came home from the big night and shared a few nightcaps out in the car park :)
Sunday morning and it was time to meet at the pool, today was an easy 60 minute spin, a long run off the bike (30 or 45 minutes), followed by a final presentation on the T:Zero Multisport philosophy and a few little prize packs awarded to some of the athletes. We were truly humbled by how genuinely passionate, caring, enthusiastic and kind the crew of the St George triathlon club were. Not once did we feel as though we were not immersed by a supportive, ready to learn and an enthusiastic group of athletes. We were so impressed by everything this club is and is trying to be and the support that it provides not only to each other but also to the local kids of the town who each Saturday travel into town to try a triathlon, that T:Zero Multisport has pre purchased 10 entries to the St George Olympic Distance “Battle of the Ballone” event March 25th 2018. The three of us cannot wait to get back out there and race and support such a hard working club! Stay tuned on how you can secure your free entry and also follow this even on social media for the latest updates.
Leaving town and buckled in for the 6.5 hour trip home it was as though we were all leaving with 15 more friends. Friends who shared the same passion, desire and commitment as we all do within the T:Zero Multisport staple. We are extremely grateful to have been given such an opportunity and we have no doubt that this will be the first of many successful regional T:Zero camps!
Thank you for having us Tri St George!
Em, Scotty and Rich!
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