Joining an international team to train for triathlon has been a goal of mine for a while now. It would set a new level of challenge as an athlete. I would learn new techniques and coaching tips, not to mention the amazing experience of travelling the world with triathlon. I had been offered the opportunity at short notice to join the Sqaudra Triathlon team from Belgium in Calpe, Spain for a two week training camp. Within the week, flights were booked and I was getting ready to go! Sharing this experience with you I will write some blogs on the different experiences that I had, so stay tuned!
Leave Hamilton, NZ 11:00am February 8th
27 hours flight time to Alicante
6 ½ hours stop over time waiting
4 hours airport transport
TOTAL travel time = 37 ½ hours.
AUCKLAND – DOHA (18:20 hours)
Nobody beside me on the plane. Being the longest flight I was stoked that no one was sitting with me so I had three seats to make the most of. Three movies watched, then I slept the rest of the flight. Made the most of those extra seats too! Shout out to QATAR airways, best way to start the journey!
DOHA – MADRID (8 hours)
An hour and a half on the ground at Doha then it was back on the plane. This time I wasn’t so lucky for stretch room. I was Malcolm in the middle, and my headset wasn’t working! My flights departure time was midnight so sleeping again on this flight was a must, and that’s what I did.
MADRID (5 hour Stopover)
Two words describe my reaction when I landed in Madrid airport. It’s massive and at -5’C cold. I walked off the plane in shorts and jandels like a typical kiwi. I wasn’t expecting, let alone prepared, for that kind of cold here! I had a five hour stop over, so although I had the dreaded bike-bag wait, I wasn’t phased. Business Class lounge was the next stop. That’s right, business class! To clarify: in no way am I a high roller! It was cheaper to book this flight business class than economy so why not?! It was worth it of course. Pastries, good coffee, wifi and a chance to chill.
MADRID – ALICANTE (1 Hour)
Business class on this litte plane however, wasn’t what I’d expected. Pretty much I just got a seat up the front and an extra coffee haha. But extra coffee…totally worth it! After all the other long flights, it was nice that this was only an hour and almost there! I was finding it hard to keep my eyes open by this stage though.
ALICANTE – CALPE: First Impressions
Arriving in Alicante there were some pretty amazing views looking out from the plane window. I was now just 80km from my final destination. A shuttle organised by the triathlon camp took me to Calpe. When I first get to a new country I always find the first taxi ride interesting. So many different things to look at and I’m always taking photos.
I arrived at the hotel and rocked up to the reception hoping everything would go to plan with my booking. NOPE. No reservation under my name… I rechecked the details I had been given. Room 160. No reservation for room 160. No worries though, I’ll just call one of the coaches that’s here already… but my phone won’t connect or send txts. Now I’m starting to panic a bit. I’ve travelled for 40 hours from NZ and then this. The receptionist was really helpful and let me use the WIFI to try and solve it. Thankfully I got through to one of the coaches! It was apartment 16A not 160! Booking sorted. Or so I thought… some room directions I’m on my way again. After 20 minutes of failing to find my room number and lugging around all my bags I thankfully get a call! My roommate came to the rescue, in yet another building! I would have never found it on my own.
More than thankful to be in my hotel room. I built up my bike, ate dinner and crashed out at 7pm for the night! 12 hours sleep never felt so good.
9am and we were off to the pools for an easy 5km aerobic session. The pool is conveniently about 3 or 4km away so easy to just ride there. It was about 9 degrees in the morning so I’m stoked it wasn’t as cold as Madrid’s -5!
Decided to go for an easy 45m ride to test out the bike and spin out the legs before the training really begins tomorrow. The scenery is amazing here. So much history, the buildings are very cool.
For the rest of the day I just chilled and put my legs up. Most of the athletes are arriving tonight so I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of them before training really starts.
Dinner with the Team
I’m rooming with two athletes from Aruba of all places! We really do live on the other side of the world from each other. The other athletes are from all over Europe. It’s cool that we can all come together and do what we love as a group.
It was good to meet for the first time Thomas, the coach who invited me here too. The main language spoken is Dutch, although everyone on the camp speaks English well so when I’m around they make an effort to all speak English thankfully! Tomorrow is the first official day of training which is going to be a 140km ride & an endurance 8km run. The next two weeks are going to be brutal but I’m looking forward to getting out and seeing Spain.