• Nikki Bartlett

Lanzarote and new beginnings!

What better way to start the New Year, than with a 10-day training camp in Lanza! Officially my first time out in Lanzarote, I completely agree with those who rave about the Island, it really is stunning. Having been to Aguilas for the last two years on training camps, it was fab to explore somewhere different.

Elle (Haresign) and myself set off to Lanza, with the aim of getting quality bike miles in, with some choppy sea swims. We were situated in a beaut location of Matagorda Bay, thanks to Simon Ward. We kept camp as simple as poss – accommodation 5mins away from the airport, gorgeous cove for sea swims 10min walk away, runs/walks approx 3mins away from Lanza IRONMAN run course – alongside the sea. Biking was fab – exploring the volcanic landscape whilst adding up lots of km’s including some whopping bike sessions. My favourite two days training had to be our back-to-back key bike days. We did a lot of ‘key’ sessions on camp – from swim – bike bricks, max hill reps sessions, long hill reps sessions (x3) up Tabayesco. But my fave days had to be the Wednesday and Thursday bike days. Weds saw a quality 5 hour 40 ride, mainly done on the TT bars, keeping to quality wattage (or should I say feel from me, and guided by Elle’s powermeter). Then a key swim in the choppy sea. Followed by Thursday’s long bike (5 hours), with hill reps. For those who know Tabayesco, it’s a gorgeous climb – Lanzarote’s longest and most iconic climbs. Our main set was 3 x hill reps to the junction, then the last hill rep was to the top. With a little key swim post session, these two days were fab. Especially the coconut ice-cream which was nailed post sesh.

Camp summary: Elle and I had a blast, getting in the training, pushing each other in an efficient, but sensible manor. Much banter, cake making in the microwave, and learning from someone who’s travelled to the Island, has more sense than me with regards to power, descending on TT bars, actually the list can go on. I’m quite a ‘simple’ athlete – pretty much most session’s pre November 2015 have been to feel, using my trusty Decathlon stopwatch, which doesn’t tell the time. Highlighted by a woman asking me the time on the beach, only to look at me in a odd way, when I stuttered to explain that actually, I just use it as a stopwatch.

I’m sitting here writing this blog, reflecting on camp, and every moment brings a smile to my face. From opening the balcony doors each morning to warm fresh air. Starting each day on the beach, swimming with fishes, watching sunrise. To cycling around the Island, with many other 100’s of cyclists, triathletes and tourists. We can let these moments slip by so easily, time passes way too quickly whilst you’re out there. Each moment of the day is focused on quality sleep, maximizing each individual session, nutrition, recovery – day in, day out. Then suddenly it’s all over and you’re heading home, landing into snow. Literally. Edinburgh, you were absolutely stunning to fly into, must admit.

As the sun set on the last evening, I took in how lucky I am to explore different places, sites, moments, by swimming, biking and running. The simplicity of camp for me, is everything I love about training camps, and sport. I really am grateful for those who support me – friends, family and key sponsors (Financial Fitness, Yakult, 9bar, Leisure Lakes Bikes, Aqua Sphere, nuun and A1 Multisport), who make this all possible. I’m extremely excited, buzzed and motivated for the year coming. My aims and targets are high, but why aim towards your comfort zone, when there’s so much to explore out of it. Here’s my 2016 race schedule –http://www.nikkibartlett.com

2015 saw my first year as a Pro, working part-time, exploring my second year self-coached. However, from November 2015, a fab new relationship has been developed with my new coach; Rob Cheetham (coach and husband to Susie Cheetham). I'm absolutely honored to be coached by Rob, and having an absolute blast already on the program. Already I can feel the benefits of the program to date, and recovery has been taken a whole new level since training full time. I must admit, I got pretty out of shape from September, and Rob has quickly turned this around with some positive testing results, alongside some key changes in bike positioning. In life, relationships can just 'click' - cheesy I know, but it's true, and I'm excited to see how 2016 and the future unfolds.

(Gym - World War II aircraft hanger, pretty awesome!)

Here's to some crisp winter training days!

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