What better way to spend your weekend than swimming, cycling, and running with your 40 best multi-sport friends? Paragon Training brought together athletes of various backgrounds and skill levels this past weekend for the Spring Training Camp 2018 in Dripping Springs, TX. It was an adventurous, fun-filled three days that focused on improving athletes' skills and endurance. I think everyone could walk away (or hobble) feeling a great sense of accomplishment. Some athletes learned to clip into cycling pedals for the first time, most athletes completed their longest bicycle ride of their lives, and everyone got to meet new people with a similar drive to excel and push personal boundaries in sport.
The camp started off Friday afternoon with a cycling skills session. Cyclists learned and practiced important tips for maneuvering and group riding that can be applied in training or crit racing. A team dinner of pizza and pasta followed the skills session - we had to get our carbs in for Day 2 of camp! Birthday cupcakes were a nice touch too.
Athletes got an early start Saturday morning with Round 2 of skills and group ride etiquette. Dave Wilcox with State Wheels gave us a presentation before our ride. These are awesome wheels for riders, and they are hand-built in Texas! State Wheels has been very supportive of Paragon Training, and we appreciate Dave coming out.
A drizzle turned to rain as athletes embarked on their long rides. Due to the unfavorable weather forecast, we had modified the route options the night before. All athletes were now doing a loop of about 30 miles, and athletes could do as many loops as they were determined to do. It was safer for everyone, athletes got to see each other more, and it turned out to be a fun and more competitive day. We had SAG support out on the course: a lead car, follow car, and two SAG support cars at an aid station in the middle of the course. Athletes passed by our aid station twice on each loop, and the support crew had a lot of fun with the steady stream of cyclists coming through. There were ample opportunities to re-fuel, and we are super thankful to First Endurance for providing premium nutrition. The skies cleared mid-morning, and it turned out to be a great experience for everyone. Over half of the athletes biked farther than they ever had before. Personal barriers were broken, fatigued was battled and mentally overcome, and confidence was built in self and bike as a powerful machine.
Accomplished yet sore, athletes were treated to an afternoon massage by Michella with Michella Rosemarie Massage. Michella specializes in therapeutic massage for athletes; our shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings are very thankful she came to set up at the 'Paragon House' following the ride. The relaxing afternoon continued with catered Chipotle and a time of reflection. At Paragon Training, we like to do an exercise called 'thorns, roses, and buds.' Athletes are given the opportunity to express to the group something they struggled with during the day (thorn), something they enjoyed or were proud of (rose), and something they were looking forward to the following day (bud). The most common response we heard was the rose that people enjoyed time with each other. The most valuable thing in all of this was camaraderie on and off the bike. An amazing thing happens when people are challenged together, overcome things together, and accomplish together what they never thought they could. That's what this is all about. Getting better takes teamwork.
Sunday commenced with a running skills session, drills, and long run from the Blue Hole in Wimberley, TX. It is a great venue in a beautiful park, with soft dirt running trails through the trees or longer gravel trails for a 3 mile out-and-back. Athletes pushed themselves to see what they could do, despite soreness from the day before. They returned for a brunch of pancakes, bacon, eggs & mixings.
If the athletes weren't sore after the bike, hopefully they were after the run. Because we had one final thing in store. The camp concluded with a swim skill session and swim set at the local YMCA outdoor pool. It was a beautiful, sunny day as athletes practiced proper form for sighting, group starts from treading water, and other more nuanced swim techniques. It was a great way to end an amazing weekend. We can't wait for the next camp!
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