Keen and lean: Some of the participants at the triathlon camp, which culminates with a min-triathlon at Clearwater Beach on Sunday. *Photo supplied
Keen and lean: Some of the participants at the triathlon camp, which culminates with a min-triathlon at Clearwater Beach on Sunday. *Photo supplied
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It takes a little bit of courage to sign up for a triathlon camp for beginners if you are not especially fit and don’t really know what to expect. 

So every year I am always amazed at how enthusiastically the first-timers in the annual Neill / Blake Triathlon Camp participate in each of the sessions and take on the challenge. This week has been no exception. 

On day one, after going through the basics of triathlon with coaches Mike Neill and Jasper Blake and getting drenched by some rain squalls, 14 tired but elated beginners completed a mini triathlon at the National Stadium.

Although the event was short and in a controlled environment (swimming in the pool, biking loops in the car park and running on the track) you could not help but admire these newbies, many of them in their late 40s and 50s.

Since that opening day they have participated in three more sessions, joining the Advanced group for two sessions, gaining in confidence each day. 

By this Sunday they will be well prepared as they take to the ocean and Bermuda’s roads to swim, bike and run in their first “proper” mini triathlon at Clearwater Beach (8:30am start).

For the 25 more experienced triathletes the Advanced programme has been equally challenging and it gives participants the chance to kick-start their season with a week of coaching that includes some tough drills in the pool, on the roads and on the track. 

Wednesday’s pool session, for example, was a chance to brush up on swim technique with drills combined with some taxing sets whilst Thursday’s “brick” session saw participants combining  riding their bikes, on static trainers, and running on the track straight off the bike. 

These bike / run sets are gruelling but are a good way to get the legs used to running off the bike in a triathlon. 

Saturday’s long bike ride in the morning and long run in the afternoon will be the culmination of some hard work before Sunday’s mini triathlon.

Some of the participants have taken part in all four camps to date and it’s clear that the camp has become a popular fixture in Bermuda’s triathlon calendar.

If the coaches have anything to do with it, the camp is here to stay for awhile. 

As Blake said to me this week: “I hope I am still coaching this camp when I’m 80 —  it’s so awesome!” 

For more information on the camp head to www.bermudatriathlon.com