WITC Inaugural Pre-season Training Camp, Agia Galini, Crete, April 2014
18 people, 7 nationalities, one island and one club! WITC held its inaugural training camp in Crete this year and it was a huge success. The idea was the brainchild of Igors Berkovics and he explained why he decided to organise the trip: “I wanted to go for a training camp, but also travel to some nice destination at the same time. I didn’t see anything like this on offer elsewhere so I decided it was a good idea to try to organise something ourselves. Crete seemed like an ideal choice.”
With the flights, accommodation and bikes all booked, the group arrived in the small town of Agia Galini on Easter Monday for a week of training and more. As it turned out Agia Galini is in a valley, so getting out of there in any direction meant you had to go uphill! In general Crete is a very hilly island so the biking was tough but great on good, quiet roads, in stunning scenery. Almost every bike ride featured a beautiful beach at the half-way point, along with an opportunity to sample the local food which were great incentives and rewards for going up and down all those hills.
Of course it wasn’t just about cycling, there were also early morning swims in the sea and runs along the beach, as well as some BRick workouts after a long bike ride. Another highlight of the trip was the 1 1/2 hour yoga session superbly organised by Iga – with the soothing sound of waves in the background it was a great way to round off the day’s training. Being WITC we also had loads of fun, enjoyed the local cuisine (and raki) to the fullest and also had the chance to do some sightseeing in Chania before the flight back.
Renata Gos, who had hardly been on a bike before in her life yet clocked up over 200km during the week, explained why she decided to come and told us what she enjoyed (and hated) most: “I decided to go to Crete at the last minute. I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted to do a sport camp at all. On the other hand I thought that it might be a perfect occasion to challenge myself, try new things and see if sport in general is something for me. I have to admit that it was one of the most difficult, demanding and unexpected trips ever. I was out of my comfort zone and I had to compete with my own weaknesses. Every single day was a challenge, every single day I had enough, I wanted to give up and I was unbelievably tired. However at the same time I wanted more, to push my own limits further and further. I was curious what the next day will bring for me, and most importantly how I will respond to it. This trip gave me a lot of strength and self-confidence even though I had so many breakdowns on the way. Another important issue was a great supportive group of people, who helped me to achieve my goal and shared all the moments with me”
Amalia Kalinca summed up her experience of the great trip: “Everyone distinguished themselves, both on and off the bike. Agnieszka tested her limits both in the team and independently, a courageous thing to do. Cristina effortlessly combined biking with the pleasure of swimming in the sea. Together with Patrizia, they gracefully took over the task of photographing significant moments of our training. Dominika’s ambition made her a fierce biker. Ela shortly became one of the fastest novice riders. Iga was one of the eager learners of the team, riding ahead numerous times. Joanna and Iwo provided unconditional companionship while riding on the hills with the advanced team. Justyna showed determination while running mornings and evenings by the shore, the determination that drove her on at the Rome Marathon. John, our most independent team member, drove, biked and swam, astonishing the rest of the team with his stamina. Renata demonstrated her ambition in style, riding over 200 kilometres. Steve competed elegantly and proved his limits go beyond what WITC is accustomed to. And as for me, I enjoyed the exciting downhills, tested my endurance and am now one step closer to triathlon.”
As the group relaxed on the final day in Chania, the organiser and general man in charge Igors took the opportunity to acknowledge some special achievements. Maciek and Katharina were crowned the “King and Queen of the Mountain” for their prowess on the hills while Dominika received a special award for “Integration into Cretan culture”. Cristina then awarded Alan and Jeff “Angels’ Angels” certificates for their patience and trustful guidance on the Cretan hills.
All in all it was a fantastic week, with a perfect balance of training and fun, and hopefully the first of many pre-season training camps
You can view the full photo gallery here.
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