So I have been looking forward this almost for the whole year. When it was announced that Chris McCormack will be doing Triathlon Camps under the umbrella of Team MaccaX, I was stocked. Imagine how I felt when the first ever camp was going to be here in my backyard… Miami.
Over the year I meet only 3 local members, Evelyn (part of the organizers of the camp), Kurt and Shawn. Probably the only ones with the uniform in the area. Now I could put voices to the faces I looked in Facebook or in the MaccaX forums avatars.
The duration of the camp was from Wednesday to Sunday leading to Miami Man triathlon, our local friendly half-iron race, which included an International distance. After doing Ironman Miami 70.3, I just signed up for the International Distance, and was looking forward to best my time from last year race.
So Wednesday was a meet and greet in the host hotel, where most people for the camp where staying. I meet one of the minds in charge of Team MaccaX, Aaron Franklin. Very nice and polite. I had the honor to work to help him do some stuff for the camp, like the camp t-shirt for the campers and the MaccaX tent that was going to dayview on MiamiMan race site on Sunday. Meet some people and saw the familiar faces of Evelyn and Kurt. The main guest, Macca, had almost a day flight coming from Sydney to Miami, so we would see him next day.
Day 1: Early breakfast at 6am. Meet some campers and finally the rockstar showed up. He said hi (one by one with a handshake) to everyone, and proceed to seat and enjoy breakfast. He came with one of the upcoming young pros Ben Hammond and talked to him a bit. Since I was not staying in the hotel (I live a 10 min drive from it) I proceed to check my gear and prepare to bike ride. At 7:30am we proceed to ride from the hotel to the Marriot to pick up some other campers staying there. Unfortunately, Macca’s bike wasn’t delivered yet, so he had to use Ben’s bike instead.
We where around 100 campers, and all of us proceed to ride to Tri Beach in Key Biscayne to start the activities of the camp. We started with some OWS sessions. Some warm up, and then the whole group was divided in 3. Aaron (Azza), Macca and Ben will take care of each group and then rotate. Each one explained and gave us tips on technique, sighting, swimming around buoys and board shorting.
Around 11am we jumped again on the bikes and went to Crandon Park. We practiced some running drills that Macca does consistently and after we went to run for a bit. We went to the picnic area, had a delicious catering lunch and then we had a presentation of one of Miami most inspiring person, Hector Picard. Hector is a local triathlete, and he did a presentation giving his life story and changing a flat tire… without hands. After an accident he lost his arms, and when you hear him speaking, is one of the most moving inspiring stories you will ever hear. Check out the video of him doing what he did in camp.
After eating like a pig (at least me), we headed to Virgina Key for a little ride and then Ben explained us everything about bike fitting. There was a little Q&A, in which he answered one of my questions, about the pain I was having while pushing hard on the bike. He said that it could be the seat height on my bike. Went back to the hotel…. Day 1 finished.
Day 2: Meet the team in the hotel ready to ride. Macca finally got his bike delivered and rode with us in his superb Specialized S-Works Shiv. Same route as Day 1 and started with some OWS. We practiced in and outs, board shorting skills from day 1, plus mass starts and getting out of the water.
Unfortunately the day was rainy. We had scheduled a long ride but for safety cut it short. Macca and Ben demonstrated how to do fast transitions without losing time. After learning speeding transitions we went to Virginia Key and practiced them. We went back to the hotel. Later that day Macca had a presentation in Mack Cycle with the local triathlon community.
Day 3: We had an easy run with Macca at 7am: one group did 3 miles and the other 6 miles. Came back to the hotel, hang out and went for breakfast. Afterwards the bikes were picked up in the hotel to be taken to the race site. There was a Q&A session with Chris. We finalized with a group picture in the rooftop of the hotel, and the rest of the day was to relax before race day.
Day 4: Race Day at Miami Man! (Full report coming soon). Macca raced the international distance and won 1st overall. Several podiums from team members! I finally got to see the tent I designed and it was AWESOME! Later on the day we went to dinner and later we went for drinks to celebrate the camp’s end. People unwind and SHIT GOT CRAZY! LOL.
Overall the camp was a great experience. Chris McCormack is really a nice guy. He is like one of your best buddies (or “mates” like Australians would say) from your close group of friends. He always had a big smile and answered people questions without hesitation. People will ask to take a picture with him or sign stuff and he always would be available, and after taking a picture he would say “Too easy!”. He would always bust Ben balls and tell jokes of how “Manly” he was (inside joke here.). He told countless stories, not only of triathlon, but opinions of several topics… I wish I would have a video recorder to record those! Ben is a totally cool young Aussie Pro specialized in 70.3’s and with a bright future ahead. Although I worked with Azza on several stuff for the camp, this was the first time I met him in person. Great guy and always on top of the organization of the camp, and joking around too. Evelyn, the infamous one and probably the most beloved girl in the camp… as a local, helped Azza with the organization of the camp and being on top of things too. The people at the camp were great, everyone willing to learn something new and help each other. I think I came as a little quiet, but it’s because I was just SO TIRED! LOL. Recovering from Ironman 70.3 Miami took a toll longer than expected on me. It was an intense 4 day experience but had lots of laughs and learned a lot.
The camp now is going to Phuket in Thailand in December, and next year will be another camp in the US West Coast and one in Europe. If you have a chance to go, please do so! By the way these camps are only for Team MaccaX Members, but in the long term they come cheaper than paying $5000 for a camp with another Pro triathlete. You can check out what are you missing at www.maccax.com!!!