BASE Camp report

The Labour Day long weekend was awesome. I'm all in favour of the union movement if it means that once a year I can get an extra day to go somewhere nice and ride my bike. Since coming back from Tour of NZ I've been enjoying a lovely break off the bike. My body has been struggling with fatigue for a while and a break has been way overdue. So for 2 weeks after I got back from NZ, I put my bike in the corner and didn't touch it. It was heavenly.

Then I started to get twitchy.

The timing was excellent when Marcus Speed (from Perfect Pilates) invited me to join his crew at BASE Camp in Beechworth, VIC, over the long weekend. It was a 3 day multisport training camp that Marcus ran through his coaching business Speed Cycling Systems. Around 30 people came up, of all abilities. I took up my roadie and MTB (yes, these are links to photos of my bikes. They are hot). I also took up my runners and paddling clothes but the riding was so good I never got a chance to use them.

Each day there were myriad options for exhausting yourself and making the most of the region. We'd generally start with a long road ride, then lunch, then maybe a MTB around the Beechworth XC course, or a run or walk around the gorge, then a paddle before dinner. Those who weren't into riding could do pilates, or join a run group, or just sit and enjoy the sunshine with a newspaper. That was the nice thing about it - there was something for everyone, and you could do as much or as little of the organised activities as you liked. If you were super-hardcore like Marcus, you could do all of it. Or if you were soft like me, you'd do the bike bits and spend the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee. There was a mechanic on-site to deal with any bike issues and heaps of spare equipment to use. Plus delicious dinners and desserts all round. We were certainly looked after.

For me, the camp was a perfect way to ease back into training. I was riding because I wanted to, not because I had to, and the good weather and company helped me to remember what I love about riding. My favourite part of the camp though (apart from the food) was being able to spend time with a heap of people I wouldn't ordinarily have met. Some were competitive types who were out to push themselves hard, and others were just there for an active getaway with (or from) the family. At the end of each day, everyone got together for dinner and a drink in the Old Priory garden where we were staying, to share stories from the day. It was awesome.

The next BASE camp will be on the Melbourne Cup long weekend. If you're interested, drop Marcus a line at