Cycling: Phuket Training Camp

Twenty ANZA Cycling members, partners and families attended an intense cycling training weekend in Phuket, held at super sports facility Thanyapura. Newcomer Tania Murphy attended with husband Glenn and she tells all about the experience…

“Our training weekend didn’t start off well. Somewhat hungover, Glenn only remembered to take out the bike, but not the luggage, from our Grab taxi – and the trip hashtag was born; #LostandFound. All was saved by the nice driver who returned promptly with our bags, and a quick breakfast at Changi calmed the nerves. Being a new rider with only a few months experience with ANZA Cycling, apprehension started to set in. I was quietly stressing about keeping up with everyone and not wanting to be a liability with my inexperience. Reassurances from the lovely ANZA crew did little to dissipate my anxiety.

Our pre-arranged taxi from Thanyapura greeted us upon arrival in Phuket and off we went in a flurry of introductions. Months of talk and planning was finally coming to fruition and everyone was excited. An impromptu ride was quickly organised and on our arrival day we took an easy 23km spin to scope out the neighbourhood.

The coffee ritual followed us from Singapore, as the riders re-grouped at the café, which served excellent brew and fresh smoothies. We ended up spending most of our group time in this café! Nine of us attended a swim session at 4pm in the lap pool, with the session split up between proficient swimmers, and people who needed help with technique. We ended the session with a fun 50m race from the starting blocks. 16-year-old Noah won by a full body length, followed by the old farts who thrashed their way to the finish. Then Glenn left all his swimming gear by the pool… #LostandFound.

The training plan for the following day was announced: a 70km ride, followed by a 5km run on the track, with an early 7am roll out. For those who were after extra work, a 4pm swim session in the lap pool was also on offer. The group was free to join all, part of it, or none of it, at their own discretion.

Donning my ANZA kit, I tried to portray a calm exterior. If only the other cyclists could see what my heart rate was! The ride consisted of a 10km cycle out to the main road, two loops of 30km, and moderate rolling hills, which were thankfully not too grim. We passed quiet villages, harmless free roaming chickens and dogs, and saw little traffic. The ride was shaded and lacked the Singapore humidity, making it a pleasant warm up for us all. Several riders proceeded to do the run, which many found tougher in the mid-day heat than the ride itself. Then Glenn left his bike and cleats by the lobby, unlocked… #LostandFound.

The biggest contention of the trip followed, which we dubbed: “Lasagne-gate”. The limited edition, super-cheesy lasagne from the café was the crowd favourite after a tough morning
workout, but it ran out by noon! So the race to order the lasagne first was on!

In addition to the training sessions organised by ANZA, Thanyapura ran a selection of complimentary classes which included Yoga, Pilates, Zumba and Spin classes. The sports facilities offered in the complex were comprehensive, and we were spoiled for choice. Leisure facilities were also available, with table tennis, a pool table and a leisure pool, which many of us took advantage of.

The longest ride of the trip followed on Saturday morning with an ambitious plan of 90km in the hills of Phuket. Unfortunately, mechanical faults plagued the group for the first 20km of the route. The ride re-grouped at a little coffee shop mid-ride for a cuppa and continued on to the toughest section. Through the heat and perspiration, there were moments where we were rewarded with majestic views of the coast, including ‘James Bond Island’, a famous landmark in Phang Nga Bay. A couple of brave souls, Adam and Gordon, conquered the difficult King of Mountain section and lived to tell the tale.

For riders not keen on the longer distance, another ride was organised through Thanyapura with 5km loops. Overall, the group did 6-7 loops, encountering snakes and chickens crossing the road during the ride. This same ride was then done by the main ANZA crew on Sunday morning before our flights back to Singapore.

As I sat at the café with my coffee after my last ride, I gazed across the pool and lush greenery, a light breeze blowing. I reflected on what I had accomplished in just a few days and I’ve never felt more content. Many memories and laughter were shared over the long weekend, and I’m so happy I was a part of it.”

Want to take your own training camp? Head to thanyapura.com/sports-packages/ Along with cycling, they offer high level coaching and sessions in triathlon, tennis, swimming and yoga.

ANZA Cycling runs a Newcomers’ Ride on the first Saturday of each month. For more info:
cycling@anza.org.sg