Due to corona, instead of our usual foreign training week, we went camping in a small village in the south of the Netherlands: Epen. With a group of 20 Gauls we did lots of fun activities and ate ice cream every day in the extremely hot and hilly south of our country (could've well been France).
On the first day, a large part of the group arrived in Epen. As all groups arrived in different cars going at different speeds games were played for hours until everybody managed to arrive. Once everyone and their tents had arrived the complex task of setting up tents commensed. Ofcourse everybody helped each other resulting in all tents being pitched correctly. The women decided that they had the right to dibs the spot in the shadow (underneath a tree). However what wasn't known to them at that time was that a massive waspnest seemed to be nested somewhere in this shadow producing tree. This meant that they had a lot of tiny friends to keep them warm and alert during the nights. Having had dinner, the entire group went for a short walk down to the ice cream farm, where massive scoops of ice cream were bought for 0.90 cents each. Unless you went for the 'limburg' cone which essentially doubled the amount of ice cream! After this most gauls went to bed early, to contend with the strict rules of the camping (which stated that everybody should be silent after 22:00).
The second day of the Asterix trainingsweekend started with a track training in the extreme heat. We did the track trainings at the track stadium of Achillis-Top in Kerkrade, which was a 30 minute drive from our camping. Luckily, some cars had airco to cool everyone before and after the trainings (however, other cars didn’t, so you had to pick the right car). Due to the nice stadium we were able to do the warming-up in the shadows of the tribune, which was still kind of pleasant. Also the sprinters were able to do the rest of the training in the shadow. The runners and technical athletes had to train in the burning sun after the warming-up, which meant getting sweaty everywhere.
After the sweaty track training it was time to cool down at Fun Valley, where we were able to swim and relax. After being inside for not even 10 minutes, all Gauls found their way in the cool lake. Only 5 minutes later the first Gauls already came back, because of all the seaweed inside the lake. Not all Gauls cared about the seaweed, some of them stayed inside the water for half of the afternoon. When everyone was relaxed and hungry we headed back to our camping and ordered pizza, which took more than 2 hours until it was delivered. After all stomachs were filled a couple Gauls went for a walk, others went to a bar, but everyone ended the day in their tent.
On Saturday, another hot day with temperatures up to 37 degrees another track training was planned in the morning. However, a few Gauls chose to run in the hilly surroundings of our camping instead. Some even got up at 6 in the morning to run over 17 kilometres before it was too warm! After everyone returned and re-hydrated themselves again, it was time for the next activity. A golf clinic had been arranged in which the Gauls first were taught how to swing a club properly, chip and put balls to prepare themselves for a little competition! The Gauls were split into teams and 9 holes were done on the golf course. It was a big challenge to cope with the extreme temperatures during the game, however many teams achieved a "par" score on a lot of holes! After returning to the camping and having dinner some chose to have another nightly walk and other went to the local bar in Epen to have some of Limburg's Gulpener beers during a little drinking game.
Sunday we changed the athletics track and our running shoes for a mtb. We were going to cycle the Vijlen MTB route, length 25.7 km. Described by the tourist office as "slopes are steep, the high-low difference is large and in total you have 580 altimeters to climb. Difficulty rate - very difficult." So for the Gauls, it was quite a rush. Most of them made it to the end, with here and there a flat tire or broken derailleur.Calories were refilled at the local ice shop, after which the afternoon ended with a refreshing shower. Tired but satisfied the Gauls then packed their tents, to return home, back to Eindhoven.