After a 2 year hiatus the OUAC once again set sail for Monte Gordo, Portugal for our annual warm(ish) weather training camp. You would think that a group of Oxford students would be organised and have all the appropriate travel documents to hand when planning a trip abroad, however both Eniola and Moses appeared to forget there was a pandemic and forgot their vaccine passports leading to a long and expensive night in the airport. Even the Women’s Captain Adhana failed at the first hurdle realising her passport was out of date a day before her flight, travelling several hundred miles to Glasgow to get an emergency one, catching a flight nearby in the nick of time to meet the rest of the club in Faro – all in all a pretty chaotic start before we’d even set foot in Portugal.
Having finally arrived at the Hotel Alcazar and fuelled by what we were assured were the Algarve’s finest burgers the night before and an interesting assortment of cold meats from the buffet, OUAC headed to a drizzly track for the first day of the ‘warm’ weather training camp whilst OUCCC headed out on the first of their many long runs followed by a dip in the sea. Despite the wet weather, the first day of training can be considered a great success - no one from the long sprints group got injured! (yet). We wound down in the evening with some competitive games on the beach followed by speed dating in the evening giving a chance for everyone to get to know each other a bit better.
As the week continued OUAC continued training strongly, with the jumps squad making use of the inclined track, whilst the throws squad enjoyed not only the multitude of throwing circles available, but also the array of cocktails on offer at the hotel bar in the evening. Our training, however, began to become slightly disjointed as after Archie was bed ridden for a day needing ‘urgent’ help in his room, the illness began to spread rapidly through the club with several more casualties around the middle of the week, some pointing fingers at Archie, others at the cold meat selection from the buffet.
This didn’t stop us from having a great night out prior to the rest day on Friday investigating Monte Gordo’s limited assortment of bars led by OUACs very own ‘Music Man’, before resorting to drinks on the beach and for some reason a 3 hour game of photo roulette until the early hours of next morning. Feeling fresh the next morning and a day of rest ahead of us, we set sail on the ferry to Ayamonte, Spain, for a well-earned relaxing day in a picturesque Spanish town. We soaked up the culture, tucking into Paella, Tapas and some extremely bitter oranges enjoyed by our Kit Rep Isaac.
Speaking of kit, Isaac’s slightly baggy Warm Weather Training vests became a hit with the whole club featuring prominently in Anika’s OUCCC TikToks (go check it out), including her recreation of the famous Chariots of Fire beach scene. We continued training hard and enjoying life by the beach, meeting some French Olympians who were out filming promotional videos, some OUAC members even got to feature!
Then came the legendary hole, an iconic symbol of our trip. What started out as a few OUAC visionaries digging a hole on the beach with their hands, after 2 days hard work eventually turned into a vast 6 foot deep hole capable of fitting most of OUAC inside it, getting us on the Olympians story and also in trouble with the Portuguese police who instructed us to fill it in – they didn’t seem as enthusiastic as us about our triumph.
Having avoided a Portuguese jail cell, the OUAC enjoyed the last couple of days in the sun, training strongly and consistently – that is apart from the long sprints squad whom, having started the trip with 7 (relatively) fit members, were down to 1 non-injured, non-ill, non-broken spikes member – rumour has it they were scared of losing to the jumps squad in a 4x100. The last couple of nights included a quiz prepared by Adahna, el Presidente, Sam, Isaac and Adam, in which the prize was promised to be WWT vests that actually fit (still not received these yet Isaac), and also the important paper plate awards.