A few weeks ago members of the AeroGeeks team spent six days at the Club Med Sandpiper Bay resort. For those unfamiliar with it, the Sandpiper resort not only hosts the 2575 championship, but also features a triathlon training academy as part of the Club Med Academies program. But before we start talking about Club Med it’s important we get one thing out of the way – this was not a paid trip. The AeroGeeks team paid 100% of the costs associated with this trip. We thought that was worth mentioning since it’s easy to discount reviews of travel spots simply because they were provided to the reviewers all expenses paid. However, in our case, this was a vacation paid for out of our own pockets that we enjoyed so much that we couldn’t help but share our experiences with our readers.
The Club Med at Sandpiper Bay is located in Port St. Lucie, Florida. That’s just under a two-hour drive to either Disney or Miami depending on which way you are driving. The resort is known for three things: its family friendly atmosphere, its heavy emphasis on sports, and finally for its trapeze. Yes the resort does have a trapeze on site for any guest who would like to try their hand at some acrobatics (but we are warning you now, make sure you do this after any planned training because you may be a touch sore afterward!)
The resort actually doubles as a fully staffed tennis academy for some of the top junior tennis players in the world. At the time we visited, they had roughly 75 athletes living on the premise. One of our favorite activities during the trip was taking a post-training dip in the hot tub while watching the juniors do laps past all of the guests. You think your training is hard? Just imagine doing your long run while you watch people sip fresh mojitos by the pool.
The resort features three places to dine. The Marketplace is the primary resort dining location and features a fully loaded buffet. The buffet offers plenty of healthy items including a full salad bar, wraps, vegetables, fish, steamed veggies, and tofu options; as well as items that fall on the other side of the spectrum including their famous chocolate bread (and its well-loved cousin, white chocolate bread). One of our favorite items was the daily crepe at lunch – we tended to go for the chocolate caramel variety. The entrees ranged from the standard (burgers and fries) to the exotic (Duck l’orange and lamb). Soleil is the sit-down snack bar that serves light sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. Finally there is the Riverside Grill & BBQ, which offers a slightly more formal dining experience. Here, you can dine on surf and turf (for a slight upcharge).
There are three pools on property; the main pool, lap pool, and an adult-only pool. The main pool is zero-entry and where most of the action takes place during the day. If you are looking to get swim workouts in, make sure to hit the lap pool in the mornings. But once the clock strikes noon, the kids start to come in and take over the pool with beach balls and foam noodles. Regardless, the lap pool is a little quieter than the main pool. If true relaxation is what you’re after, head over to the adult pool. There you will find a quiet infinity pool tucked away behind the resort overlooking the river. The best part may be that the adult pool has its own bar with a bartended who often stops by the hot tub to take drink orders!
There are plenty of onsite activities beyond the trapeze as well. If you’re looking for some fun on the water, there are paddle boards and sail boats to borrow (included in the price). For those looking for a little more competitive action there are beach volleyball and tennis courts. But let’s face it, if you are reading AeroGeeks and considering a stay at the Sandpiper Bay resort, you are planning on getting your action in at the Club Med Academies.
Club Med Academies offers in-depth training in a number of sports: Tennis, Golf, Volleyball, and Triathlon. On top of that, you can contact Club Med regarding other specific training you may have in mind. While we were there specifically for Triathlon, another guest was working with the coaches on running only.
We enjoyed a four-day package (Club Med is very flexible and looks to work with your specific needs). Our days typically started at 7am and ended sometime around noon. From 7-8am we typically joined in the morning’s group exercise activity. Open to all Club Med guests (not just those in the Academy), the morning routine was either a 5K run or an hour in the pool. Both the run and swim are led by Coach Tommy Allore, the head triathlon coach at Club Med, and are a great way to start your morning.
Afterward we typically had 30 minutes to get a little fuel in before we started the main program for the day. Before we arrived we had spoken to Tommy and shared our strengths and weaknesses – this helped him prepare a plan just for us. In our case, we wanted to focus on swimming. So we were in the pool every day for at least an hour. Therefore if our 7am workout didn’t have us in the water, by 9am we were getting wet. We initially worked on drills to improve our stroke form. By day three we were taking that form into speed drills, and day four had us doing longer swims while holding form.
Tommy also worked with us on basic run and cycling form as well as more advanced techniques. In particular we spent quite a bit of time working on cornering and u-turn skills on the bike. Our second-to-last day consisted of a continuous brick workout, while the final day was more focused on recovery (which was much appreciated by that point!).
As part of our time at Club Med we also spent time with Coach Chris Bertorelli who worked with us on fitness, agility, and conditioning. Finally, we spent an hour with both Idrissa Diallo on nutrition and Scott Del Mastro on mental conditioning.
The final part of the package was one hour at the spa. After four days of getting our butts kicked, that one hour was pure heaven. We would definitely recommend saving your massage for your last day!
Will We Go Back?
In one word – absolutely! This was a perfect trip for the downtime between our spring ‘B’ races and summer workouts in preparation for our fall ‘A’ races. Coach Tommy helped us fine tune our form and get us set up for the base workouts we will be doing all summer long. And when we weren’t training, we were truly recharging, which is really the most important thing we look for in a vacation. When we shared our memories of the trip with friends and family, we said we spent the first five hours of the day getting our butt kicked and the next 5 hours sitting on our butts with a mojito in hand. That’s as close to the perfect vacation for a triathlete that we can think of.