Mini training camp – Calpe
Get me! Mr training camp with the stars and pros in Calpe, Spain. I have wanted to visit here for many years having read what great roads it has and how the weather seems more consistent than places like Majorca where I have known it to snow in February! (I only mentioned this about 16 times a day whilst here)
Anyway, I finally got around to it and we booked a really cheap deal in a brilliant hotel on the beach. Pre arrival I did lots of research on routes and managed to blag some from an excellent blog by Paceline RT. Armed with my training schedule from Matt B and an instruction `Not to exceed 800 TSS…` we awoke on the first morning full of enthusiasm, breakfast and sunshine. We also woke to a fully broken rear hanger and my Di2 rear changer hanging off the frame! Full panic mode set in but thankfully we had a bike shop 200 yards from the hotel. In true Spanish fashion the laid back attitude saved the day. I alawys have a disaster with my bike abroad but this was a new record time.
View from the Hotel breakfast
The first brilliant thing was getting to put all my new kit on from Nopinz and no arm warmers, gloves, hoody, snorkel parker or full ski suit to train in! I really cannot wait for summer. Needless to say I set off harder than I probably should having no clue what was to come, namely over 7000 feet of climbing, strong winds and 5.5 hours in the chair. `Don’t worry` I said we will have a tea and cake stop halfway around- well that didn’t happen obviously. We went Calpe, up the coast road to Javea, over a surprise climb to Denia and then….tough roads to the bottom of the infamous Val D`Ebo climb. It was never ending! A bit of pro spotting at the top with some geezer from Data Dimension looking like he wasn’t even trying and then the wind from hell over undulating roads at tempo. We got to Margarida a bit desperate to stop after constantly killing ourselves just to stay upright and eventually found a bar that gave us coffee and the worst sandwich I have ever eaten, however it saved the day! Next up another ridiculous climb to Tollos, followed by the best descent in the whole world when you are knackered for about 15 miles. Eventually we saw the rock at Calpe and limped sadly, with much less enthusiasm than when we set off into the hotel. That night my first beer in weeks lasted about 4.3 nanoseconds.
Legs not quite so fancy this morning let me tell you. Today`s route was a similar leg ease up the coast road and then across to Parcent for a look at the Col de Rates. I did promise we would stop at the café at the top this time which I expected cycling friendly banter would be available with lashings of coffee…again this didn’t happen obviously! Great climb this for its iconic status in the area but nowhere near as good as Val D`Ebo in my opinion. At the top I was surprised that the café really isn’t that welcoming and there was no way I was leaving my bike in the car park unattended, so quick picture and off we went again, back to the flatter roads and into Calpe for another 60 miles to add to yesterdays 90.
OUTSIDE the café. Sadly. Its not like I need cake anyway is it
Today was the easy `rest` day. I tell my training partner that we will ride to Denia at steady level 2, stop at the cycling café by the Marina, watch some of the E3 race and then ride back level 2. Did this happen! We set off on the coast road and as we started to go up a small 16% climb I noticed a rider had suddenly appeared wearing distinctive orange kit. I paid no more attention and the competitive person in me decided to put a touch on. This turned into 400 watts and me starting to breath out of my arse. At the top the cheeky monkey was still there and talking to my mate!! It was at this time I noticed he was a pro for the CCC team and asking where we were riding that day and how he would come with us. Oh dear. The look on poor Michael`s face at this prospect has amused me ever since.
We got to a café in Denia (obviously not the cyclist one with cake and Eurosport). Mr CCC pro tried speaking to us in his broken English (better than my Polish) and then duly paid for the coffee`s. Ride straight back as planned? No of course not why would we on a rest day, lets go with Mr Pro into a block 50 mph headwind. Mr Pro went to the front and after a few minutes I thought I should do the right thing and do a turn to get us through the hurricane. Imagine my surprise when I was still on the front 10 km later as he was having an `easy rest day`!!! When he realised I would probably need an ambulance to get back to Calpe he kindly came to the front for a bloody awful climb and smashed it whilst I pretended not to be in any kind of pain.
As close as I got…..
The `easy day` climb with Mr CCC. Good to see our sponsor Paul from Cyclesense on there!
Ruined is an understatement. I looked at what Matt had set for today with a huge sigh but decided to man up and go to a nearby climb to do some intervals. How I got through them I have no idea but it shows what you can do if you at least try and my reward was a nice easy ride to Parcent to watch the world go by in the café at the bottom of the Col De Rates. The Fixit.No Danish pro team were testing on there so it was good to see the (young) riders prepping and enthusiasm for what they were about to do. A nice easy ride back into Calpe and that was it! Gutted, but what a brilliant place, I for one will be back. At least I stuck to the plan boss honestly……