Winter getting you down? Keep the morale high and give your winter training some focus by booking yourself a training camp for early 2020!
There’s a lot of great destinations in Europe to choose from if you want to jet overseas for some winter sun and great riding, so we’ve selected our favourites and outlined just why they’re so awesome and a few things you may want to consider if you decide to take a trip.
Well, this is the daddy of training camp locations really, isn’t it? Boasting the world-famous Sa Calobra climb, a mythical mass of switchbacks with a 270 degree loop at the top, it’s an ascent on everyone’s bucket-list.
Mallorca is a must-do for more reasons than just Sa Calobra however. One huge appeal is the variety of the terrain. One day you could climb mountain after mountain in the north of the Island, and the next you could head south to the flatlands for mile after mile of fast, smooth tarmac and open roads. This variety means you can find a ride that suits every preference and every training plan.
Another great appeal is that due to the island’s popularity with cyclists, there’s great infrastructure for a riding trip, with bike shops a-plenty and cafes at every corner. The cyclotourism is so well established there that bus companies even run shuttle trips that will carry you and your bike from one side of the island to the other, and leave you to ride home on an awesome point-to-point adventure.
The one thing to consider with Mallorca is that you cannot guarantee the warm, dry weather until March or April, so if you want to fly away at the very start of the year, you’ll need to consider elsewhere.
The Costa Blanca, Spain’s South-West coast, is more than just package holiday hotels and Irish bars. The area around Calpe and Denia is the new go-to place to take your training camp.
The terrain in the area is stunning, and packs a bit of everything, from long 30-minute climbs to serene coastal roads and undulating valleys. All these different elements roll seamlessly into each other, meaning you can pack a bit of everything into any ride you do.
Unlike Mallorca or the Canary Islands, you feel like you’ve found a hidden gem when riding around this area. Although it’s a hugely popular area for training camps, it covers such a vast expanse that you see relatively few other cyclotourists when riding, which means you can enjoy quiet, empty roads and have your pick of the lines on the descents!
The area is super-cheap to live and stay in, which is a huge bonus if you’re on a budget. We’ve been on rides out there when a mid-ride coffee, coke, and sandwich have cost about 5 euros!
However, like Mallorca, which is just a few miles over the sea, the weather cannot be guaranteed on the Costa Blanca until late March, so make sure you consider this when booking a trip.
Gran Canaria is just over the water from its better-known Canary Island cousin, Tenerife. Though the huge volcano of Teide makes Tenerife a popular choice, we vote for Gran Canaria every time.
Whereas all you can do is ride up or down the volcano if you visit Tenerife, Gran Canaria offers all sorts of riding. The longest and highest climb in Gran Canaria isn’t as epic as that on offer at Tenerife, but there are still plenty of options for 40+ minutes of sustained climbing. And on top of that you get the variety of majestic valley roads and cliff-top coastal routes that means you get a tonne of variety.
Although the flight to Gran Canaria is around four hours, as opposed to two hours for Calpe or Mallorca, it’s more than worth it. Travelling further south to the Canary Islands takes you to not far from Africa, and with that, year-round heat! A trip to Gran Canaria even in the depths of January will see you 95% likely to get wall-to-wall sun and temperatures nearing 30 degrees! So make sure you put some sunscreen on, as a winter trip to Gran Canaria will see you come home with a tan!