This was the 3rd year that Ryan and I went to our Gran Canaria training camp in January to get our long base miles in.
With lots of sunshine, temperatures of about 16-26 degrees Celsius and plenty of smooth roads up the central mountains it's the perfect choice for us, especially since we live in Ireland, where the weather can be quite miserable in January (although this year the January was quite mild, the sunniest and driest one in a decade or so according to the news....). It's a lot easier to do 4-5hours of training a day in good weather and it's great for your motivation and mood too. To be honest, I can only take Irish winters with it's generally grey skies and miserable cold weather when I can avoid it.... And we're not the only people taking advantage of GCs roads and sun: We met old friends Sally Bigham and Dave from the UK training, the world marathon champ Alban Lakata, a load of UK MTBers on their training camp, pro-roadies and triathletes and even the current TT world champ Fabian Cancellara was sighted by Ryan (and overtaken by Ryan on a climb as he likes to point out... ;)))! As Sally says, it's a mecca for cycling and you're sure to have a group spin to go on or to meet somebody you know out on the roads. It's fantastic!
Anyhow, the plan was to get a lot of training done and so I did. The 3 weeks I was there I trained about 23.5hours the first week, 27.5hours the second week and 23hours the third week. The first week of training was really hard, after having had a whole week off over Christmas (apart from one day cross country skiing which completely wrecked my legs, and a long run). But by the 2nd week I was back into the swing of things and I felt good. My training load was bigger than ever this year and I was not nearly as tired after the spins as I had been the previous years - I think my body is adapting! :) The last week though was the best for me, I joined the UK contingent of mountain bikers - many of whom I knew from racing in the UK - on their group spins. I had so much fun riding my bike with them (don't get me wrong, it was still really really hard), I could so do with the pro life-style - now just have to get that PhD finished!
All of my rides from Gran Canaria are up on Strava (my Strava profile here, ignore the distances, my Garmin is currently reading wrong distance, but climb and power are accurate) - Ryan and I both populate the Strava database with lots of new climbs - now we hope that we've got some people challenging those before we return the next time. Both Ryan and I managed to win the January Strava KOM challenge :)
Gran Canaria really is the perfect place for winter training and I'm already looking forward to next year (or maybe even this year again?)!