Sunday, January 25, 2009

Back in Ireland...

... and guess what, it's raining! And it started so well this morning with nice sunshine... Ah well, it's actually not that bad, because after coming back really late last night (drunken woman caused delay of take off for an hour, missed next aircoach on arrival, no taxi for ages at Bewley's Hotel) and sleeping in I spent most of the day doing house chores (3 loads of washing!!) and college work that I had procrastinated on.

Dry riverbed in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

But I wish I was still on Gran Canaria! Looking back, it was a really good decision to go there for base training. I cycled a total of 41 hours and about 980km with 19500m of climb in the two weeks that I was there (even though I was sick for a few days and had a muscular pain issue which reduced my time on the bike), so it was really good for building a good base for this season's racing. And you can actually cycle for 5 hours in one go without getting rained on there (it's hard to get a 5 hour stretch of no rain in Ireland) and being able to climb for 2 hours solid if you want to. We had very little rain on Gran Canaria, but we were told that it was actually one of their coldest and wettest winters - lol, it's sad that a cold and wet winter on Gran Canaria is still better than a summer in Ireland....

Famous dunes of Maspalomas

I only had one puncture on the whole trip, after I rode a really rough stretch of road and had stopped off to buy some water. When I came back to my bike it just made a loud PFFFfffff.... it had ripped a big hole into my tire and tube. It was a good decision to take the road bikes - the ease of it! Practically no maintenance apart from that one puncture. And it also meant we could start our training as soon as we went out the door and didn't have to drive to trails (we also didn't need to rent a car).

Lighthouse at Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria really is the place to go for cycling training in the winter. It's only a few hours from any European airport and accommodation is very reasonably priced, especially if you weren't as posh as us requiring Internet. And the weather is just perfect, with temperatures between 16-20 degrees at sea level (6-8 degrees on top of the mountain) and sunshine and blue skies all day round (for the most part and depending on which side of the island you cycle on). We even did some pro-cyclist spotting, I tried to hang on to JB Junior from the Astana team one day and Ryan spotted the German Albgold team with my competition Katrin Schwing and the Subaru/Gary Fisher team training together. We both actually saw loads of cyclists, pros and leisure.

Beach at Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

The apartment in which we stayed, Atico 3, was also really suitable for our needs: a small and simple but very comfortable place in Vecindario - with free ADSL Internet connection (that was our most important pre-requisite because both Ryan and I had to keep on working from there). The price was also very reasonable, especially since we had a two-bedroom apartment for 4-6 people all for ourselves :). The German hosts very both very nice and helpful. Definitely a place to keep in mind in case we want to come back!

Jeez, it just started raining again. Today it has just been pouring with only a few breaks of no rain (but still clouds of course). I am really considering relocating to Gran Canaria for the winter.

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