Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gran Canaria Training Camp

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.

View from the top of the island - Tenerife in the background

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!

Out on a group ride with the UK boys ;)

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!

Beautiful valley in GC

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?)!

The Stick

Ryan usually gives out to me about not doing enough massaging and stretching etc. and I usually come up with some lame excuses (I've got to work on my PhD, I'm too tired, can we not ask Stew to give us a massage...?), but deep down I know he is right and I should be doing much more of this. Ryan has always been a fan of trying out new tools, but I usually lack behind in my enthusiasm for such things.

Until Ryan got The Stick.

The Stick is basically just a slightly flexible stick with 2 rubbery handles holding in a bunch of loose plastic mini-rollers in the middle.

As soon as Ryan got The Stick I started using it too. And I liked it so much I wanted one for myself. So Ryan gave me his Stick and got himself a new one. We now have a 20" Marathon Stick, which is the longest and most flexible one and a 17" Travel stick, which is slightly less flexible. And I like my Stick so much it came with me to my training camp in Gran Canaria and it's seeing much use here. The Stick is the first massaging tool that I do not find too cumbersome or time consuming or annoying to use and it actually feels good to massage your tired legs with The Stick. Both ease of use and perceived benefit are for me perfectly combined in The Stick. And it's handy enough to take with you on your travels.

So, get yourself The Stick, best massaging tool I have come across! (and I am not sponsored by them)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cyprus Sunshine Cup Flat share 18th of Februay to 7th of March

As every year I'll be taking part in the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. I've booked a flat for 2-4 people (twin bedroom and sofa) in a beautiful old house in Kalavasos, a rural Cypriot village. Ryan and I have stayed in the same place for the last 2 years. However, it's not sure if Ryan is going to be able to come or not, so I'm looking for a possible flat share from the 18th of February to the 7th of March to keep the costs down.

This would suit another 1-2 riders who also take part in the Sunshine Cup (or anybody else who wants to come over during that time frame for a holiday). The location is perfect for off-road riding and the flat very big and you can roll the bikes straight in from the road. It also has wifi included.

Kalavasos also has a bike repair and rental shop for road and off-road bikes and a lot of riders from other teams stay in this and the neighbouring village, so there's plenty of opportunity to hook up for rides too.

Let me know if you're interested and I can give you more details. melanie dot spath at gmail dot com