It’s that time of the year. Riders in both the U.S. and in Europe are enjoying their respective training camps. Most professional road teams have had a couple already. Some teams divide it up by arranging one for media, one for the guys racing in the spring classics and one for the guys racing the tours.
Well for me, it’s ten days in Alicante, Spain. After the really cold weather that was ripping through Europe the last couple weeks, I just had to get out of Dodge.
When looking for the best location, Ryan Trebon (with whom I’m sharing a house in Belgium) mentioned Spain. A while back Barry Wicks, Ryan and I had a great training camp along the French Riviera during this low point of the season and did some awesome rides on all the famous climbs and training routes in the south of France.
While in France, we were able to catch a ride with Bobby Julich who showed us all around Southern France and even introduced us to his favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.
For Americans, these two weeks (January 5 – 17) in ‘cross are pretty dead. Europe doesn’t have any races going on because each country is holding its national championships. Since we Americans already have our champions crowned, it’s a nice rest/training period late in the ever-growing ‘cross season. So we’re here and it’s going down, mentally and physically.
On the work side, I’ve done a couple long rides and some good interval efforts, hoping to get in those last couple significant workouts leading up to the final races of the season. On the leisure side, while the rides are really amazing with the Mediterranean hanging as a backdrop, I’ve checked out the coast, both while riding and on foot, from Santa Pola to Calpe.
Alicante, like most of Europe has tons of history so I checked out the Santa Barbara Castle, the beaches, a couple key points of interest and, of course, I had a crêpe from Spain. It’s always good to be well rounded when speaking of a good crêpe.
The easy part of leaving your second home-away-from-home for another training territory is the weather, which, in the South of Europe is always better. The tough part is packing the bikes, renting another place, getting a rental car and taking on yet another foreign language.
Of course, there is also the plane ride to consider. No good vacation comes without a little drama and this one has had plenty. The first night we were here, I came close to ripping my thumb off with a corkscrew. The next incident came when Ryan wanted to check out a road down on the waterfront and I obliged. When we got there the road was covered in a little water from the waves crashing onto it.
I was lucky enough to take a light dip in January in the Mediterranean and almost ruined my iPhone in the process. I got a little road rash and a couple sore buns, but I made it out lucky considering the dual wheel slide I did. I was covered in blood and salt for the rest of the day.
At the end of the day it’s all worth it. I wouldn’t have gotten on my bike for five hours the other day if it was snowing and zero degrees (as it was in Belgium). So when weighing the options, for me the trip makes sense. I’m at a point in my season where I can use some long hours, the road season is starting to show its face.
As I type this, my Jelly Belly teammates are arriving in Sunny San Marcos, California, for a media and training camp. Jelly Belly is a great company and the team is equally as awesome. The team is really lenient with me and I’m very fortunate to able to keep my dual schedule. My sponsors are pretty cool and thanks to the people in charge.
In the past I’ve been able to jet-set my way to training camp before taking a break from the bike. This year is a little different as our director decided on two training camps.
So while my road friends are in California training this week and next, I’m in Spain at my training camp. I’ll be able to join my teammates in early February after the cyclocross world championships.
So from ‘cross worlds, I’ll be heading to California for a few weeks with a focus on the Tour of California if my Jelly Belly teammates and I are asked to participate. I hope to take what I have left over from ‘cross and put that to good use at the Tour of California. After that it’s going to be a break from the bike and some serious rest and recovery from a long season.
Now you all know what the next six weeks have in store for me. Check back next time to see how it all went down.
Thanks for reading.