It’s that time of the year again… the 2020 cycling season is just around the corner and lots of cyclists and triathletes are heading off to pedal around Mallorca, Calpe, Gran Canaria, Tenerife etc. These are some of the most popular destinations for cycling training camps in Europe, but no matter where you are journeying to, here are 5 tips for you to get the most out of your training camp. On top of that, Jamie “Fletch” one our CX specialists in team Bikmo shares some of the photos from his trip Tenerife in February 2019.
1. Build a foundation for your training camp and don’t get carried away!
Don’t go crazy from the start! With the sun shining, the guns out on show and all the smooth roads to explore, the temptation is go full gas and do a big ride on the first day. It’s a long week (or more!) ahead and the likelihood is that the training camp means a large increase in volume compared to what you’re used to. Nobody wants to return home with an illness, injury or chronic fatigue that requires a long period off to recover, so ease yourself into it!
If you can, it’s not a bad idea to start preparing for your camp a few weeks in advance. It may mean more time on the dreaded indoor trainer, but if you can, slowly increasing the intensity and volume of your training a few weeks before will help better prepare you for your time away. It is however, a good idea to take a few days or a week easy just before you travel. You don’t want to be exhausted heading into your training camp.
If you are not going on a guided training camp, its worthwhile planning some routes and training sessions in advance – making sure to factor in those important rest days as well. Maybe there’s some sights you want to see or a particular climb you wish to ride, so why not plan to include them in your training rides? In unknown areas, apps such as Bikemap, Komoot and Strava are great to help plan your routes in advance. It’s also nice to picture those sunny southern roads and climbs in your head for that added motivation on the turbo or rollers.
3. In my bags I pack…
…warm kit? Yes, be prepared! It’s easy to forget to take cycling clothing for the colder weather, but even in the warm Mediterranean climate, the conditions can sometimes be unpredictable. So as well the warm weather essentials, it’s worth packing a gilet, arm/knee/legs warmers, a long sleeve jersey, gloves and a lightweight waterproof jacket. It’s unlikely, but there’s still always that chance you could be surprised with rain and cold winds.
Also, if you have the room in your bike box or luggage, take plenty of ride food and snacks with you. During rides lasting 2 hours and longer it’s important take on carbohydrates regularly. Taking your essential foods for breakfast and riding with you, including your energy/recovery bars, gels, drinks will help keep on top of your nutrition and may even save you a few euros!
Another little tip if you’re staying with other people is to take a net wash bag. It can stop your kit from getting mixed up, especially if it’s the same or similar to the other peoples. It’s also a nice way to keep all your kit packed together when travelling out as well.
Too much information to take in so far? Don’t hesitate to write down a list, lots of disciplined cyclists love a good list! As an example, we found an essential kit list for training camps from OTE here
If you are taking your own bike to your training camp, it’s important to think about the transport of it. To avoid a nasty surprise, pack your bike in a suited bike box. You can usually get cardboard boxes for free at your local bike shop or better yet, rent a purpose built bike box for transportation. Each bike box can be slightly different, but generally make sure to unscrew the pedals, vent the tires and undo the handlebar/stem so you can turn it inside – just have a look at how Fletch’s bike was before packing it into his box. Also, take off the wheels and seatpost/saddle. Don’t forget to make note of your saddle height or mark it on the seatpost with a little tape before too! Lastly, bolster everything with something soft, e.g. bubble wrap.
4. Safety first
Even if you pack carefully and securely, the worst can still happen and your bike can get damaged during transport. If you have an insurance policy with Bikmo, your bike would be fully covered in transit!
It’s also worth thinking about your own health before travelling and potentially taking out a travel health insurance policy. We now also offer our Bikmo Travel adventure sports insurance, which you can find out more about here
5. Don’t be too serious
Its not aaaall about training. Grant yourself rest days, eat plenty of the right carbohydrates after riding and put your feet up! A training camp is exhausting, but it’s at least a little bit of holiday too right?
Do it the Fletch-way and treat yourself with a nutella chocolate & m&m crepe topped with ice-cream! Take time for all the yummy stuff as well as your energy/recovery nutrition during or after your rides. You’ve earned it. An intense training camp is not the time for a diet.
And then, when it is over, make sure to give your body four to five days to recover and absorb before it’s time for the next block… Fitness is built in recovery!
For those staying at home…
…don’t despair! Why not do your own home training camp? Go out and build up the miles when the first sunnier days allow for longer rides. For the mountain bikers or all-rounders, a few bike parks and trail centres may already be open in March! Check out our friends from MBWales for more information about mountain biking locations in beautiful Wales.