Sunday, 16 February 2014

A week in the sun ...

After 3 cancelled holiday's in 2013 and two separated shoulders, I finally made it away with my bike for a week in Fuerteventura - boom!

My training partner for the week was Rebecca, having both been completely off the bike Dec/Jan due to injury and illness we were eager to head to the sunshine and clock up some well deserved winter miles.

I was blown away by how beautiful and dramatic the landscape is in Fuerteventura. The weather was between 20 -24 degrees, making it a perfect destination for a winter training camp. We stayed in Costa Calma, which is in the South of the island, although Fuerteventura does not have the large network of roads like Majorca, as soon as we escaped off of the main road airport road we found ourself pedaling up into the mountains with hardly a car in sight.

Goal for the week - to ride! No set mileage, no set distance to just ride and to try and stay away from the bar!

As the road network is fairly limited our routes out and back were the same each day, and we would just vary the middle section. You do not have the luxury of cafes in every town, so we had to plan our routes through larger towns to ensure we had somewhere to stop for lunch.

The first section of our route each day took us from the East to the West of the island where we had to battle the evil Fuerteventua headwind. We were warned by the locals that this section was a battle of the mind as much as the legs and they certainly were right. I don't think we uttered a word to each other in these first few miles as we battled the wind and our own gremlins - at one point after looking down at my speedo I think I cried when I realised we were going 14km/hr. We both reached some pretty dark places and wondered why we hadn't opted to head to the beack and drink mojitos.

After reaching Pared our route then turned North and headed up into the mountains, although still battling a bit of a headwind the amazing scenery helped lift our spirits.  The climbs in the region - although not as longs as you would find in the Alps - were tasty and often enough for it always to be a hard day in the saddle. There were plenty of other cyclist climbing in the mountains and keen to race up the hills, one day we were even joined by an elderly man from Luxembourg who apparently used to coach the Schleck brothers as juniors.

Our ride home every day was aided by a super strong tail wind which literally took us over the climbs enabling us to pick up the pace and get the legs spinning and leaving us grinning from ear to ear.

We achieved our goal and only got drunk once - impressive I know! The riding was certainly a lot tougher than I expected, but it was amazing and I will definitely head back to Fuerteventura next winter as there is so much more of the island I would like to explore.