As snow carpets the entire country, getting outside and riding your bike can seem like the last thing you might want to do. But if you want to be at your fittest this summer, whether it’s for a packed calendar of enduro races, marathons, cross-country races or other goals, then you need to be riding lots, and now.
Motivation can be hard to come by at this time of year, whether it’s snowing or it’s the usual cold, dark and damp conditions. Training camps are the ideal escape from the bitterly cold weather here in the UK and let you get some quality riding in on dry and dusty trails, just the inspiration you need to get some quality riding done.
Q: What is a training camp? It’s essentially a cycling holiday, with the emphasis on riding all day every day. Most training camps are based in warm sunny countries with decent weather almost guaranteed, which makes a good break from the cold dark weather of January. A good package will provide all the support and facilities to let you just get on with the task of riding your bike.
There are plenty of such training camps that cater for mountain bikers. Many also offer other sports if you want to try something a little different, as well as more relaxing pastimes. So here’s a few popular retreats:Club La Santa Absa Cape Epic Training Camp
Club La Santa is based on Lanzarote, part of the Canary Islands, and enjoys very warm weather year-round.
Club La Santa is one of the most popular training camps with roadies, and this year they’re organising an Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike Training Camp on 25-31 January. This package is especially geared towards helping you train for the South African eight day stage race of over 800km. However, you don’t have to be doing the Cape Epic to take part in this training camp, we reckon it’s fantastic training even if your aims are set a little lower than the daunting stage race.
The daily rides will be between 3 and 6 hours, organised in different groups depending on ability and level of fitness.
The training camp costs €130 for one week, €150 for 10 days. Accommodation at Club La Santa costs from £599 for an apartment that sleeps up to three people.
It’s not necessary to fly somewhere sunny for some training and hands-on coaching, you can do it right here in the UK. RaceEasy is run by a team of endurance and adventure sport enthusiasts based in Taunton, Somerset. Their Mountain Bike Training Weekend caters for riders of all levels, from tackling your first mountain bike race to fine tuning every aspect of your physiology for getting the most out of your season.
They’ll help you build a training plan, go through strength and conditioning essentials, skills sessions, race tactics and nutrition, ensuring you’re ready for whatever goals you have for 2013.
Costs £230 per person.
Majorca is one of the most popular training camp destinations with road cyclists. The Spanish island offers good weather year-round and well-priced hotels and flights to get there are reasonably cheap. As well as good roads, there’s some excellent mountain biking with a host of trails waiting to be explored.
There’s good riding near Bunyola and the Soller valley in the west, and Pollenca and Alcudia in the north and Peguera in the south west. The hilliest terrain is on the west coast and it’s flatter the further east you travel.
Rock and Ride also offer rock climbing, walking and mountaineering, if you want a change from mountain biking. See website contact for prices.
Based in the Sierra Nevada region of Spain, a very popular mountain biking hotspot, Pure Mountains provide luxury holidays in their eco-friendly farmhouse. Best of all, there’s a huge network of trails right on their doorstep, and there’s everything for cross-country to all-mountain riders. Their guides are fully certified and they provide Land Rover backup and uplifts where needed.
They run weeks, short weeks and long weekends throughout the year. A short week costs £545.00 per person for four days of riding. Interestingly, their website lists an ‘Enduro Short Week’ in March, but there’s no details on it just yet.