I am in my final few days here in Calpe. The villa has been home for the last 3 and a half weeks now, a few hiccups, but overall it has done well. For the first 3 weeks, we even managed to keep it quite clean. Until Ross arrived, then it appears to have got worse (he admitted to me yesterday that he hasn’t actually read any of my blogs despite being my best friend, so he won’t see this).
I guess i should probably recap on my time here, or tell you guys about some of the best/most interesting moments at least!
- Meeting new people – Something i admit i am not very good at. I am used to keeping myself to myself and staying within a very close knit of friends. At first coming out to a foreign county and staying in a villa full of random people was quite daunting. However, with a villa full of like minded, determined people, who all just love riding our bikes, we all got along perfectly. The banter was strong, and the gains even stronger. I do have to say, i’ve never learnt so much about memes in a week. So a big thank you to you guys! You know who you are. #TeamDownstairs4Life
- Riding new roads – Quite a change from the bumpy, pot-hole covered lanes of Suffolk. Every road here seems like its straight from a race circuit. Everything is grippy and you can throw the bike into every corner with no fear of any road imperfections. Which has certainly led to some fun times attacking down descents. Apart from the road surface itself, the shear variety of roads here is incredible. I guess that is why it is such a hotspot for cyclists. Anything from long straight roads through the olive fields, straight from a testers dream, to steep, winding climbs that test even the toughest rider. The climbs have certainly been the most interesting aspect for me, even though i appear to made a bit of a habit of getting spat…
- Seeing the pros – Personally i see this as the biggest difference between cycling and any other sport. Most of the pro teams have left Calpe now, to head of to other warm countries to start their racing calendars. But for the first 2 weeks i was out here, i don’t think i went on a ride without seeing some form of professional team. Anything from European Conti teams to the biggest World Tour teams in the world. And we got to ride with all of them! What other sport can you train with the icons of the sport? Highlights have to be; rolling out of town with Giant Sunweb, hanging on to TopSport Vlaanderen during there cool down back to Calpe and getting a wave from Olympic Gold Medallist Greg Van Avermaet.
- It’s always sunny in Spain! – Well that is certainly a lie! Flipping glad Dad made me pack my rain cape now! “You never know”, he said. Sure as hell, the first 2 days i was out here i don’t think it stopped raining! Worst its been in years according to the locals…just my luck.
- Focused Training – With readily available climbs of 10min+, my focus for this camp has been on longer, time-trial-like efforts, with the intention of adding in the short sharp efforts when i return home on the turbo and with racing. Being something that i just cannot do at home this has done wonders for my legs, and hopefully it will show during the season.
Sadly, i will be heading back to cold, rainy Ipswich on Saturday night. Back to the normal training and working routines. I am sure it will be a tough transition at first, but something i have to deal with. Anyway it is only a week now until my first race for Team OnForm, North Road Hardriders 40km Time Trial. And i will be collecting my kit in the next week or so, so stay tuned for the pictures!
Lastly, a big thank you to Lawrence and Sarah for sorting the villa and making my trip possible!! I will certainly be seeing you all again next year!!