Our guest blogger, Richard Snow outlines how he felt a Mallorca Cycling Academy helped him succeed in his 2013 ambitions.
In 2012, as a typical middle-aged guy I did a mid-life crisis thing and had a go at the Etape, my first ever sportive. With massive help from a La Fuga coach called Huw Williams, a diet and a lot of slow solo miles in Surrey I got my not inconsiderable bulk around the course and avoided the broom wagon and lived to tell the tale. I did the Etape travel and accommodation with La Fuga and had a great time and was well supported.
For me a training camp was an idea to kick start my 2013 training programme – to mark the end of winter laps in Richmond Park with my club and a time to start back on the turbo and focus on trying out time-trialling with a view to breaking the hour for 25 miles. I chose La Fuga because of my great experience in 2012 and because I knew that the whole time would be focused on cycling, recovering and learning lots of stuff about feeding and training and riding. Oh and, of course, eating – my second favourite pastime. The key thing for me was the training and support. Anyone can book a week, full board at the hotel where we stayed in Pollenca. Anyone can get on a bike and trog over to Puig Major or Sa Calobra and cycle up and down it. To get the most from the week you need coaches who understand why you are there and have the time and inclination to teach you and a support vehicle to keep things moving so you spend as much time as possible on your bike.
The week very much exceeded my expectations with a good mixture of steady and threshold work and lots of climbing (good for the thin) and lots of pacey flat roads too (good for me). Mallorca was beautiful and the riding good fun. There was a good mix of abilities so I wasn’t always at the back and when I was, Tom one of the coaches was there gently cajoling me on and keeping an eye. The coaches were ‘proper’ – Tom was a pro and national champion time trialler, Alison was a national road race champion and had ridden in her own team in the pro tour in Europe and Jared was a national level triathlete – but they worked with everyone and had relevant experience for all. The best thing I did all week was the descending school and I now think that riding downhill is pretty much one of the best things there is….
So did the camp help me? In a word YES ! It got me motivated to cycle again just as the UK weather becomes bearable. I managed a short 58 for 25 in June and broke 22 for 10 miles in late May. In September I visited Ventoux with a group and completed the Cingles challenge of three ascents in one day – I managed a final descent speed over 21kms that was a little over double the average speed in the 2012 Etape.
Overall a lot of fun and, although a bit more expensive than the classic turn up and ride cycle camps, the extra money was worth it.