Whilst I was pretty gutted I was missing one of the only ‘snow days’ I can remember I was glad to be heading off to a slightly sunnier place: Girona. It was touch and go whether the flight went ahead. After my pal Oscar’s flight had been cancelled the previous day I was worried for my own flight. With an early start and a sketchy take off I was in the air and on my way. Lugging a bike box around Barcelona airport and waiting for the bus whilst not really knowing if I was waiting at the right bus stop was an experience for sure but I finally met up with my Sister in Girona and spent the next 10 days getting in a big block of winter training. It was great.
Obviously one of the benefits of training abroad is the weather, for me this time I missed a whole load of snow and ice, which would have left me stuck on the turbo. Don’t get me wrong I love a good turbo but tempo efforts don’t half go quicker up a twisting climb with great views, than in a sweaty room on your one.
One of the biggest things for me when training abroad is the change in scenery. Exploring new places on the bike is a great experience and it makes the time go so much quicker. 4 hours somewhere new feels like 2 when you’re riding round interesting places especially with the great training roads that you can find abroad. Where I live back in the UK you’re looking at a 2 hour ride to get to a climb longer than 10 minutes, so to have a 30 minute climb straight out the door in Girona is great. I always find it difficult when training abroad to stick to the hours you are set and not to go overboard with the hours too early. As long as its green on Training Peaks, it’s good for me.
Furthermore, I like to think I’m pretty cultured, I fully immersed myself in the Catalan culture which is basically; loads of coffee and relaxed afternoons. After most rides, Oscar and I found ourselves in a coffee shop, our favourite being Expresso Mafia. One day after Tom sent us (willingly) up a really steep climb at the end of a hard 5 hour ride we collapsed in a café, downed a can of pop and a cortardo whilst trying to work out who the Cannonadale rider was that had just rocked up in a similar state. We borrowed some newspapers for under our jackets for the decent into Old Town.
The training load definitely jumped for the time I spent in Girona. However, the whole experience of being abroad, looking after myself, made me feel really pro, the increased training load added to this. Being able to focus on the training as the priority and more importantly the recovery is a real bonus when I’m normally balancing A levels, music commitments and staring at training peaks.