Sunday, March 12, 2017

Gran Canaria Training Camp Day 1

A couple months ago, Brett was throwing out ideas for a spring trip, “training camp” as guys often explain it to their wives. Roger’s Italy training camp? Destination’s Mallorca? Thomson’s Italy tour? Or maybe Thomson’s value priced Canary Islands training camp...

I had gone on a Thomson tour before, the Trans Dolomites in June of 2011. I was impressed with the overall quality of the trip. Looking into the Canaries camp, it resonated with me. Very climbing intensive and a part of the world I hadn’t been to yet. I reached out to Dave, and he too was interested. We sealed the deal.

I don’t do red-eye flights well. We left Boston in the evening, arriving in Dublin at 5am for connection to the Gran Canaria. I took Benadryl in the hopes it would make me drowsy enought to sleep. Nope. Did not sleep a wink on the 4.5hr flight to Gran Canaria either. Getting on the island around noon, we shuttle to our resort, the Hotel Cordial in Puerto de Mogan, have lunch, build bikes, and go for a “shakedown” ride, a mere 3000ft of climbing out-and-back. All of this going on 36hrs with zero sleep. Surprised I remember any of it.

The weather forecast was decidedly hotter than normal. Normal temps hoover around 75F this time of year, but our week would see temps near 90F most of our week here. Thompson was set up for two weeks here, camps offered first and second weeks of March. The first week saw some cold and wet days. Not sure which I would have preferred. Several people in our week’s camp booked both weeks, two weeks of about 60,000ft climbing per week! They would get both ends of weather extremes here. Peter Thomson said only once or twice a year does it get as hot as this. Lucky us.

The reason it was going to be so hot was the winds reversed from usual and were coming off the Saharan Desert in Africa, the hottest desert in the world. The Canaries are only ~100 miles or so from the coast. Not enough the cool the air.

Our group of 22 riders road out of town late in the afternoon at a pretty brisk pace, on GC-200, a road we will become very familiar with. It tops out at about 2000ft above sea level, but round-trip entails about 3000ft of climbing. If this was any indication of what the week would hold, I was toast!

There were some pretty strong riders in the group. We had mountain bikers, triathletes and roadies. Most of the group was from the US, Canada and the UK.

The food at the hotel was amazing. It was buffet style, with hundreds of items to chose from. Every evening there must have been over a dozen different meat – rabbit, lamb, beef, pork, several types of seafood. Was both perfect and not-so perfect for a gorger like myself.

The following days would get progressively harder, the mileage and vertical increasing each day. The temps would get hotter and hotter too. It was going to be a tough week.

Single group rolling out for shakedown

Single paceline heading out of Puerto de Mogan on GC-200

Looking down the others side, a ruckus descent we'll hit a couple times later in week

What we came up and will head back down on this ride

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