Welcome back to my blog for 2018! I hope you enjoy reading all of my updates throughout the season and if you are a new reader then feel free to have a look at my posts from last year.
2018 will be my final year as a junior and I have decided to stick with team 22 for another season, meaning that I get the opportunity to go on an amazing team training camp in sunny spain with Ciclomagic.
Unlike last year I have two Scottish team mates who are also juniors therefore it was not so lonely travelling…although the flight was at 6am, so there wasnt much talking.
After a post flight spin the day before the real training started with a long ride in the spanish hills.
Firstly the infamous Col de Rates then over the rolling roads into Castells then through Murla, Orba, Benidoleig, Pedreguer and finally back into Jalon where we were based for the week.
We were only riding for around 20 minutes before we hit the Rates…I needed a bit more of a warm up than that. About half way up I began to die, didn’t get spat though, yas. Luckily as we continued to ride I began to feel better and better.
Todays ride was nothing special, no specifics just enjoying riding in temperatures above 0 degrees. Unfortunately not enough to get the leg warmers off though. But a significant improvement from the snow in Scotland.
After the ride it was time for probably the best part of the training camp, the food. Perfectly prepared by Frankie (from Ciclomagic) and waiting for you on arrival from the ride. Bliss
Unfortunately todays training plans had to be changed last-minute due to rain. Yes that’s right rain. Come to Spain they said it will be sunny they said.
So another day in the hills with some more specific efforts up the big ass climb that is Val de bo was changed to hill reps up the Benissa climb which is actually a lovely climb on a good day and perfect for efforts, although it’s a little hard to enjoy it when your going flat-out and your legs are falling off.
On the bright side though we did get to see Chantel Blakk (Elite female World Road Race champion). Total fan girl moment.
It’s about a 40 minute ride from Jalon to the bottom of the climb in Benissa so my wee legs were actually switched on for the first effort unlike yesterday. After completing the efforts I was cracked from giving it 100%. The team DS Colin saved my life with a cheeky can of coke to get me back to the villa.
Finally the sun came out and just in time for the cafe day!
We rode back down to the coast again today and stopped in Moraira for some much-needed ice cream. April, one of my team mates, really made the most of the ice cream stop…she got five scoops.
The ride back incorporated the Benissa climb that we did efforts up the day before. So I did get to enjoy the climb after all. No emergency coke was needed.
As we were back to the villa considerably earlier than the rest of the days Ciclomagic had arranged for a paella masterclass as a little team building exercise. It took about and hour and a half to make but it was totally worth it. So much fun and tasted amazing.
Today’s ride plan was pretty flat but don’t be fooled it was not an easy day.
We rode over to Denia to the well-known drag strip style road that is great for doing leadouts. At first the road was empty so we had plenty of space to do our thing. However very quickly the road started to fill with teams doing the same. Even Canyon Sram arrived, fan girl moment number two.
I had done plenty of leadouts before but todays conditions were a little different since it was a savage crosswind so we had to do leadouts in echelons.
Just to mix things up we all took turns in different positions in the lead outs. The final lead out I was the sprinter but my lead out rider was Chloe who has a serious background in track sprinting so trying to get round her was a bit f a challenge shall we say…the lunge got me past.
unfortunately I began to develop a knee niggle during today’s session still managed to nurse myself back to the villa and do an ice-cube massage that night and hoped for the best.
Today was back to a long ride into the mountains, over Val Debo and over some short but 15% and above climbs.
I made it up and over Val Debo but the steep walls were too much for my knee, I did get to hold on to the team car for a bit. But it was really frustrating not being able to ride up there with the other girls.
That night Colin arranged for the whole team to get a leg flush massage. Which was ideal for my knee. If you talk to some of my team mates they’ll tell you that the massage was great but it was an experience to say the least as the masseuse spoke zero English and we all spoke zero spanish. The only communication exchanged was either a thumbs up or down from us and the only english word the masseuse knew was tension. He used it a lot.
Technically another cafe day but it was certainly not a recovery one.
The ride was not for the strava art as it was an out and back to Denia to visit Johns Cafe Ciclesta. Top notch carrot cake and some cool signed pro jerseys and awesome photos. If you are ever out in spain would highly recommend making a visit.
In order to get to Denia we rode over the main climb of the day the Montgo climb. After not being able to ride hard over the steep climbs yesterday I managed to squeeze in some efforts over the climb and since it was the last ride, on the way back we had a smash-up on the final climb before arriving back at the villa. We caught and considerably dropped some male riders who were also at the cafe which was great for the moral.
That marks the end of the training camp for another year. Really looking forward to the season now as the team has really bonded over the week which I think will stand us in good stead for the season ahead.
I would like to say a big thanks to Ciclomagic for having us for the week, you exceeded my expectations yet again. Also thanks to Colin Batchelor for a great week of training.
And as always a big thanks to Billy Bilsland Cycles for having my bike running smoothly and for the love of the bike box and of course to my parents for making all of the possible.
My first race is the Velo 29 criterium on the 24th of Feb. So look out for my next blog after that.
thanks for reading
Ellie Park , Team 22 , Whats Your M.E.T.A