How Do I… Do a training camp?

The pre-season training camp has become an essential part of many riders’ programmes. Whether for serious preparation or to get some gentle miles in under sunny skies, the chance to live like a pro for a week or two is very appealing.

Majorca and southern Spain are the commonest destinations, with plenty of companies offering all-in packages including food and accommodation, daily guided rides, nutritional and tactical advice, plus extras such as massage.

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Most companies offer bike hire, which saves you the worry of baggage handlers doing their worst with your prized steed, and the possibility of having to pay excess at the airport for exceeding the weight allowance.

Helmets are compulsory in both Majorca and Spain so don’t forget to pack one, along with cycle clothing for every eventuality. The early-season weather, particularly in Majorca, can be unpredictable. It should, theoretically, be pleasantly warm, but a week of riding in the rain without decent wet-weather gear makes for a miserable time. High-factor sunblock is also essential for good weather.

Wash your riding kit every day and pack some of your usual washing powder, along with chamois cream. A skin reaction to an unfamiliar product is going to ruin your riding.

Living like a pro makes training like a pro all the more tempting — be careful. To go from a couple of sessions a week to long back-to-back rides increases the likelihood of injury or illness. Pick up a muscle strain and you could set yourself back weeks and defeat the object of the trip.

Ease in gently and include at least one recovery day in your programme. Organised camps should have a choice of rides for varying abilities each day. Take a gentle spin with the slow group, stop for a coffee and take in the view.

Think of it as a working holiday. Get plenty of riding in but don’t neglect the rest and relaxation. Training camps are as much about being sociable and getting to know club or team-mates as getting fit.