Emma Silversides: in search of sun

I do not want to harp on about what I have done for the last four weeks; it’s only the usual winter stuff of cyclists; long training, a stint of dreaded sickness followed by antibiotics, team training, new kit…. I thought that I would rather tell you a little about the different places that I have trained in since the start of the year.

As a cyclist half the pleasure of riding is the terrain and surrounding scenery that you take in along the way. Of course we all have our favourite routes but I think it is fair to say that a new route makes a ride much more interesting and enjoyable.

I spent the first three weeks of January with Citrus Cycling; they are based just in land from Calpe on the Costa Blanca. The land is rather baron but offers quiet roads and some fantastic climbs. Take in Guadalest, Confrides, Margarida and Val d’Ebo for some challenging climbs and stunning views. Calpe is a real favourite with the pro teams in January since the weather is fairly dependable in that region. If you are looking to avoid the snow and rain that northern Europe offers in January and February book you tickets now for next year!

From Spain I returned to Belgium for a training weekend with the team. In Spring and Summer the routes and terrain would offer just as much benefit as those that I had ridden in Spain. Unfortunately the 2 degrees and rain that we had did not please my body (hence the antibiotics!)

However, riding the parcours from Het Nieuwsblad (formerly Het Volk) and the Ronde Van Vlaanderen with the team was great fun despite the weather. We based ourselves in Zingem in a small guest house specifically catering for groups of riders undertaking such training; Sigginga Haim. It is one of many such hostels which offer perfect accommodation for club trips in Spring and Summer.

To bring you to present time I am now in Majorca. This is my first time on the island so I really did not know what to expect. As our plane came in to land the first thing that struck me was how lush and green the land was.

I immediately had to stop myself from dwelling on the conclusion that such vegetation could only be the result of a rainier climate! Our first ride was relatively flat but this did not mean an easy training; the wind made sure of that! After two hours of riding we had a train of more than 10 extras all benefiting from the Redsun wind break! Subsequent trainings have taken in a real variety of terrain and have all, thankfully, been ridden in dry conditions.

I was thoroughly impressed with the route taking us up to Valldemossa then in a south westerly direction skirting along the coast to return inland via Andratx. Despite being close to the water you remain at a good height and are therefore treated to some breathtaking views. From Andratx we came back via Calvia and Coll de Sa Creu.

If you ever take a trip to Mallorca do not leave without taking in this coast road; I promise you a treat! The island is a top favourite with all levels of cyclists from top pros to the keen enthusiast willing to hire for one day. I am aware that we have been very fortunate to have had nine days of dry training but for an early Spring training camp this has to be one of the best locations on offer.

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