It's a chance to ride in shorts and get some long days in the saddle early in the season.
Previously we've headed to Lanzarote for open water swimming camps that gave plenty of free time to ride. Warm weather couldn't be guaranteed early February but it was better than home.
This year I waited a month and in March went on a cycle training camp in Andalucia, Spain. I wrote about why I went here, but briefly I wanted to see the city of Seville, ride somewhere different to normal, and didn't want to go to Majorca.
This piece is not all about cycling in Andalucia. I did just four rides in a Spanish Province that's bigger (33,694 square miles) than Scotland (30,090 square miles) the country in which I live. Trying to summarise all the cycling opportunities would be daft.
But I can share some information which might be useful to anyone thinking of heading to a cycle training camp there. I found five providers and I've marked their bases on this map. They are, Andalucian Cycling Experience, Wheels in Wheels, Epic Cycling, Cycle Sierra Nevada, and Custom Cycle Coaching.
Weather: Good weather in Spain is not guaranteed in February and March. I regularly visited the Costa Blanca for forty years and made this mistake several times. I had to abandon a week-long hike through the mountains one March our to thunder and lightning storms that caused serious flooding.
|That's not a lake, it's a flooded field|
So what is a 'training camp'? There doesn't seem to be one accepted format. The Openwater Swim Camps and Triathlon Camps I've done at Club La Santa are highly structured and pretty much run to timetable. There's a high level of coaching mixed with fitness training, plus evening talks.
I did my first Cycle Training Camp in Spain way back in 2012 and as you can read, it was not what I expected.
|Denia cycle camp, 2012|
The contrast with my recent Andalucian Camp couldn't have been greater, because I was the only rider there! I was expecting to be one of thirty again, yet I was all alone. Two others, a couple, had booked on the 'camp' but postponed. Yet the owners, Ashley and Claire still charged me a single room supplement, which I felt was a little harsh.
|All by myself...|
What about the riding? The area in which Andalucian Cycling Experience operate offers fantastic cycling and I've embedded a Relive video of one of the routes to give you an idea of what it's like.
Remember, these are not the Sierra Nevada mountains. From their base in Montecorto they can go south-west to the mountain climbs of the Sierra de Grazalema or north east to the (very steeply) rolling roads through cultivated land. The whole place is surprisingly green, party due to the time of year and partly due to the heavy rain. That said, this is cattle country, the home of bull-flighting.
|Setenil de las Bodegas|
|Las Palomas climb|