Team MuleBar Girl – Sigma Sports’s training camp took place on the first week of April. Here is a little bit about what we got up to and how much we enjoyed it!
Until last week I had never ventured away for a warm weather training camp, so I was really looking forward to some sunny Spanish miles with my teammates for Team MuleBar Girl – Sigma Sports’s first warm weather training camp and what an amazing week it was. We all met up at Gibraltar airport ready to start the camp. Despite the early start and long journey we were all smiling and ready to go! Bikes reassembled and kit on, we headed out for our first ride of the camp in the afternoon sun.
We had a really good block of training together, with plenty of headwinds, crosswinds, hills, laughter and by the end of it, several pairs of screaming legs! It’s the first opportunity I have had to spend time with the team away from a race environment, so it was great to get to know everyone better. Many hours in the saddle together and some good banter, we are now ready to hit the 2014 race season hard. I have been educated on sports nutrition by Adel and am now only allowed one biscuit for each hand whilst revising, so let’s hope the hills get easier.
We all owe a huge thank you to Steve at Cycling Espana, Joe our guide, Laila and Havier who were extremely accommodating and excellent hosts. They transported us when and where we wanted, fed us delicious food, gave us excellent routes for our rides and made sure we enjoyed every minute. We would recommend taking a look at Cycling Espana. Whether you fancy a training camp or just a cycling holiday, you will not be disappointed. Thank you to MuleBar and Sigma Sports for making it possible for our team to have this opportunity!
What an amazing way to spend a week. Fresh from the Twickenham CC Dave Peck Memorial Road Race we boarded the plane to Gibraltar. Last year we went to Wales, in February and no one except me seemed to like the freezing cold temperatures, relentless steep climbs and ice on the ground. This year we were Spain bound, to Andalucía with the promise of sunshine and mountains to climb.
Now back at home in the cold I appreciate more than ever what an amazing bunch of friends I have in Team MuleBar Girl– Sigma Sports. There was never a dull moment from the moment we groggily met at Luton airport at 4am. We did everything from riding through torrential rain and block headwinds along the interval road of pain to trawling the beachside cafes for the best milkshake (vital recovery of course!).
Warm weather training has always been really important to help me get through the winter and put in some decent miles as well as team building. We’re so lucky to have MuleBar and Sigma Sports on board so that the whole team can enjoy the experience and reap the benefits in races to come. Despite what the photos might suggest we had a solid block of very hard training and my aching legs tell the tale better than I can in words.
MBG Fat camp. In relative terms I am fairly new to cycling. I have never been on a training camp - I've been on cycling holidays but I was assured this was not the same thing. Our team is dripping in talent, expertise and experience when it comes to racing and training so I jumped at the chance to go away with the rest of the girls. Having had a bit of a break, after a full season of cross racing, I was going to need a fair bit of preparation if I was going to go away training with some of the best legs in the country. Kindly Nat invited me to Spain in February for a pre-training camp training camp. I worked hard on the bike, in the hospital in the weeks leading up to it and packed my bike with some trepidation - would I be able to keep up? Would I manage all the sessions?
I should not have worried - the girls were fantastic. Yes they ripped my legs off every day, yes we had some horrendous rain and gale force head winds but we cracked on in true MBG style and were rewarded with scorching sunshine, lovely beaches and tasty food. Taking the mick out of each other constantly, we made it through living together, riding together and cooking for each other. I would talk about the cycling but I don't want to give away any training secrets other than there was an awful lot of cycling. Other highlights include - Louise suffering some extremely impressive sunburn, which was treated by Nat using cold teabags! Another highlight was Adel turning up with nothing to wear other than a bikini and educating us all on the Adel school of sports nutrition - 2 biscuits per day "1 for each hand". We explained to Emily what the World was like before Internet and we learnt that Nat used to do her homework on a typewriter. Nat enjoyed a great deal of bird watching and managed to complete her RSPB colouring book of birds, whilst waiting for me to catch up. I was so knackered with all the cycling I managed very little else.
Nat went above and beyond to organise a flawless trip with some fantastic cycling but what made it so good was the company, I do not think I have ever worked so hard on the bike and had so much fun.
Anyone that knows me knows I do not particularly like riding my bike. Now do not get me wrong I LOVE racing but I struggle with training and just riding. So when it came to going away on a training camp I knew I would have to bite the bullet and go out riding beforehand. Ridiculous I know but I trained for a training camp!
Luckily Nat had done fab job organizing the camp and our lovely hosts from Cycling Espana greeted us at Gibraltar airport. I've never experienced going away with a cycling company before but I would totally recommend it. Having Steve and Joe on hand to take us out on any route we desired was awesome. Alongside the riding Steve showed us local sights and took us to all the best restaurants, I mean we all know the importance of good food after a hard days riding.
I grumbled my way through the first few days of riding, but as the week progressed I was having a great time out on the bike. Its a testament to the awesomeness of my teammates that I was loving just riding my bike and even wanted to do extra! Riding through hailstorms and climbing mountains together really made us come together as a team on the bike. The banter and jokes we had off the bike though made going back to the daily grind on Monday that bit harder. It is not often you find a group that are such genuinely nice people and get along so well. I am very lucky to be on such a talented and friendly team that has such supportive sponsors. Without these teammates and sponsors, Sigma Sports and Mule Bar, I would not be loving just riding my bike again and chomping at the bit more than usual to be back racing!
“1 week away, feels like the whole world should have changed but I'm home now and things still look the same" Sand in my shoes - Dido. This pretty much sums up my week... In the early hours of Monday morning I finally crawled into bed with a slightly sunburnt body, a decent weeks training in my legs and sandy feet. I set the alarm for 6am and smiled as my mind flicked through some pictures of the fabulous week I had just had.
We crammed so much into our training camp that it felt a lifetime spent away. Yes we rode bikes; yes we learnt each other's strengths and weaknesses (for biscuits) we sunbathed by the pool, took a few trips to the beach, ate ice cream and pizza and had the occasional alcoholic beverage. We also had the relentless strong winds, renowned in this region of Southern Spain, in our faces and sometimes on our backs but importantly we gelled as the Mule Bar Girl Sigma Sports Team. A group of girls who all share a passion for outdoor life, laughter and living.
Our host Steve at Cycling Espana could not have been more accommodating, he welcomed us into his little piece of heaven he calls home. We each wear a little elastic band bracelet full of Spanish luck made by the children of his friend Havier as a memento, even Joe, our fabulous tour guide can be seen sporting one (a hugely masculine one obviously).
It would be wonderful if these trips never ended but if you do not come home, you cannot plan another. Now...bring on the racing season, we are ready for you.
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