An opportunity to take your cycling to a whole new level
Training camps are all the rage! Team Sky and all of the other pro outfits desperately trying to keep up, are heading each year to Tenerife to train (and sleep) at altitude on the famous slopes of mount tiede. The results are speaking for themselves but the concept of the pre-season training camp is by no means a new one. Professional teams have been at it for years, it's just that Sky have brought a scientific edge and a whole new approach to how and when "altitude" is used as a tool for race preparation.
Enough of the pros. Training camps are of course available to every cyclist these days and represent a fantastic opportunity to both train hard (with some mates) and learn a lot about the science and art of cycling. There really is nothing quite like spending 4-8 days pushing your personal limits in the morning, recovering like a pro during the afternoon and talking shit into the evening. For lovers of cycling it really is the ultimate fantasy escape.
But more than a virtual Tour de France, training camps have benefits that will stretch long beyond the return journey home. In fact you will learn things that will continue to enhance your riding experiences for years to come. Once you have lived the almost spiritual mantra of "ride - die - recover......ride - die - recover", your cycling limits and capacity to suffer burst through the glass ceiling and never again will your local climbs seem as daunting.
Most (but not all) training camps are held in the mountains as it is here that a cyclist's true limits can be found. The mountains are, always have been and always will be the playground of cyclists, they are Wimbledon, Wembley, Lords and Augusta all rolled into one. It is why cyclists flock to the great passes of Europe every summer and the reason cycle-tourism is one of the fastest growing industries on earth. In Australia we have few opportunities to experience the spell of cycling in the high mountains, hills we have in large supply, but real mountains can only be found in the "snowies" either side of the NSW/Victorian border. This is why training camps are booming in towns like Bright (Victoria) and Jindabyne (NSW) as long climbs into the high mountains can be easily accessed from both.
If you have not yet experienced the cycle training camp phenomenon, then I strongly recommend you get on it. We have a training camp scheduled for November in Bright (link below) or you may already know a group heading to the mountains later this year. However you manage to do it, commit now, you will be very happy you did.
Stay safe out there, train smart & race hard
Brian Bubba Cooke
Exercise Physiologist, coach & cycling tragic for 30 years. Love the freedom, reward and sense of achievement that one can only experience in our amazing sport.