Our latest blog comes from Irish man Derry O’Sullivan who just returned home after his January ESCape Camp.
He’s an avid cyclist but had never been on a cycling trip abroad before, so naturally, coming to the home of cycling was quite an experience for him. Here, he details what it was like to partake in a ‘training camp’, meet the pros and see what the town of Girona had to offer…
What a week I had in Girona at the Eat Sleep Cycle January ESCape training camp.
The trip exceeded all expectations. From the moment we touched down in Barcelona airport everything was organised so professionally. Within no time we were in Girona and checked into the fabulous 4-Star Hotel Utonia located right in the old town. After a quick lunch we were on the road on highly spec’d carbon-fibre bikes.
The bike had been set up for me complete with my own saddle, front Garmin mount and cadence sensors so no time was wasted faffing about with Allan keys and such. The bike was very comfortable and ran very smoothly for the week.
This was my first cycling holiday abroad. I would say that not only was it a great cycling experience but one of the best holidays I have ever been on. I cycled 5 days, completed over 400 kilometres with over 4,000 metres of climbing in brilliant sunshine and perfect roads. I discovered a great city, enjoyed fantastic restaurants all in the relaxed company of the Eat, Sleep, Cycle team.
I had a real taste of the professional cyclist’s lifestyle with all my cycling needs looked after.
I started the day well rested in a great hotel fully fuelled from the buffet breakfast, the bike in perfect working order, ride nutrition provided and great routes tailored to my own ability.
All rides were guided by experienced cyclists Lee, Lou and Brian who each have real local knowledge of the best routes in Girona.
I really appreciated that the itinerary was not set in stone because after the first two days I had about 200 kilometres in the legs with about 2,500 metres of climbing, so I really felt tired.
For day three, after a quick chat with the staff rather than miss a day on the bike, I went on a more leisurely spin with Louise and Deirdre (another on the camp) taking in great countryside and a lazy lunch before returning to Girona.
The route still had two good climbs (one of Lance Armstrong’s preferred training routes – Santa Pellaia) in it but the relaxed pace was just what I needed.
Off the bike Girona is a fantastic city with enough to keep anyone happily occupied for 5 days – even if you never went near a bike. My wife accompanied me on the trip and had a great time exploring the city and walking the many greenways, hiking the many trails including the one to Castillo de Miquel high in the hills overlooking the city.
The highlights of the trip:
The spin to the coastal resort of Tossa del Mar. This afforded us fantastic views of the Med and a thrilling descent into the town on a great sweeping road. It was like something from a stage of a Grand Tour!
Spotting pro cyclist Dan Craven AKA DanfromNam. I tweeted him the night before and ended up on a training spin with him, some of his Cycling Academy teammates and a number of other pros based in Girona. Nothing out of the ordinary for members of the Eat Sleep Cycle team.
Off the bike we were lucky enough to be in Girona for the Three Kings festival (Jan 5th) which displayed great pageantry, a fantastic atmosphere on the streets and the bars and restaurants hopping. It was a brilliant night out.
To sum up my week, I had a blast and would recommend Girona and Eat Sleep Cycle to anyone contemplating a cycling trip abroad!