Our UK cycling ambassador Helen Russell´s first blog post as she builds up to an extended training stay with us
During Helen´s stay with us she will be based at our Self cater option the Aparthotel Terralta Benidorm
Countdown to the Costa Blanca
It’s a foggy and frosty morning in the UK and my bike ride has been cancelled due to the bad weather so I am forced to spend another morning on the indoor bike. Luckily I can console myself with the fact that in three weeks I will escape the British weather to cycle in the mountains of the Costa Blanca.
I first cycled in the Costa Blanca back in March 2010 and enjoyed it so much that I returned the following two years. However, as I was working full time I could only spend a week there. This year however things are different. In 2013 I quit my full-time job to do a Masters degree in Germany. During my studies my supervisors kept asking me what I wanted to do after graduating and I always joked that I wanted to spend the winter cycling in Spain. At some point however, I realised that actually that is really what I wanted to do. I also knew that I may never have the opportunity again to take some time out to pursue a small dream. Therefore I decided that as I didn’t yet have a job, I would take the opportunity to swap the bad weather and Wattbike for five weeks riding in the Costa Blanca.
In the past I have used my week of training in Spain to build a block of fitness for early season triathlon races. In the three years that I trained at the Costa Blanca I won my age category at the World Duathlon Championships (2010), the European Duathlon Championships (2011) and the European Triathlon Championships (2012). It really is true what they say about winter miles making summer smiles!
My main event for 2015 is the European Aquathlon Championship in Cologne in June, and whilst this event doesn’t actually involve cycling, I am sure that five weeks of riding in the mountains will improve my all round physical endurance, power and mental strength. After being a student for a year I have lost some of my fitness and am hoping that I can regain some of it in Spain.
Of course as a triathlete I won’t be just riding- I am taking my wetsuit with me and am hoping that the sea will be warm enough for some open water practice. If not then there are always the public swimming pools in Benidorm and Altea. The coastal paths in Benidorm and Albir are great for running and there are also local athletics tracks for some interval practice. Ideal for triathletes!
This year, as I am travelling with a family member, I decided to stay at the Terralta Appartments in Benidorm, as whilst I am out riding there will be plenty for them to do in the resort. Also, the complex has a gym where I can cross train and an indoor pool with Jacuzzi where I can sooth my tired legs!
My last eight months in Germany were in Berlin, which is a wonderful city but not great for cycling as it is totally flat. Therefore on returning to the UK I headed straight for the hills of the Cotswolds and Worcestershire. I am getting some hill practice in before going to the Costa Blanca and have been doing hill repetitions up Stanway Hill, just outside of Evesham and the Malverns. However, with the cold and wet weather it is sometimes hard to get outdoors and training on an indoor bike trainer gets boring after a while. Therefore I am counting down the days until I depart for Benidorm and can enjoy my warm weather training.
Helen is a former age-group European triathlon champion, World and European duathlon champion and was the silver medallist in her age category at the 2014 European Aquathlon Championships. She is a Ciclo Costa Blanca Ambassador and is returning to the Costa Blanca for the fourth time this January. She will be blogging about the preparations for her stay in Spain, her experiences during her stay with Ciclo Costa Blanca and hopefully how her training translates into successful race results in 2015.