A bit of winter sun can give your training, mood and health a real boost. For late winter and early spring the Canary Islands offer consistent weather and affordable regular flights from the UK. Read articles more like this in Totally Active Magazine.
Who? Totally Active Editor Nikalas Cook and Gear Tester Paul Barton
Where? Club La Santa
When? Late January/Early February
What did you do? I was there primarily to road cycle and Paul to trail run. However we hired mountain bikes for a brilliant 95 kilometre off-road epic together one day as well as trying our hand at mini-golf and badminton on our “rest day”.
Weather: Considering we left blizzards and were the last flight to leave Manchester airport that day, anything would have been an improvement. On the whole it was good, 16-18 C but we did have one afternoon of rain. According to the locals it was unusually cold and wet for the time of year but it was perfect for us. My only warning is that the wind can be fairly ferocious. You can feel like a hero for half your ride with it on your back and then a grovelling wreck for the rest as you battle into it. Check wind strength and direction before heading out, make allowances for it and leave your deep section wheels at home.
Would you go again? Definitely. I’d always been a bit wary of La Santa, imagining Butlins with lycra, however, it was brilliant. The facilities are excellent and the range of activities, all of which are available on your Sports Pass, is unparalleled. I took my own bike out but, with really high quality ones on offer to hire, wouldn’t bother next time. The roads are great for riding with considerate drivers who are used to cyclists. Having so many active people around is inspirational and you may even be rubbing shoulders with a star athlete. Dame Sarah Storey was there at the same time as us, preparing for her hour record attempt. The food was brilliant, we opted for half board and the buffet breakfast and dinner was perfect and really allowed us to listen to and fuel our bodies correctly. All the apartments are self catering and there’s a supermarket on-site so we just stocked up on lunch staples for when we got in from our activities. There’s also plenty of entertainment during the evenings, such as discos and karaoke nights. However, if this isn’t your scene, we couldn’t hear a peep from our accommodation.
For more information: www.clublasanta.co.uk
Who? Totally Active reader Mike Knudsen and friends
When? Late January/Early February
What did you do? It was a hosted cycling trip, covering 50-150 kilometres per day with up to 3,000 metres of ascent. The group was of mixed ability but the guides were surprisingly adept at getting everyone challenged at their own level without the group falling apart.
We used Tenerife Bike Training run by two brothers, Markos and Alberto Delgado. They were superb hosts and made the week fly by. We could just focus on riding and having fun. They made sure we experienced the best the island could offer without us having to think.
We had lunch together each day and the group had access to on-ride support / drinks / snacks and technical backup.
Tenerife Bike Training sourced and organised post ride massage with a fully qualified sports massage / osteopath therapist, it really made you feel like a pro. We got to see and eat out in a number of great locations and went star gazing on top of Mount Teide.
Where did you stay? As we were touring the island, we stayed at three hotels.
Initially La Quinta Roja, a boutique hotel in the centre of Las Cruces a small north-west coastal town. It’s a renovated 17th century stately home in the centre of the town. This corner of the island is quiet and has an old feel with no concrete hotels, great rides and views.
Then three nights in the Parador, which is the pro cyclists’ altitude training place of choice, both BMC and Astana were there. Situated 1,800-2,000 metres above sea level, with amazing night time star gazing.
We spent the final nights in San Cristóbal de La Laguna the “old town capital” of Tenerife. A fairly big town 800 metres above sea level. Brilliant rides down to the sea, lovely town and great food. Each hotel was unique in a good way and located to facilitate high quality and varied riding
Weather: Tenerife is ideal for early season training, temperate and dry when Spain is still moody and can be wet. You get to ride in shorts and short sleeves from February.
Would you go again?: We’ve already booked again! This time mid March to get a pre season boost. We’ve booked again with Tenerife Bike Training, as it made all the logistics so easy and you could just focus on riding. This maximises time on bike and gets us onto the best roads. They have a van following the group on each ride and having this backup for nutrition, clothing, mechanicals and weather changes is great.
For more information: www.tenerifebiketraining.com/
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