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January 2024

2024 Tuscany Camp: Italian Cycling, Culture and Cuisine

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Feel the history here…and look at the hills we will ride!

Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary journey through the picturesque landscapes of Tuscany, Italy? Get your pedals ready, because we have a brand new 2024 Tuscany Cycling Camp designed to take your cycling and endurance to new heights!

Join a small group of passionate cyclists for an unforgettable week of riding and adventure in this Italian cycling paradise. Explore the charming countryside, conquer challenging climbs, and immerse yourself in the rich culture and beauty of Tuscany on two-wheels.

Whether you prefer to rent a top-of-the-line road bike with electronic shifting or bring your own trusted steed, we’ve got you covered. Our upfront rental option ensures that all the logistical details are taken care of, making your travel to and from paradise a breeze.

At the 2024 Tuscany Cycling Camp, we focus on making sure you have fun and get fit. Our comprehensive schedule is designed to provide you with access to incredible roads and cycling experiences. From the moment you arrive, we handle all the food, logistics, and on-the-road support, so you can fully immerse yourself in the cycling experience. Just turn those pedals, challenge yourself on the climbs, and earn those well-deserved post-ride beverages.

The Timeline

  • Day 1: Arrival at Florence Airport, followed by a transfer to your accommodation.
  • Day 2: Explore the beautiful Val di Merse.
  • Day 3: Ride through the famous Chianti region.
  • Day 4: Discover the unique landscapes of Crete Senesi.
  • Day 5: Rest day with a guided tour of Siena and a special dinner.
  • Day 6: Experience the medieval town of San Gimignano.
  • Day 7: Cycle through the stunning Val d’Orcia.
  • Day 8: Departure day, with transfers back to Florence airport.

Our Lodging

Your home away from home during this incredible journey will be Palazzo a Merse, a beautifully restored 18th-century farmhouse bed and breakfast. Located in the tranquil countryside of Val di Merse, just a stone’s throw away from Siena, this rustic Tuscan farmhouse offers a serene retreat. Relax in the spacious, shady garden, take a dip in the outdoor pool, or savor a glass of wine as you soak in the breathtaking views.

All the Things

What’s included in the 2024 Tuscany Cycling Camp? Everything you need to make this an unforgettable experience:

  • Florence (FLR) airport Pick-Up and Drop-Off
  • Half-board accommodations with delicious breakfast and dinner
  • Five guided rides, led by experienced ride leaders
  • SAG van support, ensuring you stay hydrated and fueled
  • Daily briefings, maps, and elevation profiles for each stage
  • A memorable camp party with a delicious homemade meal and local beverages

While we take care of most aspects, please note that airfare, bike rentals (available for $500 per week), alcohol, and food at cafe ride stops along the routes are not included.

Sign Up

From challenging climbs to scenic routes, each day promises an adventure tailored to your fitness level and preferences.

A $500 deposit is required to secure your place at the camp. Space is limited, so act fast to ensure you don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity!

To learn more about the 2024 Tuscany Cycling Camp and make your deposit, visit our website. We can’t wait to welcome you to the heart of Tuscany for an amazing week!

Discovering Rocacorba: Girona’s Hidden Gem for Cyclists

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Nestled within the stunning landscapes of Costa Brava and the Pyrénées, Girona stands as a serene sanctuary for professional cyclists. For nearly two decades, its tranquil roads and ideal temperatures have made it a prime spot for those looking to hone their skills. This medieval town is more than just a picturesque location; it’s a haven for cycling enthusiasts.

Rocacorba literally means “folded rock,” and you’ll get that same sensation if you push too hard up the early parts of this climb!

Europe’s Pro Havens: A Comparative Overview

Girona is part of an elite group of European “pro havens,” each with its unique test grounds. Nice is famous for the Col de la Madone, and Lucca for the Monte Serra. Girona, however, offers something different with its hidden gem, the Rocacorba climb.

The Allure of Santuari de Rocacorba

Just 20 kilometers north of Girona’s old town lies the 12th-century Santuari de Rocacorba, near the summit of a less renowned but equally enchanting climb. Its historical and cultural significance adds to its allure, making it a cherished route for many cyclists.

Setting Off from Banyoles

The journey to Rocacorba begins in the peaceful lakeside town of Banyoles. The Aquarium cafe, a frequent spot for David Millar and other cyclists, marks the start of this memorable climb. Banyoles is most famous for the Lake of Banyoles, a natural lake renown for fishing.

This is the best place to top off before or after the climb.

The Journey Begins: Pujarnol to Matamors River

From Banyoles, the route heads towards Pujarnol, where the first sign for Rocacorba can be spotted. The climb officially starts after crossing the Matamors river, marking the beginning of a challenging ascent.

Are you ready?

Mastering Rocacorba’s Shifting Gradients

The climb spans 13.8 kilometers with an average gradient of 6.5%. The key to mastering Rocacorba lies in strategically attacking the easier sections while conserving energy for the steeper parts.

Reaching the Summit: The Final Push

As you near the summit, the sight of radio masts signals the end of the climb. The effort is rewarded with spectacular views, a testament to the climb’s allure and challenge.

Rocacorbas Climbing Video

Accommodations and Rest Stops in Girona

Girona, a haven for cyclists, is not just famous for its challenging routes and scenic beauty but also for its welcoming accommodations and rest stops that cater specifically to the needs of cycling enthusiasts. Whether you’re in town for a few days of intensive training or a leisurely exploration of the region’s roads and trails, finding the right place to stay and rest is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here’s a guide to some of the best cyclist-friendly accommodations and rest stops in Girona:

1. Bike Breaks Girona Cycle Centre

Located in the heart of Girona, Bike Breaks Girona Cycle Centre is more than just a hotel. It’s a hub for cyclists, offering not only accommodation but also bike rentals, guided tours, and a well-equipped workshop. The rooms are comfortable and tailored to meet the needs of cyclists, including secure bike storage and a laundry service for cycling gear.

2. Hotel Nord 1901

This elegant hotel is a perfect blend of luxury and cyclist-friendly amenities. Situated close to Girona’s historic center, it offers easy access to popular cycling routes. Hotel Nord 1901 provides spacious rooms, a relaxing garden terrace, and a swimming pool to unwind after a long day of riding.

3. La Bruguera de Púbol

For those looking for a more secluded retreat, La Bruguera de Púbol is an excellent choice. Nestled in the countryside, this eco-resort offers a tranquil environment, ideal for relaxation and recovery. They provide tailored nutrition for athletes, massage services, and guided mindfulness sessions for a holistic cycling holiday.

4. Els Angels Hotel & Restaurant

Els Angels, located just a few kilometers from Girona, offers a unique blend of comfort and rustic charm. Known for its excellent restaurant, this hotel is a great spot for cyclists looking to refuel with delicious local cuisine. The hotel also offers bike storage and a workshop space.

5. Can Cocollona B&B

Can Cocollona is a charming bed and breakfast known for its friendly atmosphere and artistic flair. It’s a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on comfort, providing secure bike storage, a communal kitchen, and a cozy lounge area.

Rest Stops and Cafes

  • The Service Course: A well-known cafe and bike shop, ideal for a coffee break and a quick bike check-up.
  • Federal Café Girona: Offers a relaxed atmosphere and a menu packed with healthy, energy-boosting options.
  • Café Le Bistrot: Located in the old town, this cafe is a favorite among local cyclists for its ambiance and excellent pastries.

Local Bike Shops for Quick Repairs

  • Girona Cycle Centre: Offers comprehensive bike repair services and a wide range of cycling accessories.
  • CicloTurisme: They provide not only repair services but also bike rentals and guided tours.

Rocacorba Cycling: FAQs

What is the best time of year to cycle Rocacorba?

The ideal time to cycle Rocacorba is during spring (March to June) and autumn (September to November). During these months, the weather in Girona is mild and pleasant, offering comfortable cycling conditions. The summer months can be quite hot, making the climb more challenging, while winter might see colder temperatures and occasional rain.

How does Rocacorba compare to other climbs in Europe?

Rocacorba is a unique climb in Europe, offering a blend of challenging gradients and breathtaking views. While it may not have the same fame as climbs like Mont Ventoux or the Stelvio Pass, it’s a favorite among professional cyclists for its quiet roads and consistent gradients. Its 13.8 kilometers length with an average gradient of 6.5% presents a formidable challenge, comparable to some of the more renowned climbs in Europe.

What preparation is required for tackling Rocacorba?

Preparation for Rocacorba should include both physical training and mental readiness. Physically, focus on building endurance and climbing skills. Interval training and hill repeats can be particularly beneficial. Mentally, prepare for the climb’s challenging sections and have a strategy for pacing yourself. Also, ensure your bike is in good condition, and consider bringing nutrition and hydration for the ride.

Can beginners attempt the Rocacorba climb?

Yes, beginners can attempt the Rocacorba climb, but it’s important to approach it with realistic expectations. It’s a challenging ascent, so beginners should focus on pacing themselves and enjoying the experience rather than pushing for speed. It’s recommended to have a solid base of cycling fitness and some experience with hill climbing.

What are the must-visit spots in Girona for cyclists?

For cyclists, Girona offers several must-visit spots:

  • The Old Town: With its historic charm, it’s a great place to explore post-ride.
  • The Walls of Girona: Offering panoramic views of the city.
  • Café Le Bistrot: A popular spot among cyclists for a coffee or meal.
  • The Service Course: A cyclist hub for community and bike services.
  • River Ter: Riding along this river provides scenic routes and a tranquil experience.

Are there any cycling groups in Girona to join?

Yes, there are several cycling groups in Girona that welcome both local and visiting cyclists. These include:

  • Girona Cycling Club: Offers group rides and events.
  • Velo Club Rocacorba: Founded by David Millar, suitable for a range of abilities.
  • Bike Breaks Girona Cycle Centre: Organizes weekly group rides and cycling events. Joining these groups can provide a social aspect to your cycling experience in Girona, along with valuable local insights.

Conclusion: Embracing the Journey Up Rocacorba

The Rocacorba climb in Girona is not just a cycling route; it’s a journey that tests your limits and rewards you with unique experiences. Embrace this adventure, savor each moment, and let the enchanting town of Girona leave a lasting impression on your cyclist’s heart.

ps: here’s some reading research you can do!

David Millar, with a professional cycling career spanning 18 years, has become synonymous with Rocacorba. His books “Racing Through the Dark” and “The Racer” chronicle his journey, highlighting his deep connection to this climb and the creation of Velo Club Rocacorba.

Cycling Mount Teide: An Epic Journey from Sea to Summit

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Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, beckons with its sunny beaches and vibrant culture. But for cyclists seeking a different kind of adventure, the mighty Mount Teide awaits. Mount Teide is Spain’s highest peak, rising to an impressive 3,718 meters above sea level, and the journey to its summit is a thrilling challenge.

Introduction to Mount Teide’s Cycling Challenge

Unlike other famous climbs, such as the Col de L’Iseran in the French Alps, Mount Teide provides a rare opportunity: a continuous ascent from sea level to a staggering 2,100 meters. This feature alone sets it apart in Europe, creating a thrilling and unparalleled cycling experience.

The Starting Point: El Médano

Your journey begins in the picturesque fishing village of El Médano, known for its sunny beaches and vibrant culture. Here, cyclists gear up for the 51-kilometer route to the Teide plateau. Despite its shorter length compared to other climbs, don’t be fooled – the true test lies in the relentless ascent ahead.

As you pedal away from El Médano, the air fills with the scent of eucalyptus. The road ahead gracefully meanders through Granadilla, with a gradient maintaining a manageable 4-6%. This section allows you to savor the breathtaking scenery and prepare for the more challenging stretches ahead.

Vilaflor: A Mid-Ascent Haven

Halfway through your ascent lies Vilaflor, a quaint town perfect for a brief respite. Here, you can catch your breath and refuel before tackling the upcoming 11% gradient. The charm of Vilaflor, with its local cafes and stunning views, provides a welcome break in your epic climb. But don’t rest too long!

Post-Vilaflor, the real challenge begins as the gradient spikes. This section tests your strength and endurance, as you ascend above the clouds and enter the majestic Teide National Park. The park’s sheer scale and beauty, experienced after over 50 kilometers of cycling, are awe-inspiring.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site: Teide National Park

Teide National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers a unique blend of breathtaking scenery and rare flora. The environmental significance of this area adds an extra layer of wonder to your cycling adventure.

Cycling Mount Teide: A Test of Endurance and Skill

Cycling Mount Teide requires a blend of endurance, skill, and mental fortitude. The continuous climb challenges even the most experienced cyclists, making it a coveted achievement in the cycling community.

Reaching the Volcano’s Base

The road continues to climb to the volcano’s base at 2,325 meters. Here, you have the option to catch a cable car to the summit or simply enjoy the accomplishment of reaching this point. Many cyclists choose to end their journey here, basking in the achievement of conquering Mount Teide.

Guided Tours and Bike Rentals: Tenerife Bike Training

For those looking to enhance their cycling experience, Tenerife Bike Training offers world-class bike rentals and guided tours. Their expertise ensures you make the most of your Mount Teide adventure, whether you’re a novice or an experienced cyclist.

Preparing for the Mount Teide Cycling Challenge in 8 Steps

Preparing for this challenge involves more than just physical training. It’s crucial to have the right gear and to understand the route’s demands. Cyclists should focus on building endurance and familiarizing themselves with climbing techniques.

  1. Endurance Training: Since the climb to Mount Teide’s base is a long and steady ascent, building endurance is crucial. Long-distance cycling at a moderate intensity will help build the stamina needed for such a climb. Include long rides (3-5 hours) in your training plan, gradually increasing the distance over time.
  2. Hill Training: Incorporate hill training into your routine. Find local hills or inclines that mimic the gradient of Mount Teide. Practice climbing these hills repeatedly to build strength and get used to the sustained effort required for climbing.
  3. Interval Training: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be beneficial. This involves short bursts of intense effort followed by periods of rest or low-intensity cycling. This type of training helps improve cardiovascular fitness and can increase your power output on the bike.
  4. Altitude Acclimatization: If possible, train at altitude to acclimatize your body to the thinner air you’ll experience at higher elevations. If training at altitude isn’t possible, consider using an altitude mask or training in conditions that challenge your breathing.
  5. Proper Nutrition and Hydration: Focus on a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. During long rides, ensure you’re consuming enough energy through food and drinks. Staying hydrated is equally important, especially in the warmer climate of Tenerife.
  6. Equipment Check: Ensure your bike is in excellent condition. Consider a professional service before the trip. Choose appropriate gear for the climb, including comfortable clothing and suitable tires.
  7. Route Familiarization: Study the route to Mount Teide. Knowing the route’s profile, including where the steepest sections are, will help you manage your effort effectively.
  8. Mental Preparation: Prepare mentally for the challenge. This could include visualization techniques, setting personal goals, and developing strategies to overcome tough sections of the climb.

Safety First: Navigating Mount Teide’s Roads

Safety is paramount on Mount Teide’s roads. Weather conditions can change rapidly, and the winding roads demand careful navigation. Cyclists should be well-prepared with safety gear and have a clear understanding of the route.

Cultural Insights: Experiencing Tenerife’s Vibrant Culture

Beyond the bike path, Tenerife’s vibrant culture awaits. Local cuisine, traditions, and the warm hospitality of the Canary Islanders offer a rich cultural experience. Exploring local villages and engaging with residents adds depth to your cycling journey.

Capturing the Journey: Photography and Memories

Mount Teide’s breathtaking landscapes provide ample opportunities for photography. Capturing these moments not only preserves memories but also inspires others to embark on this journey.

Accommodations and Rest Stops Along the Route

Along the route, various accommodations and rest stops offer comfort and respite. From luxury hotels to quaint inns, there’s a place for every traveler to rest and rejuvenate.

Make it to the Top? Professional Cyclists’ Pit Stop: Parador de las Cañadas

At 2,152 meters, the Parador de las Cañadas hotel serves as a popular recovery spot for many professional cyclists, including the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky. The hotel offers a chance to soak in the view and reflect on your remarkable ascent.

Mount Teide Cycling: FAQs

What is the best time of year to cycle Mount Teide?
The best time to cycle Mount Teide is typically from April to October. During these months, the weather is more stable, with milder temperatures and less likelihood of extreme conditions. It’s important to note that even in these months, weather can be unpredictable at higher altitudes, so always check the forecast before your ride.

Are there any specific training tips for this climb?
Yes, specific training tips for this climb include:

  • Endurance Training: Long rides at a steady pace to build stamina.
  • Hill Climbs: Regularly train on hills to get accustomed to sustained climbing.
  • Interval Training: Incorporate high-intensity intervals to improve cardiovascular strength.
  • Altitude Preparation: If possible, train at higher altitudes to acclimatize to the thinner air.
  • Strength Training: Focus on core and leg strength, which are crucial for climbing.
  • Flexibility and Balance: Activities like yoga can improve flexibility and balance, aiding in overall cycling performance.

What kind of gear is recommended for the ascent?
Recommended gear for the ascent includes:

  • A Well-Serviced Road Bike: Preferably with gears suited for climbing.
  • Helmet: Always wear a helmet for safety.
  • Cycling Clothing: Breathable and moisture-wicking attire.
  • Layered Clothing: Include layers for changing weather conditions, especially at higher altitudes.
  • Gloves and Sunglasses: For grip and eye protection.
  • Sunscreen: High-altitude sun exposure can be intense.
  • Hydration Pack/Water Bottles: Staying hydrated is crucial.
  • Nutrition: Energy bars/gels for long rides.
  • Basic Repair Kit: Including a spare tube, pump, and multitool.

Can beginners attempt this route?
Excellent question. While the route to Mount Teide is challenging due to its length and elevation gain, beginners with a good level of fitness, determination, and proper preparation can attempt it with support. It’s important to train adequately, acclimatize to the altitude, and possibly consider starting with shorter or less challenging climbs.

Are guided tours available for cycling Mount Teide?
Yes, guided tours are available and are a great option, especially for those unfamiliar with the area or wanting additional support. Companies like Tenerife Bike Training offer guided tours, providing local knowledge, technical support, and often include bike rentals.

How can I ensure my safety while cycling the route?

  • Always wear a helmet and appropriate gear.
  • Carry a mobile phone for emergencies.
  • Inform someone of your route and expected return time.
  • Stay hydrated and nourished.
  • Be aware of weather conditions and prepare accordingly.
  • Understand your limits and don’t push beyond your comfort zone, especially on descents.
  • Carry a basic repair kit and know how to use it.
  • Follow road rules and be mindful of traffic and other cyclists.

Conclusion: Embracing the Mount Teide Cycling Adventure

Cycling Mount Teide is more than just a physical challenge; it’s an adventure that tests your limits and rewards you with unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re seeking a rigorous test of endurance or a scenic ride through one of Spain’s most stunning landscapes, Mount Teide awaits. Ride safe, embrace the adventure, and relish the sense of accomplishment as you conquer this epic journey.