Training Camp Nerja 1

Costa del Sol

Day 1 – Monday

First ride on Costa del Sol was magical. I feel so much at home here. The ocean, the mountains and roads are so familiar to me, I even remember where the holes in the asphalt are. I know every route by memory, I know the good coffee-stops, the best ice cream shops and the locals remember my face as well as I remember theirs. The weather is good, the culture is relaxed, and I know exactly what to buy from the supermarket. It’s easy for me to come here, it feels like home, and I love it!

Cómpeta
On our way to Cómpeta

A friend from my Danish cycle club (Amager Cykle Ring) has come to join me for the first week, and I took her to Cómpeta on our first ride. An easy spin to feel the legs with a bit of climbing. I love that climb, because it’s relatively low average gradient and breaks in the middle with a few kilometers of downhill, before rising again.

Cómpeta
Coffee in Cómpeta

It is a climb everyone can do. A fast climb if you want, but also possible to do easy. On the top you find a beautiful view, a fountain and the possibility to continue to the Cómpeta village, where you can sit on a café at the square next to the church. Hang out with locals and tourist but be ready for feeling like a subject to many looks as cyclists aren’t the most common thing up there. Maybe because of the last very steep hill of 11% in average. There is almost guarantee for sun at the square and you are covered from any wind. The coffee is also cheap and good.

Cómpeta
Cómpeta view

After coffee it was back down to the coast and home, trying to relax as much as possible before tomorrow’s 20 minutes test.

Check today’s ride here.

Day 2 – Tuesday

Test day! Always with fear and excitement. Fear of failing. Excitement of maybe doing an all-time best. The fear is rational, I guess, but needless. What happens if the test doesn’t go well? Nothing is what happens. No matter what the test says, I will still be the same, be able to do the same and it’s only a tool for planning my training.

Canillas de Aceituno
They see me rollin’

Anyway, I wanted to do the test where I always do my 20 minutes test when I’m here. On Canillas de Aceituno. A climb of 7 kilometers with an average gradient of 7%. It starts very steep with up to 17% (says Strava, I don’t remember if that’s correct, but more than 13%) but it’s briefly and when it flattens the gradient is almost even all the way up, which makes it easier to do the test.

Canillas de Aceituno
Damn you 20 minutes test

I like this climb a lot, but I almost only do it when testing, so it feels like a very hard climb. But it’s also beautiful. You start on one side of the mountain but end on the other side. I think you start on the west-side and end up east, but I’m not sure. That means that the scenery and views chance a bit along the way, and even though I’m on limit more than 5 kilometers up the climb, I still enjoy the view, because I need to look somewhere else than on my Garmin in between. The last 2 kilometers I can enjoy in an easy pace, spinning the legs after 20 minutes of hard work.

Canillas de Aceituno
Smiling after test on Canillas de Aceituno

The first 6 minutes of the test I was flying! I feel good and thought “this is easy peasy”. Haha, shortly after I thought “okay, now I feel the pressure”. A few minutes later: “F… me, I hate this”. After 15 minutes I was ready to give up, but I reminded myself that I didn’t have to a test in a long time if I continued. So, I kept pedaling and kept fighting the negative thoughts with motivational self-talking. The last 2 minutes I was completely empty, and it was all about survival and not loosing too many watts. When the timer said 20 minutes, I had to go off my bike and sit on the ground trying to catch me breathe again. My average heartrate was 186 bpm with a maximum of 192 bpm, so that was ALL OUT for me.

Canillas de Aceituno
A little more climbing

I had hoped for a slightly better test, but doing a new all time best this time a year, after a training camp on Mallorca, is pretty good, so I am happy and so is coach PeakPower. We have worked together since the end of the 2018-season and to see improvement already is great! I hope to improve even more the next months.

La Bella Julieta
Coffee at La Bella Julieta

After the test we could relax and enjoy the loop taking us to Sedella, Sayalonga and then I forgot to turn for Cómpeta (because we wanted to go through torrox to Frigiliana) and we ended in Algarrobo. The weather was cloudy and a bit cold, so since we couldn’t enjoy a sunny lunch in Frigiliana anyway, we decided to go to my favorite coffee place in Torre del Mar, La Bella Julieta. I always order the same: a cappuccino italiano and cereal bread with serrano ham and manchego cheese. They have so many other good-looking things, but I have decision difficulties and I know what I always have is good, so I stick with that. Must try a cake one day though!

La Bella Julieta
My favorite sandwich at La Bella Julieta

Straight home after coffee/lunch stop feeling that with the test well over with, the coming days can be enjoyed with peace in my mind, haha.

Check today’s ride here.

You can also read about my training camp on Mallorca wih Restore Cycling here.