Whilst for most people a holiday is a chance to kick back and relax, the majority of cyclists would rather recharge their batteries with some extensive pedalling – even if that means returning to work is usually considered the recovery period.
Training camps and cycling holidays vary dramatically depending upon provider and many also offer several route options depending upon the mileage you want to achieve. When selecting one, look for daily schedules and check out the experience level of any guides or coaches who might be leading your excursions.
A women’s only camp isn’t for everyone – and there are plenty of mixed versions available. However, if you like to ride in the company of other women than the female only environment isn’t as hard to find as you might expect.
A package training camp holiday will usually include structured rides, a broom wagon carrying food and water – and all of the local knowledge you’d expect with that. Generally all you have to worry about is cycling. However, they’re usually considerably more expensive than the cost of a hotel, flights and a hire bike and most common locations are well set up for those on DIY trips so it’s worth checkout out that option if you want to save your pennies.
Here’s a look at some of the options out there…
Eat, Sleep, Cycle Girona 'Chica's Unicas Women's Only Training Week'
Dates: 20 - 24 February
The 'Eat, Sleep, Cycle' team is made up of Lee, Louise (who writes about her struggles to find a bike for her 5ft frame here) and Brian. They host cycling adventures in Girona, which is currently serving as a mecca for pro cyclists.
The camp puts a focus on early-season base miles, with some structured drills for those who want to push themselves. The terrain promises plenty of climbing and handling practice on fast descents. It’s suggested that a good level of fitness is required, but rides can be flexible – no one will be left behind.
You’ll stay in a 3 star hotel in Girona and all five rides will be guided. Breakfast and lunch are included, but dinner is not. A vehicle will follow rides, your bike will be maintained by a mechanic and there is secure storage. Airport transfers are included, and there will be a Q+A with a female pro cyclist as well as a basic bike maintenance class. Sports massage and bike hire are available for an additional cost. Single occupancy costs €999 and double occupancy is €849.
For more information visit the Eat Sleep Cycle website here.
Elite Cycling Women's Only Spain Training Camp
Dates: 29 April - 6 May
It’s always nice to start a bit closer to home – and London based cycling training company Elite Cycling run camps in Costa Blanca, Spain with a women’s only option added on the calendar this year.
The week long camp caters for riders of all abilities and here will be coaches on hand throughout to guide you. Rides include steady miles over various terrains as well as guided interval sessions and seminars on effective training and bike maintenance.
Those who sign up in advance will also receive a six week training programme to help them prepare for the trip – and this is a unique offering we’ve not seen elsewhere.
The camp is based in the Albir Playa 4* hotel, which regularly hosts pro cycling teams. There is a spa, pool and the beach isn’t far away. Camps cost £649pp based on two people sharing and bike hire is available. Read more here.
Up and Active Lanzarote Women's Only Bike Week
Dates: 27 April - 4 May 2017
Lanzarote is renowned for being windy – so you’ll be grateful for your ride buddies on this one! The camp is led by Olympan and triathlete Sian Brice, physiotherapist Anj Coia, former GB triathlete Tanja Slater and body balance coach Damien Cassidy (who doubles up as support car driver).
The camp is based at Playa Blanca, in the 4* Rubimar Aparthotel. The hotel is situated on the sea front where there are plenty of coffee shops for chilled pre-ride prep. The leaders promise various bike sessions, including some structured workouts and others with a skills focus, and advice on how to train smart and move towards your goals once home. The week is designed for all abilities between beginner and intermediate. There are rides every day, with some double days and conditioning and stretching included.
Apartments at the hotel have a twin bedroom, bathroom, lounge and kitchen area and a balcony. The group has an all inclusive deal so breakfast, lunch and evening meals with all drinks are included in the week. A full week costs £720 for twin sharing accommodation or £840 for single supplement. You can also opt for a short trip from Thursday – Tuesday for £640/£740.
CCSD California Women's Training Camps
March 4 to 5, 2017 (Saturday & Sunday) 2-day Level 1 - 2: Solana Beach, CA
April 15 to 16, 2017 (Saturday & Sunday) 2-day Level 2 -3: Temecula, CA
Looking for something slightly outside of the traditional European training camp? Well - these (shorter) women's only events take place in California and could be perfect if combined with a longer holiday across the pond.
Level 1-2 trips are designed for those able to comfortably ride 20 miles, who could manage 35-40 with assistance in the form of a following van containing food and drinks. Level 2-3 trips are for those who can comfortably ride 40 miles and want to ride 40-75. The camps focus on skills, fitness and bike handling.
Camps cost $299 - but that does not include hotels, accommodation or travel - there's an outline of what you do get and a typical day, here.
Costa Cycling Experience Spain Women's Training Camp
Dates: 26 Feb – 5 Mar 2017
Designed with a focus on helping female cyclists to develop their technical riding skills as well as fitness and confidence in an unintimidating environment, this camp features rides led by female road racer Alice Staniford supported by UCI qualified coach Hugo.
The camp caters for a variety of abilities, but it’s suggested you should be able to comfortably ride 50 miles before you head out and routes will vary from 40 to 75 miles. You’ll get six structured rides, skills workshops, support car, and mechanical assistance.
The camp is based in Málaga, Spain, staying at the 4* spa hotel Gran Hotel Benahavis. The rides will explore coastal and mountains roads around Andalucia, before a big challenge ride on the final day.
Airport transfers are included and you also get an hour use of the wet spa a day, plus bike hire is available from £18 a day. Find out more here.
On the Rivet Devon Women's Cycling Retreat
Dates: You choose
Looking for a UK base? On the Rivet host luxury cycling retreats in Dorset - TWC visited them early on in their venture and we were very impressed with the quality of accommodation and experience.
The trips are aimed at intermediate to advanced women who enjoy a tough ride, followed by plenty of time to relax in a chilled environment.
Bookings can be made at a time to suit you - for anywhere between 10 and 14 riders - so you'll need to get together with some friends. However, this makes for a pretty awesome long weekend and you're guaranteed to get on with the people you're riding with if their your existing buddies (we hope!)
Qualified British Cycling coaches are on hand as well as experienced guides. There will be cycling specific core and fitness training sessions, bike checks, and the cottage is decked out to provide a luxurious setting that does include a spa - massage treatments can be booked. Home cooked meals are supplied, all of it wholesome and locally sourced and you'll even get a scrummy lunch box delivered to you mid-ride.
Prices vary - there's more information here.
Adventure Syndicate Yorkshire Dales Riding Weekend
Dates: 21 - 23 April
This is more a 'date for your diary' as details are still a little TBC. However, Adventure Syndicate events have been selling out this year so it's worth bookmarking the page if you fancy a weekend riding with like minded women in Yorkshire.
Adventurous Syndicate founders Emily Chappell and Laura Moss will be on hand to lead rides, and there will be a long ride and short ride group. Accommodation will be in Skirfare Barn bunkhouse. More info here.
Volta Pro Tours Women's Grand Tour Alentejo
Dates: 22-26 September
This tour in Portugal could be the ultimate way to top off your season. You'll ride with Daniela Reis, National Time Trial, Road Race and Mountain Bike champion.
The tour consists of five days of riding, down smooth and peaceful roads exploring the unique Alentejo countryside - vineyards and castles.
The tour is based at the luxury spa hotel of Alentejo Marmoris and you'll be able to sample cuisine created by renowned chefs as well as enjoying post ride massages. This tour is a 5* luxury experience, though, and the cost is £1450 - there's more info here.
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