Girona training camp

I'm just back from five fantastic days on a training camp with the Adventure Syndicate in Girona.  A chance to kickstart the year in a beautiful location with sunshine and a bunch of inspiring women seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  I'd dusted off my  road bike (released it from the turbo) for the first time since May and was looking forward to some long miles on pot-hole free roads and also the workshops and chat around the riding.

Leaving Glasgow on a rainy morning, it was great to be met at Edinburgh airport by an enthusiastic check-in clerk who asked if we were going on the training camp, like the other girls just before us. So even before we'd left the country, we'd started to make friends with some other crazy cycling girls.

Girona Cycling are based in a beautiful refurbished traditional building - Mas Peligri (part of the pilgrim trail)

On top of our first Spanish mountain

Me and Paula - getting our legs out for the lovely heat!  Photo @onlygirlintheclub

I'm lucky to rarely get sick but a sore throat had been lurking since the start of the new year and I brought a bit of a Glasgow lurgy with me, which meant I had to miss out on a day's riding and dial back on the longer rides. A bit disappointing but I did my best to be sensible about it.

Turns out missing a day of cycling wasn't too traumatic - hot chocolate so thick you can stand a spoon up!
I still joined the lunch stop, even though I didn't get out on the ride!
Fortunately, the sunshine and great company more than made up for that and, with so many workshops and advice sessions on offer, I feel like I've come home much more confident about the HT550 being an achievable goal. I think I actually didn't believe it before so this week has really moved me forward.  I have a much better idea of the kit I need, what to expect and also the sorts of training I need to do to get me there.

(ignore the fact that I'm still racing 'cross for the next few weeks, I totally know it's not ideal training for an epic 550mile off road adventure, but I love it too much to give up!).

Poncy coffee place in Girona, La Fabrica,  shrine of hipster cycling with their avocado toast. Tasty though.
And I can work my garmin, which I didn't think would ever happen. With only minimal swearing and tantrums and much thanks to Paula's patience!! Every other time I've tried to do stuff with bikes and technology I fail to get the different bits talking to each other, things crash or run out of battery, I get bored and decide I am good without all that rubbish. I don't think I'll get away with that approach in the HT550 so it's good to have this bit nailed early in the year so I can practice following the map when riding.

Finding out how to make the stupid garmin talk to the stupid computer (Photo: The Adventure Syndicate)

Bike fitting workshop with Gareth (Girona cycling, Photo: The Adventure Syndicate)

It was great to meet and ride with such an interesting bunch of women, all with their own stories and experiences. I'm really looking forward to following them in their challenges ahead.

The camp was a great way to kick off my motivation for the year.  Maybe the lack of distance was a good thing as it meant my legs were feeling fresh and I was absolutely itching to get out and race my heart out at the first of the Superquaich cyclocross series of the year, where I bagged a second place in the 'B' race.

Next week I'm in the 'A' race, which will be a whole different kettle of fish.

Rouken Glen CX (Karen's photo) after a tough battle with Erika and Julie
So, whilst I'm really keen to get cracking on my new training plan, I've decided to take a rest week (or maybe even two) where I can finally get over this cold and also sort out my 'crunchy' shoulder.  This has been plaguing me for a while but has recently got a lot worse so I'm going to put some effort into getting it fixed, with commitments to doing yoga and pilates every week and also getting a few massages.  Hopefully if I sort these niggles out now (and spend a bit of time thinking about kit etc.) I'll be in a better and stronger place to start training properly in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I just had to sneak in one wee training ride with my new seat pack. I was working at Stirling Uni for the day so it was nice to squeeze in a sunrise micro-adventure to get there over the campsies before work.
New seatpack, with work clothes squished inside and even a pair of smart shoes


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