Now before we begin, a little background..... I’m an average AG’er and I’m only writing this as a motivational tool for myself and, I suppose, as a reminder/summary of some of my training along the way. I’m a mid 40’s 'sometime' Ironman athlete. I completed 3 IM’S, waaaayyyyyy back in the late noughties. The first was at the 2008 IM Lanzarote and then I did two in 2009, the first was IM Lanzarote and then IM Florida. Since then nadda..... some ½ marathons, the odd 5km/10km and some sea swimming but nothing much else. Despite that, training has been somewhat consistent. Did loads of sportives, the odd more serious event like Club de cyngles (3 time up Mt Ventoux in a day) but no REALLY big goals. Mainly as I have some knee and lower back issues (I won’t bore you with the details) I never felt that I was in a place where I could really commit as I feel my body tends to break down frequently.
Most people who know me well, know that I’m not a Christmas person and I tend to leg it out of the country at that time of year. The shop, B2R, has a few extra days closed around that time too, so I don’t feel like I’m missing too much. Also, it’s a great chance to get a bit of extra warm weather training in. So for 2015, Paul and I, went to Tenerfie (normally it’s Lanzarote) to test out some hills.
After a 6 year IM racing sabbatical, we have decided to jump back into the Ironman side of things.
So for 2016 we have entered IM Maastricht and IM Arizona in July and November, respectively. We both have new coaches and since September we have both been very diligent and focussed with our training. In fact, since September we have a combined weight loss of 20kg. No bad eh!
So we arrived in Tenerife on the Dec 20th, and were staying for the first 5 days in Vilaflor approx 1500m up Mt Teide. Apparently it’s where Team Sky train from but unfortunately, we didn’t see any of them! Although, apparently, Chris Fromme was staying in the hotel the previous week. Hotel Villalba was excellent, super bike friendly with its own bike room and bike maintenance section.
Bike wise; I brought my Bianchi Infinito CV, Ui2, wheels Fulcrum Zero. Reason being, I have some lower back issues and the Counter vail Technology utilised in the frame significantly reduces vibration throughout the frame, resulting in pretty much zero back pain during and post ride. I LOVE this bike, super comfortable, compact fit and climbs extremely well. It’s a thoroughbred. Paul brought his Storck Aernario Platnium, Sram Red, wheels: Fulcrum Zero carbon clincher. Storck is an awesome boutique brand known for its quality, handling and speed, another thoroughbred.
We knew we were going to do a lot of climbing as Kev Thornton had told us so, having raced there in 2014, but I wasn’t quite expecting the length of the climbs.
was a tester for us, no pressure, 70km. However, to start was an 11km climb at 7%, no warm up, straight into it. We paced it, t’was grand. At this point we were at 2150m at El Retamar.
Then a little descent before another drag/climb up to mount Teide, which had stunning views, really awesome. Ater conquering the mountain, we continued on to a stop for coffee/lunch (did I mention this was also a holiday, we were not there to crucify ourselves with training!) and back to the hotel. Traffic was mild and thankfully courteous to cyclists. The best part of the day was the 11km descent back to the hotel. Perfect road surface, smooth corners and minimal traffic. The Infinito CV handles so well descending. In fact we were able to cycle it quicker than cars could descend.
We got a bit cocky for day two and decided to do the longest climb in Europe, which is a 30km also up Mt Teide from the village Chio. However, straight from the off I took us down the wrong road and ended up in Medano at the far side of the airport. It took us a good 2 hrs to navigate back through the one way systems they have to get past the airport, Las Americas, Los Cristianos, Adeje, and back to the route. By the time we hit Chio for the climb we had 75km completed and approx 1500m climbed. I can honestly say, I found it a little tough! Paul was in flying form and he set the pace. For me I ended up starring at his back wheel for most of the climb and although the surface wasn’t great, there were stunning views when I got the chance to look up. It took us roughly 2.10hr for the climb. By the time we got to the hotel, we had cycled 5.40hrs and only completed 118km.... we were a little gutted but then realised we had climbed 2700m, so all good. Man my quads were sore. I enjoyed the bottle of wine that night.
we had an easy day and found a lovely trail run beside the hotel and did an hour. We met some sound Spanish guys who were running 56km uphill that day, from the coast to the summit of Mt Teide. Yea, I’ll admit I felt guilt for taking that easy day.
Christmas Eve: We went back up Mt Teide again, only this time to the Teide Observatory, 90km round trip and 2100m climbing. Another great cycling day but some poor road surface. Also cold, we hit 2 deg on the 8km descent from the observatory. In fact on every descent, due to their length, we wore arm warmers and gilets (defo required if you go here).
Christmas Day: Christmas day was a gentle up and down loop from the hotel, 50km, before the eating and chilling out began.... 1250m and 2.5hrs of cycling. We just wanted to do enough to have a calories deficit for guilt free eating for the remainder of the day
was a transfer day, down to the coast so we walked and did a little shopping...... Oakleys.... Coversation went a little like this.....
Paul: I like these, what do you think?
Me: more oakleys, you want another pair of oakleys?
Paul, yes, just one more pair.
Me: It’s your money, go for it
3 pairs later, we left the shop.......
was a spin that Kev had mentioned. Head up north toward the coast to Beunavista and back via Santiago Del Tide. It was the day of the holiday for us. 125km, 6hrs, 3100m climbing and we hit some of the sights, like Los Gigantes, (Tenerife’s Cliff’s of Moher).
Some mega steep climbs, Massa, crazy twisting descents, twisting climbs, drags, you name it we hit it that day. We loved it. At sea level, through the clouds, above the clouds.
We saw the real Tenerife on that cycle and it’s gorgeous.
was another run, this day along the tiled promenade, just 10km, (I did mention we were treating this as a holiday also). Lumpier that I thought it would be but I’ll admit it was nice to be back in shorts and running in the warmth, with a sea breeze.
was supposed to be a slightly flatter spin. Plan was 100km up north of the island. However, it wasn’t to be. It just wasn’t fun. We were on their TF5, motorway, cyclists allowed but just too dangerous, well for me anyway. We cut the spin short and only completed 30km. Still it flushed out the legs.
was another morning run on the prom, 12km this time, and boy was it busy, loads of tourists. They seriously don’t like to get out of the way of runners. Not saying I have any right to the path over them at all. But you got the impression they were firmly holding their ground and that you were on their patch and therefore you run around them.
Was a full day off, pack the bikes for the trip home. I actually lay on a lounger for 2 hrs in the sun!! Yea, that was enough, don’t get the lay around thing at all.
Totally content with what we did training wise in Tenerife, although my quads did moan a bit. Aim was to train but also relax and come back refreshed and mentally ready for the challenges 2016 will bring. How have I felt since I returned?...... Honestly I can say stronger. I mean noticeably stronger on the bike. I have completed some turbo’s since returning and hitting the numbers with ease. Although I think thats gonna mean another FTP test in the not too distant future.......
Lots of food and wine
Next time I think I will put more thought into the area we stay on the coast. The hotel was fine, but just too much traffic to navigate to get to the quieter roads. The hotel in Vilaflor was perfect 10/10. Overall verdict for cycling in tenerfie 7/10
Negatives: Coastal road are very busy with traffic and some roads have not been maintained too well.
Positives: Great cycling to develop or improve your climbing legs and your cycling endurance. Super weather to train in. Not as windy as Lanzarote.