Warm Climes: Tropical Travel
15“Mallorca is quite fascinating! It has a great climate and great scenery and it offers unbeatable conditions for both holiday cyclists and professionals.” Stephen Roche, Pro Cyclist & Camp/Ride Director, on his choice for a winter cycling paradise
Although globalization is expanding cycling’s scope, Eurocentric traditions drive our sport. January’s cold latitudes in the northern hemisphere become wearisome, and we seek ways to warm ourselves this week. After the new year, many pros head to winter training meccas from Majorca to New Mexico, San Diego to Santa Barbara, Tucson to Tasmania. Our friends down under are in full blossom in their warm “winter” (their summer actually, mate) racing season; but track their racing calendar with the north’s seasonality for international competitiveness.
This opens up possibilities to heat up your training travel, especially if your agenda calls for early season fitness. For a mid-winter motivational trip, recreational cyclists can also enjoy a variety of balmy options at winter cycling camps and on touring vacations. Even in nations where bicycles aren’t raced, their prime use as transportation broadens possibilities for warm-weather riding multi-continentally. Then there are the isles – ranging from Hawaii’s sea-shore-to-celestial climbing to tropical circuits around the 16Canary Islands.
January jump starts travel legs as a beginning of our community’s roving. One of the rules for an itinerant lifestyle is to try to return to base camp periodically: the more you travel the shorter the time between 17exercusions, about every three weeks for a domestic pro for instance. This is one competitive advantage of indigenous racers since they can race near home and therefore enjoy the benefit of secure recovery, as well as “home field” advantage. Travel widens one’s definition of home allowing for a bunch of base camps – in our international village.
Prayer for Travel
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage” 18Psalm 84:5
We are grateful for our gypsy free wheeling. We confess frustration when travel is hectic. We pray for safe passage.
Ponder How can the inevitability of cycling travel become an advantage? Affirm I can be a seasoned traveler who migrates with as much ease as a rotating paceline. Watch your requirements for feeling settled, and balance your time away accordingly.
15Stephen Roche as quoted in “Cycling Tourism,” under Majorca on www.illesbalears.es
For reference to Roche’s own Majorcan cycling camp and for cycling-specific trips to warm climes, see www.stephenroche.com
“The island’s year round clement climate and super low rainfall (it lies just off the coast of west Africa and the Sahara) attracts professional and amateur cyclists in droves during the winter months, as they seek out warmer weather for training…”
17Conversations with Jim Copeland, former pro and team director of Team Saturn. His suggestion was three weeks on the road and then swift return to your base to recover and recharge. Just as we rely upon the stabilizing security of gravity while zooming downhill off camber, we need a sense of home between trips. This is one reason under-resourced cyclists are at a competitive disadvantage to those who can afford to travel back and forth, or have luxuries similar to home as they travel.
18The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society