As the snow melts and the weight of the winter air starts to lift in Europe, we allow ourselves the chance to dream of riding in lighter clothing. Some of us like to get a head start and escape to warmer climes, looking for that extra bit of motivation; this is the winter training camp.
Our destination wouldn’t be one of the usual suspects such as Mallorca or Tenerife. Instead we opted for the relatively unknown gravel tracks in the Region de Murcia.
Our base was Calabardina; a small village on the coast south of the city of Murcia. A former fishing village, it’s now almost exclusively devoted to tourism.
Shaking out winter-stiff legs, we explored north along the coast through the Parque natural de Cabo Cope y Puntas de Calnegre; a protected 17km area with unspoilt gravel tracks that weave over rolling hills.
We weren’t trying to ride exclusively on gravel though. Not when the area boasts roads and climbs that have featured on the Vuelta a España and are still adorned by the chalked name of local hero and current world champion Alejandro Valverde Belmonte.
Once Upon a Time
Day Two saw us head inland to the Sierra de la Almenara with scenes that resembled a Spaghetti Western rather than a World Tour bike race, but then this day was more about back-country fun.
Dusty gravel tracks led through small valleys. Orchards of almond trees offered mid ride snacks and the abandoned farm houses gave us moments of intrigue.
We stopped in a small village at a local bar, surrounded by domino players whiling away their Sunday afternoon in the company of friends. We ate humble dishes and drank coffee; ready to ride back.
One last ride up the local Vuelta climb, before descending back down into Calabardina for the last time, where we would enjoy the final sunset and a chilled drink.
Now we are ready for the season.
To help you get ready – get 15% off any order until May 1st. Just use the code ‘summeriscoming’ at checkout.