JANUARY and February are tough months for cyclists but some members of Stratford Cycling Club have a proven way to break the perils of icy roads, short days and bitter cold – a winter training camp at Club La Santa in Lanzarote.
For over eight years some members of the club have attended the training camp led by one of their life members – 70-year-old Geoff Cooke, a 34-time World Sprint champion – who regularly leads a group of riders covering over 1,000km in the 12 days of the camp.
This year assisting Geoff were two Danish professional riders – Kim Rasmussen from the 1990s era and Lars Bak, a leading professional rider with the Lotto cycling team and in Lanzarote to complete some final touches to his own winter training schedule before racing some of the gruelling one-day classics such as Paris-Roubaix.
All three group leaders took part in instructional talks, answering the many questions from the floor about the professional cycling regime and picking up coaching, nutrition and general training tips.
The camp consisted of three self-seeded groups, each led by one of the camp leaders, with daily morning rides varying from 55km to 155km over the hilly and very windy volcanic island.
The rest of the time the riders were free to use the superb facilities and participate in other exercise classes at Club La Santa. Some partners accompanied the club members who attended the camp and they took full advantage of the classes such as dance, aerial yoga, body pump and swim instruction to name a few.
Overall, nine SCC riders attended the camp – a few for both weeks but the majority just staying for a week or more as work allowed.
Huge improvements were made during the camp with SCC riders moving between the groups as they got stronger. The Stratford riders participating were Alison Bagnall, Robin Corder, Wedge Adams, Nigel Humphries, Steve Faulkner, Nigel Jones, Malcolm Wright, Joe Lee and Carl Conn.
The overwhelming view was they would all be returning for another cure of the winter blues at next year’s winter training camp.