Winter has come. The sky is shrouded in heavy clouds and the wind has become painfully cold. Europe’s legendary mountain passes are covered with snow and all our favourite roads are frozen. It’s time to pack our bikes and gear and fly off to warmer climates, as the birds do.
Cycling is an exceptionally traditional sport with a specific culture surrounding it. One of many traditions is the winter training camp in mild locations. And this is where we are heading in order to gather first-hand experience of the atmosphere of such an event. We might not be pros, but as it would turn out, we’re better off this way.
We have landed in Calpe. A small Spanish town which at this time appears to be completely deserted. But only seemingly. In reality it has been invaded by cyclists whose clean shaven legs can be spotted at all local hotels. There are plenty of service cars and buses carrying the pro teams who have also fled the European winter.
During the day, the world’s best cyclists are riding the roads, whereas at night their maintenance staff keep their bikes clean and ready for action. This is the spectacle we have found ourselves in.
Calpe and its iconic rock, the Penon de Ifach — the symbol of the whole Costa Blanca and the main motif of all postcards — is also a kind of magnet that attracts cyclists from the most distant areas of Europe. Calpe is biking heaven. The professionals are happy to train in ideal conditions, whereas amateurs have a chance to not only enjoy these conditions but also play the role like their cycling idols for a short while.