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Crete a journey in Blue

I have been running road cycling/triathlon training camps since 2012 and have visited many areas of Europe looking for the perfect venue.

For the most recent training retreat I joined forces with my partner Hana, who brings Yoga, Gyrokinesis and Nutrition to the Cycle Swim and Run mix, and we selected Crete for our late summer retreat/camp.

Crete is pretty much undiscovered in terms of cycling, swimming, yoga and Gyrokinesis training retreats, which is strange as it is blessed with amazing scenery, quiet roads, plentiful sunshine and the best diet in the Mediterranean. After checking out the southwest of the Island in May Hana and I selected a base in a lovely coastal town Paleochora.

In essence training retreats are where you eat, sleep and breath your sport, friendships are forged and amazing memories are made. With one of the biggest advantages being that you get to focus completely on yourself. The best and obvious things about our training retreats are you have more time to train, learn new skills and something often overlooked is you have more time to rest. Without work, kids, and the other demands of normal life, you can spend most of your time off recovering. And recovery time is when the adaptations from your training really occur.

The friendly competition in the group is also a great motivator to push harder than you normally would. In a way our training retreat is almost a holiday (obviously your definition may vary!), you get to escape the varied weather of England and get uninterrupted time to discover what you are capable of. If you go in with a strong mental attitude, a determination to succeed, put in the effort then you will return home fitter and stronger than ever before and ready to take on the next challenge! All you have to do is train, eat, and sleep; train, eat, sleep, train, eat, sleep, until you travel back home and spread your focuses elsewhere.

Starting the day with either a swim and or Gyrokinesis session sets you up perfectly for the day. The included breakfast has been designed to fulfill your nutritional requirements Hanutri selecting a lovely balance of protein carbs and fats to fuel your day.

We start the rides as the sun and incredible blue sky reveal a beautiful rolling landscape. On the whole this area of Crete is hilly with low level mountains, it has in my mind the feel of an alpine retreat, only a lot warmer and the smells of the orange blossoms and herbs they are better than the aromatherapy in a spa.

The climbs vary from gentle to more challenging, with many lasting over 9km. The tarmac is crisp, and there’s no traffic to speak of. The gentle sound of bike drivetrains is only occasionally interrupted by the scuffle as a mountain goat leaps up the stony cliffs. High above a few birds of prey lazily hang circling in the thermals above the valley floors, and many times during a ride as you crest the top a perfect set of tight, newly-cut hairpins shimmer into view, cascading down the other side of the climb towards the twinkling blue Libyan Sea.

The island is stunning as anything I’ve seen anywhere in the world - an enticing mix, thin and wide gorges carved into the mountainsides caused by millennia of gushing water, the winding road roads elevated high above the valley floors, a tiny blue and white chapel chapel shinning brightly in the distance, a beacon that indicates the top of many climbs. From the outside these exude an air of history and secrecy, along with rudimentary charm and indisputable beauty. I can’t help thinking just how well these sum up the island, a picturesque if obvious façade from without; a trove of unseen riches from within.

Crete has an abundance of hidden treasures and all you have to do to discover them is ride a bike.

Inspired and energised by both the fantastic experience of Crete and the energy and enthusiasm from our fabulous guests we are pleased to announce Crete Training Retreat dates for 2020.

Paleochora Crete: 24-04-20 to 01-05-20 and or 01-05-20

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