I recently spent the best part of a week training at the beautifully equipped Col du Peuch training camp amidst luxury surroundings and with a great team in support.
So we are in the Trogladyte area of France, Bordeaux, Bergerac country. Its an easy flight for me from Southampton and a quick transfer. The aim is to get some testing done first then put in place a regime that will help improve my all round cycling ability based on the data that is produced and trainers knowledge.
I'me a bit anxious to be honest, bit of a luddite, never a great believer. But first up we meet the team and go for a spin. Gives them a chance to assess ability for the coming days. This place is pure luxury, the gym and pool are in the chateau grounds along with three converted gites that provide the clean and well decorated, top notch accommodation. The last guests were Renaults F1 team and the owners links with motor sport mean that everything is finessed to a tea. The team can provide training levels of all intensities. I was happy with a fairly moderate combination of rides around the hills and vineyards with coaching from the team, lactate testing and watt bike training in the gym. Longest ride was a 100km, roads are in great condition, wide and hills are long and gentle though there are steeper to be had if you wish.
Second day we were straight into the lactate testing. So what is that? You sit on a Watt bike and start pedaling at a leisurely pace, a tiny drop of blood is then taken from your finger and tested. every three minutes the intensity is raised and blood taken for comparison. The aim to find the optimum level for you to cycle, where you body can remove the lactate at the same level as you produce it and to understand the recovery times needed when you push above that level. It is actually quite fascinating and explained clearly by Pete Webster who runs the camps and also Zer06 a training facility for racing drivers and it is his expertise from that world that is being transferred through. Pete runs a tight ship and everyone knows their role and everything runs smoothly.
After the tests we were out for a ride. Attention to heart rate and watts were now the order of the day. Back to base for yoga stretching with Becky Goisney to warm down and then a some deep tissue work with Susie Jones. All that followed by great food from our chefs for the week Andreas and Gee who worked hard to deliver all dishes requested whatever time of day. This place certainly has everything but to me the most important factor in any set up of this nature is the staff. I could not find fault with these guys. They are enthusiastic and generally care that you walk away having improved whilst there but also with a plan to maintain and improve on what you learnt.
Over the next few days we worked on my improvement plan with plenty of coaching on and off the bike. New ideas for stretching and recovery too.
The final day I had a shot at the hill climb challenge. The warm up took us past the Buddhist temple, Dordogne Dhagpo Kagyu Ling, given to the monks in 1974 by British Industrialist, Bernard Benson. Then to the hill, the Cote de Jord test section on Strava, average speed 7.2mph, 268 watts and completed in 9min 47secs. Ken Buckley coached me up the hill, he knows a thing or two being British Land Speed Record Holder for man powered vehicles, and was a great coach throughout the week. Think I will be propping up the leader board for some time but know I can do better.
Its not open all year round and I know some weeks are already booked out by race teams but a week there will bring you on and leave you motivated. Takes up to 16 but smaller groups of different levels are easily accommodated.
Nice guys, doing a very good job in a luxury setting.
Col du Peuch