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Helen is a Great Britain age group triathlete. She is a former age group World and European Duathlon champion and European Triathlon champion. Last year Helen was part of the One Day Ahead team which raised £1million for Cure Leukaemia by riding the entire route of the 2015 Tour de France one day ahead of the pros. She is writing a series of blogs for Sportscover Direct where she shares her training tips. You can follow her on Twitter via @helengoth.
In a previous blog I shared my top four warm weather training destinations. I was recently lucky enough to be able to visit my favourite cycling location of the Costa Blanca where I took advantage of the warm weather and cycled over 300miles in the Marina Mountains. After many years of overseas training breaks I know exactly what kit I need to pack but with a baggage allowance of 20kg or less it isn’t always easy to know what to take and what to leave behind.
It helps to do a bit of research beforehand as you may be able to get some items where you are staying. Obviously the first question is whether to take your own bike or hire one. I find it easier to hire as it avoids the hassle of transporting your own bike and assembling it in your destination. The quality of the bikes for hire at many bike shops is high end and certainly better than my steel winter bike! Also the gearing set-up on hire bikes is usually specific for the local terrain, which is advantageous, for example I don’t have compact gearing on my own bike but it is very useful when riding in the mountains of the Costa Blanca. When ordering your bike it will be helpful for the bike shop to know your measurements to ensure you get the right size bike. I would also recommend taking the measurements with you just to check that the bike is set up correctly. If you do decide to hire and use cleat shoes then remember to take your own pedals otherwise your shoes may not fit the shops pedals. As I spend a long time riding I also always take my own my own saddle to avoid any sores or discomfort which could ruin a holiday! Another good thing about hiring a bike it that you will usually be provided with tools such as inner tubes, mini-pumps and allen-keys, which can be heavy to carry.
It is also worth finding out whether the bike rental shop sells energy and recovery nutrition products as this can save you some room in your case. Perhaps the heaviest item of cycling kit that you could take is a track pump. If I’m only staying for a week then I will just use the shops pump but if staying for longer I will take my own despite the weight as it is important to have tyres properly inflated.
Even though you are hopefully travelling to a country that is warm it can often be quite cold at the peaks of many mountain climbs and during descending so I would recommend taking arm/leg warmers and a neck warmer/cycle scarf as these can easily be put on or taken off as appropriate.
One item that I have recently started to take is a small hollow massage roller. These are ideal for travelling as you can stuff things inside. If you are susceptible to aches and pains it may be worth researching into whether there is a local sports massage therapist in the resort and pre-booking a session. This will help keep you going, especially if your holiday is for longer than a week.
I find it very useful to have a checklist so I don’t forget anything- feel free to use it yourself to avoid leaving anything behind.
Bike (if taking own) Cycle scarf/neck warmer
Bike shoes Energy gels/bars
Saddle Protein powder & shaker/bars
Cycle jerseys Electrolyte tablets
Cycle shorts Compression kit
Arm warmers Garmin, mount and charger
Leg warmers HR monitor
Rain jacket First aid kit
Socks Insurance documents
Chamois cream EHIC card
Sun tan lotion Passport
Bottles Travel documents
Sunglasses Adapter plugs
Summer base layer Money
Helmet Credit/debit cards
Cycle mitts Toiletries
Finger gloves to put under mitts Mobile phone and charger
Inner tubes Day and evening clothes
Multi-tool Hollow massage roller
Track pump/mini pump Jelly babies!
Phone plastic pouch