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28
May
2014

Girona Cycling Company

We finally got the opportunity to visit Fiona Smart and Gareth Speechley at Girona Cycling Company (not to be confused with Girona Cycle Centre), something we’d wanted to do since their award for “Best State of the Art Coaching Award”; Triathlon Plus.

 

 

If you expect to find a small, rustic B&B be prepared for a pleasant surprise. The main house is capable of hosting 30 guests in very spacious bedrooms which are all en-suite. The main hall and dining area is double height and creates an impressive welcoming statement. Plenty of hot water was available for 15 people showering at the same time.

The accommodation also includes other useful rooms for relaxing, watching TV or DVDs, chatting, playing games etc. Gareth tells me; “it is important to encourage people out of their rooms. If they wish to stay and sleep, they can do, but the space is there for them to relax in a comfortable, stress free environment.”

 

 

Girona Cycling Company have passed all the latest Spanish regulations for their hotel status including being able to show where their food products come from. They cook from fresh each day with local produce wherever possible. Evening supper and the following morning breakfast were a delight, especially Gareth’s home-made bread and Fiona’s attention to everyone’s dietary needs. Plenty of fruit was available at meal times.    

We had the pleasure of Predator Triathlon Club training here at the same time. Angus, the club Head Coach had been liaising with Gareth before the club arrived, agreeing the training plan and camp goals. The triathletes could drop in and out of sessions to help maintain a training level. Angus confirmed Gareth’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport, showing the triathletes new ideas with sound reason. 

We had the pleasure of Predator Triathlon Club training here at the same time. Angus, the club Head Coach had been liaising with Gareth before the club arrived, agreeing the training plan and camp goals. The triathletes could drop in and out of sessions to help maintain a training level. Angus confirmed Gareth’s enthusiasm and knowledge of the sport, showing the triathletes new ideas with sound reason.

 

The previous day’s cycling session had been held at the disused aerodrome adjacent to the accommodation where Gareth had led a cycling session to demonstrate cornering. All the triathletes reported increase confidence and speed, having thoroughly enjoyed this session. They were in the pool the following morning, split into three groups based on ability and training loads for that day, with the main focus on reducing the number of strokes per 25 metre leg of the pool which they achieved.

Even the Pro cycling teams and the international Triathlon Federations who use this as their winter base allow Fiona and Gareth hands on time with their athletes.  As well as her focus on core conditioning, Fiona is a sports masseuse – something athletes of all levels enjoy after a hard workout.

Gareth and Fiona are meticulous in finding out how groups work and bond together. All levels of cyclists and triathletes are catered for and Fiona tells me; “Some of the best weeks are when we have an International Olympic team and a small group of amateurs, their partners and families. The full time athletes are away from home for such long periods, they actually like having the families around them. The amateur experiences at first-hand how to train and realises that you don’t have to go mad each session so they become mellower and get more out of the camp.”

Families are very important for Girona Cycling Company and all the activities are safe and controlled.  As parents themselves, Gareth and Fiona apply a very simple philosophy to their assessment of what to offer younger guests: Fiona explains “we wouldn’t ask other children to do activities we won’t allow or expect our own to do.”

 

 

David Miller, who lives a few kilometres away, works with Fiona in the gym and introduced both the Men and Women Scottish track, road cycling and mountain bike teams to the base. These teams have spent training time here over the last two winters preparing for the Commonwealth Games. Other cycling teams who have trained here include Raleigh pro continental cycling & MTB team and MLP TEAM-BERGSTRASSE - German pro continental cycling team.

Over this same period UK elite Olympic distance triathlon team, USA elite triathlon team and Victoria triathlon team, Australia (including Erin Densham, Olympic bronze medallist) have used this base regularly.

Individuals who have come here include triathletes Mario Moler, Richard Murray and cyclists Christian Vande Velde and Svein Tuft.

 

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Categories: All topics, Cycling, Spain, Triathlon