28 September 2010: Les Stables

So now I am back in the USA and enjoying access to internet and phones I can finally write a little about some of my European adventures, well training anyway. Europe is fantastic in so many ways however for the most part access to internet is not deemed a necessity (or when possible is made extremely complex, expensive and frustrating). That is not necessarily a negative, especially when you are either there on holiday, submerged in some serious training or for other reasons just do not want to be contactable 24hrs a day. However it does make it difficult to get certain things done and so from that perspective it is great to be back in the land of free wireless. The trip to Europe was great - all goals met with training and preparation. For the first month or so I was up in Switzerland which was awesome and really great training - a big big thank you to Darren Smith and his girls (and guys) - really enjoyed the hard work and looking forward to some more with you soon!! - although could have done without the snow in 'summer'. For the last 2 weeks I headed down to France to finish off the block of training as well as meet up with the rest of my family who converged from all corners of the world - thanks dad for the birthday excuse for a great holiday! For this period we were staying in the tiny little town of Bourdeilles, in the heart of the Dordogne, a region famous for truffles, fois gras, limestone caves and also where the triathlon training centre of Les Stables can be found. Perfect for the combined purposes of hard training (for me) and the most beautiful, spectacular region for holiday (a little for me but definitely for everyone else!). Les Stables has it all and I would highly recommend it as a training base or camp location. Mark and Sibs (the owners) have created a fantastic facility - a private 25m pool on site, excellent accommodation, access to trainers, equipment, even bikes if you want  - plus their willingness to bend over backwards to help out in any way. I could not have been happier - having my own pool looking up at clear skies and out across fields full of sunflowers almost made it feel as though I was not really training at all. The riding there is unbelievable - honestly I don't think I have experienced better riding anywhere in the world - it literally was a case of heading out your front door and riding anywhere on almost car free, spectacular roads. The only dilemma in route selection was which town to include in the ride based on bakery selection. Is there anything better than a warm pain-aux-raisins after a hard TT set???? The running was fantastic too - bridal trails criss cross the country and Les Stables also has their own 800m cinder track. I was actually sad to leave but am already scheduling in the visit for next year. Honestly if you are planning a group training camp then you should check it out - especially if taking spouses, family etc that have no interest in your training or triathlon at all then they will love it too - so many choices for fresh food markets, beautiful towns, historic and prehistoric sites - no one will feel as though they are compromising!!