It's that time of year when various cycling and triathlon buddies go missing from UK soil as they head to a warm weather training camp somewhere, usually in Europe - Lanzarote, Mallorca, Cote d'Azur, Cyprus, Southern Spain. There are lots of choices.
I often envy them, as I always welcome any pretext for getting on foreign soil with my bike. I can't help noticing though that March temperatures in these places seem to be dropping with each passing year, while temperatures in more northerly countries including the UK seem to have stayed the same or even gone up (barring today of course!).
Last year in April I had to choose between going to Mallorca or going to Belgium for the Tour of Flanders. Not wanting to put myself through rainy, windswept plains (or rattling my bones) the decision was a no brainer. Sadly, on our arrival in the "sunny island" we were greeted by showers in Palma. The second day was not so bad, but I still had on longs. The third day was the best day, but after that things went downhill again, with the last day being a complete washout. Although I really enjoyed being in our appartment, it felt strange that I constantly had to put the heating on and I couldn't walk barefooted on the freezing floor tiles. Meanwhile from Brussels to London people were enjoying heatwaves!
Some folks who were in Lanzarote this year talked of how they cycled all day through showers. Ok, it's not really a big deal, but when you've paid £400+ for the priviledge and you have to deal with unfamiliar surroundings without your usual home comforts plus other incidental expenditure it makes me wonder if it's worth it.
Looking at the BBC Weather worldwide average temperature charts, London is shown to be colder than other Mediterranean towns in March and April - naturally. But it's not that much colder. Average maximum temperatures in Marseille and Nice in the south of France are only two or three degrees higher than in London during March. Both towns are wetter, experiencing significantly higher amounts of rain during these months!
So, with that in mind and also the wish to avoid being messed around by British Airways and any other airline that's threatening to go on strike I am doing my "warm weather" training camp in Surrey and Kent. I don't need to plan it too far in advance. If the weather's really rubbish I can postpone it till the next day without losing out on valuable time. If I do get caught in a shower, no worries I just dry off and get out other warm clothes. No need to get annoyed at realising I've left behind my favourite base layer or fleece! I've got my home comforts, and I won't be penalised with a mountain of work to do on my return from a week of cycling - because I won't have been away anywhere! And it goes without saying that my purse will not feel the Euro strain, from a week of bike riding around - just my old legs!