Recommendations

Health and Fitness

Nutrition

Dr. Debbie Coughlin – debbie@performancesportandnutrition.com

Debbie has supported me in shaping and continuing to hone my fuelling strategy, especially noting I have low blood sugar and am lactose intolerant! She’s provided me with great advice and support, including meal plans for non training days, light training days and long-ride days and more recently, to support me venturing into multi sport activities. My body has learnt to take on and absorb more fuel; and I’ve seen my performance notably improve.

Personal training

Reed Plummer – Personal Trainer

I’ve been working with Reed for a year and a half and the results speak for themselves. My body fat has gone down, I’ve gained muscle and lost weight safely, improving my power to mass ratio, whilst getting fitter and stronger. A great trainer and buddy, who gives good advice, makes training fun and keeps me focused.

Sports massage

Ben Mackenzie @benmackenziemassage (Facebook and Instagram)

If you are in need of a deep-tissue Sports massage, Ben Mackenzie Massage offers good treatment and advice. As well as being a masseur, Ben is an a competitive athlete, having competed in Ironman and several multisport events, so really understands his clients’ needs. Ben is based in South-West London.

Travel

Accommodation

France

Résidence val de Roland***, Luz Saint Sauveur, France – Set at the foot of the Col du Tourmalet, Luz is a small spa town in the Hautes Pyrénées. Résidence val de Roland offers value for money, self-catering chalet accommodation just on the edge of the centre. The chalet apartments are spacious and come fully equipped for all your needs (hob, microwave, toaster, dishwasher, fridge-freezer, coffee machine!). In true chalet-apartment style, you have to make your own beds and rent towels (€5); however, once you’re settled in, it really feels like home. We paid €450 for an 8 person, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 story apartment – it was like renting a house for three of us. The staff are really friendly and all importantly, you can keep your bikes in your apartment or a secure, locked room. There is a wellness spa, which includes an indoor/outdoor pool, sauna and steam room. Perfect after a day in the saddle.

Welkey’s apartment, Carnot Biarritz ***, Biarritz, France – Biarritz is a little known gem for cycling as it’s only 45km from San Sebastian and within an hour you’re in the west of the Pyrenees. This little apartment was perfect for a long weekend for two and our bikes. It’s very cosy with a double bedroom, ensuite, kitchen, breakfast area, little lounge/sofa and terrace. Located right in the centre of town, it’s opposite a wine bar, seafood restaurant and 200m from the famous Biarritz market. 2 minutes further and you’re at the beach.

Italy

Rezia Hotel Bormio ****, Bormio, Italy – great hotel for cyclists who want a base in the Alps but aren’t doing an organised tour. Lovely staff, large modern rooms and (most importantly!) secure bike space. The hotel has a bijou spa with a sauna, steam room and shower and offers sports massage. The hotel is in a great location, in the centre of Bormio, at the foot of the big climbs (Stelio, Cancano and Gavia) and near the shops, restaurants and bike/bike rental shops.

Croatia

City Centre Room Olivia, Jurja Novaka 6a, 21450 Hvar – sweet ensuite room for two to rent in local house. Room comes with tea, coffee, towels and toiletries, hairdryer and has enough space to squeeze a bike in. Perfect and amazing value for a short stay and the owners are amazingly friendly. They recommended restaurants and bars, offered to look after my bike in a secure garage and brought us drinks after a hot day out on the water kayaking!

Country House Peace Pletikose 14, 22324, Drinovci, Croatia – Country House Peace is in the centre of Krka National Park. We arrived in the evening and were excited to see a number of mountain biking and road cycling signs on the way. We rented a huge apartment here for one night, which had an enormous lounge, kitchen and ensuite. The room was basic but had the two essentials for Croatia: fresh air/air con and a fridge! We were spoilt with a homemade mixed grill that evening, with local wine and homemade Karabiner liqueur. In the morning I had Krka national park to myself and my bike: heaven. I cycled down amazing descents and did two 5-12% climbs before breakfast. And the breakfast… ? Fit for a Queen.

Travel tips!

Travelling to the Étape with British Airways? You’re supposed to notify BA if you’re travelling with a bike, but it’s hard to get through. Don’t leave it to chance… This year all cyclists going to the etape (London-Geneva flights!) via London T5 had to check bikes in at one end of the terminal. Leave plenty of time as there will be a lot of bikes!

Travelling to the Hautes Pyrénées? Toulouse station is about 30 minutes from Toulouse airport. Taxis to the station cost around €35. You can book your train tickets from Toulouse to Lourdes and/or return at: https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Toulouse/Lourdes. The SNCF run an intercité service that takes just under two hours and taxis are then available from Lourdes into the Pyrénées.

A hire car big enough for three people, bikes and luggage will set you back around €300 from Europcar at Toulouse airport (depending on what you go for!).