Spain Cycling Tour Feb 24-March 1 OR March 2 – 8, 2024
Your Next Adventure?
Dates of trip: Feb 24 - March 1, 2024 (Saturday through Friday)
OR March 2-8, 2024 (Saturday through Friday)
Trip Start/End City: Parcent, Spain, via Madrid
Shaped by the desert, the Roman Empire, the Mediterraean, and the Spanish mountains, Spain represents a cross between epic history and epic cycling. Ancient traditions like the siesta fit perfectly next to broadband internet and nearby grocery stores. Spain in March is the top of the foodchain of cycling destinations. Your eyes will verify the power of the geography, as you pass and get passed by a famous cycling name or two on the mountains that have made La Vuelta legendary.
Our choice of Marina Alta in the Southeast of Spain reflects all those descriptions, and it is also a perfect training ground for the upcoming season. While your friends and peers struggle to ride in the cold back home, you can explore some of the world’s most beautiful mountains. There is no better way of getting to know a country, its culture, and people than cycling.
Our mountainside villa accomodates up to 15 people, and it serves as our home base for all our rides. There are several ways to get to the villa. Included in the price of your tour is a round trip transit to Parcent from the Madrid airport. The bus will leave at 12 noon. Most flights from the US arrive before 11 am, and we have scheduled the bus to leave right after lunch, giving you plenty of time to clear customs and hop on the bus. For those of you who would like some freedom, you can take a train to Valencia or Alicante and rent a car from there, shortening your drive to about an hour. There is plenty of parking at the villa for up to 5 cars. For sure, there will be negigible traffic once you leave the big cities, as Parcent has a population of 1100 or so.
We recommend leaving the USA on Friday night; that will give you plenty of time to reach our villa by Saturday afternoon for our first afternoon's shake out ride. We will send you a code to join our life360 group, so we can track each others progress as we make our way to Parcent. There will be a Threshold Academy sign at the end of the driveway to help with wayfinding.
Our villa is European style, with many small rooms and twin beds for all. However, it has everything we need, including a pool, outdoor and indoor lounging, laundry, a cat that loves attention, and seclusion. Every day starts and ends at our villa. There are several cycling bars within a few km of the villa, so you can hang out with other like minded individuals. Card games in the evenings and wine on the back deck at sunset make memories almost as strong as the cycling.
We provide breakfast and dinner each day, and lunch is eaten at roadside cafes as we ride the countryside.
Participants have two options after a European group breakfast each morning.
- You can join a guided ride through the mountains and valleys, stopping at small roadside cafés for refreshments and snacks. We place people in pace groups, and Jeff and Alex each ride with one of the groups. We stop ats least once every two hours or so for refreshments and photos. We arrive back at the villa in the early afternoon, with time for cleanup and a siesta before dinner. Expect empty roads, epic climbs, and descents that include views of the sea. All of the rides are on Ridewithgps.com, and we almost never ride the same roads twice. Duathletes will have a brick run every other day.
- You can “do your own thing.” Some take a car and explore the nearby sights, and some take advantage of our proximity to the beach (we are only 20 minutes away). Others hike on the trails in the mountains around Parcent, and some need a day off, stay at the villa, and enjoy a winter day in the desert.
Finally, on the last day, we all get on the bikes after breakfast and head to beach via a National Park. We get some great photos on the tops of cliffs before descending to sea level where our vendor picks up our rental bikes. We spend the day on the beach or perhaps take a ferry to an offshore island for some rest and reflection on what you have just accomplished. Hopefully, we fix some of our cycling tans. Late that afternoon, we take a seat in a vehicle that takes us back to the villa for a final meal and an awards banquet before going to bed with a full stomach and full heart.
Minimum number of participants: 6
Maximum number of participants: 12
All-inclusive Trip Cost
Questions can be sent to [email protected] or [email protected]
Jeff is an author and coach, and he loves storytelling. He loves to take people out of their comfort zone, and he has a passion for seeing people improve. He is an avid duathlete, and he loves both running and cycling. Jeff retired from a successful career in the IT industry and now coaches athletes and leads adventure travel when he is not writing.
Maps of our rides
For details of the individual rides, please click on the RidewithGPS links below.
Confrides loop (Vuelta derivative): https://ridewithgps.com/trips/45663806
Ebo/Tarbena/Rates loop: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/35930171
Orba loop, then up the Benny's: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/33947553
|Day 1:||Bus pickup in Madrid at noon, local time. Travel to the Villa. Arrive around 4:30 pm for a full meal after your day of travel. For those arriving independently, Alex leads an easy spin around Parcent in the afternoon.||Villa|
|Day 2:||100 km on the Bennie's Loop||Villa|
|Day 3:||110 km Confrides Loop||Villa|
|Day 4:||80 km Orba Loop||On your own|
|Day 5:||130 km ride through the Southern Coasts and into a National Park.||Villa|
|Day 6:||120 km Ebo, Planes route.||Villa|
|Day 7:||Denia route and offshore island exploration||Villa|
|Day 8:||departure via bus at 8 am. Arrive back in Madrid around 1 pm. Transfer home.||Home|
For many, this is a unique opportunity to experience an early-season cycling and duathlon camp. The weather trends and the lack of traffic make this part of Spain an ideal place to get a quick start on cycling fitness. It can serve as a “peak week,” for those athletes who are periodizing and getting ready for the upcoming racing season. For many, this trip serves as a cycling vacation, without the focus on time and pace. We accommodate both types of riders with different start times and rider support.
Despite the sharp climbs, none of them are as big as H/C climbs like you would see in a Grand Tour, and we never attempt a century ride, as we want to make sure each afternoon is full of plenty of recovery time and time with your plus one! There will be lots of other cyclists on the road with you from the European continent, all doing what you are doing, with lots of chances for experience sharing. Expect to have some celebrity cyclist spotting while you are here.
For athletes, there is a “trifecta” of possibilities, in that there are some great running routes outside the front door and an opportunity for open water swimming in the protected harbors on the coast. Jeff will run at least a few times while we are there and can show you some great routes with stunning scenery. There are harborside cafes on the shores of the Mediterranean within a few yards of where we swim, making a post workout meal an unforgettable experience. All of our routes can be found on Ridewithgps.com by searching “Threshold Academy Spain.”
What does the trip cost?
Price of this trip is $2,995 and assumes double occupancy. Please inquire about single room pricing. Trip prices are based on accommodation and English speaking guides for duration of the trip. All trips will have an orientation (in person if geography suffices) for all guests approximately 4 weeks before departure. Deposit Requirement: A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required immediately with each booking request. A booking cannot be guaranteed without a deposit. Deposits can be paid by check, paypa, or venmo (@jeff-gaura). All credit cards are processed through PayPal. Trip Costs: This trip must be paid in full 120 days prior to the start of trip. If trip fees are not paid within this time-frame, trip deposits will be forfeited. Refund Policy: There is a 10% non-refundable fee per person on all received cancellation requests, regardless of the period when the cancellation is submitted. This trip is only 50% refundable if the request is made prior to 90 days before our published start. If cancellation request is made after, no refund will be issued. This is due to the strict booking policies for our villa and support vehicles. Tour Cancellations: Threshold Academy reserves the right to cancel any trip for any reason and will notify each guest as soon as possible. All deposits and monies paid will be refunded 100% in such an event. Trip Insurance is recommended for all participants.
- All lodging in Marina Alta (double occupancy)
- 6 dinners and 7 breakfasts
- Some beer and wine
- Ride Leader (Jeff and Alex Gaura)
- All excursion costs
- Bus transfer to/from Madrid
- Threshold Academy Jersey, T-Shirt and Water Bottle
- Basic mechanical services
What's Not Included
- Trip Insurance
- Bike Rentals (~$250 from our vendor) Specialized nutrition Lunches while cycling and 1 night of meals out on the town
How does payment and tipping work?
A $500 non-refundable deposit is due upon booking. The final balance is due 90 days from the start of the trip. Cancellations made between 60 and 90 days from the published trip start date are eligible for a 50% refund. Any cancellations made within 60 days of the published trip start are non-refundable unless Threshold Academy cancels the trip. Tipping is not expected for any Threshold Academy employees, owners or staff; however, wait and in-country support staff may be tipped, upon guest discretion.
What training should I do for the trip?
It is difficult to give a generic answer that is true for all cyclists. All Threshold Tours have a physiological demand built into their agenda and require greater fitness and endurance than a typical week at home. For an ‘average’ rider signing up for a Threshold Tour, we suggest that you aim to be riding 3-4 times per week (indoor training ‘counts’ on this scorecard) in the 3 months leading up to the trip. The cumulative duration of those rides should build up to at least 7 hours per week in the last 4-6 weeks of preparation. You should have at least one session of no less than 65 miles, and you should be building in some intervals or ‘efforts’ of 15-30 minutes duration to 2 or3 of your weekly rides. This tour will build your descending skills as well as your ‘base fitness’ and climbing ability. If you’d like any more personalized advice on training reach out to either Jeff or Alex, and they will be happy to discuss your own circumstances in more detail.
What gearing do you recommend I ride on the big climbs?
Inevitably, the answer to this one is going to be entirely down to your strengths as a rider. Stronger/lighter riders may well be content to ride a standard 53/39-tooth or ‘semi-compact’ 52/36-tooth chain set – usually couple with a rear cassette ranging from 11-25 or 11-28. Those of you who find the climbs a bit tougher or prefer to ‘spin’ a gear will find a compact 50/34-tooth chain set more suitable and may opt to match that with an 11-32 cassette to give yourselves a true ‘bail out’ option that will keep you pedaling on even the steepest sections. If you’re still not sure what will be most suitable for your specific trip and riding style, email us and we’ll be happy to advise. If you rent bikes, the rental provider gives us bikes with plenty of gears for even the toughest of climbs.
How do you manage groups to cater for a wide variation in rider experience and riding speed?
We have found success releasing slower rides first and faster riders last, so we can all converge at the same place and time for lunch. We give everyone both an electronic download of the day's route. Our experience shows that navigating with your phone is highly recommended. A key ‘success factor’ enabling this to happen is that we need all riders in the group to take an efficient approach to all of our rest breaks, meal/café stops and col-summit regroupings. Your ‘job’ during a break period (as well as relaxing, eating, drinking, taking photos, etc.) is to make sure you are properly prepared to move on when we ask you to.
On some mornings, we will give ‘head starts’ for the slower riders in the group, sending them off a few minutes before the faster participants after each refreshment stop or col-summit regrouping. The composition of the ‘lead group’ may vary from day to day (if fatigue starts to play a part) or even on individual sections of the ride depending on terrain (some steadier climbers may be excellent descenders or very strong on flatter / rolling roads). The real key to the success of this approach is collaboration within the group – the faster riders showing some patience in allowing a head start to accumulate and the steadier folks being sufficiently well organized to get ahead when we ask them to.
How do you handle food/nutrition on the trip?
Every athlete has their own beliefs, education, and perspectives on nutrition while riding. Regardless of which type of diet you adhere to, you will have a need for a lot of calories on our rides, and we do our best to make sure you get enough to be successful. Linda and her assistant create a rich menu to fuel our riders both in the morning before they leave at and the end of the day when they return. Lunch is purchased at a street side cafe during each day's rides. We have a variety of snacks in the village for mid ride fueling. All of rides are sponsored by Powerbar, and we have a full line of their nutrition products that are included with this trip.
Jeff is an omnivore and Alex is a vegetarian, so you can ask either of us for additional perspectives.
I have some fear of all this climbing and all the distances. Can I really do this?
You are going to have a “peak week” in terms of training levels, both on duration and intensity. You need not have “done” a week like the one you are about to do in order to be ready. You need only have done a few sessions in the weeks leading up to a Threshold Tour to be ready. Pacing yourself, especially on the climbs, has no substitute. Although some in the group will attempt to race up the hills and compete for KOM and QOM titles, most people won’t.
How is it possible to recover and go hard day after day?
Jeff has studied this and attended seminars on this. Without question, the most important factors that you can control to make sure you recover are nutrition and sleep. We get up early every day, so we encourage and strongly suggest that you are in bed with the lights out early enough to get all the sleep you need. Since you will be training hard, we encourage the use of the Spanish siesta each afternoon when we return to shower and take a nap.
I don’t want to ship my bike. Are rental bikes available and what is the quality?
We cannot control what the airline does with its handling of your bike, so it is commonplace for rental requests. We partner with a local Dutch couple to provide you a carbon framed bike with climbing, non-aero wheels. You should provide your own pedals, helmet and riding gear. We will provide assembly and basic bike fitting for you. If you do rent a bike, we will ask you to provide three measurements from your current bike to get your seat and handlebars in a near equivalent position before you arrive.
How many guides are on a tour, and what kind of support is there on the road?
Depending on size, all rides have at least two guides on the road with you. For rides with at least 10 riders. water, basic repair tools and parts to assist you with minor bike repairs on the road.
If I am travelling alone but am not paying the single supplement, will you assign me a roommate?
Our tour pricing is based on double occupancy. We will assign you a roommate of like gender, but we can’t guarantee that we will be able to do so. If we are not able to assign you a roommate, then a tour specific single occupancy supplement will be assessed. That is currently $300.
How do I get to the start of each trip?
You need to arrive in Madrid and clear all customs no later than 2 pm on Saturday, March 5th. Your trip includes round trip bus travel from Madrid to the villa. As an option, you can rent a car in Madrid and drive to Parcent (about a 4.5 hour drive). Most flights from the US arrive in Madrid before 11 am, so you have plenty of time to transfer. Detailed information about starting and ending times and locations, airport and hotel van transfer locations and transportation options will be included in tour information emailed to you. If you wish to make airline reservations before receiving this information, please contact us for times and locations of your trip start and end.
Do I need travel insurance?
In the event you must cancel either before of during the trip and not able to receive a refund from Threshold Academy, travel insurance represents your next fall back. We encourage and recommend the purchase of travel insurance for all Threshold Tours.
Is the trip guaranteed to run?
Threshold Tours have a minimum number of participants required for the trip to run and the published price. For 2022, we need at least 6 to run the Spain trip, 4 for the Blue Ridge Parkway trip, and 6 for the Canada fishing trip.
In the event that we do not have enough participants, we will offer you the ability to pay additional amounts to keep the trip. If a trip is cancelled due to a lack of participants, you are eligible for 100% refund.
In the event we have too many people sign up, we will split the trip into two different weeks, allowing the first who sign up to pick which time frame is best for them. We will always keep the original published week as one of the options. For those who are unable to make either week and who sign up late, there will be a full refund of 100% of the amount you paid.
Can my school aged children come on this tour?
There will be other high school aged children riding their bikes on our routes. However, children less than high school aged (less than 13 years) are not allowed on our trips.
What documents should I expect to receive?
You will receive a guest confirmation the same day that you make your deposit. An itinerary and info sheet will quickly follow which gives the route and lodging information for yourselves and those at home. About ten weeks prior to your trip start you will receive an email about our start meeting location, time and any last-minute information that you will need to know before your first day. Daily briefings while on guided tours are given as well as info guides and daily maps or cue sheets, allowing you to ride with complete confidence that day.
What is the weather the time of the year we are going?
Parcent Area weather during the early March Season ranges from the mid-50s to the upper 70s, during the day, and the 40s and 50s at night. The low humidity and relatively low change of rainfall make this ideal training weather. However, we still recommend dual water bottles on the trips, due to the low humidity and higher than normal sweat rates observed in these unique conditions.
Why are the distances and destinations of this trip vague?
This is an “early in the season” tour, and cyclists don’t have the same fitness in March that they do in the summertime. We do a shake out ride when we first arrive, and we assess everyone’s fitness levels. Since there are several world-class loops available out of Parcent, we determine which ones we will do after we assess everyone’s fitness levels. Since the Vuelta Espana comes though this region every other year, we have several long valleys that we can ride, as well as a several famous climbs. During the day, some group members will “do it all,” taking on all the climbs, whereas others will ride only the valleys. As such, rider distances and mileage will vary.
Is this trip meant to be a Training Camp, since you market as “train where the pros train?”
Some riders will treat this as a training camp, while some will treat this as a cycling vacation, and we can accommodate them both. It can serve as a “peak week,” for those athletes who are periodizing and getting ready for the upcoming racing seasons. The climbs are sharp, but none of them are longer, Cat 1 or HC climbs like you would see in a Grand Tour, making it great for training and preparation. There will be lots of other cyclists on the road with you from the European continent, all doing what you are doing, with lots of chances for experience sharing. Expect to have some celebrity cyclist spotting while you are here.
I don’t want just to ride all the time, as my plus 1 is there with me. Are there opportunities for us to do things together?
Each day’s ride is optional. If you wish to sit in the van instead of on the bike seat, you can do so, without anyone’s permission. We always want you to get the most out of this trip, but we do not take ownership of defining what “most” means to you.
I don’t speak Spanish. Is that a problem?
There is no substitute for fluency in the local language. However, the inability to speak Spanish does not inhibit your ability to ask for directions at roadside cafes or order at local restaurants, as they cater to European guests all the time, many of which use English as the international language of choice. Nearly all stores have English speaking clerks, and bank ATMs offer options to use the screens in English.
Do I need Euros before I arrive?
Cash is the preferred currency, as opposed to credit card, in rural Spain. As such, you should have either Euros with you upon arrival or an ATM card, so you can withdrawal them from a bank ATM at either the Madrid or Alicante airport. There is an ATM in Parcent, as well, if you need more Euros during the week.
Our Gift to You
As a participant of our trip, you'll receive one of these fabulous Threshold Academy biking jerseys and a water bottle with the same logo.