Cycling Biathletes: Favorite Spring Rides
Adventurous Slovenian Klemen Bauer summed up how cycling fits into early season training for many biathletes. “May and June are months that are full of cycling, which is nice, but as the season gets closer, there is less cycling.”
Coastal Paths, Alpine Roads
Like Bauer, Amanda Lightfoot is a fan of the spring cycling season, especially in Cyprus “cycling along the coastal paths and then climbing the mountains. But I am also looking forward to climbing some of the Tour de France climbs during a camp in July.”
They are among the hundreds of biathletes cycling this spring, along the Mediterranean in Spain and France to the Italian Dolomites and high in the Austrian Alps.
Martin’s Côte d'Azur
Virtually everyone can quickly recall their favorite tour from this spring, whether it was close to home or in some more exotic location. The French team just completed a training camp in the south of France on the Côte d'Azur. Martin Fourcade said one of his favorite days was a “round trip from sea-level Antibes over the 962 meter Col de Vence.” Although Fourcade enjoyed this trip into the mountains, he also admitted that a 95 km jaunt from Frejus to Lavandou along the coast via St. Tropez was “a great ride with a beautiful backdrop.”
Lisa and Krystyna in Mallorca
Mallorca has seen plenty of biathletes this spring. Lisa Theresa Hauser, Dunja Zdouc and Julia Schwaiger spent a week socking up the sun and kilometers. Hauser commented, “Our longest ride was 6 hours, 30 minutes, from Andratx to Playa de Muro, along the coast, in beautiful weather, with amazing views all day.” Krystyna Guzik and her Polish teammates said they did “really cool” route of about 90 km during their week in Mallorca. At home, Guzik enjoys cycling with a biathlete on the Polish men's team, her husband Grzegorz.
Six Hours in the Sun for Kaisa
Kaisa Mäkäräinen also ventured there for some training last week. She started her new season a bit later than many teams, because “I had races until April 9.” Prior to going south, she admitted to only three rides “with a lot of clothes in Finland, so I appreciate the warmth… I'm not that good in cycling but I like it a lot; especially somewhere else other than flat Finland.” Mäkäräinen has been making the most of her time in Mallorca. “I usually ride between 3-4 hours or sometimes shorter depending on my training plan. When I have two trainings a day it's not really possible to make it much longer and also unnecessary; 3-4 hours will give you the training benefit you need.” Her favorite tour and her longest so far was last Wednesday: “6 hours, 135km with 2400 meters climbing through the mountains from Port de Pollenca to south Palma Nova. We had a transport to the north that morning; and it was nice to cycle only one way.”
Bella Italia for Pietro
Although many people head to the seaside for spring cycling, just as many enjoy some great rides closer to home. Pietro Dutto has spent this spring cycling in the hills near his home in Cuneo and in the Dolomites, while catching a few stages of the Giro. He admits, Cycling is my big passion; I grew up with this sport and competed in cycling until I was16 years old, cycling in summer and doing biathlon in winter. At that point, I had to make a decision about which sport I would try to do professionally and I chose biathlon!”
Still, cycling holds a special place for him, especially at the start of the training season.
“I love to ride the bike and enjoy beautiful Italia in May. It’s a nice month because you can train and enjoy with no thought about specific biathlon training and not too much concentration.”
Bauer’s Istrian Tour
Like Dutto, Bauer cycles all over Slovenia, but is a big fan of nearby Croatia. “I like to do a lot of cycling in Istria; it is a perfect place in early spring and fall. My longest ride this spring was 165 km from my home to Umag, Croatia, average speed of 31km/hr with over 2000 meters of climbing.”
Snowy Ride in Sweden
Sweden’s Sebastian Samuelsson had several “enjoyable 6-hour tours” with teammates in Cyprus in May, but his favorite of the year was closer to home. “But I think the one I will remember the most is one of my first sessions on the bike this year. I was biking with Fredrik (Lindström) in Östersund; it was 2-3 degrees and snowing the last hour!”
Up to 3500 Meters for Simon
Simon Eder has been cycling close to his home in Saalfelden, where there are plenty of options, with many leading up into the mountains. He recalled one of his favorites. “A couple of weeks ago, I went 150 km from Saalfelden to Franz Josef Hohe (near Grossglockner) with 3500 meters of climbing. There was still a lot of snow up there.
Eder also takes the prize for the longest ride, among the athletes interviewed. “My longest ride was on June 2, 230 km. It was the hardest and most enjoyable so far.”
TDF Preview: 2642 meter Col de Galbier for Martin
Next on that long-ride list is Fourcade who plans to cover the 183 km Stage 17 of the upcoming Tour de France this week with the Fortuneo Pro cycling team. This little jaunt includes the 2067 meter Col de la Croix de Fer and the 2642 meter Col de Galbier, the highest point in the Tour this year.
All of these great adventures…and this was just the first month of the new training season! Stay tuned!