During the first week of the resit exams 10 decadent hellingprofs went to the relatively warm Alicante, Spain. The trip began with a cheap but relatively comfortable flight and a transfer to our luxurious ”villa” (including Jacuzzi with a beautiful view over the Alicante and the Mediterranean sea) organized by our experienced travel guide Bas. Because we arrived in the late afternoon(also
because we did not have bikes yet) there was no time to ride our bikes on the first day, however the week started well with a serious strength training which included carrying 8 Litre water bottles and cans of beer, because some people thought the water was not drinkable. Later our charming caretaker showed us a secret water tap with water that didn’t taste like a swimming pool. The following day we went on our first ride along a beautiful route with some gravel roads which caused Sigrid to get a flat tire, and because Luuk created the route he had to fix it. The third day Luuk was apparently still under the assumption that we were training for Strade Bianchi. We again stumbled upon some unpaved roads, but this time they were too long and in very bad condition, so we had to adjust the route. Luuk still managed to navigate us to the first(and only real) climb of the week. A sign at the bottom of the climb showed it was a 7 kilometre climb with a maximum gradient of 6%… or 9%… or 12%… or 3 kilometres with continuously 14%. Apparently it showed the maximum gradient per kilometre, which caused some people to underestimate the climb and start way too fast.

Onno decided to admire the skies from the mountaintop.

That day we were still under the assumption that we had to buy water bottle in the store. While shopping it became clear that some people lacked the Spanish skills to distinguish toilet paper
from kitchen paper. Bas made up for his lack of Spanish skills with creative life hacks.

The fourth day was a quality training ride with plenty of sun and lots of wind. Since we now found out that we didn’t have to carry 8 Litre bottles, we could take our mental recovery very seriously and sat on the bench while watching high quality television programs to make sure we also train our brains during this week(we won’t go in to too much detail because spoil our training secrets).

The next day was all about physical recovery. so we went on a slow ride, and if we say slow we mean really slow. Even though we only rode about
30 kilometres, the ride included two stops: one for coffee and one for ice(with 1 minute of riding between the two stops).

Gijs is looking for some quality recovery drinks on the menu.

While being fully recovered, we were all ready for day 6, the longest ride of the week. Along this 130 kilometre ride along beautiful sceneries there were plenty of hills for Onno to show his downhill abilities, although his actions were sometimes oafish (ONNOzel in Dutch) and unnecessary (ONNOdig in Dutch). The amazing views gave us the
opportunity to take a fabulous group picture.

Thijs was super excited to have made it this far in the queen stage. We were all completely out of energy at the end of the day, so we decided to stop at the Burger King for some sports nutrition. This gave three(Bas, Sigrid & Tjalle) strong hellingprofs the motivation and energy for an extra loop to make the 150 kilometres, but they were so tired they could barely avoid a collision with a bronze barrier. They were able to return to the villa without any damage.

The last day of riding we started early in the morning so we would be back in time to return our Giant TCR’s. But this meant it was still cold outside.

The elderly were dressed appropriately for the cold.

However it was very sunny, so it soon became warm enough for a pleasant ride. And even on the last ride, we still found some new roads to ride on. It went through what some people might call a
lunar landscape. Of course the daily gravel roads were also included on this final day. When we were back at the villa it was time to enjoy the Jacuzzi one last time and have a drink(or two). We ended this memorable week with dinner at a real Argentinean (although all the employees where English) steak house. We can reflect on a great preparation for the coming student cup season, in which Hellingproof will surely do great. We will certainly go back next year! Hasta el próximo año!(we don’t know what that means either, but it is something Gijs Spanish said)