I haven't really used the triathlon club much, so I only knew very few people before the the camp, and I didn't know who I'd share the hotel room with, so it was quite exciting seeing how it would go.
I ended up sharing a room with Carsten who's training for Ironman Lanzarote, hoping to qualify for Hawaii. He was one of the faster guys, and I was the slowest, but that was no problem at all, because triathletes are a pretty inclusive group coming from all walks of life with no elitism or pecking order, unlike what seemed to be the case among the bike racers we shared the hotel with the first week. Incidentally, Carsten works with the maintenance of the buildings in Universitetshaven where we move to in just under two weeks time.
The pool we used for swim training was great, but a 25 minute taxi ride away, so it cost us €12–13 each to go for a swim when sharing a cab. They had clearly spent a non-trivial amount of money on that pool, but the road to the pool was a tiny one-lane road. Pretty bizarre, as there was room for lots of spectators. And when we went swimming we had to arrive in smaller groups, because if everybody turned up at once they'd not let us in, but one cab full of people was OK… It cost €4 to get in, and everybody had to write their name on what looked like a random piece of paper thay had lying around. We never figured out why.
When spaniards go for a swim they don't shower before, but they make sure they wear a swimcap at all times in the pool, because it's really disgusting if you don't, even for someone like me with my 5 mm short hair, and they won't let you enter the pool without. And then they wash and shower with great care after the swim.
Apart from that, the roads in Portal Nous are OK for running, although it's hard to find a reasonably flat run. Motorists are extremely nice and patient, even when they have to drive for more than 100 m behind cyclists riding slowly up a winding mountain road, not once did they honk or take a chance getting past without full visibility up ahead. Impressive! They were a little less patient on the bigger roads in the cities, but that's only to be expected.
The hotel, Hotel Costa Portals, was fine, except for the food which sucked. The breakfast was kind of OK, except for the milk which was terrible UHT whole milk. Yuck! Fat milk served at room temperature is just not good with müsli, or anything else for that matter, but from looking at the shelves at the local supermercado, fresh milk is unknown in Spain.
The hotel dinner was bad, without taste and generally too salty. I ended up avoiding the salad bar after the first day when I took a healthy serving of carrot, only to discover that they had managed to spoil it with some sort of absolutely disgusting dressing or something. I tried to just swallow it to avoid tasting any more, but just the thought of that made me want to puke, so I had to spit it out. They even managed to serve what looked and tasted like rubber chicken one day.
They were trying to go from their 3-star to a 4-star rating, so in a year the food might have improved. They were getting new beds while we were there, those we had were really hard and not very comfortable.
We ended up eating out almost half the time. The best, and most expensive, place was “La Opera” just a short walk from the hotel. A longer walk and you find “Continental” with “morfar” serving classic Danish courses at very reasonable prices.
There's also a “ciber café” in Portal Nous named Portality Blue, owned and operated by brits. It cost €4.95 for an hour, and you can use their wi-fi with your own laptop too.
Anyway, it was a nice hanging out with people that I could talk training and racing with for two weeks, working with all geek colleagues doesn't really give me such opportunities in everyday life, and it's great to be training hard and go to bed at 22.00 every night to get 10 hours of sleep when that's what everybody does.
Author M. G. Liebach
LastMod 2016-05-01 (9fc4632)