Updated: Jul 19
What makes the perfect training road? The Stelvio or Xorret del Cati might make the perfect long climb or the hardest short climb, but they wouldn't make a good Zone 2 ride or a recovery and coffee ride.
What makes the perfect training road?
1) Can be used for easy rides e.g. coffee rides or Zone 1 recovery
2) Can be used for Zone 2 rides, which make up the largest percentage of many training plans
3) Can be used for shorter, high intensity intervals i.e. Zone 5 or Zone 6
4) Can be used for longer sustained efforts e.g. Zone 3 or Zone 4 to simulate TT (Time Trial) or climbing efforts
5) Has many options to extend the ride
6) Has options for cheeky or long climbs, either easy or hard
7) Can be used for big ring, high cadence work, without motor pacing
8) Can be used for an FTP test
9) Suitable for TT or Triathlon bikes in the aero position
10) Has a perfect road surface
11) No, or very light traffic
12) Beautiful location and scenery
13) Good coffee shops at the start, middle and end of the ride
14) Minimal junctions, roundabouts and turns
15) No brakes required!
16) Good for 1, 2, 3 or 4+ hour rides
17) Safe to ride at night
18) Safe to ride in the wind and rain
Training roads for road cycling
If you've been coached, followed a structured training plan, or checked the Strava rides of athletes that do, you won't be surprised to learn that there's a lot repetition. They follow the same indoor trainer workouts or regularly ride the same loop outdoors. This is because training needs to be predictable, repeatable and measurable. Once you've found routes that allow you to complete training without improvising or deviating, you'll reuse them. If you're lucky, it will also be a fantastic ride that you'll not tire of doing. Many of our customers visit because of the sun and the unmatched array of climbs on our doorstep. We have teams who come for their winter and spring training camps and we have smaller groups or individuals who come with a view to following a specific training plan. Others just want to ride somewhere beautiful, with no structure or goals. Oftentimes, a short 1-2 hour loop can help to refresh the legs and mind.
The perfect training road? We've got the perfect training route on our doorstep, with the two roads that link Ontinyent and Fontanars del Alforins: the CV-655 and CV-660.
The CV-655 starts at the stunning Pou Clar gorge and we join it from the Escapar Retreat after about a kilometre. The road rises and twists gently for approximately 12 km after which there's a flat 4 km to Fontanars. It's one right turn into Fontanars, through the town on the same road and back to Ontinyent on the slightly faster and less twisty CV-660. The route can easily be done in reverse, or as two different out and back rides. Each road gains about 300m in 12 km, which is approximately a 2.5% average gradient.
Why it is the perfect training road?
How does the route square up to our requirements of a perfect training route:
1) Easy rides There are no hard or sustained climbs on either route and if you're disciplined it's possible to spin the route in easy gearing. There are a couple of very short 5-7% sections.
2) Zone 2 rides The gentle gradient on both roads means that for most rides, you'll naturally be riding at Zone 2 on the ascent and pedalling at a similar intensity the return back.
3) Short Intervals
Either road works well for short intervals, with the gentle gradient providing enough resistance to keep cadence at a sensible rpm.
4) Longer intervals
We prefer the CV-660 for medium length intervals as the gradient is a little more even , with fewer small dips, and it means we can maintain a more uniform cadence. If you want a variable cadence ride, we'd take the CV-655.
5) Extending the ride With both roads, it's possible to go long and simply carry on riding once you've reached the Fontanars plateau. This way you can easily make the outbound leg 34 km (325m elevation) or carry on further to Villena for an outbound leg of 43 km (350m elevation). After this, there are countless options to go as long or short as you wish. Alternatively, once at Fontanars, the ride can continue to Font de la Figuera, Mogente or Biar, again with a myriad of options and climbs.
6) Climbs Port Bocairent - starts at the same location as the start of the CV-655
Port Portixol - starts the at the same location as the start of the CV-660
Ermita Sant Esteve - starts the at the same location as the start of the CV-660
There are also multiple gravel climbs to Bocairent, Beneixama and Ermita Sant Esteve which all turn directly off either road.
7) Big ring
If there's an outbound tail wind, it's possible to ride the big ring out and it's always possible to ride the big ring back. If carrying on past Fontanars, the plateau is perfect for speed work too.
8) FTP Test The steady gradient of the CV-660 is perfect for FTP tests. The CV-655 works too but might require cadence changes in the early sections if starting your effort early. Heading past Fontanars would easily allow you to do a true 1-hour FTP test.
9) TT & Triathlon We can't think of a better TT training than these options. Outbound on the CV-660 especially will mean virtually the entire section can be ridden in the aero position. If you take the extension to Villena and then Pinoso you can rack up 80Km (600m elevation) of perfect TT roads, of which 350m is done in the first 12Km. Perfect if you're riding at 35-40 Kph!
10) Road surface There was one small pot hole on the Cv-655 but this has now been repaired! Both roads are superb and the road past Fontanars was resurfaced this year, making it ballistically fast and smooth.
11) No traffic It's not uncommon to ride to Fontanars on the CV-655 without seeing a single car. The CV-660 sees marginally more traffic than the CV-655 but is mostly empty too. We've done this as a return leg with no cars, but are usually passed by one or two if heading out this way. Compared to the coast, it's magical.
12) Scenery The whole area is stunning and the CV-655 is recognised by Michellin as one of the most beautiful roads in the region. The valley they both lie in is known as the Tuscany of Valencia with rolling hills, villas and vineyards. On either side there are mountains ranges and you can see the Serra Grossa, Serra Mariola, Benicadell, Serra Enguerra and Serra Ontinyent from both..
13) Coffee shops
There are fantastic coffee shops in Ontinyent and Fontanars which we regularly use. Casa Julio in Fontanars, formerly holding a Michelin star, is now popular with cyclists and motorbike riders. A coffee will typically set you back a whopping €1 - €1.50!
If you ride the loop, there are two right turns or left turns to negotiate in just under 40 km, both of which take you through Fontanars on a single road with no turns.
15) No brakes
You might need to slow down at one of the junctions, but otherwise you'll not need the brakes! Descending the CV-655 is more technical and you might want to scrub off speed on one or two corners if you have a strong tail wind. The CV-660 delivers downhill smiles in abundance every single time.
16) Longer rides Given the the number of ride extensions, additional climbs and options to repeat legs, it's possible to do anything from 75-95 minutes upwards.
17) Safe at night No cars, perfect surface, good visibility. What more could you ask for?
18) Safe in the wind and rain Dry and sunny climate combined with no cars, perfect surface, good visibility. What more could you ask for? If you do get caught in a shower, you're never from from a cafe or teh Escapar Retreat.