I’m a triathlete, which means that when I’m not running a triathlon, I’m training for one. It’s a demanding sport that requires year-round commitment, and even a two-week break can seriously disrupt your momentum and potentially throw off your whole season. So what do you do with all of your hard-earned vacation time when you can’t take time off from training? Easy: Bring your bike on an Active adventure to Cuba.
This winter, I took the Cycle Cuba tour; a two-week, two-wheeled adventure through the rural western side of the island. Our group featured a mix of travellers of all ages, abilities, and nationalities, led by our faithful Cuban CEO Andy. The game plan was simple: 1. Get off the plane. 2. Meet up at the hotel. 3. Hop on our bikes. 4. Hit the road. 5. Repeat as necessary.
We covered all sorts of terrain, from 10km (6 miles) of flatland on the first day to 70km (43miles) of mountainous route the next, and just about everything else in between. With lots of breaks for fruit and refreshments, we crossed a variety of landscapes – mountain ranges, beaches, farmland, and bustling cities – with engaging local encounters along the way. We ate incredible home-cooked meals with local families, and sampled some of the island’s best coffee, too.
But the biking was just the half of it. Hikes and nature walks got us out of the saddle and up-close with the incredible countryside, time at the beach let us cool off, and ziplining across a lake-filled valley gave us an adrenalized highlight that energized us for the next day’s ride.
While I initially came to stay in shape, I found that the trip’s relaxed pace allowed us to really experience the island more fully and appreciate the scenery we were riding through. The camaraderie that comes with travelling with active-minded people was a nice bonus, too, as every night around the dinner table we treated each other to stories of triumphant climbs and hair-raising descents. The best part: Going to bed each night with a wide grin, knowing that you’d get to do it all over again the next day. Off-season training should always be this much fun.