2-time Ironman France and 2011 Abu Dhabi Tri champion Frederik Van Lierde reports from Font Romeu, an increasingly popular training spot in the French Pyrenees, not very far from Spain.
"Font Romeu is a little village in the French Pyrenees at the border with Spain. It's close to Perpignan, Toulouse and Barcelona if you come over by plane. As Belgium is not that far (1100km), I prefer to come with my car so I can take everything I need with me. It is easier when you have your car or a rental car over here. For me it's my favorite place for a training camp and it is at 1850 meters (6070 feet) of altitude!
The center I stay is called CNEA (Centre National d'Entrainement en Altitude) and I love it because this is really a place where you have everything really close. A full board restaurant, so you don't have to look for food, making it and cleaning up. A 50m and a 25m indoor pool in the same building where you sleep, plus a track just 100m
away. There are thousands of scenic km to ride in the beautiful area with some famous climbs, forests and roads where you can run, and a lake (Lac Matemale) at only 10min driving. You can see, just a perfect triathlon training spot!
Next to all this they have a gym, a separate bike store room, ice baths, 2 massage/kine therapist, a doctor, sauna + jacuzzi, you can even do ice skating. Since 2008 I usually plan 1 or 2 training camps each year and I keep coming back. For Ironman France I think it is the best place to prepare, and when I was preparing in June I saw a lot of triathletes from the Olympic distance preparing the for the Games (Frodeno, Justus, Petzold, Gemmel, Sexton, Ditmer, ...), so this place is known all over the world!"
There are plenty of good climbs here for sure.
And up and up we go.
Running with age grouper Pieter De Neve.
The terrain is quite diverse.
You know you have arrived when you see this.
The track at Font Romeu.
There are not only triathletes who train here.
The 25 meter pool is busy.
The 50 meter pool is usually busier too.
Relaxing in an ice bath after a hard day's work.
The accommodations aren't fancy, but they certainly serve the purpose.
Just in case you wondered where it really is.
More information and some pictures on the website: cnea-fontromeu.com in French!
All images courtesy of Frederik Van Lierde and Pieter De Neve.