Forgot Password?
Connect With Us Facebook Twitter YouTube Google+
Mon 16th Sep 2019
Review: Tri-Topia
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 27th August 2009

Tags  John Franklin  |  Tri Topia  |  Tri-topia  |  Tri-Topia

Bookmark This  |  Print This Page  |  Send To A Friend  |  Post A Comment

We sent regular Tri247 contributor and product tester John Franklin off to France to check out a new triathlon training venue, Tri-Topia (

Some triathletes in the UK will probably already be familiar with the name Tri-Topia. Despite only opening for business this year, the owners Sam and Lee have sponsored various races up and down the country offering some fantastic prizes for the winners. What you may not know is that this triathlon camp (unlike any other that I'm aware of), was built from scratch by Sam and Lee (with a little help from Lee's step father). The fact that this fantastic training base has been put together from the ground up tells you much of what you need to know about Tri-Topia; it is run by two people with a deep passion for the sport and who want to offer you a truly personal experience while you train.

It started with the foundations (left), and the build continued for the eating area.
Digging the foundations Building the eating area

Located in the Breine National Park, conveniently the “park of a thousand lakes”, Tri-Topia is about three hours south of Paris. I chose to drive the 500-mile trip from London, which took around 11 hours including the tunnel crossing. However, you can easily fly to Poitieres and airport transfer is included in the price. Having driven for about five continuous hours (and having had to prepare my house for an end of tenancy inspection during the preceding 24 hours!), I arrived sweaty and a little grumpy but just walking into the garden was enough to put a smile on my face, and my spirits were buoyed even further when I got a taste of what I would be eating for the next week. To say Lee is a good cook is like saying Chrissie Wellington isn't bad at Ironman. The food we were served was of restaurant quality and a personal highlight was the BBQ by the river one evening. Breakfast is just as sumptuous and there really is nothing like waking to fresh, warm croissants with homemade, home-grown cherry jam. Much of the fruit and veg is grown on site and the couple hope to be almost self-sufficient by Summer 2010, another unique thing about this camp.

John cycling in Angles... before returning to clear his plate, and then move on to seconds...!
Cycling in Angles castle in the background Eating area mid-use. Seconds soon arrived!

The facilities are easily on a par with the food and hospitality. There is a gym on site with enough space for a group to turbo train or perform circuits and an endless pool, which was fantastic for working on technique. However, the real highlight was the quality of the roads, trails and rivers. I spent most of the week swimming and had some fantastic sessions in various local rivers offering 1500 meters of uninterrupted swimming. The roads are super-smooth and the terrain, whilst not mountainous, is certainly challenging and perfect for triathlon race prep. The best thing about them is the total lack of traffic; during one two-hour ride I saw three cars. Unfortunately I didn't get as much chance as I would have liked to sample the running trails but the other guests assured me that even the most serious runner could not get bored. The couple have various routes logged onto Garmin Forerunners (with more being added weekly), so you can either head out alone or with resident runner Duncan for company. I only ran with him once and whilst he'll tell you he&'s over the hill, he used to run a 4:10 mile and is only too happy to share his expertise and experience.

The Abbey at Fontemboult, and the river in Ingrandes
The Abbey at Fontemboult The river in Ingrandes

Tri-Topia is perfect for individuals or clubs who want to come to the ideal location to get in some quality training. They do run coached weeks (see website for details), but I found it perfect for athletes or groups who want to come to an excellent location and focus on their own training whilst being fed some of the best recovery food money can buy. What's more, the National Park offers so much more that Tri-Topia is one of the few training camps, which is genuinely suitable for families too. Every town I cycled through offered some truly magnificent sights including castles, markets and coffee shops that any self-respecting triathlete would love.

All in all an excellent six days away and with further additions planned to the gym, accommodation and endless pool for 2010 I'll definitely be making plans to return before long, much to the chagrin of Sam and Lee's food supply!

Related Articles
© Paul Shanley / Tri247
There's no doubting that the Virgin Money London...
Posted on: Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 20:00
© Paul Shanley
The biggest event of the weekend by far was the...
Posted on: Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 12:06
The annual Virgin London Marathon always attracts...
Posted on: Sun, Apr 22, 2012 at 13:47
Liz King reports from Kent on Sunday's Middle...
Posted on: Wed, May 11, 2011 at 09:31

Have Your Say