My sporting life in Kos
Chalkmarks Kos

SPRAWLED across two sun beds, I drop off to sleep with a racket in my hand. I haven’t even been playing tennis.

I’d just finished an 18K mountain bike ride on the Greek island of Kos.

Considering I hadn’t been on a bike in years I figured I had earned a little lie down.

But I didn’t stay still for long. Ever since arriving at the Mark Warner Lakitira Beach Resort I’ve been in such a good mood that I can’t help trying new activities.

With a hotel, village area and suites set within big grassy lawns and the deep blue Aegean Sea in the background, it’s an easy place to unwind. But with so much going on – including swimming pools, yoga, aerobics, pilates and watersports – you can’t help feeling a bit sporty, and, I must admit, competitive.

Try the Lakitira special which comes with rum, apricot brandy, lime syrup, lemonade and grenadine!

With the bike ride there were three levels of routes to consider. The easy course was just a short pedal along the main road into nearby Kardamena to visit the seafront tavernas and shops.

The most gruelling was the Marathon, a two-and-a-half-hour ride up a mountain. I knew I wasn’t ready for that and a gentle trip into the village didn’t seem enough of a challenge.

So I opted for the intermediate level, which was called the Yellow Brick Road and took us to the 14th century ruins of the fortress Antimachia.

I jumped on a bike and set off with our small group of other holidaymakers staying at the resort on the south of the island. I had been a bit sensitive about being unfit but at one point I dashed ahead of our peloton.

I soon fell behind again but I didn’t mind as it meant I could enjoy the scenery rather than worry about staying out in front.

Nobody looked like Bradley Wiggins or acted as if they were going for the Tour de France crown so we just rolled along merrily.

Soon we turned off the coastal road and were on to the narrow yellow tiled mountain path that gives the route its name. It became very quiet and we could see the ruins high above.

On the ascent to the summit, I gritted my teeth and pushed down on the pedals. But it was no good. I had to get off and walk – and so did everybody else.

When I made it to the top I leaned on my bike like I was some kind of pro.

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After some time to rest and take in the view we headed back to base. I was looking forward to soaking up the sun on the beach and taking a refreshing dip in the sea.

But when we returned I wasn’t even exhausted. My transition from beach bum to cyclist had been easy and that’s when someone suggested tennis.

I had never expected to feel so sporty but not only is there so much to do at Mark Warner it’s also all a short walk from my room.

I reckon I could get used to this exercise lark when you know a game of tennis ends with a cold lager in the beach bar just steps away from the court.

Or you can relax with a classic cocktail while watching the sun go down in the Dodecanese – the group of 12 islands that include Rhodes.

Try the Lakitira special in the main hotel bar, which comes with rum, apricot brandy, lime syrup, lemonade and grenadine.

The food on offer was also impressive with self-service options at the various restaurants dotted around the resort. Exercise requires time to feast so in the evenings the buffets at the Italian Trattoria, Terrace Restaurant and The Greek Taverna covered everything I fancied.

And for families there are kids’ clubs, creches and childcare in the evenings.

The next day I was again lured away from the sun lounger with the prospect of learning to windsurf. Seeing so many people out on sailboats, kayaks and paddleboats I thought it was worth giving it a go.

Everyone was encouraged to try and qualified British instructors offered on-beach tuition and demonstrations before heading out with us in to water.

I had never even expected to stand up but that was the easy part. I felt pretty stable on the board but getting the hang of then holding the mast and steering was difficult.

I couldn’t believe I’d never tried this before. Even though I fell in a few times, I had no thought of giving up so I spent a whole morning trying to master sailing down and up wind.

In this mood, I was ready for more tennis. It started out as lobbing the ball over the net and hoping for a good rally. But soon that competitive streak came out again.

I started taking it seriously and threw in some proper serves. I was playing games and even winning points.

There is an award-winning tennis centre on site with 11 courts offering clinics, coaching and one-to-ones to help improve technique.

I felt I’d played enough to take on Andy Murray – but first I need a cool drink in the bar.

And that’s when I did finally exercise my power to lie down and doze off to the sounds of laughter as a volleyball game started up on the beach.

Book it

Lakitira Beach Resort. To book visit or contact Mark Warner on 0844 273 7397
This is one of Mark Warner’s larger resorts with excellent watersports, top quality tennis as well as mountain biking.

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