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Mallorca 2019 - Fred's story

posted 13 Jun 2019, 12:18 by York Rouleurs

In April this year I enjoyed one big adventure, shared with 11 friends from the Rouleurs.  I have always cycled but usually fitted it in around that thing called ‘life’.  A lifetime of 2-3 hour rides, the occasional Audax event and a few rides with Halifax CTC.  Three years ago I moved to York and since then I have ridden regularly on a Sunday doing the ‘40 milers’.  All great fun but not quite the same as a week on the roads of Mallorca, at times riding in a tight and well organised peloton rotating with perfect synchronicity – well we tried!

 

We looked the business too in full club kit under the supervision of the dress code RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) who doubled as the marketing agent.  Not unexpectedly, sales of surplus stock boomed during the trip!  It’s hard to say no when you are a captive audience.  It reminded me of Private Walker in Dad’s Army shifting black market stuff.  A pair of socks, a club cap, a dubious copy of a Buff all came out at the drop of a hat!  Apparently I modelled them well!


The planning and execution of the trip was superb from flights and accommodation to the rides.  Oh the rides!   I decided about a week before we went I ought to find out something about Mallorca as although I had seen the list of suggested routes they meant nothing to me.  A quick look at a map located the island and its topography.  The routes were mostly in the north, the mountainous part of the island.   A sudden attack of the vapours followed.  Was I fit enough.  I hoped we would ride in two groups.  Maybe there were a couple of people I could keep up with.  Better load everything onto my Garmin as I was not sure I could load the routes when we were there and I would look foolish if I became the first lost Rouleur!

 

Details of the rides are on Strava for all to see and there were some great rides.  The lighthouse ride to Cap de Formentor offered hills, crosswinds, perilous cliff edges by the roadside – not enough for Izzy who did his best to destroy his back wheel as well!  Awesome kindness from a guy who fitted Izzy plus bike plus his own partner and children into a car the size of a shoe box.  I know Izzy isn’t large but even so he isn’t normally flatpack underneath a bike frame!


The great thing about Formentor, beside the spectacular cliffs, is that you don’t need to angst about the hill climbing on the way there, because once you arrive there is only one way back!  I cycled the narrow exposed stretch in a cross wind with much trepidation.  But on this and all rides we had warm weather, albeit sometimes a bit cloudy.  You could guarantee that every town and village had a square with cafes swarming with cyclists.


Then came Sa Calobra – magnificent!  Cycling friends had been telling me about it for weeks, ‘oh yes all the pros ride that one’.    A great ride to reach it, including some gentle climbing.  Then you get a glimpse of the coast and the long descent to the sea - a VERY long descent to sea level all the time knowing that what goes down must come up again!  The cool amongst us went down at stupid mph with not a little skill on show.  The cautious, if not scared, went down gingerly. 


The road snakes through a long series of switch backs that you can see ahead of you, that is if you get a chance to lift your eyes from the front tyre.  As for coming back up, I don’t think I have ever ridden uphill continuously for an hour before!  However it was a great opportunity to verify the breathability of the new club gilet, as I forgot to take it off before the climb and I certainly was not stopping on the way up for anything!

 

We managed a ride every day, and every ride was social not a race – except obviously the obligatory bunch sprint at the end of the final day!

 

The hotel was excellent, clean, good food and helpful staff.  One minor hiccup was when two of us were booked into a nearby hotel having booked via the infamous ‘Audrey’ (sadly now a widow in her eighties who has been organising trips here for years).  We arrived to blank looks from reception staff who scrolled through bookings for what seemed like an age only to find nothing.  Eventually Steve telephoned Audrey who said ‘no problem, I transferred you both into the main hotel’ – the only minor omission was letting us know!

 

Food is important to cyclists.  An extensive buffet offered a wide choice of food.  Some awesome efforts were made to empty the buffet counters on many nights, with a series of heavily laden plates of food returning to our table!  Still cyclists need calories!  One evening we ate out at an excellent Italian with a graffiti wall still featuring record of the Rouleurs’ Mallorca 2018 trip - now updated of course.


Understandably there was much enthusiasm for returning in 2020.  If you are tempted my advice is GO!  You do need to be able to ride consecutive days but not to Olympic standard – and obviously it is allowed to take a day off (it is a holiday after all!).  The club ethos means we’re inclusive and nobody gets left behind.  The collective experience and wisdom is awesome.  If you can’t talk endlessly about gears, chamois creams, the treatment of boils before you go, after a week in Mallorca you will become fluent on all these topics!  For any serious cyclist look up the ‘Mallorca 312’, plan your training now and you could combine your trip with an entry to the biggest cycling event on the island.

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