Monday, 28 April 2014

Mallorca Training Camp

The senior team now assembled in a modest hotel in Port de Pollença, the lovely Hotel Illa d'Or, on a strict budget as usual.
The WAGs are in attendance, so best behaviour is de rigueur. 

Pre-prandial refreshments on the balcony of the Presidential suite. An essential part of the training programme.

Our first day was a relatively straightforward 80km circuit starting with a coastal route to Alcudia, then inland to the small, attractive hill town of Santa Margalida, then back via Llubi, sa Pobla and the wetlands just south west of Pollença. A nice ride, on which everyone acquitted themselves admirably, especially Treasurer Alberto who did a fine lead out in a strong gusting wind.

View from the hill top church in Santa Margalida

Rehydration programme in full swing at the Hotel Illa d'Or

Day 2 was a little more strenuous, although short at 40km but with some testing hills and exposed descents. Our route took us out to the lighthouse on Cap de Formentor, good road surfaces on the first half, but deteriorating for the approach to the lighthouse. A busy route, hundreds of cyclists, and many scared, frustrated motorists trying to get around them on the very narrow road with many hairpins and sharp ascents and descents. Memo to team: if we ever do this again, we'll set off before breakfast! But a good and invigorating training route 😊

Alberto, Jan and Heyddie looking very complacent after the first climb of the day...

Just uphill from an unlit tunnel, which served to deprive us of any sense of balance and was bloody frightening...
Final bends on the approach to the lighthouse

Team at the turnaround point, Cap de Formentor

The lighthouse, Cap de Formentor

Looking forward to that beer...

President and Club Captain thinking about a nap as they wait for Jan and Alberto ;-)

Alberto completing his first Cat 2 climb :-)

Day three spent climbing to the Lluc Monastery, gained by a pleasant ride through the historic villages of Campanet, Moscari and Caimari, before a 10km climb up through pine forest at an average gradient of 5.2%. 

Climb from Caimari

We gained height well, settling into a steady cadence, and were soon at the Coll de Sabataia, at around 570m, before a fast descent to the monastery at Lluc, with overwhelming numbers of fellow cyclists on the road and refuelling at the cafe at the monastery. 

Alberto's face says it all...

Beautiful weather accompanied us all day, and we enjoyed a fast descent on excellent surfaces all the way back to Pollença, before the final 10km push into the wind (thanks again Alberto for drafting us!) to Port de Pollença. A satisfying day, getting the legs and lungs ready for two big classic days at the end of our week here in Mallorca. Bring it on!

Descent from Lluc

We started our fourth day from Sóller, having driven across the high road from Pollença, over the Col de Femenia, past the exit to the famed Sa Calobra descent, and onwards past the Puig Major, the highest point of the island, and then down, down, down to Sóller itself. 

Puig Major from the Ma10 Pollença to Sóller road

Leaving Sóller at around 1000, it was straight on to an uphill slope before a turn off just before the tunnel which takes traffic down towards Palma. This road, to Coll de Sóller, ascends quickly to 497m, with an average gradient of 5.7% with a multitude of hairpin bends to navigate. We got up the climb in a leisurely 40 minutes at a good steady pace, three of us working well together. 

                            Jan and Heyddie looking like they need another hill to do...

                                 Looking south from the Coll de Sóller

The descent towards Bunyola was straightforward, with many more hairpins which served to check our overall speed, although we spirited down the main Ma11 highway at speeds in excess of 40kph before turning left to tackle the Coll d'Honor and the little hamlet of Orient, set in attractive pine woods which afforded very welcome shade as we started our second climb of the day. 

Another relatively easy descent, before picking up well surfaced and empty roads through Lloseta, Seva and then Moscari, an attractive little village with a nice little restaurant opposite the side door of the church, Es Pu, recently opened and serving good value home cooked Mallorcan food.

Suitably replete, the average speeds increased nicely after lunch, our little peloton cruising north of 40kph beyond Campanet, and then back to Port de Pollença, the usual afternoon cross wind giving its usual challenge. 
An easier day than expected, but a good outing indeed. 

Possibly our last day's cycling, due to an inclement weather forecast for the following day, so we decided to have a go at one of Mallorca's great classic routes, the descent to the bay at Sa Calobra from Coll del Reis at 682m. 
What a day!

Off to the hills...

A steady ascent of Coll de Femenia 515m in bright sunshine, joined by many cyclists, often sailing by in very fast pelotons. Then up to the Lluc Monastery turn towards Sóller and a busy section of road (a public holiday in Mallorca today) to the start of the Sa Calobra route. 

First col of the day

Views from the road before the Sa Calobra turn

This great ride starts with a 2.5km ascent, steep in places, to the Coll dels Reis at 682m, and then...
...the torture for the next couple of hours unfolds!

The initial climb to the Coll dels Reis

No, seriously, this is a descent of a lifetime, 9.5km straight down to the little cove of Sa Calobra, 680m (or 2100ft in old money), on a well surfaced series of acute hairpin bends. Needless to say, my hands were numb through braking by the time the author reached the bottom, but this is something that will be remembered for life. 
A short Coca Cola stop and we then started the climb back up, some sections of 11-12%, a lot of 8-9% in lunchtime sunshine and an overall gradient of 7% over 9.5km. 

Both in one piece at the bottom of the descent

And now for the hard work to begin!


Done it!

The return climb was dispatched in under an hour, with numerous photo stops, and not really that hard...if you want to define 'hard' then try Yorkshire!
We enjoyed a beautiful ride back towards Lluc, huge views down to the coast to our left, and then a purposeful descent back towards Pollença, albeit having to witness a collapsed cyclist receiving CPR at the Coll de Femenia, traffic stationary on both sides. A sad thing to see, and hopefully the guy survived. 
Stats for the day: 75.8km, elevation gain 1835m, 3710 calories burnt. Moving time 4 hours 22 mins, averaging 17.3kph (max 51.9 kph) with an average temperature of 22.3C. Not a bad effort, so we might just reward ourselves with a beer or two later :-)

Our final day, initially under leaden skies, spent doing a little car touring with lunch at the well situated Restaurante Mirador de La Victoria on the Cap des Pinar just beyond the fortified town of Alcudia. Lunch enjoyed with fine views across the bay back to Port de Pollença. 

The Tramuntana mountains from Cap des Pinar

Port de Pollença and the Cap de Formentor across Badia de Pollença

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