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Review

Majorca - March 2003 Training Camp

Alcudia, Majorca Spain - March 24th - 31st

Wednesday 26th

Wednesday hurt! A lot! Not my legs, which actually weren't too bad, but my 'contact points', including hands and feet and my shoulders were very sore at the end of this one, oh, and I got stung by a bee. After Wednesday, others days were no so bad. This was the first time I'd put myself on a bike for 3 days in a row for years (even if day 1 was only a coffee stop ride). I deserved to hurt really.

Once more, the weather was good, warm sun and light breezes at 10:00am. We all rolled out together, although the "Scout Troop" was soon just the 4 of us - Scout, Mervyn, Alan - who was leading us today and me. We set a steady pace and unlike the day before, when the coffee stop came after about 90 minutes, we rode  for a good 2 hours before stopping. We rode out in a similar direction as the previous day, initially.

The ride was to be about 60 miles, in a loop around the Southeast section of the island. The lowest point we would reach was Felanitx. There's not too much I can say about this ride. I was pretty focussed on the pain between my shoulders, which started after about an hour and continued all day. I kept stretching and moving my hand position around but nothing really helped. Added to that, as I discovered later in the week, my saddle was just a couple of millimetres too high and the result was that I felt like the inserts in my shorts were made of cardboard. (Doom and gloom all the way then really(!) although, no, it was absolutely great to be out in the sun, with fellow cyclists riding bikes). 

We stopped for lunch (eventually) Alan kept saying, "we'll just ride to the next town" and although we let him do it twice, we eventually stopped in Montuiri .  

Lunch was great - big, open sandwiches, local ham, cheese, tomatoes and olives on the plate too. The sandwiches are messy to eat - partly because the bread is quite crumbly and they tend to disintegrate on you and partly because they are drizzled with olive oil. So, by the time you get to the end, you've go plenty of lubrication on your hands should you wish to sort out any annoying squeaks on the bike.

We carried on after lunch, but we didn't get too far..... After less than 10km, we entered a village, turned left down a main-ish street and started freewheeling down the slight hill. There were cafes left and right and cyclists in the one on the left. But, they were not any cyclists.....it was the rest of our group - the boys (& Deb)! Traffic chaos followed as we braked, pulled over, overshot the cafe, made our way back up the hill, stood in the road greeting the others and generally taking up the road. After less than a minute, order was returned as we moved over and had a quick chat with the others about the day. 

They had made their way out to a village containing a monastery at the top of a hill which was a dead end. Whilst those without either the will or without the legs waited a the bottom with a coffee, the others climbed to the top and returned. They had then made their way here to Villafranca for lunch. They were possibly not even half way for the day yet!

We set off again, leaving the others to their lunches. I probably lasted about 10km before my shoulders became sore again. The rest of the ride was very painful. Scout was also feeling it. He had not done as many miles in preparation as last year and so by the end of the day, because he admitted his shoulders were tightening, I felt like I had a kindred spirit! 

We continued - reaching Manacor mid-afternoon. There was probably more traffic here than we'd seen in the previous days added together. It was a relief to turn off and head towards Petra. As we turned right at the roundabout just outside Petra, the road started to rise. Not only did it rise, it was also undergoing roadworks - there was no real top surface and there were considerable bumps and scrapes to negotiate. There also seemed to be hundreds of cyclists here - they were a mixture of German and Swiss. We split - each climbing at our own pace. The climb went on for only about 2km , but the road surface made it seem much longer. I passed some of the other riders making their way up. I was aware of whether the other 3 were in front or behind me and so was not surprised to see Alan taking a 'comfort break' at a field entrance part way up. We re-grouped at the top and thankfully, the road had been resurfaced from the top onwards (glad we didn't ride from the other direction!). The climb, the opportunity to use different muscles and the fact that we were now going downhill helped all my pains and I was really enjoying myself until....

Bee sting! Right on my lip. And it got stuck, so I had to pull it off and then get the stinger out. All at 35mph going downhill. (This has happened to me before - in a race, when a wasp got stuck in my helmet and stung me repeatedly until, again going downhill, I removed my helmet to get rid of it. That's a different story, but it did cost me a pair of lost Oakleys which were retrieved but had been trashed by the rest of the bunch and the race convoy - although, the lenses are still usable!.  

We cut through some lanes at the end of the descent and turned left - heading towards Can Picafort. He road rolls and is quite a main road for a good 15km-20km. Scout and I were feeling quite desperate here - looking at the distances on the road signs to Port d'Alcudia, subtracting the 4km our hotel was short of that in this direction and then converting to miles. They went very slowly, until, the road flatten at Can Picafort and the final 2 or 3 miles were almost pleasurable.

Fearing a sprint from the Scout or Mervyn, I went for a long run-in, on the wheel of a German guy who steamed past as we reached the straight road which the hotel was situated on. He took me about 2km but then either got bored or sick of me sticking to his wheel and turned off suddenly into the side streets which run parallel to the main road and which serve as local / service roads for the properties along the length. I continued up to the hotel, joined very quickly at the entrance to the bike store by Scout, then Mervyn.  

It seemed a long way to the entrance of the hotel and I took the lift to the 4th floor, relieved that the day was over. It had been excellent fun, physically a killer and psychologically a torment because we'd surpassed the 60-odd mile target and done 73miles and had love-hated all of the extra ones! 

After a long bath and some fruit and energy bars, it was soon time to debrief on the balcony.

The other group got back about an hour after us. They'd done 150km in the day. Enough for even the fittest. 

Toby Drew Davy
Toby Drew Davy
Michael Michael, Davy, Deb, English John LLL
Michael Group LLL

We had dinner and a quick drink in the bar before people drifted off to bed - Thursday - Day 4 equalled mountains equalled climbing required a rested and repaired body - only sleep would repair my aches and I intended to get plenty! However, the highlight of the evening was a birthday cake - Watsy (the other one) was celebrating today and Adam arranged for sparklers and 'stuff' - more usually used in cocktails to be stuck into a piece of cake from dessert and presented to Mark Watsy.

Watsy's birthday cake - unaware its coming What's this then? You can't blow 'em out Watsy! Okay, I'll put it on this table then Adam - organised the sparklers
Watsy Birthday Watsy Cake Watsy Birthday Adam

He was so surprised - see the photos! We drank to his health and wished him well, then went to maximise sleep before the mountains.