Majorca - March 2003 Training Camp

Alcudia, Majorca Spain - March 24th - 31st

Thursday 27th

Yet another warm, sunny, light winds day. We all gathered outside the bike store, some from as early as 09:30am. The habit has been easily forged - wake, breakfast, change into kit, out to the bikes and then sit / stand / ride in small circles chatting until the 10:00am departure. 

We went out all together today; most of the way to the first climb. The plan was that we'd go to the climb up to Lluc, via Inca and Selva as one big group, then everyone would ride at their own pace to the summit - about 8km. Those wishing to take a longer run would carry on to the Colabra and then make their way back to Lluc, Pollenca and home, whilst the shorter run would go straight to Pollenca and home from Lluc after a lunch stop.

After yesterday's pain, this one could've been a nightmare. But, either the long bath, the long sleep or simply my body conditioning to what is was going through made things 'no as bad' as the day before. It was relatively easy to stay with the whole group - although the faster-boys did take it easier than usual whilst we were all together. 

The happy group rolls out English John leading Puncture stop
Group Sa Pablo Sa Pablo Puncture Repairs
LLL & Adam Roundabout chaos Michael & Davy
Sa Pablo Day4Group05SaPablo.jpg (33180 bytes) Day4Group06SaPablo.jpg (32295 bytes)

Having said that, as soon as the road went upwards, the sorting was done. It didn't take the foot of the climb to Lluc to do it either - before Selva, people went out of the back of the group (I was one of the first), but there was knowledge that : (i) we had a "team car" for the day - which was on hand to give anyone in trouble a hand, and (ii) everyone was going to regroup at the top for lunch (Lluc monastery - short group) or Calobra (fast / long group).  

Michael & Davy

Mervyn & Scout CJ & Deb on the back
GRoup Selva GRoup at Selva Group at Selva
Bridge at Selva View of Selva It starts to bite..
Selva Bridge Selva View Climbing

The climb was actually not that bad. Maybe because I had settled myself-in for a 10km effort and it was 'only' 8km. Maybe, because I had the luxury of a triple chainset and so could sit and twiddle a lower gear than most, or maybe, 'cos it was just not that bad....

Anyway, everyone hurts going uphill, some just hurt more quickly. In my case, more slowly. Mervyn was just ahead of me for most of the climb - maybe 50metres? Just close enough to see, not close enough to ride with - which suited me because I couldn't have chatted going up there. However, he didn't pull away and I didn't pull him back. We got to the final few hairpins and were passed by a group of (perhaps) Germans. I decided to stay with them and catch up with Mervyn. They rode away from me with ease. I decided to pedal an extra rev per minute to catch up with Mervyn. That started to work - it was measured enough that I had enough for what I thought were another 2km of climbing and yet started to close the gap.    

English John

English John

The next thing I knew, there was Davy heading downhill, followed by English John. “Just around the corner”, he shouted. “Bugger” – I had thought there were at least another 2km. Mervyn was about 30m ahead. So, in a new-found sense of competition (which no-one else knew they were in), I accelerated – the aim – to catch Mervyn – he had been hanging me behind him in torment for too long for any mercy. (It takes a special kind of deluded personality to take revenge on someone like Mervyn for just riding his bike a bit quicker – I am not so proud of the victory now – where is the ego in sprinting past someone who has been retired from racing almost for longer than I have been racing? However, then, in the cool light of day, it mattered greatly). I got him – just before the summit. A group of cyclists waiting on the other side of the road cheered me over the line and clapped. I’d done it.

Group at Lluc

Deb and Davy

Group Lluc Lluc - Deb & Davy

We waited for Davy and Scout to arrive, then carried on to the monastery. It was a short descent away and packed full of “normal” tourists. We found two tables on the café patio and ordered sandwiches and coffee and coke……….. then more coffee. It was chilly in the shade and the breeze and we didn’t hang around for too long.

Back up to the main road, we turned left and climbed (again) for a few minutes – which seemed like hours – especially for Scout, Mervyn and I. Michael, Davy, Toby and Deb were okay. As we reached the beginning of the descent of the road on the Puig Tomir, Davy warned us to take care, be aware and not overcook it. Toby went, I was next and the others in a line behind. It was all very controlled – taking good lines, controlling the speed and most of all, not crossing the white central line. About half way down, Davy came past me, then past  Toby. The three of us continued down – following Davy’s wheel. He has been coming to Majorca for 22 years. He has trained on it, raced on it and come over to it two or three times a year at times. His was a brilliant wheel to follow – I was certainly glad of his experience and skill. It made the descent more enjoyable.

We all regrouped along the road at the bottom of the descent. Rolling quite quickly towards Pollenca, the line strung out. Michael and English John, joined by Toby and Davy wound it up and up. Deb and I hung on for a while. I went past Deb to join the line before I had realised what was happening. Unfortunately, I ended up having to pull over and wave her through to close the gap that was rapidly opening up. She closed it strongly, but didn’t last very long. The two of us rolled into Pollenca together. I don’t remember who got the sprint at the front – sorry to the victor if he’s reading this. At the first major roundabout, we waited for Scout and Mervyn. They were with us within a couple of minutes.  


Day4CJ+DebPollenca.jpg (29680 bytes)

The ride back from Pollenca to Alcudia was relatively tough at the end of such a day. There was a cross-head wind blowing out to the bay as we rode along the coast road. It was good to be heading back – although after the exhilaration of the descent and then the fast run-in to Pollenca, I had plenty of energy and was feeling “heroic” – a term coined to explain that feeling you get when you’ve managed to hang on and complete a ride that would normally have killed you, or when you’ve got energy that you shouldn’t have. Unfortunately, Scout was having a bad day, the crosswind did him no favours and we sat on the back together as we went past the Port Alcudia and onwards to the hotel.

The others had gone straight through from the summit at Lluc to the Calobra. The lunch stop had been shorter and they were obviously travelling more quickly anyway. All climbs achieved and descents safely negotiated, it all went horribly wrong for Watsy on the long, fast road into Pollenca. Whilst trying to put something into his jersey pocket, his front wheel slipped off the road and down the 12cm ledge onto the gravel strip at the side of the road. That was bad enough, but then, he wasn’t able to avoid a pothole and with his front wheel stationary in the hole whilst the back of his bike was still travelling at 25mph, Watsy did a “Superman” impression before skidding along the gravel. It was not pretty, the front wheel was buckled, the top tube was buckled and Watsy had large holes in both knees, knuckles, arms and a scrape on his face. He thought he might have broken his arm, but after the initial shock realised he hadn’t. Anyway, Watsy (truly heroically) then rode on to Pollenca where the boys sat him down in a café and called Big Davy and the “Team Car”.  

Tube Tubes bend Extra hinge? Broken spoke Ouch
Top Tube Front Changer Broken Spoke Lovely Legs?

It didn’t take long to get Watsy cleaned up at the local hospital and to deliver him and his bike back to the hotel. There were several stitches to the hole in his knee, grazes on his legs and arms and he was obviously very sore. Everyone was relieved that he was back in one piece. He made it to dinner and took a real ribbing for his ‘flight’. As well as stiffening up from his injuries, he suffered the embarrassment of this teasing. Poor Watsy!

So, that was Thursday – 53 miles. Friday was going to be even harder – for the boys, the “Puig”, the alternative route not quite decided, but the forecast was for rain, so I secretly began to look forward to a rest day (trying not to get my hopes up too much). I had planned to take one anyway, but could easily feel myself being taken along by Training Camp bravado and the need to ride every day....



Sunset Day 4