Majorca - March 2003 Training Camp
Alcudia, Majorca Spain - March 24th - 31st
Saturday - 29th
It was damp on Saturday morning
when we went for breakfast. It had obviously rained for much of the night. (We
hadn't been unlucky then, to have been caught in the rain whilst walking home
from the Irish Bar.)
However, the sun was trying to
break through the clouds and what heat it provided was drying the roads. The
plan had been the big mountainous ride today. But the fear of the wet glassy
surfaces for descending made this a poor plan. Instead, we would all ride out
together to Bunyola. The alternative route would then turn right, climb to
Orient and return to the hotel. The fast run would go on to Soller and return
via the Colabra and the Lluc-Pollenca road - Watsy's road.
It was not good. I could not get
going. It took me fully 2 hours to even feel like I could ride a bike today.
Why? I have no idea. It was my legs – they were heavier than they’ve ever
felt before – maybe because I didn’t ride my bike the day before and did
quite a lot of walking? Maybe just because the many miles of the week were
catching up with me?
Anyway, we were joined today by Timi – a triathlete from Hungary. She had been around all week with 2 companions – the women’s Hungarian triathlon champion and a coach, also a triathlete and Timi’s boyfriend. She was finding them too strong and had asked Davy if she could join us. Another addition to the party was Corky – Jack Corkhill, a “Kaner” – member of the Northern CC, sponsored by Dave Kane. Some of the others were also Kaners and many knew Jack anyway. He had been in Majorca for almost 3 months and had joined various groups over the weeks, showing them the roads in return for people to ride with.
The ride seemed to be going very quickly, but in
reality was not that bad – for those with the legs to cope. I spent much of my
time towards the back, with Scout, Mervyn, Timi and Jack. I confirmed with Scout
that this was not one of best days and then generously allowed the others to
change in places in front of me as the group rotated the leading pair. We were
caught behind a tractor after about an hour for about 2km. It was travelling
sooo slowly – I was sooo grateful for the rest.
As we drew into Bunyola, the road dragged upwards. The
usual suspects drifted out of the back of the group. Timi and I went together.
LLL hung back and four about ½ a mile, pushed one or other of us in relay back
into the last positions. We stayed there for a few pedal revs before drifting
back again. LLL gave up – don’t blame him. We had been riding for 2 hours
and I didn’t feel any better yet.
It was a relief to enter the
village and see everyone parking bikes against walls and taking over seating and
tables outside a café. I was not last into a seat! A quick coffee later, some
water into the drinking bottles and we were off. The fast group went left, we
turned right. The alternative group was: Davy, Deb, Jack, Mervyn, Scout, Timi
and me. Immediately after the right turn, the road went upwards – big time –
we were on the climb to Orient. It was apparently similar to the climb we’d
done on Thursday. I settled in. Davy went away up the road; Deb was just in
front of him. Timi passed me after about 1 km and I didn’t see her again until
the top. Scout and Mervyn were behind and at every hairpin, I looked down over
the top for them, but couldn’t make them out. I could see Timi just ahead on
most of the corners. About half way up, I noticed someone descending one of the
hairpins in a pair of LVRC (British) shorts, I looked at his face, saw the
“Welland Valley” race cap underneath his helmet and realised it was Dave
Birch! I shouted “Dave”, but he was away and gone – as you’d imagine.
About 2 miles from the summit, Jack caught and passed me – “only another
mile” he lied “is that all?” I replied. He was gone – didn’t answer.
There were plenty of people at the top – mostly a group of Germans, who had
come from the same direction as us. A quick sit down, drink and some Jelly
Babies to wait for Scout and Mervyn. They were there in no time.
Deb headed off – to get a head
start on the descent. I went after her, the others followed too, in a line. The
descent was terrific, Deb was a bit more hesitant and it didn’t take too long
to pass her. Hairpins and short straights. It didn’t last long enough for me!
As the road flattened out, Davy drew alongside. We rolled on, waiting for the
others. We were in a valley, before a short climb to Orient and a pre-arranged
stop for lunch at the café on the main road.
It took a while for Scout and
Mervyn to ride up the hill to the café. It transpired that Scout had slid off
his bike on some gravel which was on one of the hairpins. He was okay – grazed
on his leg and arm but otherwise no damage.
We had lunch. It didn’t take long – it was cold –
the café terrace was in the shade and there was a chilly breeze blowing on our
sweaty bodies. People put on the rain jackets and layers they had with them. All
the same, we didn’t hang around. Up a few more
kilometres after Orient, we climbed for
the final time that day. Then, further pay-off, another descent – hooray! This
one was really good – more open, longer straights and few, if any hairpins.
Most enjoyable. At the bottom, we regrouped. Davy and Deb went left whilst the
rest of us (Jack, Mervyn, Scout, Timi & me) went right. Jack led us back to
Alcudia. Since Bunyola, I had begun to feel better. By the time we got here, I
was beginning to feel quite strong – finally haven ridden myself in. All the
same, it did seem to take a long time to get back and yet we’d passed the half
way point long ago (another of Jack’s stories?). About an hour or so later,
the group stopped in Llubi for a quick coffee and to raid our back pockets for
any leftover Jelly Babies.
The Jelly Babies – everyone had
some. This was because Scout had generously brought with him a stone (weight) of
them from home. A stone is 14lbs, or over 6kg. That’s enough for a week’s
supply of emergency sweets for everyone!
Timi was due to go on a run after
we returned and she’d had a quick shower and change. She was given Jelly
Babies and dried apricots to help her on her way.
As a group, we continued back
through Sa Pablo and towards Alcudia. The order of the group was: inside front -
Jack, outside front – Mervyn, inside rear – Scout, outside rear – Timi. I
followed on my own. Then, Scout gave away his intention, as we went tight left,
over the little narrow bridge, then right through the fields of reeds on either
side of the road, he drifted backwards then took up place on the outside rear.
He was a marked man though. I watched him, waiting. He was definitely twitchy,
waiting for it. Then he went (or did he?) I went too – accelerated and managed
to get past Scout. However, we’d done it again. The roundabout was probably
still 2km away. I sat up and rolled along. Scout came past like a train, he went
into the distance and then I decided to go after him. He sat up and rolled
before I caught him, I decided to keep going, carrying on to the roundabout
alone. However, unclear as to which road to take, I had to wait for Scout to
guide me. We continued on to the traffic lights, turned left and back to the
hotel together. Mervyn arrived and Jack continued on to his hotel at Pollenca.
Distance: 116km, total
ascended 795m, good weather, good fun and eventually, a good ride – after legs
Timi managed her run (mental note made by the rest of us not to take up triathlon). Whilst us mere cyclists showered, changed, rested and then went for dinner, a nightcap and bed. Rain was forecast for Sunday, but people were determined to ride. They also needed to be back in time for the rugby - Ireland versus England. To be shown at the Irish bar from 3pm local time Sunday afternoon. It was going to be a busy day!