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 started working!

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!

Evening at the hotel

Hotel - evening