Majorca - March 2003 Training Camp
Alcudia, Majorca Spain - March 24th - 31st
Sunday 30th, Monday 31st
I forgot to
mention those silly hats – Friday night was not the last we saw of them. As we
waited on Saturday morning by the bike store, Adam and Drew arrived. I was
sitting on the kerb looking out towards the street, as they came through the
gate and into the door of the store, I noticed they had their waterproofs shoved
up the front of their jerseys – or so I thought. ….
Actually, it was their hats – they put them on as we left and both kept
them on all the way to the climb and up it. Adam deposited his in a bin in a
town part way home. But Drew deserves a medal (or something), he wore his for
the whole ride! Hats off (hats on(!)), or as some might say, “chapeau” to
Sunday was not
a good day weatherwise. It started off okay and then got wetter. All plans for
finals mountain ascents were abandoned. Various groups went off to do their own
things. There was a fast group and an alternative group, containing all women.
Mervyn and Scout did not make it to the bike store for 10:15am, so we left
without them, although we had been expecting them.
Timi, Deb and I
set off with the others. It was our intention to do about 50 miles and to
definitely make a final stop in Sineu for the year. Out through Sa Pablo and
Llubi, left at the fork on the bend and on to Sineu. Despite now being a veteran
of 2 of Davy's trips to Majorca, Deb claimed ignorance and hoped that I knew the
way to the (top) square? Well, thoughts of the first day came racing back - up
the hill, don't turn left down into the lower, main square. Easy?! Actually, it
was - we got there first time - more by luck than judgment, but hey, who cares?
We took some
photos and Timi borrowed the camera to take a couple to be emailed back to her
(she'd forgotten her own). The coffee was good, but it was spitting with rain.
We decided to go. Deb dived inside for a wee and whilst waiting, Timi and I were
treated to a drums band marching up the street and past the end of the square.
Deb missed it all.
Down the hill,
out of Sineu and on - the plan to get to Santa Margarita via Petra to meet
TeamCar Tuza for lunch. After a couple of frenzied phone calls, the plans
changed to meet in Ariany - we would not reached Margarita in time. We made our
way to Petra, passing a convoy of horses and carriages and negotiated the town.
As you leave Petra, its possible to see Ariany up on the hill to the left. That
in mind, we ignored instinct and followed the road signs. After about 1km, I
recognised the road and the fact that we should be travelling in the opposite
direction. We turned - spookily enough now heading directly for Ariany. A group
of cyclists on the road ahead of us gave their nationality away by their
clothing - "St Ives CC", "Welland Valley" and so on. We
didn't catch them and anyway, we turned at the roundabout to climb the 1kn into
It was just starting to rain as we entered the cafe. Tuza was there - waiting and also having guided us in to the correct cafe via phone, and semaphore as we drew closer. It was a strange place (or maybe we were out of place on this Sunday lunchtime?) There were lots of older men sitting around holding various discussions; there were also a fair number of children around. It was a good atmosphere and we decided to stay for a coffee - to see if the rain would pass. It soon became abundantly obvious that it would not.
Plan B for the
day had been the change from Margarita to Ariany. Plan C then became "no
lunch" but to ride back to the hotel without stopping again. That decided,
we bought some prepacked donuts from the cafe and ate them with our coffees,
they were energy / fuel, although Deb seemed to like them.
Out into the
rain, shorts, socks and shoes were soaked within a few hundred metres. Given
that we were at the top of a hill, the first few minutes were ridden with great
care descending to the main road. After that, we made good time. Timi was tired
and flagging a bit on the hills, even so, the average speed was good. Through
Santa Margarita and on to Can Picafort. The miles whizzed by. Well, actually
they didn't, we were wet, but not cold. Even so, it is an uncomfortable feeling
and none of us really relished it.
We rode in
along the long straight road that had seemed never-ending for Scout and I a few
days previously. It was long, but not long enough. As we got close to the hotel,
I began to calculate my mileage for the week. If, indeed we managed 50 miles
today, I'd be on 300 miles for the week. My heart rate monitor doesn't have a
trip distance function, only "lifetime" distance. I asked Deb how far
we'd gone - 43 miles. Short by 7 - we were wet, we were almost home and I would
regret it if I didn't do those final few miles.
"that sort of mate", Deb agreed to come with me to bag the miles. We
went past the hotel, having explained to Timi what was going on. She climbed off
- ready for a warm shower, as any rational being would have been.
Down into Port
Alcudia, the rain was lighter, we stopped briefly at the bike shop to check the
opening times - various of the boys wanted last minute bits and pieces. Then we
turned back up the long straight road. As we passed the hotel, it became clear
that we'd need to carry on. Past the hotel, then and on to the roundabout
outside the German hotel. Deb decided she needed the toilet. We were also
interested to find the bikeshop inside the hotel. We asked a couple of people
staying there. They directed us downstairs to the dining room area. No obvious
bike shop, but a women’s toilet. Deb went in. I waited for her – I read the
car hire information, in German. I looked at the weather forecast, in German, I
started reading the details of local apartments for sale or lease – in German.
I must have been waiting for 10 minutes, then I became aware of a male German
voice calling me “allo – bitte – die toilleten! – allo?”
(Eh?) He called out to me again and I turned around. Why was he heading
into the women’s toilet?
Oh no, I had
immediate visions of her lying on the floor, having hit her head due to a fall
caused by wet Look shoeplates on the tiled floor. Nothing so exciting. Instead,
she was pounding on the door of the cubicle – trapped in by a dodgy lock! I
thanked the man for calling me and frantically turned the door handle. It opened
immediately – thank goodness!
reading the notices”
“ (silence – a stare) “lets go”.
We never did
find the bike shop, but we left with a laugh, thankfully, Deb saw the funny side
of her claustrophobic experience.
Back on the bikes then. Back to our own hotel. We were 300m short. I had to finish. Then I had an idea – a self portrait of the 300mile moment. I carried on down the side road – Deb followed reluctantly and then called me back – “that’s it – you’re there!”. Here’s the photo – not the most flattering, but a huge achievement (for me). Thank you Deb – for those extra 7, wet miles.
We stored the
bikes and went for showers and change. It was 2:30pm. We got back in time to see
the lads off to the Irish bar in a taxi. They were off to watch the 6 Nations
rugby – Ireland versus England. Deb came over the corridor for a coffee and
some chocolate – the remaining food we had left. Whilst we sat there, I
calculated my actual final mileage for the week. Taking all into account, making
the conversion from km to miles (my HRM measures in km), using my download from
the day’s ride, the grand total for 6 days in the past week came
oh no, do I
tell her we did the extra 7 miles for nothing – we could have just ridden up
and down the road for a few minutes, there would have been no German hotel, no
toilet jail. But, I had to tell her, it was there, in front of me. I had to
‘” fess up”. Deb took it very well. She also got the last of the chocolate
– happily and hurriedly handed over – it was only a few squares – I wished
for more as bribes.
We went and packed our bikes and bits into cases or bags. We were leaving at 09:00 the next morning. Then, we gathered for the debrief on Deb’s balcony. There were only a few of us to start with. For some reason, Watsy had not ‘popped’ his bottle of champagne / cava on the night of his birthday. Time to do it now – cheers Watsy….. we drank to his health, his knees and his dented toptube.
Then the lads
came back from the Irish bar. England had won – that’s all I’m saying
about that. They had enjoyed themselves nonetheless. The balcony gradually
filled, even Timi appeared for a while – how did she fid us? LLL pondered the
weight capacity of the structure – he would have been the first to go – in
his own words! Happily, there were no creaks or groans and it was also dinner
Dinner was, as usual great. Then we adjourned to the bar. It was a good evening – people were chatting and joking. 4 of us were off home in the morning, but the others still had another day of riding, due to fly out of Palma close to midnight. A couple from Northern Ireland had joined us during the week. They were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. They were from Larne, near Antrim. In true training camp style, we nicknamed them. Mr & Mrs Larne.
couldn’t quite get over how long we hung around waiting to go in the mornings
as they took an early walk to the beach. One morning, there had been a good
number of us waiting to go at around 09:45am as they went down to the beach. As
they came back 10 minutes later, they were a little confused we were still there
“that’s a fair bit of training you’re doing there!” – fair point –
English John had been riding around in circles – that was the greatest
activity in that 10 minutes!
bought the Larnes an anniversary drink and they informed us that their real name
was Major – so they became Major and Mrs Larne. They were a real laugh and we
enjoyed the craic with them.
It got late. People started drifting off to bed. Dennis (Deano) was true to form, didn’t drink much, stayed sensible and went to bed early. Just think, I was on holiday with Dennis Easton – the Dennis Easton – who was the featured rider on the TotalCycling.com business card which Watsy just happened to have in his wallet. He hadn’t even realised it was Deano until he showed it to someone else on this holiday! Some final ‘group’ photos were taken and that was it – the final night was over.
Breakfast at 08:15am and leave the hotel by 09:15am. The driver, minibus and bike trailer arrived on time. We had an uneventful flight home. Except that easyJet managed to smash the castor wheel housings on both LLL’s bike box and my own. So far they have offered me £70 to replace the SciCon case – only used 3 or 4 times since purchase. That was about the only downside of the trip. My bike was okay, just the case was trashed.
Back at Luton,
LLL and Deb tried to get on an earlier flight – they were minutes too late.
They spent the afternoon eating cake and drinking coffee, before they finally
got home in the evening. The others got home safely, they were much later –
not arriving at the airport until 2am Tuesday morning and home later than that.
Many of them were going to work that day!
All in all, it
was a brilliant trip, THANK YOU DAVY for organising it. Thanks too to Mervyn,
Scout, Deb, LLL, Tuza, Toby, Alan,
Michael, Deano, Adam, Drew, English John, Watsy, Joe, oh, and Timi - hope you
all have a great season – this is
getting a bit like an Oscar speech, so I’m off…..... b
Thanks to all. See you there next time – if we’re invited back.