Paul's blog

April 28th 2018

A 312 Celebration

 

There was plenty for cyclists to celebrate on the roads around Mallorca, but particularly at the finish line for the 9th Giant-Taiwan Mallorca 312 in Alcudia. 6,500 out of the 8,000 starters completed their chosen distances of 167km; 225km and 312km within their permitted time allowances. The mass start had concerned a number of entrants but the near perfect organisation meant most riders were on their way between 7.00-7.45am on what were perfect weather conditions. The expected congestion on the first climb didn’t materialise and in fact simply fuelled the banter as cyclist got to know each other and settle into the yo-yoing between groups of new found friends!

These social distractions were to prove my eventual downfall and somewhat lacklustre time result…My official finish time was 8 hours and 47 minutes whilst Strava clocked 7 hours and 46 minutes – that means 1 hour was spent off the bike eating, talking, drinking relaxing and anything other than sitting on a saddle!

Special mention should be given to my training mates who did exceptionally well, especially Ian Yates for completing 312km; Jim and Julie for completing the 225km; Chris, Paul and Loek for accompanying me most of the way round; and of course all the Alaro girls and Steve who all had impressive times.

…and so to next year. Whilst I would love to step up to the 225km event I think it would be better to get some speed into my training and target 6 hours 30 minutes which would represent an average speed of 25.69 km/hr a definite improvement on the 19.1 km/hr this year. Until then I may turn my pedals to Sa Calobra and see how I can improve my time in preparation for the Gourmet Cycling October Tour.

For those interested in taking part in the 312 next year and would also like to attend either of the two training sessions at the end of February and March 2019 then please get in touch with me for more details

april 17th 2018

What a Vuelta Belter…

 

With less than eleven days to go until the annual Mallorca 312 and the improved weather conditions the Tramuntana has seen the much expected influx of eager cyclists! For my part I needed not only to register in excess of 160km on Strava but to ensure I climbed at least 2,500m all within an 8 hour time frame  -  this would go some way to replicating the distance and climbing I would experience on the 167 (the junior distance on the 312). The weather conditions were perfect, sunny with a slight breeze as I rode out of Binissalem towards the southerly end of Alcudia Bay and then past Pollenca and up the steady climb of the Coll de Femenia. This will be a challenge on the day of the 312 given that all 8,000 riders will be starting at the same time and hitting the first climb of the day en masse.

The petrol station coffee stop at the Coll de sa Batalla was an opportunity to indulge myself with a freshly baked granola bar based on Julie B’s renowned recipe, currently with sole distribution rights given to Cycle Planet in Alaro, a sure way to pump in 1000 calories of nuts, oats, honey and assorted dry fruits. Duly refuelled I began the climb up around Gorg Blau and up Cuber, through the dark dripping tunnels and then a speedy decent down the Puig.

Getting tired, the climb upto Deia seemed tough, forgetting that I had already cycled over 112Km, however a perfect coffee stop and another granola bar saw me sufficiently replenished to make it to Valdemossa and back home, completing 163km and 2,678 m elevation.

A great day out with plenty of fellow cyclists to watch, compete and engage with, however roadside ambulances were also out in force attending to at least 6 cyclist incidents… Mindfulness on Mallorca’s roads is the responsibility of both cyclists and motorists. Let’s jointly help to keep Mallorca as the greatest cycling destination in the world!

march 28th 2018

Spring in our pedals...

 

This first week of Spring has seen a positive change in the weather enabling the 312 training to recommence with vengeance. Following a wet weekend those cycling tourists left with only one or two days left of their trip flocked onto the roads to enjoy the sunshine and relatively clear skies. Not that the roads along the Tramuntana were completely dry, the temperature uplift meant the snow melt gave rise to areas of flooding and torrents of water down a number of mountain roads.

My wife’s breakfast of porridge, fruit, nuts and almond milk provided the perfect start to the climb through Caimari and up to the Coll de sa Batalla where there was almost a festival atmosphere around the café and petrol station from cyclists finally out on their bikes in the sun. Cycling up and under the viaduct, it felt odd to not be tackling Sa Calobra but I had to be in Port de Soller for lunch, so I headed around the Gorg Bleu and up to the top of the Puig Major. Not before taking in the beauty of seeing the lakes full of water for a change and then passing the last of the snow on the edge of the road…

A naturally cautious descender, the still damp roads hampered my speed of descent down the Puig, but I was appreciative of my leggings and cold weather gear, some of those passing me at speed must have suffered in their bare legs and arms! My Soller lunch was really enjoyable and whilst the summer tourists had yet to arrive, the Albatros Bar provided the perfect rest and refuelling post, as well as meeting up with Nik, a fellow cyclist, who runs a fascinating company called “Based on a True Story”.

Back on the bike I headed up the beautiful coastal road to Deia intending to reach Esporles, however my bottom bracket took on a serious groaning so Valdemossa was as far as I got (or was it as far as I wanted to go?). On the road home from S’Esgleita I was accompanied by a Spanish lady who seemed comfortable on my back wheel managing her social life on her mobile. Needless to say I was obviously trying to impress her as I recorded my fastest time back to Binissalem. Well done to Alberto at Cycling Planet for a great job repairing my bearings ready for the next outing in under an hour.