Mallorca Training Week
Mallorca Training Week
COLTs in attendance: Sarah Patterson, Mandy Ley, Nicola Benson, Dawn McCracken (and Mr Patterson as chief bike mechanic and housekeeper – he did a great job of keeping the fridge stocked with beer!)
Where: Puerto Pollensa
When: Sunday 27 March – Saturday 1 April
Weather report: Bit chilly first thing but sunshine all week, average afternoon temperature 23 degrees – hot hot hot!
I usually go skiing around Easter time and always think when the sun is shining and the temperature is hotting up that a cycling holiday would be better so having had two ski trips in December and January when Mandy suggested a cycling jolly in March I jumped at the chance to organise it. I have been visiting Mallorca just about every year for the past 23 years since I fell in love with a little resort called Puerto Pollensa back in 1994. We were there in September that year for 10 days and it rained at some point on each of those 10 days! Puerto Pollensa is fantastic place to use as a base for triathlon training – it’s a pretty resort with a pedestrianised sea front which is ideal for an early morning run and dozens of good quality but not too expensive restaurants. The bay is shallow and great for open water swimming. There is also a lovely café right by the marina roundabout that is a cyclists’ favourite selling amazingly good apple cake and every flavour of ice-cream you can imagine. Here’s some of the highlights of our week.
Day 1 – Sunday : Bikes put together and tested. Quick open water swim. Met up with fellow COLTs Podge (John Hodkinson) & Mark Bales for a drink and to hear tales of their training weekend. Unfortunately, the weather had not been kind to them since they arrived on Thursday – torrential rain! Missed Brett Fletcher as he was taking the training more seriously and had taken himself off on a long bike ride instead of eating coffee and cake.
Day 2 – Monday : Ironman 70.3 bike course. Well – most of it…… Sort of lost the trail around Sa Pablo but did the main climb out of Pollensa up to the monastery at Lluc – Coll De Femenia which is the main entry point into the easterm Tramuntana mountain range and the hairpin descent down the other side. The climb is 7.6 km long with an average gradient of 6% and maximum height is 515m. 50 miles done!
Day 3 – Tuesday: Cap de Formentor via Coll De Sa Creueta
This is a lovely ride and takes you right to the most Northern tip of the island where there is a light house. The climb out of Puerto Pollensa takes you to a viewing point at Mirador d’Es Colomer. If you take the little road to the right instead of descending down to Formentor there is another steep little climb up to Talai d’Albertux – with a little turret on the top. The tarmac all the way to the lighthouse is fantastic having been resurfaced last year. And of course at the end there is the obligatory café selling lovely cake…..
Day 4 – Wednesday: Swim at Alcudia at the Ironman 70.3 venue and a run back along the seafront from Alcudia to Puerto Pollensa – Dawn and Nicola managed a good 7 – 8 miles and Mandy and I a respectable 4 miles.
Day 5 – Thursday: Sa Calobra (THE BIG ONE) I have wanted to do this climb for years but have never had a suitable cycling buddy daft enough to come with me. They say the man who built the road down to Sa Calobra was having a laugh there are so many sweeping hairpin bends. Mandy, Dawn and Nicola were quite hysterical at the bottom at the thought of climbing back up. But it’s not as bad as it looks – it’s a steady 7% for 9.5 km so you just have to keep plugging away. It took us around 1 hour and 10 minutes to get to the top 682m later. We met a group of guys from Cumbria on the way up from the Honister92 cycling club (small world) – their quickest young man made it up from top to bottom in 30 minutes!!
Day 6 – Friday: A nice flat ride followed by cake, beer and sunbathing……
The weather was kind to us which made all the difference. The area was buzzing with cyclists of all shapes, sizes and nationalities. Our accommodation was cheap for the week – we rented a 3-bedroom apartment in the Bellresguard complex with two bathrooms and a little garden where we could store the bike boxes and enjoy the sunshine after a hard day in the saddle. We had a large swimming pool and the beach was literally across the road. Cost for the week 490 euros so less than £100 per person for the 5 of us. Great alternative if you don’t like staying in a hotel. We also had a washing machine for the sweaty kit at the end of the day which proved to be the biggest challenge of the week – 4 COLT ladies, 4 COLT cycle tops, 4 COLT tri tops – we had to resort to writing our names on the labels……
So a successful week of training – definitely! And one we hope to repeat next year.