As I’m going to be running cycling holidays for other people, I thought I should treat myself to one of my own this year – in Majorca. The lure of the sun was just too much for me at the end of 2011 whilst I was in the middle of my first cold Alpine Winter. It was also a great motivator during the tedious turbo sessions in January and February (I couldn’t just turn up with no miles in my legs!).
So I decided to tag along with the yearly trip to the east coast of Majorca with the North Lancs Road club (back when I lived in the U.K., I used to ride with Rossendale road club, which has close ties with North Lancs).
I decided to take my own bike, and packed it up in my once before used bike bag, along with plenty of bubble wrap left over from shipping all our belongings from New Zealand to France. It was still a bit of a gamble (it’s a soft bike bag) as I imagined what sorts of fun the blokes in the airport luggage departments might have slinging my bike around or running over it with their electric baggage carts.
Needless to say, my bike (and I) arrived in one piece in Majorca – in fact the bike was in better condition than I was after having to get up at 3 a.m. in the morning to drive to Geneva and get a 6.50 flight to Palma. I’d forgotten how awkward it is to carry those bike bags and the normally five minute brisk walk from the car park to the terminal turned into a shoulder busting 15 minutes (accounting for numerous stops to swap the bike bag from shoulder to shoulder whilst wrestling my other luggage about).
I also had visions of being stopped at the airport – I was after all carrying a container full of white powder, with another plastic bag of another white powder inside for good measure (I took two types of energy drink but didn’t want to use up the space of two containers!)
All my paranoia was unjustified, thankfully, and after a picking up the hire car I was on my way across Majorca to the hotel. We stayed in Cala Bona on the east coast and it was a very nice spot – the hotel facing a little harbour and with the bigger resort of Cala Millor in walking distance. I met up with the guys from North Lancs – I knew a couple of them and recognised a few more faces, but most of the thirty or so guys who were there I’d never met before. However they were a friendly bunch and we were soon out on the bikes later on that afternoon for a leg loosener.
I’d only been to Majorca once before when I was a kid, but can safely say after one visit that it is a great place for cycling – the terrain is varied, there are plenty of quiet back roads to explore (the main roads are not that busy either) and it’s not an exagguration to say that there are thousands of cyclists! They easily outnumbered the other traffic on the roads, which lent itself to giving a pretty cycling friendly atmosphere. I also had the experience of the some of the other guys having visited the island for the last 7 years so I could rely on them coming up with some good routes (and they did!)
After a week of cycling, and 700 km later (including a few good climbs, which I wasn’t really expecting) I think I’ve definitely set myself up for a good season this year. If nothing else, doing back to back days of decent mileage has given me a good base for being able to ride with customers this coming summer without having to worry about my own ability to rack up the miles!
(Thanks to Dave Clough for organising the trip, and all the North Lancs guys plus others for making me feel welcome. I had a great time and enjoyed the company. I would love to ride with some of you up the mountains here in Bourg D’Oisans – I might even be able to keep up with most of you by then)