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KWCC Did Mallorca

Last month 15 Wheelers jetted off to Mallorca for a cycling holi… sorry, training camp. They were based at the Duva Hotel in Puerto Pollensa, with three and a bit days of riding planned. With sun, spills and Sa Calobra, the trip had a bit of everything. Harry Bunnell reports back.

Prologue: The Windy Day

It was a rude awakening at 3am to catch the early flight from Gatwick, with most of the others taking the far more sensible flight from LHR – the “posh option” according to Jo R who was also on the same flight as me. It did however mean I had time to collect my hire bike in town and head up Cap de Formentor late afternoon. Spectacular climb, only slightly ruined by the gate across the road blocking the way to the light house, which meant a scramble with the bike up the rocks to the side (RIP new cleats).

On the way back down my deep rims were buffeting the bike around in the wind, and it was a relief to make it down in one piece. Back at the hotel I caught up with the rest of the crew, some of whom were heading out for a quick spin to tune up the bikes whilst others were already at the hotel bar. I’d brought my wife and young son along too (marital gains), so we headed our for an early dinner.

Stage One: The Wet Day

Saturday morning brought bad weather, so we decided to do a flat 100km ride to Petra, Mallorca’s equivalent of a Windsor ride. We rolled out altogether, taking it fairly easy as we knew the roads could be slippery in the wet. About 25km in the rain started hammering down and we stopped to put on jackets, cursing the sunny weather back in the UK…

At Petra we decided to split into two groups – fast and slow. I decided to spin back nice and easy with the slow group as I wasn’t massively trusting the aero rim brakes on my hire bike. The ride back was much nicer, and the sun even made an appearance towards the end.

I got back to Pollenca with Abby and Jo, and as we sat having a beer at Tolos (which would become our post-ride bar of choice) we got the bad news that the other group had gone down and they were waiting for an ambulance for Tom H who’d done his shoulder (suspected collarbone). Tom was taken to the local hospital in Muro and after a flurry of messages Tom’s bike was retrieved and a bag of clothes delivered – mostly thanks to club legend Chris Wright who wasn’t actually on the trip, but was staying nearby at his place in Puerto Pollenca. Not a great start to the trip, but at least Tom was in safe hands and seemed in good spirits all things considered.

Stage Two: The Big Day

With better weather forecast most people had decided to go long, taking in a big loop with plenty of climbing. In the end we split into 3 or 4 groups and I headed out with DD and Tom B to take on Sa Calobra, then looping back via Orient that would work out at 160km with over 3000 metres climbing.

We got underway fairly early to avoid the traffic on the climb and it was a sunny, but fairly chilly start to the day with plenty of wind. Sa Calobra was a great way to start the day, with the climb up to the Col de Reis and then descent down to the coast, before turning back around to do the climb. I thought I’d given it a good whack at 40 minutes, but later discovered I was behind Will Rostron on Strava – it must have been an unfavourable wind direction! It was like a summer’s day at Box Hill café when we got back to the top, so we were glad we’d missed most of the crowds.

We carried on our loop hitting the climbs of Puig Major, Soller (where we stopped for lunch at the top and bumped into Jo and Abby) and Coll d’Honor in quick succession. The last 50km was a fairly flat fast smash back, except for the last 5km along the coast into a horrific headwind. We ran into some of the other guys at Tolos to sink a beer before heading back to the hotel and dinner out.

Stage Three: The ‘Recovery’ Day

My final riding day of the trip as I had booked onto an early flight back the following day – Kieran planned a 120km ride down to Sineu for lunch, returning home via Coll de sa Batella. This was the best day of weather for the trip and was nominated as Euro fluro day, with most of the gang wearing the most colourful kit they had. I’d taken the brief quite literally and was sporting a Carter USM Love album kit.

It was a cracking day with a great group and we had fun sprinting for town signs and generally mucking about. When we hit the climb Kieran took to the front and started tapping out a wicked pace, I popped not shortly after leaving him, Joe and Jasper to battle for the spoils. The Spanish equivalent of a Cornish pasty at Sineu was probably not the best lunch to have (excuses). That evening we went out en masse for a team dinner with guest of honour Chris Wright, followed by drinks and a bit of dancing at O’Hara’s Irish pub…. and then possibly another bar.

Loved my first cycling trip to Mallorca (I’m not counting Magaluf 2005) and great to share it with a brilliant group of Wheelers. Big shout out to Neil and Tom H who organised the trip, and good to hear Tom is on the mend, having since had an operation back in the UK. Hopefully we’ll be back again next year!