The trip was the first part of a bigger picture for me for 2013. Raising money for Cyclists Fighting Cancer throughout the year via a number of sportives through the year.
I was looking to do a few days cycling then the Majorca 167 sportive as the first part of the challenge. I had been to see the best physio in Manchester Marek Holowenko (http://www.mhcpt.co.uk/) in preperation and he had sorted my legs right out! I took the girls with me in the hope that they would have a great time and to spend some time with them over the few days. The first thing I noticed on the coach to the hotel was the enormous amount of cyclists around. It was a utopia for cycling. I was beginning to get very excited about the prospect of being part of the community. We had booked with Sunvelo (www.sunvelo.com) who are a cycling adventure holiday company based in Alcudia on the island. The hotel was the Viva Blue, which was very nice and had ticked all the boxes. We were looking for half board, nice rooms, kids activities and importantly for me cycling setup. The hotel provided an excellent range of food for breakfast and evening meals. I was astounded by the variety there was something for everyone and the food was always excellent. Dave from Sunvelo was my contact for booking and everything went very smoothly. This was the case when dealing with Sunvelo for the entirety of the holiday. The weather was to prove a different matter over the five days we were there. The first couple of days where nice with a strong breeze. After that it was mostly wind and rain and would stay this way for the sportive on the Saturday.
We had booked the same week as two friends of ours David and Jean Percival and the friendship was strengthened through the week via the cycling and the meals we all shared together. Evie was in her element drawing with Jean which was really nice to see. David also looked after me when I had a bit of a spill on our easy ride day (more to come in part 2).
The first days riding was very windy and we had Dave the company boss leading us out. The ride took in the beautiful Majorcan countryside and involved a coffee and cake stop something that reoccurred throughout the riding on different days. I had my new pedals (Look Keo Carbon) attached to the Ridley Orion bike I had rented from SunVelo. I was very impressed with them as they provided a tight attachment and were light. I am saving them for my new bike which hopefully I will be able to purchase later in the year. The Ridley was really nice and was the first full carbon bike I have ridden. I didn’t have any complaints over the four days with the bike although I did have three punctures during the week. This was probably down to me being too heavy still though. I did however have some small issues with my new pedals and new cleats in that they were a little too good and had me struggling to release when we stopped. We had just left the coffee stop and I was beginning to see what strong riders Dave and one of our companions Harald from Norway were. They were dragging us along at a fair old pace just manageable for me but dropping a few of the others on the small drags. Harald was residing on Gran Canaria for the winter and was doing 120km a day over the mountains there. The legs on this guy were massive and near the end he decided to leave us on the climb of the day Cancellara style and head back to Alcudia. As we reached the climb there was a stop sign, which I had seen around 200 metres before we got there but was having issues getting my foot from the clip…this resulted in me turning the wrong way up the road and round a traffic island trying not to fall off and ending up facing the oncoming traffic. Luckily there wasn't any and other then worrying Dave a bit I ended up unclipped on the climb but in the big ring. I had to dismount and change the gears manually very embarrassing as a few groups of Germans went past looking at me in disgust. I climbed back on to the group with a little assistance from David P. I met Barry for the first time today also he was struggling a little to stay with the group but working together we arrived back into Alcudia with the group. Barry improved through the whole trip and was a very tenacious rider especially using toe straps!
Here is the first days ride with a few stats if you are interested!
Day 2 saw another 0930 start we all met at 0800 for breakfast, which really fostered a team atmosphere throughout the holiday. Today I would be riding with Alistair, who I found out after the ride was a double bronze Commonwealth track cycling medallist, David P, Nathan and Barry. Alistair took some massive turns on the front into the wind at a very decent pace he had the biggest calves I have ever seen! It was all Barry and I could do to sit behind him and David P! We had cake and coffee at a small place outside of Alcudia and got there doing about 22 mph average the whole time. It was a recurrent theme that the coffee was cheap and nice tasting. As I love coffee this was a massive plus. We tucked in behind Alistair and David but about 20km from the end of the ride I had my first puncture. Alistair gave me a masterclass on how to change a tyre. Even though I can do it he took about 5 mins! Nathan left us to go and have a look at one of the local climbs later we found out that he had got some way away and then the heavens opened and drove him back to Alcudia. Alistair then led us back to Alcudia being buffeted by the wind off the sea.
Here is the second days ride with a few stats!
The second part will be arriving shortly and will have some video and a few pics :-)