By guest, 09-Mar-2012 14:13:00
After breaking my leg last spring and missing out on the trip to Majorca, I was very happy to be making it to the cycling island this year. The party on this occasion comprised a mixed bag of myself representing Team Racing Snails, Rhys Payne of Porth & District CC, Mark Andrews and Chris Lee of Merthyr CC, Chris Davies of Bynea CC, Paul Coleman, Welsh TT 12 hour champion and his son and hot cycling talent Dan, plus unaffiliated riders Richard Hier and Gareth Jehu. On arrival in Port de Pollenca off the very early flight out of Bristol and having had hardly any sleep, first impressions of the weather were not great. However, it certainly brightened up in the afternoon and we decided to ride out to the lighthouse in Formentor, a small but tough ride with a taste of the climbing to come later in the week. Day 1 proper however started with a climb up to Luc from Pollenca, down the Puig de Major, up Little Soller and followed by lunch in Santa Maria. Young Dan Coleman was demonstrating his overall cycling talent for both climbing and sprinting and both he and Chris were fighting for first up the cols and the the King Of the Mountains prize. Lunch generally comprised a ham and cheese baguette plus a café coleche or welcome bottle of pepsi. There was some good banter along the way and a new concept in catching one of us unaware when repairing a puncture or having a road side comfort break, ‘The Fish Hook.’ This unpleasant experience appeared to involve one of the riders, usually Mark Andrews leaping on one of the victims and placing ones fingers in the mouth of the other person, imitating the landing of a fish on a rod, ouch! Resistance was futile. At dinner the same evening, much entertainment was had with Mannon from Cardiff Ajax teasing Rhys for his sunburn and panda eyes. This was most amusing but unfortunately Gareth appeared to be suffering with sun stroke which would plague him for the remainder of the trip. Day 3 involved a climb out of Selva up to the café up on top and a descent of Sa Calobra. I had always managed to avoid this climb on previous trips to Majorca, but not on this occasion. The climb is very brutal and took me 47 minutes to complete after a lunch of pasta, ummm perhaps s not the best choice for a light snack when you’re going to be climbing for best part of an hour immediately afterwards. It’s amazing how many British and German groups plus other nationalities make the trip to Majorca each spring. On this occasion we hooked up with ‘English Dai’ who was also staying in Pollenca and he joined us for a couple of rides and became an honorary snail and Welshman for the trip. After a couple of days in the mountains we decided on a flat ride for the following day and decided on a quick trip to Petra where we had a gorgeous baguette and did some great echelon riding on the route to Arta. We were back in the mountains on day 5 for without doubt the toughest ride of the holiday, taking in climbs of Orient, Little Soller before tackling the 14 km Puig De Major. The weather was reasonable at the start of the ride and I set the pace on Orient before lunching in Banjola. Unfortunately it was at this point that I realized that my wallet was missing from my back pockets with 100 euros and cards in it, cue mad panic. The battery on my mobile was also dead so I had to phone my wife to rescue the situation off Gareth’s mobile. After this incident I was not in a very good frame of mind and decided to plod up Soller and did not participate in the time trial up The Pig. However, Chris Lee made it up there in 49 minutes and passed me like he wasn’t making any effort at all. Unfortunately Gareth experienced a puncture at the bottem of the climb and was feeling sick having not fully recovered from earlier in the week. This involved quite a long wait at the top of the climb where it was absolutely freezing and prompted Chris to ride back down the climb to try and find him. Once Gareth was located it was a mad dash for home to keep as warm as we could. I had 3 layers for the descent but English Dai only had a short sleeve jersey on and must have been in a world of pain with the cold coming down the mountain. I overshot one of the bends on the descent too which shook me up somewhat, and encouraged me to take it a little slower going down. The weather turned for the worse on day 6 and we therefore didn’t roll out until lunch time for a gentle ride down to the coastal resort at Cala Rajada and a nice lunch beside the sea when the weather eventually improved. On the final day the weather got even worse, so it was another saunter up to Selva for lunch after a thunderstorm during the night. Then that was the trip for 2012 done and dusted, 450 miles over 7 days and plenty of cols in between. That just left the awards and presentation in the bar at the end of the night. I was presented with a bottle of salt by Merthyr CC for deserting them to join Team Snails. Just like school everyone had a prize and it was crowned off by a drag artist. Yes you guessed it, he decided to pick on me, the one least likely to enjoy such entertainment and I was humiliated, despite Chris Sausages promising me that they wouldn’t let anything happen to me!! Another great cycling holiday, lets do it all again next year!
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