Mallorca – February 2016
Last week, 26 youth and junior riders from LVYCC took a trip to Mallorca for week long training camp on the Spanish island in preparation for the season ahead. Due to it’s combination of steep, challenging mountain passes and picturesque, quiet flat roads, Mallorca is the ideal location for an early season training camp.
Most of our riders met at Stansted airport on Saturday to take a short flight to the island and arrived in Palma by early afternoon, where we were met by several hired vehicles to transport us, along with bikes, to our hotel in Alcúdia. After checking in, those riders who were hiring bikes from a nearby bike shop were taken to do so and those who had prefered to take their own now faced the lengthy task of reassembling them.
Having settled into their rooms and enjoyed a delicious breakfast from the hotel buffet next morning, the riders arrived outside the hotel for their first training ride of the camp; an 80 mile ride to the monastery at the top of Puig de Randa, a challenging climb after 40 miles, and back. This was, as was every other ride of the camp, undertaken in three ability based groups, each consisting of around 8 or 9 riders and led by two coaches. Having arrived back in Alcúdia, each group underwent a short stretching session before relaxing and having a well-earned dinner.
Monday’s plan consisted of an 8 mile out-and-back time trial along a flat section of a road descending from the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, meaning the road was virtually free of traffic. Before the TT, each group was to ride out along the coastal road to Pollença before turning inland and heading for the base of the mountains. Once all the groups were gathered at the starting point, riders were set of at 30 second intervals to complete the rolling course. Afterwards, riders were sorted into teams based on their individual times and then completed a team time trial on the same course. Due to poor weather, the groups then headed back to the hotel (via the cafe) and that evening took part in a quiz organised by development squad coach Hugh Vivian, one of several quizzes and entertainment organised by the LVYCC adults each night.
After the efforts of the first three days, the riders were treated to a slower recovery ride on Tuesday, setting off later after each rider had been interviewed by a coach regarding their personal goals for the season. The ‘recovery ride’ consisted of 80 km to Artà and back, taking in the Ermita de Betlem along the way.
Following a fairly easy day, the riders set out on Wednesday for what would, for many, be the longest and most challenging day of the week. Group three’s route consisted of the Coll de Sa Batalla up to Lluc and then heading east to the lighthouse at the top of Cap de Formentor, covering a total of 125 kilometres; Group two also traversed the road up to Lluc but then headed south to the famous climb of Sa Calobra before turning back and heading to Pollença and back to Alcúdia, altogether 118 kilometres and 3,500 metres of climbing. Group one, after Lluc, took the route into Soller via Puig Major and back around to Alcúdia taking in 150 Kilometres altogether- the longest ride of the camp.
Next morning, with tired legs, the riders set out on an 18 kilometre time trial up the coll de femenia and then descending and climbing again to the top of coll de sa batalla. Due to an unexpected bend in the road however, many riders managed to lose themselves justr before the finish of the TT. After this hard effort, some riders turned back to the hotel for a rest after two hard days, and the rest rode on to Sa Calobra and back to complete roughly 110 kilometres of riding.
The plan for Friday was to ride the short distance to Can Picafort and complete laps of an arranged circuit around the town. However, the riders were met with torrential downpours of rain which first delayed the ride to around midday and then forced most riders to turn back to the hotel after the first few kilometres rather than run the risk of illness in the cold and wet conditions. Friday afternoon meant the disassembling of bikes ready for backing and the returning of hired bikes ready for the trip back the next day. After taking off from sunny Palma Airport on Saturday, we were met with clouds and constant drizzle a few hours later back home.
With national series racing commencing in April, LVYCC riders have now had the chance to improve their level of fitness greatly over an incredibly valuable week of intense training, and will continue to feel its lasting benefits throughout the season’s races.