For the majority of riders Saturday was departure day to head off to Mallorca for the winter training camp, now a regular feature on LVYCC’s busy calendar. Departure destinations included Stansted, Gatwick and Luton – all of which involved a common theme – delays!
Due to cold temperatures and snow falling, incoming flights were delayed – the Stansted flight plane had come from Amsterdam where it had to wait to be “de-iced”. Not quite a poor soul walking around the plane with a scraper but a cherry picker lift with a hose spraying the plane with de- icing ‘stuff’! Stansted delay was 90 minutes as was Luton, but the poor folk on the latest departure of the day from Gatwick was delayed by 3 hours, meaning a very late arrival at the Hotel in Alcudia.
All those that arrived during the daytime descended on the dining hall at 7pm – following diner the first team meeting was held at 8.30pm. Information was provided of the riding programme for the week by Joe and Bob, Darryl provided local information about Alcudia. Following this riders had to pick a number from a hat that paired them up with another rider. They had to ask a series of questions of each other then feedback how their partner had answered.
How long have you been an LVYCC member – answers ranged from 11 years to October last year.
What do you like about the club – many answered included the people at the club and the Social side – as well as Bob’s free gels!
What do you want to do after school and uni – two future police officers, a couple of sports scientists, an economist, a hedge fund manager, plus several professional cyclists.
What do you like about racing – the adrenaline and the competition. One answer included a total dislike of hills but flat racing was all good at Hillingdon and Assen.
After this ‘ice breaker’ many took the opportunity for an early night having been up early to travel to Mallorca.
Oh, by the way, having left the UK with snow and freezing temperatures, it was a very pleasant 16 degrees on landing in Palma.
“I prefer climbing to descending”
The first day of riding started with an 8am breakfast followed by an 9.45 meet at the bike shed ready to ride at 10am. First off were the Juniors, followed by Group 2 – mostly the U 16’s and then Group 3 – a mixture of (fast) younger riders, a few parents and a couple of others. The ride for the day was a trip to Randa – a gentle 75 mile round trip!! The ride goes through lovely countryside, quiet roads with the temperatures today hitting 17 degrees.
The final miles to Randa include a steady incline for 7km followed by a 5km steepish ( very steep if you are not used to it!) ascent up to the monastery where a cafe awaits. The Juniors were first to the top, ate lunch and were heading back down ‘Froome style’ at high speed. Group 3 were climbing the ascent at this stage whilst Group 2 were enjoying their lunch.
The younger members of Group 3 raced up the climb with their parents, whilst a couple of back markers were just glad to be moving slowly up. Once at the top Group 2 were ready to head off back down, starting the trip back to Alcudia. A much need plate of frites and cheese role replenished the already depleted energy.
And so the last group to head back down the 5km climb set off on their return trip to Alcudia. One interesting section of the route proves that a garmin cannot distinguish between a smooth surfaced road and a section that makes the worst cobbles of Paris Roubaix look like a route for kindergarten kids. Still all the riders navigated it on their road bikes when a armoured tank might have been better suited.
Oh – on the way back down the 7km drag that lead to the climb I heard one of the younger riders proclaim that they preferred climbing to descending. This seemed a totally alien concept – however once back at the hotel it was explained to me that climbing meant being totally in control of your bike but descending is far scarier because gravity appears to take control. That was a sound lesson and one for the learning book.
All riders returned to the hotel safe and sound if not exhausted. After dinner there was the usual meeting – flat time trial tomorrow so a slightly easier day.
One final mention to three of the clubs youngest riders on the training camp – Carys, Daniel and Owen who all finished the 75 mile route with what looked like energy to spare. Not having ever cycled that far in one day was a massive achiever – well done.