Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Mallorcan madness, a cautionary tale ...


So foolishly I signed up to do a very silly bike ride in July, the way it was sold to me was, 
" do you fancy a ride in Provence?" 
Well yes, why not, 
" it's for charity" 
even better! 
"and finishes climbing Mont Ventoux" 
hold on, what was that last bit?

For those sensible folk who avoid cycling Mont Ventoux is a legend, the destroyer, the toughest climb on the Tour de France, an iconic breaker of souls and legs. 

But I'd already said "yes".

So I started fundraising here   Click here to donate
And then I had a chat with my chum Richard who does lots of charity cycle stuff and runs a company specialising in such things. He suggested that the pair of us slope off for a weekend for a little gentle hill-climbing practice, well, it sounded like a laugh. 

Why not?

It turned out that the devious little weasel had already got a training camp organised in Mallorca for very skinny fanatical cyclists to get even skinnier, faster, fitter and more fanatical. 

I don't know how I keep falling for these things.

On a grey misty Friday we arrived in Las Palmas for a week of too many hills, too many beers, just the right amount of cake, too many kilometres and a chance to ride around many of the most lovely bits of the island, vaguely visible through the constant red mist that largely and consistently obscured my view of the world. 

There were a number of things making this week attractive to the lithe young whippets who rolled up, significantly the presence of some very nice and really, really famous professionals including the

It's only bloody Jens Voigt....

legendary Jens Voigt, (Yes, Jens bloody Voigt)  up and coming superstar Songezo Jim, a wiry wisp of pure Northern class James Moss and various guest riders and supper chums including the lovely (3 time World Record holding, Olympic Gold Winning MBE and really nice lass) Dani King. 

My interaction with most of these folk, to be fair, (away from the dinner table and bar) mostly involved feeling a welcome helping hand in the small of the back as they pushed the old fool up a gentle incline, I think they drew lots every morning, more likely it was a short straw exercise. I also got great support (well, being shouted at from the support van) from the Cosaveli team, Mark and Michelle, Wavey Davey and the lovely Mrs G.   A special thank you to Henry, my guardian and coach who shoved, shared and supported way beyond the call of duty. 

Mallorca is a great place for cycling and luckily the weather was fair for much of the week. I will now confess that I'd been steeling myself for the cries of disappointment that would inevitably greet my Wednesday breakfast declaration that I was taking a desperately-needed day off but fortunately (for one of us) the day dawned so wet, violently windy and immeasurably miserable that we all moped around complaining that we couldn't go out. And secretly, dear reader, I was so relieved. 

The week finished with more of the same, breakfast,banter,slathering cream into gussets, a Lycra convention outside the hotel then a ride into the lovely countryside gradually, naturally, separating into groups A (nutters) B (more nutters) and C (me and my minder). The ride done we'd regroup at the hotel over beer, chat over the highlights of the day and answer polite and interested questions like, "and where have you been all day Steve?"

That's right, it's only bloody Jens Voigt.....again


Joking aside I enjoyed a delightful week, I learnt a lot, thus disproving that piece of "old dog, new tricks" misinformation and it's just possible I got a teeny bit fitter.

What I mostly did enjoy was (off their bikes) some really pleasant people, diverse, engaging, interesting and supportive so a big thank you to all the Trois Etapes training camp attendees and I might see you next year… (then again, I might not)





A pithy comment from multiple Tour de France jersey winner and previous holder of the one-hour record Jens Voigt

Me "I quite enjoyed riding in the velodrome"
Jensie " well of course you did, no hills” 


So true...

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