The Three Musketeers!
Here it is, part two of the further adventures of the Baroudeurs on Tour – ‘Una Semana de le Tramuntana’
The Longest Ride – Randa
Monday saw the longest ride of the training camp with the 130km round trip to Puig de Randa. The first section of this ride is predominantly flat and fast, with some rolling sections. Using Strava popularity to plan our route meant there were some mega-pelotons to negotiate our way past, but an especially strong pull from Kostas saw us pass the majority of them and we were away into the small country lanes. At about 60km into the ride you can see your target, the solitary mound that is Randa sitting centrally in the island and up the side of which snakes the road to the top. Circling it, you have plenty of time to contemplate the effort to come. Over the 5km as you climb to a height of 550m, you catch glimpses of the views from the top. Once you arrive you are rewarded with panoramic views of the entire island, coast to coast, getting a real sense of being on an island. Tom & Ollie were enjoying it so much that they decided to get a bit of extra practice in preparation for Ayrshire and so clocked up another rep of the hill. A welcome lunch was had at the monastery at the top, and with bottles refilled it was time to head back. The roads were quick and the B-train did its thing, everyone working together to keep the pace rich all the way back to the foot hills of the Tramuntanas. With the heat of the day starting to take its toll on a few of us we split up, some of us headed back to the cool apartment but Tom and Ollie decided they just couldn’t get enough and went off for a bit more climbing!
Collective distance cycled 1,695km
This is one of the most iconic roads in Mallorca, built for the sole purpose of getting tourists to the scenic bay at the bottom. The road circles around over itself before winding down the side of the mountain via a series of switch backs and slicing between the steep rocks. But first you have to get there. This involves ascending Col de Femenia, a 7km climb averaging 6% to a height of 515m after which you have a brief respite over some rolling roads up to the junction. Turning off the main road you have a further 2.5km to climb Col del Reis, to a height of 682m.
Here they come
To make sure everyone worked at the rate they wanted we agreed to ride together to the base of Femenia, before tackling the climbs at our own pace. Those who were ahead would do “reps” of the cat 1 climb of Sa Calobra” after which we would meet for lunch at the café under the helter-skelter. The descent is technical and if you are unlucky you can get stuck behind a tourist bus, but once at the bottom there is only one way back up. As you climb you can see the road making its way up the mountain face, and the gradient looks steep.
As good as any place to attack!
It averages 7% but there a number our distinct sections where the gradient reaches 12%, and if you want the full Strava segment you must resist the urge to ease up at the café, and go right on past, back around the loop-de-loop and up to the very top of Coll del Reis. Tom and Ollie managed to get in an extra rep so as we ate our well-deserved ice-creams we eagerly awaited their arrival, cheering them as Tom went on the attack just before the café Bridge much to the disbelief of other photo takers and cyclists!
Collective distance cycled 2,325k
The next day a few of us were feeling the effects of the previous few days so decided to have an easier day. Becks and Lauren went for another run, while Tom, Ollie and Kostas went out for another ride. We arranged to meet up for lunch at Debs favourite restaurant on the beach in Can Picafort which she assured us was just 10km from the apartment, so we’d be fine just riding out in our normal clothes. It was not fine. A 20km smash against the clock into the wind later we’d have a lovely lunch indeed, and though it was decidedly uncomfortable cycling back in jeans and with ruck-sacks there was quite a lot of amusement to be had in the Baroudeur ladies leading a train of cyclists at pace through Alcudia in our “civvies”
Collective distance cycled 2,745km
Rest days don’t get any better than this
Honor, Orient, Sa Batalla
The final big ride of the week was a 130km trip further south. Heading out through the relatively flat Campanet, Selva and Bunyola before turning into Orient to start the first of 3 big climbs of the day, Orient, Honor and Sa Batalla. Honor is a cat 2, 5km climb with average gradients of 5.9% which weaves up through the pine-shaded roads. The descent on the other side is a little sketchy with some poor road surfaces requiring concentration and care. Another climb through Orient though and you are rewarded with incredible roads for the descent. Gone are the technical switchbacks. Instead long easy curves in the road allow fast swooping descending. The final climb of the day was another run up Sa Batalla and the now familiar descent of Femenia.
Collective distance cycled 3,535km
That evening we treated ourselves to a delicious dinner of lamb and suckling pig at a restaurant in the Port. With the riding done we had a little more wine than usual to celebrate a successful trip, with hearts, legs & lungs strengthened and friendships forged.
Leaving; but trust us, the B’s will be back for more
The very last morning arrived, and Debs had already departed at dawn. Lauren and Becks went for a dip in the sea while Tom and Ollie went out for one last spin bringing the final total distance up to a very respectable 3,600km.