This year the training camp was as early as never before (for me). Due to the Easter vacation in Germany and other appointments of my friends, we already went in the beginning of March from Fr. 2nd to Sun 18th of March. A good 2 weeks during which I did 16 tours. Almond-cake is one of my favourites on Mallorca, but so far we could only eat it. This time we were early enough to see almond blossom, which is usually during February, until early March.
The weather was really nice. It was clear that so early we would not get real summer temperatures. But we reached 15°C minimum during the days and on the warmest day even about 20°C (a little less with about 10-14°C starting in the morning). So we had to wear long shirts or at least leg and arm warmers and always a wind-proof jacket with us. We didn’t have a rain day, there were two or three days with rain during night or early morning, but it went away so that we could start around mid-day latest.
The tours were mean to train the base fitness. So we did relatively slower tours, which was also good for me. Although I had done a number of tours on my gravel bike over winter, some home-training and several rides on the track in Öschelbronn, all those trips were short. In Mallorca we did almost always more than 4 hours. This year I didn’t make that mistake from last year to not doing a pause day. I paused on 2 days with “active regeneration”, i.e. going only 30km very, very slowly. That paid off.
Although we did not do anything really extreme, we did one quite long and flat tour to Cala Figuera (picture below), where I haven’t been in the last 2 years… that’s a very nice place to go to. And of course the obligatory tours to Randa and Orient.
Towards end of second week, we did two “top tours” in the mountains. The first was via Caimari to the Col dels Reis down towards Sa Calobra runter (but finally not to Calobra but the neighbour gay Cala Tuent) … and then back via monastery Lluc and Pollenca – 130km and aprox. 2300Hm. Then one shorter day to recover (aprox. 80km), and then another big one: via Bunyola to Soller and then over the Puig Mayor and back again via monastery Lluc and Pollenca – 142,5km and aprox. 2000Hm.
~1550km, with 16 individual tours (the two breaks included)
About 18.000 m of accumulated altitude (GPS measured, in reality might be some 10% less)
Total riding time (excl. breaks): about 63 hours
Total average speed across all tours: 23,8 km/h
This year I didn’t create manual tour entries on GSPies. As I have a GPS watch since last year, I recorded all tours and uploaded to Strava… yes, modern technology.
Again we went end of April to Mallorca which is close to the end of the biking season on the island. Reason was the we always go between Easter Vacation and Pentecost Vacation (less people, lower price), and Hartmut and Brigitte wanted to participate at the Hamburg Marathon on 17.4., so we decided to go the week after. We had a nice group, with Jürgen Karrer, Bern Ammer, Brigitte Krist-Priehm, Hartmut Priehm, Wolfgang Mayer and myself.
The winter season had started pretty nicely, the weather was not too cold, so we could ride basically every weekend on the Mountainbike, later my new All-Road/Cross. But mid of February the colds started. Altogether I had 3 colds, with 2 weeks “ok” inbetween them, so only very little training was possible until early April. When we did a few tours in April I realized that the power was still there, but no endurance, my legs were tired after 2, max. 3 hours already.
So the training camp was necessary and I looked forward to it. Last year, we went a little too fast sometimes and I was quite tired many times, this year we took it a little slower and trained more the base endurance. Some intervals to train power, and then some mountains in the second week. A very nice mix, and some well known roads, we could ride fast fun rounds … this is what road-biking is all about 🙂
Traditionally (happened for the last 2-3 years), it rains when we land in Palma… but it stopped also this year at 12:00 and we could start at 14:00 a first short tour. During the whole two weeks, we had between 14-16°C at start around 9-10 in the morning, which went up to 18°C on more cloudy days and up to ~22°C on the warm days. So we always had to take some wind protection etc… but for training purposes this is still very nice. Especially compared to Germany, where they HAD SNOW for several days and day temperatures around 3°C.
As the weather was quite nice for the first week, we didn’t break and did tours for the 7 first days, including one longer tour (famous Orient). It rained on Thursday, so day 8 was the first break. Directly the next day we did a first top-tour: First we went in direction to Sant Salvador. But then we did not go up there, but instead to Castillo de Santueri, which is so-to-say the mountain next to Sant Salvador. That’s a nice change, this is relatively flat in the beginning, but then 18%-20% ramps on the last passage. Then we continued to Randa. Another new thing here, instead of going the boring road to the town Randa at the bottom of the hill, we took a side road directly out of Llucmajor. This is a really nice alternative, which then joins the main road up to Randa, very good when you come form Llucmajor anyway.
Then again we had two more days of rain, but only until 12:00 each of the two days, so we could do smaller afternoon tours. We used this to try some new roads, that we had never tried in the past years. And this was really successful, as those roads had no cars, few bikes and excellent pavement. With Smartphone and OpenStreetmap it is easy to navigate and find the right turns, otherwise we would not have dared to try those, because you never know when a road suddenly ends in the nowhere.
After that … THE long tour: as already in some previous years we wanted to go over the Soller pass to Puerto Soller and take the boat to Sa Calobra with the great serpentines up into the mountains… so we took off at 9:00am…
Taking the fast road via Sineu to Santa Eugenia (in order not to miss the boat) and then over the Soller-Pass. This is a nice hill, that you can really roll up , not to steep and good to ride. Then fast down and into the harbour. When buying the tickets, the lady already warned us that the ocean would be very rough and the tour could take a little longer today. Ouch… not good, rough sea?
Well… now we are there, so lets try. So the boat leaves in time, and takes 2-3 minutes out of the harbour… just to hit the first wave. Probably half of the people cheering loudly. Myself just thinking… oh, oh… concentrate and look at the coast and hold on… wow this IS ROUGH.
Hey, what is the captain doing? Strange route…
… hey, it looks like he’s going the wrong way? Actually, the captain decided to back into the harbour. Probably he was thinking about the cleaning he would have to do, if he continues and half of the passanges would … you know what. OK, I had no problem with this decision, quite happy about it.
But what now? We lost one hour and are back in the harbour. Going back over Soller-Pass? Hmm boring. Well, this is supposed to be the long ride today, so let’s do a long ride and take the mountain road up to Puig Mayor! Said and done … at the end of the day we had 150km und ca. 2000m altitude!
After this one, one short and and relaxing day tour. And then for the last day, we planned a tour to the Monastery Lluc. As Wolfgang had never before been to Cap Formentor, I offered to go with him, while the others wanted to take it more slowly. The road to Cap is actually a mountain tour. So we, Wolfgang and I, took only a short rest and started directly down to Pollency and then the road to the Cap. This is a 18km (and back) trip, which goes up first 250m, then all of that down again to shore level… just to go up again the same climb … and of course the whole thing back, plus the climb to the Monastery, so we had a pretty tough day. But the weather was fantastic… so it was a really great final tour for our training camp.
Our training tours continued informally during the winter, nice but cold. Therefore we already looked forward to tours dressed in “short-short” and we planned great things. We always go after the Easter holidays and due to other private appointments, this years camp ended up being April 18th to May 2nd. Mid April is high-season in Mallorca for bikers … it was quite full. On most smaller roads, that is not a problem, the island is big enough. But some of the “nice places”, obviously are visited by almost everyone, e.g. Randa, Sant Salvador, Orient and the passes in the mountains, Sierra Tramuntana. But we are ourselves part of the biking tourism, i.e. nothing to complain about. And having your cake and cafe con leche in Petra on the central plaza is kind of very nice with 200 other bikers there 😉
The weather was very similar for basically the full two weeks, between 19 and 22°C, sometimes only little, sometimes a bit more wind, but never too strong… ideal for a training camp. We started well, and quite fast. The first two days a bit more flat and high average speed, 82km / 750Hm (Hm=>Meters altitude) / 27,8kmh and 117km / 950Hm / 28,1kmh. On the third day, a bit more intensity with more altitude. I think that worked well, it allows the body to get accustomed, and everybody was able to follow and no muscle aches, all could recover for the next day.
With an exception … I was hit with a cold, starting Monday evening with coughing. On Tuesday morning I felt so bad, that I had to pause for a day. Wednesday was a planned pause-day, which everyone used to recover and I did as well, with a small 45km tour. That went well, on Thursday I was back in game and was not much more impacted for the rest of the training. However I obviously “gave” my cold also to others, Hartmut and Jürgen got sick and Brigitte a little bit during the next days.
On Thursday we continued fully motivated. Already the last three years we wanted to take a bus to Andratx in order to check out the western part and the beginning of the Sierra Tramuntana and the “coastal classic ride”. Never managed to do it … but this year. So we took the organized ride by Hürzeler, which departs at 9am. A small disadvantage for us, because we first have to cycle from Can Picafort to Paya de Muro, and be there at 8:30. So we had only a very rapid and short breakfast and packed some bread for the bus. But in the end, nothing to be nervous about, all went very well. It was not just one bus, they filled two large buses with two large trailers for bikes.
It would have been too early to do the coastal classics already in the first week, so we took the part to Valldemossa and then took the downhill to Palmanyola and continued through the central part of Mallorca. The bus ride has one disadvantage, you lose a lot of time of the day, we could only start at about 10:45 in Andratx, but this is the only way to get there in a sensible manner (riding there is 60-70km…). The route was really nice, so it is definitely worth the trip: the tour: 121km / 1800Hm / 25,1kmh.
In the past years, we did not go to Cap Formentor, because of the bad road condition and the tunnel without any light, just not appealing. But this year: the road is freshly paved and there are reflectors in the tunnel … I was prepared and brought a portable lighting for my bike. So nothing to keep us away, except for some quite steep climbs … but we are here for the training, right? Well, definitely this is one of the nicest little tours and well worth the effort!
As the main tour (“queens stage”) we did in the last years Soller – Ferry – Sa Calobra. This year another variant: we went to Soller, but then took the long climb to Puig Mayor and return via Monastery Lluc. The climb to the Puig is not as spectacular as Calobra (calobra is one of THE best climbs in the world), but quite strenuous and the ride through the mountains via the water reservoirs is really nice.
For those that are good enough, the crossing to Calobra is on the way, and Ralf actually took it, he went down to Calobra and rode up the Calobra pass! Fantastic!!! My legs were definitely not good enough for that. Our tour: 148,2km / 2.100Hm / 24,5kmh. For Ralf, you have to add about 20km and 900Hm altitude.
As resume: A great Training Camp!!! I’m already looking forward to next year 🙂
The totals will be slightly different for the participants, for I missed the Randa tour, Ralf did the extra Calobra pass … but all in all I think this was a very good result:
After the first recovery day on Sunday, now follow another 3 rides.
First we went to the Sant Salvador. It looks like we were early birds, there were only few people going up at that time. The weather was rather good, but this first section was just the first third of this tour, so we continued after only a short rest! At the end of the day we did 143km and 1650 m of altitude with average speed of 25,2 km/h.
On Tuesday we visited for the first time the Sierra Tramuntana, the coastal mountains. Via Bunyola to Orient, a quite frequent tour, so a lot of cyclists there. As the Café in Orient was quite full, we directly continued and raced down the great downhill road towards Alaró… for once I’m first, waiting for the others, when they usually have to wait for me after the uphill sections…
We continued onwards to Inca for the coffee break and “refreshed” we then also climbed the Puig de Inca:
So this tour ended with 120,5 km and 1450m altitude and average speed of 23,2 km/h.
On Wednesday then long and flat. Right? Well, depends on your definition. First visiting Randa, that was quite OK. With the road from Montuïri this is a nice start, not very steep to start with, then going up the Randa climb. Nice, a bit windy and not so warm today. So we continued in direction Santanyi and onwards to Cala Figuera. This second part of the ride was god-awful, all the time head-winds. but finally at Cala Figuera we had some sun to relax:
Now for once we had some luck. With head-winds on the way there, we had back-winds on the way home… unusual, normally you only have headwinds 😉 . During the tour we had average speed of only around 22km/h lag, so the way home was a pleasure going really fast! The final tour dates: 160,2 km with 1750m altitude and average speed of 25,0 km/h.
After three days riding, we now have another day break… and promptly it rains again. Currently at 14:00 there is a short break, but clouds are dark… however the forecast for the next days is great.
These first three days were really hard for me. Having skipped training mostly during winter, yes of course: my own fault, and then on day 2 90km and day 3 111km with altitudes of 1420m and 1700m, and with respectable speed.
OK, three days training and then one day for regeneration… As if planned that way, it started to rain today in the morning. We’ll see, if it clears and drys, maybe a few slow km later.
For today a strike was announced to affect also the Stuttgart Airport… so sleep was not so well, and also very short. Got up at 3:00 for departure at 5:50. Then at the airport everything was quiet and we arrived in Palma around 7:50 as planned to get our bus transfer at 9 to Can Picafort.
… But what… Started to rain heavily!?!? Whats that?
Well, around 12 it stopped again and with the sun coming out, the streets were soon drying up.
With that, on to Cala Sant Vincenç…
Our standard starter tour, today with 87km, 630m altitude and 24,5 km/h average speed.
Today was the spectacular stage of this years training camp. First we rode via Bunyola over the Soller Pass. To start the day, very nice tour, the climb was quite good to do, not steep. And also a very nice view, as you can see on the picture…
Down from the pass to the town of Soller and the buying tickets for the boat to go to Sa Calobra, which is THE climb, on 700m from sea level. Pictures will follow.