• Just whilst it's fresh in my mind (and off the back of a welcome nudge from @Ved), and to help others who may have considered but not ventured to the event, I thought I'd give a quick write-up on the Mallorca 225/312 based on what I recall from the blur.

    Cycling and walking in Mallorca outside the event
    Myself and two friends arrived on the Saturday before the event to get some initial riding in around the Tramuntana mountains and another spin further inland (weather and fitness permitting). Can't really say much beyond what's been said before - the drivers are considerate, the climbs are relatively lengthy but manageable, the landscape is nice and luscious, the coastal views are beautiful (see: Deià), the road surface in the mountains is brilliant, and the towns are serene and charming with their fair share of nice cathedrals, monuments and coffee stops.

    A couple of really noteworthy moments were:

    • The ride up Sa Calobra at about 7pm when traffic had considerably died down, meaning the descent back down to Pollenca past Lluc via the Coll de Femenia was absolutely stunning. If you're in the mountains then absolutely leave the bits you're excited about until earlier in the morning or last thing in the evening. I think we only met about 2 cars on the total descent and it was just perfect.
    • Morning sunrise spin to Cap de Formentor (https://www.strava.com/activities/153037­4152) was again just far more enjoyable due to how peaceful the roads were. The tree-filled sort of straight section after the first descent towards the lighthouse is really picturesque, just watch out for the goats. It's also worth ascending further toward the first viewpoint at a sort of tower (to the right from here: https://goo.gl/maps/P9tZXd56iPn) as the view's just as good and it's less frequented.
    • A walk near the GR221 route round Soller and Deià was one of the best walks I've ever done. This little coffee house was an unexpected surprise: http://www.shellyshumblekitchen.com/son-­mico-soller-mallorca/#.WudomtPwZ-U, and the swimming and walking/climbing around the coastline was really serene. Just picture-perfect views and a nice mix of walking trails (can be pretty challenging at times in terms of terrain and ascent, but worth it). I'll see if I can dig out the route which my friend used.
    • The ride to Santuari de Cura is a nice diversion from all the busier roads in the mountains and takes you to one of the highest inland viewpoints from which to view the best scenery on the island (this fella here: http://www.cyclinglocations.com/puig-de-­randa-cura-climb-mallorca/). Cake selection at the top is nice and varied, including a creamy carrot cake and a nice berry cheesecake. The outward section of the route (https://www.strava.com/activities/153289­3876) we took included lovely sections through the towns of Muro and Montuiri.
  • Event organisation/everything but the ride itself
    Jersey, number and musette pickup were available on the two days before the event from 09:00 to 21:00. Way better to pick up on the first day if you can as the queue seemed mega in the afternoon on the second. There was an expo area with a bunch of sponsor tents selling things ranging from trips to Taiwan for the KOM Challenge to chamois Vaseline (worked well on the ride, fair play ‘Base25’).

    I paid 98 euros all in for the event, which would include a jersey from a brand called Gobik which had a good fit and breathability for how cheaply they must have got them in for, a nice looking musette, medal with engraving, and two drinks and a good old plate of pasta after finishing. All in all, I definitely felt I got my money's worth as the planning around the event was pretty slick. Even got plenty of texts before the event reminding folks not to litter in the mountains and alerts about weather conditions.

    The event
    There’s no doubt it's become a bit of a mega event with 8,000 participants this year. I genuinely think steel/aluminium/titanium bikes constituted only around 5% of the bikes taking part and there was some seriously bling things out there.

    Arrival at 6:30 in Platja del Muro for a 7:00 start. Obvious starting structure with lanes on either side of the road to funnel the starters and we were on the go in the initial flat coastal neutralised 26km (I think that number's right) by around 7:15. From that point it runs as follows:

    • The end of the neutralised zone pretty much marks the start of the ascent of Femenia. This is all adrenalin and it's simply a case of not overdoing it too early on. Probably my favourite part of the whole ride as you just rocket up there with the excitement of the start still lingering. This is followed up by another riser up the Ma-10 toward the tunnel into the spectacular Gorg Blau section to Puig Major. If you're feeling strong at this point then you've already bagged about 1,100m of elevation and it doesn't really get any tougher in terms of climb profiles from that point.
    • Gorg Blau marked the first feed station. Isotonic juice, water, and pissers and poopers. Super busy. Enjoy this bit after the stop as it really is stunning http://www.cyclinglocations.com/puig-maj­or-from-panta-de-gorg-blau-climb-mallorc­a/. If you have filtered through well you’re in for some amazing descending. Can smell the carbon brake pads on this bit.
    • If I recall, the next feed stop was before Coll des Pi and it’s where you should get all your remaining proper solid foods in. They provided chocolate spread sandwiches, more juice and water, bananas and orange segments, salted peanuts and lots of these ‘Nutrixxion’ gels and energy and protein bars. The gel I had tasted terribly of liquorice and was too thick; the protein bar was appreciated. Get a quick stretch in too.
    • From here it’s basically rolling. For every bit of respite during descending, there’s always an immediate turn and kick into another climb. This is where it can take its toll mentally a little as the sea wind does kick in, and you’ll find yourself staring at the bike computer a bit more. If you just focus on how gentle the road sweeps up and enjoy the scenery and descending it’s really not all that bad. There are still plenty of folks around for a morale boost and just always look at the road immediately ahead and see how it’s really just a gentle rise to the next turn.
    • Then the halfway turn at Andratx and onto es Grau. This little brute was just the perfect combination of sharp, plentiful spikey hairpins and length to really test most people. I’d say use this as the marker in the back of your mind for saving that last bit of energy for, otherwise you’ll be hanging on a bit. A gel halfway up and some work out of the saddle should be enough to avoid bum and leg cramp and set you up for the drag back into the coast.
    • From this point it’s a case of grabbing a wheel, hanging in and getting some more food as it’s largely flat home (312-ers will have a few more climbs after but the worst is over). I hated this bit: got blown in crosswinds, and as a lighter guy it was a bit of a task to grind over the flat sections. Also, the roads are much worse on the way in so don’t spend too much time staring at your front wheel hub and hanging on as you may be over the handlebars or lose a bottle.
    • The last twisty section is a nice rhythm changer – slightly dusty and bumpy (think last sectors of Roubaix sans cobbles) - and then it’s just 10km to the finish.
    • Free massages at the end, smashed the free pasta and a Warsteiner in, and then there was a party atmosphere for the rest of the evening. Went over to get my medal engraved and had a chuckle at a bloke with a shiny F10 who was insistent that he didn’t want his time engraved on his medal.
  • Takeaways:

    • The Selle SMP Evolution with minimal padding still hasn’t killed my arse.
    • Deep section rims still look and sound a bit silly slicing up a steep hill.
    • The people who do consistently well know when to tuck in to a group and sit on.
    • Water bottle glugs are probably the best way to distract from those bits where you’re hurting halfway up a climb.

    If anyone’s got questions or wants to chat about riding there then feel free to drop a line.

  • Nice write up David. I was under the impression this was closed roads, but I guess traffic is light or do they close off sections?

  • It's completely closed off, with the exception of police control at major intersections (mainly on the way back at only a few big roundabouts).

  • Great write-up David, really interesting read

  • I'd be well up for this if:

    a. I didn't have a heart condition
    b. I started flying again
    c. I had the time to train for it
    d. Dov showed me some love

    You know, just minor reasons really

  • ^ Wasn't such a whinger

  • ^ tough crowd

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Mallorca - both the 225 and general travelling stuff

Posted by Avatar for DavidM @DavidM