Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

- T.S. Eliot -

Majorca holiday training

Right, so things didn’t exactly go to plan on this years family holiday to Mallorca! Firstly we had a problem with out Villa a few weeks before we left, in short, the company were booking villas they didn’t hold the contract for and subsequently went bust. We were left looking for a new villa at short notice, fortunately we found a nice little place reasonably close to Pollenca Old Town and the holiday was back on. Full speed ahead, bike booked, flights boarded, hire car collected, villa checked (nice), bike collected and I was off on my first ride of the week. My tentative plan had been to mix up some running and riding during the week whilst trying not to each and drink too much – the villa being a little bit out from the town resulted in me driving some nights, which was a booze free bonus.

Ride 1

I collected my nice titanium Van Nicholas from the lovely guys and girls at Pro Cycle Hire in Port de Pollenca – they have moved to a big store which is in a awesome location, you can park directly outside, wander in and collect you bike. This was my fourth year back with them and I received the normal warm welcome and excellent service. After a few cheeky purchases I was out and thinking about my route for the morning.

My plan was to ride from Pollenca, up the hill to the monastry at Lluc and over to Soller via Puig Major – I think it would be about an 80 mile round trip with a decent amount of climbing and some nice scenery around the mountain lakes. I agreed a time with Mrs A that I would be back for parenting duties and hit the road at 06:00 (the 05:00 plan was scuppered by a lack of day light). As always the ride was brilliant, I felt pretty good and reached the monastery in good time. I had planned to ride for two hours and then turn back towards Pollenca, thus avoiding the wrath of the wife! I reached the military installation at the bottom of the Puig Major, looked at the clock and took the decision to turn back. In retrospect, I probably bottled it – if I was with my normal holiday buddy we would have taken the risk and got back to our families a bit late, taken the disapproving look and got on with our holidays. But given the amount of time I have been away with work and ironman training I took a family based decision to turn back. I had failed in my Pollenca to Soller bid.

I finished the ride by looping around via Selva, Campanet and Inca – it looks like time has stood still in these villages and I love seeing the little old lady walking up the street with her shopping from the baker, butcher and candlestick maker, the supermarkets appear to have stayed away (or been made to stay away) – long may it continue!!!

Ride 2

My second negotiated ride was going to be a big one! The plan was to head for Arta on the relatively flat coastal roads and kinda timetrial it out for a few hours. But that didn’t go to plan, 500 metres after leaving the villa and had to turn left at a roundabout (I’m in Mallorca remember). I approach the roundabout, noticing that the road is a little wet from the over night sprinklers that key the flora looking nice, having remarked to myself to take it stea…….over I went, BANG!

My first thought was ‘bugger my hand hurts’ – more on that later and my second thought was ‘why is there blood dripping on my leg?’. A nice lady stopped and asked in pigeon English if I was OK – ‘yeah, yeah, I’m fine’ – she smiled and drove off. More blood seemed to be appearing from somewhere, basically I’d sprung a leak but I wasn’t sure where from. Scuttling over to a shop window I notice a big blob of red on my chin, mystery solved. I toyed with the idea of carrying on, but decided to nip back to the villa, check how bad the cut on my chin was, tape up my hand and get going again.

I arrived back at the villa, walked across the lounge and was met with a rather angry Mrs A who promptly demanded to know what I had forgotten and why the bloody hell didn’t I take my cycling shoes off as I was making one hell of racket and I’d wake up the outlaws and the kids. This remark was closely followed with a inquisition as to why I was covered in blood, even more closely followed by repeated questioning about whether I got the number plate of the car who hit me…my rather sheepish, ‘I just fell off’ reply didn’t seem to cut it.

Wack-a-day plaster added to my chin I had some water and considered heading out again, Mrs A suggested a few minutes to let the bleeding stop, a few minutes turned into a few hours and we decided to head to the PAC (pre-assessment centre: think doctors surgery on steroids), after flashing my EHIC card I was seen by a rather nice female doctor who was thrilled to be putting stitches in the hand of a stupid Englishman! 45 minutes later and I was sat back by the pool at out villa contemplating how sore my hand was and whether my chin would be repaired in time for the half ironman I had planned. So the holiday was wonderful but the running, swimming and bike training didn’t really go to plan!

Wack-a-day plaster