25 Apr Mallorca 312
It’s still dark as we spin gently down the main Alcudia road to the start of the Mallorca 312 bike race, but the sun is just starting to creep over the horizon. It’s a fairly balmy 14’C.
We see the start, but the front riders look like they claimed their place the night before(!) so we keep riding, 200, 300, 500m more till the end and sneak in through a hedge, with about 3000 riders in front…..
At 7am, we’re off, well, they’re off, it’s another 20 minutes before we move! A good sensible pace through Port d’Alcudia, and the bonus of a stunning sunrise over the bay of Pollensa.
Soon the fun begins, and the ‘faux plat’ that leads up to the start of the Col de Femenia is ridden at over 30km/h thanks to latching on to a handy looking Spanish team all in blue.
Then proper climbing and time for the small ring. The sun is already making it’s presence felt, and some unzipping is required! It’s a long climb to the top of Puig Major, and although there are some welcome downhill sections, they are short, and today, into the wind.
Past the turn off for Sa Calobra which thankfully doesn’t feature on today’s menu, then past the (full) reservoir where the views are spectacular as usual…..
Through the tunnel, where the lack of visibility is frightening (I often wonder, what if there was a fist sized rock on the road?) and then you burst out at high speed to start the descent with all of Soller valley laid out in the sun before you.
There aren’t many hairpins on this descent so you can keep speeds high – but not so high that you end up in a ditch like one white Cervelo rider I saw, very scuffed up!
No coffee stop in Soller today as you immediately hit the next climb, Col den Bleda, 4km at 5% up to Deia, mercifully short, but it’s getting hot now, and the water’s going down quickly.
This piece of coast road is simply glorious, winding, smooth, with ups and downs, but none to severe, and superb views out to sea from high up. It would be tempting to nip down to Deia Beach for a cool off, but that would not be good for the average!
Soon it’s decision time; a relatively easy 80km home, or another 220+ via Palma? The thought of missing out on the superb Valdemossa to Andratx section almost makes me turn right……but not quite, so it’s left to a feed station, a fill up on Etixx gels and water from friendly Majorquins, and then the Valdemossa descent.
It’s the home straight, albeit a long one! The wind is now a taily which is nice, but it’s pretty quiet; I come across groups of 3, 5, then empty space, pick up a riding partner for 5 minutes then alone again….It’s not until the approaches to Pollensa that I spot a big group of 20+, so I race to join them. When we turn right for Alcudia we have about 15km to run, but the wind is now almost in our faces, and no one wants to be at the front; it falls to 2 or 3 of us to pull the group home despite cajoling in rudimentary Spanish!
Charging into Playa de Muro we see the finish, but have to go past and U turn at a roundabout. This then leaves a final 300m sprint, and it’s full beans to the line, where I’m pipped by a hair! Crossing the line at 50km/h + means theres a small pile up behind, but by that point I’m on my way to the massage beds!
Soothed legs and a paella and beer (alcohol free of course!) later and I’m feeling more human again. The whole day has been great, the Spanish very friendly, and you come away with a very nice cycle top and gilet, worth the entry fee alone.
Kudos to those that did the 312, it’s a very big day in the saddle!