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ON TOP OF THE WORLD ... with a little help from a friend. Mike & Anne Edwards and their Two'sDay on a peak in Formentor, Mallorca during their favorite cycle training camp.
[Thanks to Marilyn & Stan Smith of Albany, for encouraging Mike and Anne to write to us! Stan Turner runs the event described below every year during the last two weeks of April and he usually has a few riders from America. His e-mail address is email@example.com - Ed]
For the third time in four years we have taken part in a cycle training camp at Puerto Pollensa run by Stan Turner, always held during the last two weeks of April. We particularly enjoy these because Stan has a touring group whose rides are so much like our own.
They also hold social events some evenings in the general room at The Hobby Club. This is attached to an apartment complex and we had a ground floor one overlooking the swimming pool and sea. A good and substantial breakfast and dinner was taken in Pollensa Park Hotel about five minutes walk away.
This year we decided to extend our time and spend an extra two weeks at the start to see other parts of the island. We flew into Palma Airport and were met by a friend of Derek's who drove us in his van to Puerto Pollensa to a small hotel which is also run by another friend.
Derek and his partner Laurita are Portsmouth CTC riders who have recently bought an apartment in PP and are living permanently on the island. In the afternoon I removed our Tandem Two'sday from the two suitcases and assembled it.
We packed the bare minimum that we would need for the two weeks prior to the cycle training camp and with help from Derek, took our cases round to his apartment where he was going to store our spare clothes in the cases under their bed.
The next morning we, accompanied by Derek on his solo set off for the hotel booked for a week at Cala D'or, 50 miles away. Derek left us on our own after elevenses and after a quick ride (back wind) we settled in our hotel. We had booked this from home and we were upgraded to a better hotel because the original one was not going to be open in time. It turned out to be mainly catering for Saga visitors (our age group but rather less active). They were on full board with all drinks included. We were taken as being part of the group and had unlimited tea or coffee. I offered to pay the first time but was told that it was all included, so who was I to argue. I was silly enough to order our dinner wine from the menu, otherwise we would probably got this free.
It was a lovely area for cycling and each day we did a local cycle tour. A particular highlight was on the Sunday when we visited Felanitx market and then climbed up to a monastery on the highest peak in the area Emile San Salvadore at 2000 feet.
We were not alone because most of the cyclists in the area seemed to have the same idea. For the first few days the weather was cold and we had extremely strong winds. On the Wednesday night there was a terrific storm but we were safely tucked up in bed. Our hotel room was overlooking the sea and we could hear the waves crashing on the rocks.
Most of our rides took us through a lovely area in the Parc Natural de Mondragh just south west of Cala D'or. We spent many hours having fun getting lost on the numerous lanes through the park and at the end of our time there felt that at last we knew them all.
After the week had ended we decided to move onto Cala Bona feeling that we had fully explored the area. By this time the weather had improved and with one days exception had good weather and little wind for the rest of the time. During the whole month I never needed to put on my cape.
A short ride of about 25 miles took us to Cala Millor a seaside town, which links up with Cala Bona. I managed to get a good deal at a hotel, which also had a lot of Saga visitors.
However, I found that this was rather better organised and there was no chance of free tea or coffee, let alone wine. We always have our teapot and plug in water heater with us so this was no problem. We did subsequently discover that Cala Millor caters rather more for German visitors and Cala Bona for the English. The only downside with this was that for announcements during the evening entertainment would be in English and German.
Also I had to be rather more careful in my choice of food from the buffet because the German food tended to be rather more fatty with sausages etc. Fortunately there were always alternatives. We had good rides from this base but after five days were running out of destinations. On the sixth day we moved on to our last base at Puerto Pollensa, about 40 miles away.
We arrived at the same time as the airport coaches and it was good to meet up with old friends from previous years. Mike and Peggy, club friends from home arrived with their tandem - the only other one on the camp.
The last fortnight provided the best riding being just like club riding at home. Terry, the touring rides organizer also had to cater for the non cyclists so during the time he led several walks. Mostly these were on roads so Ann and I opted to do our own thing on these days using the tandem.
Terry tended to pick non hilly rides so Ann and I took to the hills on these spare days. No, we are not that keen on climbing mountains but they do provide the best views, particularly on a clear sunny day.
One day we did our annual visit to Lluc Monastry at approximately 1,800 feet. A long climb up from sea level but wonderful going down. The organization ran two 11-kilometer and a 20-mile two up time trials during the time.
I rode stoker on the back of Mike Elson's tandem in the second 11 k one. Our speed was approximately 22.5 mph and our time was within a second of last years. I forget our actual time but this is irrelevant because 11k is an odd distance and there is no real comparison with the normal distance of 10 miles.
One particular day I let Ann have a well deserved rest from the tandem and she had a day with Laurita. I borrowed Derek's shopping bike and accompanied by Derek and a friend we did the daunting ride of climbing up the mountain past Lluc and then dropping down a narrow mountain road with numerous horseshoe bends to Sa Colbra. Named after the snake which describes the road.
The total trip was 60 miles and meant two severe mountain climbs and no flat areas at all. I had thought that my solo ride up to Marys Peak in Oregon my stiffest challenge ever, but this was more so. Only beaten by the 5,000 feet climb that Ann and I did on the tandem in Costa Rica three years ago.
Looking back I shudder to think how we ever managed it, and in the extreme heat. I must hark back to the shopping bike that I rode. Derek called it that because it has a carrier and panniers and he uses it for shopping. In actual fact it is an extremely good bike and really belongs to Laurita. Imagine her face when I called it Derek's shopping bike.
It was a great cycling holiday and having a whole month out there worked out well. We rode a shade under 1,000 miles in the month and our Tandem Two'sday behaved perfectly. Just one puncture and a little noise at times from the Sach 3 x 7 geared hub.
A liberal dose of oil seemed to do the trick and at one time I had to tighten the lock nut on the seven speed cassette.
The tandem had three different secure areas of storage. In the first hotel it was locked in the unused ladies loo underneath the swimming pool. The second hotel let me keep it in the locker room alongside wheel chairs and luggage trolleys. At the Hobby Club it was kept in our apartment which fortunately was on the ground floor. A holiday we will most certainly like to repeat.