I arrived at Palma De Mallorca airport and made my way to the baggage area to collect my 2 bags. One full of bike, run and swim stuff and the other full of nutrition and other bits and bobs. I always over pack and i somehow don't think its going to be different this time but its always good to have too much rather than too little. My problem is remembering important things like trainers, helmet or bike shoes but i double checked this time and we are fully loaded ready to go.
My taxi arrived at an apartment in Palmanova where Leigh Hutchings and his wife Mandy are staying. Leigh is going to be my training partner for the next few weeks, Mandy’s was there for one night but left the following day leaving myself and Leigh ready to explore this fantastic island. I was meant to be sharing a room with the both of them for the night but little did we know there wasn’t even enough room to swing a cat (not that i would ever swing a cat mind. where that saying comes from i’ll never know!) so i booked the room next door for the night.
We went for a coffee in the warm sunshine which by the looks of the weather forcast we needed to make the most of as for the next week it was looking a little sketchy. Leigh went for a bike ride and myself and Mandy went for a 4 mile run along the coast.
I rocked my ‘Hoka One’ trainers due to recent injury and found they helped a great deal, not that i can feel anything using my normal running shoes mind but its just for peace of mind as thats the last thing i want to flare up so I'm just being extra careful. The thought of not running and being out of action again isn’t something i’d like to entertain at the moment to be honest.
We went for food and then i came back to my room and started sorting a few things out before passing out ready to wake up for our first peddle of 2017.
I woke up and looked at my new Garmin watch which not only tells me my cycling, running and swimming stats but it also tells me how much deep, light and no sleep I've had which is proper freaky as i looked at my sleeping pattern and realised i don't get much proper deep sleep at all which I'm not surprised by really but its something i must address………Train hard rest hard and all that. I find it hard to switch off and have been toying with the idea of learning meditation for a while but still haven't got round to learning it and using it to my advantage. My mind is 100mph and i need to slow the bugger down mun and realise i cant do everything all at once haha.
Anyway, on the subject of 100mph i couldn't wait to get on my bike and hit the road for the day. We hit up a route which i’ve done a number of times taking in the cycle path running from santa Ponca following the coast through Palma and all the way to Son Veri which is a good 34 miles for us from Palmanova. Going out to Son Veri we were motoring at some speed and i was fully aware that we had a huge 40mph tail wind which was fun of course but like any cyclist knows, the route back will be a punishing mental head wind all the way home. There are two ways of looking at this situation and thats ‘don’t ride the headwind out’ and ‘it's great training’, the latter appealed to me at this present moment. Coming home was pretty full on and it really was windy, so much so it was whipping the sand from the beaches and slapping us in the face. It was far harder for Leigh as his wheels are deeper rimmed than mine and he was fighting his front wheel all the way so much so that it was too much at one point and all i could hear was CRASH. Leigh had hit the deck and punctured his front tyre but thankfully he was ok and we were up and running in no time. First day fresh legs soon turned into legs that felt like they’d done 2 days of riding hills but we arrived home with smiles on our faces knowing we had a good first days cycling in the bag.
We went for food but me being a vegan and Leigh a vegetarian wasn't that easy out.. but its not as bad as what you think it is, there is always something you can eat so we both enjoyed a vegetable stir fry which was nice followed by the good ole faithful……..chips. I also washed down a load of Huel which i had straight after my ride so i was content enough.
Day 3 and we woke early as we have a shuttle bus taking us to the North of the island to Alcudia. I’ve done most of the routes south west of the island and i did the south east of the island last summer so i was looking forward to going up north and getting plenty of climbing miles as we ascend up the mountains. I’ve only been to Alcudia once and that was to enter the 2013 70.3 Ironman which i enjoyed immensely and that was summer time with temperatures over 30deg. This time as we jumped into our shuttle bus to head up north there were black skies and rain forecast so it was looking a bit bleak but what can you do apart from just get on with it. Our driver said “where are you staying?” to which we replied “dont know, we're going to book something when we get there” and we got a funny look off him as he replied with “but everywhere’s closed in Alcudia”.
We thought we’d be ok but as we arrived it was like a ghost town here and there literally was NOTHING open, not even restaurants. We had worried looks on our faces until we decided to ask a taxi driver who gave us an address of a hotel in town. As we were looking for this hotel we saw team Sky’s hotel and half contemplated staying there until we realised they most probably book the whole hotel out.. not only that but we didn't want to look like fanboys staying in their hotel, and we didn't want to show them up by overtaking them every morning (Laughter)!
We arrived at our hotel which is a stone’s throw from team Sky’s place and were greeted with champagne by the receptionist………..hey???? have we just arrived in Buckingham palace??? The place was very clean and looked really nice and the first thing that came to mind was - Expensive. It was far from it and for an apartment for 5 days it was only 240 Euro between us so we decided we’d actually stay here for the whole duration of our trip and booked up straight away. Not only that, but the place had a gym, jacuzzi and sauna complete with a freezing outdoor pool which i later realised i could use as my ice bath for my legs after a days riding…….perfect. Anyone interested in coming here for winter miles the hotels called ‘Ferrer Maristany’ and i highly recommend it.
We went for a spin to the lighthouse at Cap de Formentor which was a great ride and a decent amount of climbing. On our way there team Sky came speeding down the mountain passing us as we started climbing. The wind again was pushing us down the hill as we were trying to climb, my heart rate was at 180bpm i later found out via my Garmin and it bloody felt like it too but i was loving it, body full of adrenaline and sweating my tits off, good times. There and back in less than 3 hours with 3,117ft of climbing we worked up a decent appetite and got stuck into our 12 euro buffet followed by a sauna, jacuzzi and a chill and rest ready for another day of spinning in the saddle.
As i write this on my day off training I'm looking out of the window at hail and mental winds. Since we’ve been here the weathers been very mixed and we’ve ridden in hail, sleet, rain, wind and it really is cold but it's still much better than being at home. The roads, the routes, the easy going drivers, the climbs and the scenery is all worth it. My body’s in good shape so all’s looking good so far.
My coach Mark Whittle just tagged me in a video on Facebook and i look at it and realise it's the mountain where we climbed yesterday and the roads covered in snow and closed off so that'll give you a good insight to whats up with the weather at the moment. Anyway, I'm off and i’ll update our trip next thursday.