Last October my husband and I (that’s sounds ominously like Queen Bessie talking, trust me, it isn’t) headed out to Italy and joined La Fuga’s Giro di Lombardia long weekend around Lake Como.
It was incredible fun, very challenging, full of laughs, good food and drink and hard climbs – the infamous ‘Muro di Sormano’ notwithstanding – and I spent more time than necessary in the broom wagon.
Mind you, given Mr Mortiboy’s penchant for performing three-point turns by reversing up a lane with a 25% incline in a large minibus with sizable overhang at the front… it was probably just as well he had a handy passenger available to push him off the ledge, give him driving lessons and ask for directions in fluent Italian.
I digress. My point is that we enjoyed the short trip so much it became my objective to recapture some of the cycling magic and extend the two-wheel adventure further.
Hail Majorca and a one week residential cycling academy!
Having handed over the three-child-relay-baton to the husband (conveniently just back from a nine day trip to Australia), I set off with erstwhile friend Lottie to the Spanish island.
Given that the last training camp Lottie and I had been on was a) rowing, and b) frugal, we delighted in having our own rooms with en-suite (in rowing circles, a true luxury) and the half-board set-up of Club Pollentia – not least because we soon clocked that it was very worthwhile to make yourself a couple of ‘subsistence sandwiches’ at breakfast to keep energy levels up during the day!
Our guides were amazing: Tom ‘The Machine’ Wrzecionowski, Richard ‘Catch me if you can’ Mortiboys, Joel ‘Ironman’ Jameson, and Muriel ‘MTB Queen’ Bouhet.
Together a formidable team, each individually awesome on a bike.
The academy participants were split into two groups: A and B.
Or as it became immediately apparent: ‘fast’ and ‘slow’.
I joined the latter and made new friends amongst my cycling peers Phil and Nene. We quickly found a mutual appreciation of enjoying the rides, avoiding unnecessary climbs, pointing out the sights and, most importantly, laughing a lot.
And no lifts in the broom wagon this time!
I was encouraged, coached, praised and looked after by the guides – my meagre climbs (no, I did not do Sa Calobra, but Lottie did and was formidable), my increasing mileage (longest distance ever cycled previously had been 75km, once), and even my numpty fall on the first day at the summit of Cap Formentor (from almost stationary, classic failure to uncleat foot prior to placing it on the ground). It was all an achievement and one to be celebrated together.
The Majorcan roads were perfect – thank you EU funding – and the scenery just stunning, reminiscent of parts of Tuscany, Umbria and Puglia in turn. Our outings were all memorable for different reasons: summits reached, cakes consumed, coffees drunk, miles pedalled.
A huge thank you to La Fuga and the team that made my week in Majorca so much fun. I am already looking at signing up again next year and might even let the husband come with me this time.
Although he may have to be in a different group – can’t let him laugh too much at my expense!