Three members of Walkers Cycling Club have just returned from a trip to Majorca where they participated in one of the world’s most popular sportives, writes Alan Woodison.
The annual Mallorca 312 circumnavigates the holiday island anti-clockwise, starting in Alcudia, and visits coastal resorts along the way on a trip extending to 312 km or almost 200 miles.
A shorter 167km version (just over 100 miles) starts from the same point on the north east coast and heads further north to Puerto Pollensa and then on a circular route via Valldemossa, taking in the Spanish territory’s highest road climb.
Cyclists who complete the longer route in under14 hours or the shorter route in under nine hours receive certificates to celebrate their achievement.
The temperature was low when Lorna Sloan, Frazer Bell and Jim Goldie set out early in the morning on the 167km ride. The trio were soon joined in the darkness by fellow Scottish riders from Pedal Power CC, West Calder, and over 3000 others from all over the world.
As the sun appeared the starter gun sounded and the enthusiastic riders started their epic journey along the coast and then inland to the first climb, the Col De Femania (7.7km at an average of 5.5 per cent). The group then had the joy of a short descent before climbing Puig Major which was followed by the longest descent of the day at 14.9km, snaking down into the town of Soller. The group covered the distance in around 20 minutes, providing them with a real feel for the descents tackled by the professionals on continental tours.
There was no respite from the tough ascents as the route progressed out of Soller and over the top of Deia and then to the split, where the Walkers trio headed towards their first feed station in Valldemossa.
Once the bottles were replenished the group started the final 80km with a downhill and flat section, before taking to the back country roads that snaked all the way home to Alcudia.
Lorna Sloan was first across the line in just under seven hours with Frazer Bell only seconds behind and Jim Goldie finishing a few minutes over the seven hour mark on official times which did not take account of delays at the start and lunch stops.
The Mallorca 312/167 marked the half way point in the group’s adventure on the island. Also on the schedule were many more routes and climbs, including the spectacular Sa Colabra mountain road, reckoned to be the favourite of many travelling cyclists with its 10km rising at an average of 7.1%.
It is used by many of the big tour teams for their pre-season training camps on Majorca.