After last Sundays ride with the Brixworth Velo I got home, showered, packed my bags and jumped on a plane to Mallorca. Yep it was “holiday” time 🙂 Well, when I say holiday, I mean training week in the sunshiiiiiiiiiine.
Tania and I were heading there with Nath and Jade – who I like to think of as my own personal coaches for the week 🙂 The bike bag had been borrowed so I could take bluebird with me.
I had never flown with my bike before, so I had plenty of concerns as to whether the bike would arrive in one piece. After using lots of bubble wrap and pipe insulation I am glad to say it arrived safely and my concerns had been put to bed – thanks bag handlers. Although writing this I am yet to check the condition after the return leg…..
Back to the holiday…. Nath, being the seasoned professional he is, has his weekly plan all set out. I however, had given it no thought and was going to wing it. What he was doing I would try to do, just at a more mundane pace.
We were staying in Alcudia, which coincidentally had the Ironman 70.3 Mallorca taking place on the Saturday before we left….. It was not planned honestly T 🙂
This meant that no matter what element I was doing there were always others getting their last-minute prep in.
We landed late Sunday night/Monday morning and once arriving at the BelleVue Lagamonte Hotel I set about building the bike up ready for the next days adventures. Bed time arrived about 3.00am!!!
Late(ish) start for breakfast before spending the morning chilling. Then about 4ish Nath and I headed out on the bike for a couple of hours spin in the evening sun.
We headed up to Cap De Formentor. What a stunning route this is. I have ridden this route a few times before with Tania and I never bore of it. A nice flat coastal road takes us to the base of the first climb. A 2 mile ascent with a 6% gradient wakes you up before the quick descent and back onto another ascent which is not as steep, and is punctuated with some small descents. The final stretch to the lighthouse gives you a nice descent before climbing one last time up to the lighthouse and stunning viewpoint. After a brief nature stop we jumped back onto the carbon and hit the return road from whence we came.
A few PR’s for me today as I was chasing the wheel of the mentor.
A great way to kick off the holiday.
An earlier start this time with us heading west in the morning mist before breaking through the fog to hit the summit of Santa Magdalena – which is a stunning little climb between Sa Pobla and Inca. Apparently this is a favourite of Team Sky’s when they do their training camps here. The idea for this ride was to try to find similar conditions to what we will experience in Roth. We headed back down the climb and back to the coast before heading north to the hotel. A pleasant ride indeed.
We enjoyed the buffet lunch before heading to the beach so I could slip on the wet suit for the first time and enjoy my first proper open water swimming session with the coaches.
I won’t lie it took me a long time to settle into this swim. I was so tense and nervous from the start which meant everything became rushed and oh so much harder. It also didn’t help that the water was bloody freezing. Immediately I needed to come back out the water and take my inhaler as the temperature literally took my breath away.
Nath and Jade were there to calm me down from the start, talk me through the basics once again and to swim next to me to give me moral support; just don’t pretend there is a fish near Jade otherwise she’ll leave you sharpish 🙂 .
The support and advice they gave me was invaluable and I soon started to swim with more confidence and relaxed into it nicely. The wet suit did the magic I was hoping it would and it helped keep my legs buoyant in the water. Long term swimming ambitions means I can’t just rely on that, but with the weeks counting down it will do for now, and has given me that bit more hope that I will complete the swim, and not miss that all important cut off.
I even tried some drafting but soon realised that although they were not trying hard they were soon pulling away from me, and I almost had to work harder to stay on the feet.
Oh and finally Jade braved all this without a wet suit. I could swear she had turned blue by the time she got out the shark invested waters 😉
Today was run day for me. I didn’t do this with Nath as he is so much quicker than me, so I headed out early doors to get a 10k run in before breakfast.
This was my first proper run since the Marathon and my foot held up well. I did manage to get a niggle in my right knee though. After inspecting the bike when I got back I soon realised that I had set the saddle height about 3mm lower when I rebuilt it. 75 Miles on a lower saddle height had played buggery with my knee. Lesson learnt there! Little changes make big differences and millimetres do count 😉
The run was an easy 15 minutes warm up with some interval sessions thrown in the middle before a 15 minute cool down. Running along the beach is a little bit different to the normal paved lanes I run on. And it made for some interesting running. Though sand in the socks is not great for someone who hates sand on them……. urghhhhhhh.
Late afternoon we headed back down to the ocean to do another open water swim. Straight from the off I felt more comfortable. I was more relaxed and less tense and that helped no end.
I was taught how to try to spot, which is an art in itself. This is where you have to look forward when taking your breath so you can make sure you are heading in the right direction – no line at the bottom of the pool to following here! Plenty of water was swallowed attempting this – nothing quite like salty water to give you a bloated stomach! I soon realised I need to spot quite regularly as my lazy left arm means I struggle to stay in a straight line when there is a current.
1338 Metres – if I had swam in a straight line probably would have been 1000 metres 🙂
Today was a flat TT training session day. Using one of the main mans training plans Nath and I headed out after filling up on some random breakfast buffet foods to hit the flat fast road from Alcudia to Port Pollenca. A gentle warm up was then followed by 5 sessions of 5 minutes and 250w – 3 minutes at threshold and 4 minutes recovery. Thanks to the jippy knee I cut it short at 4 sessions while Nath powered on.
We then took a gentle recovery ride back to Alcudia and then headed out in the afternoon sun to have a look around the Ironman 70.3 Mallorca Expo. A hoody was purchased by me, as I had not packed for the chilly evenings. I may not be an ironman yet but I have a top at least…..
This was Ironman course recce day. The yellow signs were out and the course loaded onto the Garmin. We headed off up to Port Pollenca before powering along to climb Coll De Femenia. This is a long climb at nearly 5 miles long with average gradient about 7%. A good way to wake me up and also a good way to play havoc with the knee.
The initial plan was to do 2 laps of the course to get the ton up today. However, my knee was not playing ball, so after the descent I left Nath to power on while I kept to the flat and push on to take the mileage over the 50 mark for the day. Still a decent distance done, and with that climb it was a good training ride. Just wish it could have been more.
For the climb I managed to stay in the top 10 for the day, with Nath managing to be in the top 3 for the day – all going by Strava of course. And if it is not on Strava it didn’t happen – right!!
Rest of the day was spent with my legs in the air soaking in the rays.
Ironman 70.3 Mallorca day for the competitors.
T and I got up early to get to the transition area to watch the swim to bike transition. So much bike porn it is unreal. Decided I need a TT bike now. N+1 🙂 After spending an hour cheering on the competitors we headed back to breakfast before getting back to transition in time to see the first competitors back from the bike to the run. Another 30 minutes spent cheering on the cyclist and runners before we headed to the finish line on the beach to watch the winner come home in 4:09:53 – leading from the swim all the way through. Not a bad effort there sir. I doff my cap.
Inspired I donned the wet suit and headed back into the sea for another openwater swim. The water was a little rougher than before, so a little more water was consumed during the making of this swim. However, another swim under the belt and another session that was better than the last.
I still need to use the toys back in the pool, but now I know that the wet suit will give me the same feeling, so I just need to concentrate on getting the body used to the distance and the time needed in the water.
The afternoon was then spent in our new favourite low-priced coffee/sangria shop watching the finishers pass by with their bikes. This gave Nath and Jade plenty of opportunity to rate the bikes. Apparently a Cervelo is an instant 9 score, and a red and white Cervelo P5X is an instant 15 out of 10.
We did see a Reap bike in blue and orange colour way. OMG! That machine won the bike porn awards for the week.
It was also at this point that I got presented with my swimmer of the week certificate from my coaches. Awarded to me for braving the openwater 🙂 will be framed and placed on the wall very soon guys. Thanks – I was touched.
In the evening we headed to Port Pollenca where Nath and I enjoyed (enjoyed is the wrong word as it was pain beyond pain) a deep tissue sports massage from Ottilie Quince from OQ Service Course. Money well spent as she has got a few knots out of my muscles and got my legs feeling alive again. Still the best massage I have had. Thanks OQ.
She also offers guided rides and Cervelo bike hire, so if you are in the area pay her a visit. OQ Service Course.
End of holiday day 😦
I was planning one last bike ride this morning, but the thunderstorm and rain meant I stayed in bed.
After packing the bike away and packing the bags T and I went for a run around the large beautiful lake near the hotel before hitting the blue path near the beach and running back to the port at Alcudia. A nice gentle run to test the knee and to practice the running technique.
I filmed myself running earlier in the week and noticed I was heel striking quite badly. Could be why I have had a few injuries recently. So I need to work on mid foot striking. Feels weird but I will get there.
After which we met up with the coaches at the hotel for some afternoon UNO before dinner and pick up. A late flight meant we had the whole of the day to enjoy, but the weather didn’t play ball today.
LOVE IT. Every time I go to Mallorca I come away with more fondness for the place. The people, the scenery, the tarmac, the weather, the cycling. The holiday was much-needed and I made the most of the weather on hand to get in some decent training. Yes I could have done more, but then again I could have done less 🙂
It was also noted that as the week went on all our plates started to look more and more beige in colour and piled higher when returning from the buffet. We started off so well at the beginning of the week and then the all-inclusive element took hold by the end of the week!!! Gluttonous 🙂
T was her ever understanding self and let me do what I needed to do. It did mean we didn’t get to explore as much as we normally like to, but she says she had a great holiday anyway. She got some training in as well ready for her rough runner this weekend. Good luck the wife.
I am already planning on returning next year for the Ironman 70.3, but this time to compete in it…….
Thanks for a great holiday T, N and J – great company, great friends. Next stop is Roth………..
Sorry for the lateness on the post. Late flight meant to tired to think let alone type 🙂