Malliot Blanc Column by Toby Miles - Training in Mallorca
PUBLISHED: 23:40 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 23:40 10 April 2018
Read Toby Miles' Malliot Blanc Column as the 18-year-old aspiring professional cyclist has just returned from a week of hard training in Mallorca.
Seven days after returning from Israel, my bike and I were off to the airport again, this time for an eight day training camp in Mallorca.
The base for the week was a small apartment in Port of Pollenca, a serene bayside town at the northern tip of the island, surrounded by mountains.
I was there for a fitness boost, taking advantage of the fantastic weather, smooth roads and mountain climbs with three racing friends.
Due to the many turns, potholes and traffic filled roads, it’s hard to get into a rhythm on the roads of North Herts, and thus you have to stop pedalling and rest often. On the island, it’s the opposite and the training is better quality.
The convenience of the roads mean they’re much faster, however, that didn’t mean it was easier, we just went quicker - averaging 20 mph for 110 miles on our last big ride. We’d have averaged 17-18 in the UK.
After a post-travel short ride on day one, and a three-hour ‘ease in’ ride the next day, we headed into the mountains on day three and four.
Apart from the one I took on in the Israeli desert two weeks ago, the tree covered mountains of Mallorca were my first ever. I learnt how vital it is to be in your own rhythm, and paid for going too hard too early on early climbs. Pacing is everything.
The descents back down were a joy. Far more technical than Israel’s, they required constant focus, as the road was narrow and populated by slower riders and motorbikes.
Looking up further ahead is vital, and reading the sharpness of the bend on upcoming corners tells you how fast you can afford to go.
On each day, we upheld the traditional cafe stop towards the end of the ride for lunch. Every cafe is cyclist friendly in Mallorca, often with racks outside to hang the bikes on and famous riders’ memorabilia inside.
Most of the active famous cyclists are racing in April, so we didn’t see any on the island. Though, in January, Team Sky take over two floors of a nearby hotel, and the likes of Zdenek Stybar, who lives on the island, can be found out training.
As we went deeper into the rides, accelerations out of corners became more laboured, conversation ceased and legs burned. It was what we wanted though, the pain told me I was doing it right and race results were being bettered as I pedalled.
On our way back into Pollenca each day, we had a ‘tare up,’ racing each other to the town sign, simulating a finishing effort.
We ended the camp having done two rides of more than 100-miles, bringing the overall total to 444 miles and 24 hours riding within seven days. On the final day, I did some race pace efforts, and had to fight my tired legs to turn the pedals. I had gotten all I could from the week.
I returned home tired but leaner and certainly fitter. On Sunday, I will start my racing season proper. I’ll still be adapting after the camp but I’m excited to get back in the bunch, and even more excited to see what I can do in the following races with this training behind me.
RIP Michael Goolaerts, the 23-year-old cyclist who died during Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. Just a young rider realising his dream. A sobering event, my thoughts are with his family and teammates.