I don’t normally do diary style blogs but as we pack so much into these days, they are like daily events & adventures in their own right.
Due to weather forecast flip flopping hourly and thunderstorm warnings we chose to do the long ride today. Well coach Neil chose and we ended up in not only the longest ride but the toughest on the island with 6500 ft elevation climb in 73 miles with temperatures topping 30c and 67+ switchbacks to negotiate with buses, rock slides, heat.
I won’t lie there was a huge amount of sweating and swearing along the way up the hairpins between us ! But we loved it when we finished, laughed it off as a bad day, dark doubt cloud was banished, crippling cramp or just a need to wee were all forgotten and saw we could consume a banquet each at dinner to replenish calories burnt off.
The route took us from VIVA Blue spa to Pollenca then up and over Col de Fermia which is part of the ironman & 70.3 course. Here you climb up through olive groves, over the mountains with a background chime of goats bells. How does the farmer chose which goats have bells ? The temperature rose to 30c with blue skies, no shade on this one today.
The down and up after the false summit into Lluc we headed through the stone arch and cafe shack with fresh orange juice, ice cold water and toilets (note to self must drink more when hot).
As we decended the switchbacks, buses, loose gravel and getting glimpse of the sea and port of Sa Colobra I started thinking it’ll take me days to get back out if here ??
Reaching the bottom our choices were clear – 1) ferry or 2) get on and ride the 10km 10% average mountain road. My choice was reduced to one – the bike, ferry not an option.
So we huffed and puffed. The mountain goats of our group went ahead and cleared it in an hour so sat having a coffee at the arch shack. Mind you they only weigh as much as my left leg. Jon, Ann, Sean and I sore, swearved, sweated and sang our way up the mountain. It didn’t take 2 days but an hour and a half of effort.
At one point I was going to sell my bikes, retire from triathlon and sack my coach ! Then sit on a sunlounger by the fun pool for rest of the week.
This soon changed to sod it, I’ll get fitter, get faster and go and smash Outlaw. What’s the next session coach ?
We left in blue skies but then a sea mist rolled in the valley and chased us up the climb. We only escaped its cloak as we descended the otherside of the ridge. Meeting up with the others we had a thirty mile undulating quicker ride back to the hotel.
The Garmin calorie consumption was from 4,000 to 6500 Many many plates of food were hoovered up washed down with beer, water and wine.
Recounting our day over a bottle or two of red wine we laughed at ourselves and with each other over our dark moments in the hurt locker. But all merry and ready to go again next morning.
What didn’t kill us made us stronger
I shouldn’t have doubted myself and my ability as I could and did in fact do it and get out of the climb before darkness and less than 2 days.
The body is stronger than the mind and anything is possible.
Yes a few cliches, but you find your strengths and weakness out there on the roads and tough rides.
Would I do it again – yes, the unknown is the most scary part for me, so another lesson from the day, reccie courses ahead of race day to be comfortable and confident on them.