Buzzing about Mallorca
This blog post has taken longer than planned. Mainly due to being busy, but I also wanted to get it right and record this holiday in the best way possible. The post is long, but I hope the way it is broken down will help with skim reading and focusing on what may be of interest.
I wouldn’t have been so reluctant to fly out of London had the weather not been so gorgeous, and the weather had been a little more gorgeous in Pollença, Mallorca. Nevertheless, I was excited, yes, EXCITED (for all of you who say it was not a holiday!), to go swim, cycle and run for a week in the sun. Luckily the weather did improve in Mallorca, phew!
Driving over Westminster bridge at 6am was a treat. London really is a beautiful city. It was a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Victoria station and Gatwick Airport. It appears most people go on holiday starting on a bank holiday Sunday. Britain does indeed know how to holiday and it was sweet to see so many excited small children (as long as they were silent on the plane), but not so sweet to see the rowdy hens and stags. The champagne being cracked open at 9am made me feel a little nauseous!
Whilst waiting for my bag to arrive, Kim, friend and fellow ski instructor, called asking about the car insurance for the hire car.
“Oh yeah, I speak some Spanish, Kim, I can come and help?”
“Whaaat? You tell me now!”
“Yeaaah, it’s only just sunk in that Mallorca is a Spanish speaking country and I did study the language for four years at university. I was wondering why it sounded so familiar on the plane…”
The return journey caused me greater stress as I had booked a 0610 flight. I needed a taxi for 0330 and was trying to shop around to get a decent price or even share. In the end I decided I had paid very little for the flight so paying more for the transfer balanced out the costs – it is all about balance!
We stayed in Hotel Sport Villaconcha. Nearly every guest was wearing lycra, a pair of trainers or clearly off for a swim. Days when the sun decided come out during our downtime, we hit the sun loungers (there was never a need to fight for a lounger, guests were too busy being active!) and from a horizontal position we observed that nearly every balcony had a wet-suit out drying.
The ‘recreational’ pool, as opposed to the ‘training’ pool, was freezing. Refreshingly so after a run and great to cool down legs, but I can’t say I spent much time wallowing in it. I’m sure it warms up as summer gets going.
The training pool was a 25m outdoor pool and provided me with my crazy tan lines. The pools were not chlorinated but slightly salty, which I think is nicer!
The bike room was insane. If everyone respected the ‘rear wheel/front wheel’ up organisation then they all fit in rather snuggly. I daren’t imagine the general cost of the contents of that room.
Drinking water was provided, a free washing machine and dryer with liquid to buy for 50 cents at reception, pumps, hose, tools and racks. And, a bike shop with all the goodies.
Our room was like a little apartment with cooking facilities, bathroom, balcony, two singles and a sofa bed in which I slept. It was just like the singles with a pull out option for a double, but I definitely did not have the short straw as it was just like a bed.
Breakfast and dinner at the hotel were presented in the form of a buffet (the best way!) and it was training in itself to see how many plates you could consume and how to negotiate the salads, the hot food, the cold platters, the fruit and dessert and at breakfast, the cereals, the fruit, the pastries and the cooked breakfast. Thank goodness we were burning 3000+ kcals a day.
All the food was healthy but yummy with plenty of choice. For the 70.3 Ironman that took place on the Saturday, they even made suggestions as to what to eat.
A fantastic hotel with great facilities for a training holiday.
On the Sunday evening we met the team for the week. Morzine had moved to Mallorca. Almost! It was great to see many familiar faces, and a few new ones in the mix too. We had a good balance of boys and girls and ages. Some had come with their families, so there were some kiddies around too.
It’s worth noting that the hotel really accommodates families, with children entertainers (aside from Joe and Amelia!) and that with some organisation it is possible to go on a training holiday with family. The same goes for couples where there may be a split in abilities. Joe and Amelia always provide options, make nothing compulsory and ensure that everyone has a great time. If you reach the top of a col quicker than the group, you’re encouraged to loop back and find the rest of the team, or your other half, and motivate them to the top.
The team vibe with Buzz is infectious, so supportive and with very healthy competition. Kim, and I hope she won’t mind me saying this, but has said how much she has loved meeting everyone and how inspiring, supportive and encouraging Buzz/Tri Montagne are.
Yes, I did come up with the name. Rachel and Kim were my, very entertaining, room-mates. We spent the week primarily giggling. Kim and I even had matching jumpers (unintentionally I hasten to add!), and sunglasses. I’m sure Rachel felt left out.
We swam twice in the training pool and twice in the sea.
From having barely swum since the autumn, I did about 10km over the week! The first session in the pool we were nearing 3k in the hour. Drills and sets and reps kept it interesting and worked us at different speeds with easy paces to focus on technique.
In the sea we practised some sprint type starts, sighting and swimming some distance changing the tempo. The first swim was pre-breakfast. It’s lovely being up as the world wakes up! The second was an afternoon swim at the end of the week in the afternoon when the water was much choppier; tiring, but good practice!
It’s kicked started my swimming again and I’m looking forward to Lac Montriond warming up and that lovely 50m pool opening in Morzine.
Some cars let groups of cyclists on to roundabouts! Unheard of in France and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were cyclists everywhere! Bike racks outside all restaurants and cafés, cake and coffee deals to fuel hungry cyclists and many bike lanes to make it safer. Morzine is a frenzy of road cyclists during the summer, but not quite like Mallorca.
On some of the popular roads it was a battle, a little like that between skiers and snowboarders, as to who really had priority. At the end of the day, just be SAFE. Negotiating tourist buses was my least favourite, but if I’m honest, it was probably cyclists trying to be clever and ‘nip by’ that caused some of the anger. There are some total nut bags out there!
The views and scenery were stunning and it was glorious to by the sea.
Kim and I hired bikes from Pro Cycle Hire. Joe kindly fitted the bikes. Mine had electric gears, ooo la la! And now that I’ve ridden my bike again, it was indeed a little lighter! I felt wobbly in the beginning and worried I wouldn’t enjoy it, but turns out I became quite attached to that lovely bike as I’m going to have to get used to my bike again.
I’ve broken down our bike rides below by day with a screenshot off Strava showing a map and the elevation profile. I was a little useless with Strava and kept forgetting to re-start my watch when we set off after a pause and therefore lost time and places on the Buzz Cycling and Triathlon leader-board, shocker!
Monday – Far Formentor, with an extra 20k to Cala Sant Vincenc for a coffee
Distance: 61km – Elevation: 964m – Moving Time: 2hr50
It was a chilly start but we soon warmed up as we climbed towards the lighthouse. It was a fairly undulating ride, with a few steadier climbs. A glorious day, the weather was amazing. Setting off promptly meant we missed some of the crowds and had a very enjoyable first ride. I opted for the extra 20k and we went and stopped in Cala Sant Vicenc.
Over the first two days I was drinking far too much as I needed to go to the loo frequently, which was a bit annoying. I soon sorted myself out and was fine for the rest of the week. It is possible to drink too much! Big breakfasts meant I personally only needed a sugary drink with me and a couple of those NAKD bars, but essential that I snacked when I got in and had a big meal at dinner. #thehangerisreal
Post bike ride today we had a training session in the pool.
Tuesday – A loop to Petra and back, long and flat.
Distance: 109km – Elevation: 548m – Moving Time: 4h15
Today was a long day in the saddle. It was a change to ride on the flat compared to home, but I actually find this the hardest. Keeping a constant pace is tiring for so long and something at which I need to get stronger. Staying in a fixed position also grates on my weak shoulders and towards the last 20k I really was struggling. We all made it though!
The team was split into two groups; Amelia had the boys and Joe had the girls.
There was a lot of giggling over hand signals on the bike. Rachel over exaggerated any signals in front of her and basically did the YMCA around the roundabouts. She decided that simply announcing ‘lots of hand signals on the left’ was good enough when she got tired. All very entertaining!
We had great team work, taking turns to be at the front and keep the group together – a lovely atmosphere!
Post bike today was a 30 minutes strength and conditioning session followed by a run.
Wednesday – A loop to Selva and back.
Distance: 61km – Elevation: 881m – Moving Time: 2h26
After a hard day yesterday, I think the group was a little tentative about climbing and going too hard. We paced ourselves very steadily to the start of the climb. However as we started to climb it was nowhere near as steep as I thought it was going to be nor as long. I was feeling strong so pedaled a little harder to the top. It was nice to push it knowing that we just had a descent to get us home.
A few set off earlier so that we would all reach the top at the same time. Joe and Amelia’s timing was immaculate (would we expect anything less?!) and I personally reached the top a few minutes after the early party. Another display of some pretty good team work and a sense of keeping the group together.
As we had risen early for a pre-breakfast swim we had the afternoon to do as we pleased.
Thursday – No bike ride today, we swam and ran. It was incredible how quickly we all became rather sleepy once we had a little time off. It made me realise the benefits of rest, yet the need to keep active, but not necessarily go hard all the time – finding that fine balance.
Friday – Sa Calobra
Distance: just under 100k – Elevation: 1900m – Moving Time: 4h20 (ish!)
Today was the big day out and we all, without planning, turned up (except Kim and Rachel…!) looking very smart in our Buzz kit.
Rachel and Amelia set off in the van and managed to get some good shots and video, and some rather embarrassing ones. I had no idea Rachel was filming, I thought she was just taking photographs. Anyway, for anyone concerned, I had a little re-arrange at the top and all was comfy again! I’m including this clip just for the giggles…
I tackled this ride steadily, just working moderately throughout wanting to make sure I completed the whole ride (after all this was only my 5th ride of the season!).
The descent in to Sa Calobra was stunning and nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be. It was absolutely stunning!
Kim is a nutter. Cycling uphill is not her favourite thing. She swung from declaring “I’m having a f**king heart-attack” to flying past on the downhill, like a bullet, screaming ‘this is phenomenaaaaal’. Total nut-bag, but very funny! She stayed on for a second week and was smashing her climbs.
After the most glorious descent, (yes, I did just put the words glorious and descent in the same sentence) in to Sa Calobra (sac-of-lobsters) poor Rachel had her bubble burst as she realised that the only way home was back up what she had so naively descended. Her little face dropped as she simply cursed under her breath.
Apparently she asked some cyclists who she didn’t know whether there was a chairlift. Jon tried to offer some encouragement along the lines of “you’re doing really well Rach! I’d love to tell you how far we have to go but I’ve got no ***** clue because I’ve not done it before either, but you’re doing really well, keep going!” Yet more giggles…
She smashed it in an hour.
The climb was steady and I had enough beans to get to the top comfortably in 52 minutes. Not so bad. I was definitely tired heading home, the head wind was not helpful, but the thought of ice cream kept me going!
Saturday – A loop to end up in Alcúdia for the Ironman 70.3
Including the 10km home from Alcúdia,
Distance: 70km – Elevation: 365m – Moving Time: 2h50
Today Tri Montagne’s Helen was competing in the Ironman 70.3 Her first race since her crash at Passy last summer and the event she had been training for all winter.
We did a 60k bike ride to end up in Alcúdia and cheer her on whilst she ran. It was a great event to watch.
Helen has inspired and shown me how to make such a strong and classy comeback after what was no doubt a tough challenge both mentally and physically after the accident. To see her smile her beautiful smile around the course was brilliant – well done, Helen, you are amazing!
Sadly you didn’t inspire Rachel enough…’I mean it is totally inspiring and amazing but, I wouldn’t do it.’ Lolz.
I completed three runs this week.
Run no. 1, Tuesday
5 minutes easy, 5 minutes moderate, 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy for 10 minutes, and then 5 minutes moderate and 5 minutes easy.
I really thought I was going to struggle after cycling, but starting slow and steady warmed me up into the run, physically and mentally, and I found I got stronger as we went.
Run no.2, Thursday
1km loops during which we were to run the first third easy, second third at a moderate pace, and last third hard for 30 minutes.
After a swim in the morning, we went towards this little park near the beach in the afternoon. Run no.1 went well in terms of warming up into it psychologically and physically, so I applied the same attitude and it paid off, although I did get progressively slower I tried to still run with strong technique.
Run no.3, Sunday
1hr of running for 9 minutes and walking for 1 minute, pre-breakfast.
This was a ‘bonus’ on Sunday morning. I wanted to get some distance in as I had signed up to the Rumilly Olympic Triathlon for this weekend (20th May). That night there had been an almighty thunder storm but cleared to moody skies in time for the run. We managed to just dodge the rain as it came back in for an hour or so towards the end. The wind though heading out towards Alcúdia was horrific! So strong!
There was time each day to chill out and have a lie down in the sun or in the room. We made time to go into the port and have a look around the shops, and one evening we all had a massage.
The hotel had a table tennis table and with bundles of energy on the first evening Kim and I had a play. Let’s say our skiing is A LOT better, however, Kim still thought it would be a great idea to try with our left hand, because of course our right-handers were perfect. Needless to say it went a bit wrong and Kim smacked a ball on to someones’ balcony. I watched with glee as she had to explain to the receptionist and get a new ball.
A sweaty, post-dinner, game of around the world one evening helped boost my Strava time too!
We managed to squeeze in some rotisserie style sunbathing, rotating after 20 minutes, between training sessions – very important to get that base tan going.
The cake, ice-creams and cheeky glasses of cava gave the week that extra holiday vibe.
Some family friends who have just finished renovating a house they bought a couple of years ago near the port, kindly had me to stay for a few nights after my week with Buzz.
Their house is incredible and they’ve done it up beautifully.
It is available to rent in July and August should you be interested! We did a little sight seeing at the market in Pollença and a trip to Palma. The highlight being a trip to Ikea 😉A wonderful few days and a little down time in the sun (when the wind calmed down…brr!).
A brilliant ten days away and I can not wait until next year!