Saturday, 22 October 2016

Rescued in the middle of no where

Woke up at midday with a sore head after the night with the boys and walked immediately to my regular cafe next to the Nekar Hotel. Onheaded through the medina of walkways behind our place this time and got suitably lost. During which I smsd the crew to say that notwithstanding the sore head and the poor weather I'd be making most of the free time and riding.

So the recommended route from our bike renter was up to Banyola and then heading east towards Alaro via Orient. The boys were too hungover so went solo again but opted for doing the 5k 400m Soller Col which I had claimed in reverse the day before. I got there in the pouring rain but stopped the clock and then went for it. 17 minutes later I made it to the top a whopping 7 minutes behind the pro rider Michal Kiwiatkowski. That is a ridiculous time.

Then descended through the mist taking a left turn to Banyola but messed up as should have then headed toward the Orient but instead went the direction to Inca. 30ks later I realised my mistake and then tried to circle back but punctured literally in the middle of no where. So 10 minutes of struggle I change the tube only for the second one to blow.  Holy crap I was stuck. I really had no clue what to do and so called Mo and O but neither were picking up and then looked anxiously at my watch with the time approaching 5 and 1 more hour of day light.

Then I got really lucky and perhaps karma played a role but after 9 cars sped by (despite my efforts to waive them down the 10th car finally stopped. It was a family surely with better things to be doing on a Saturday arvo. Nick (the dad) was an absolute gent. 'Ok so the bike shops are closed' he said 'so there is no alternative other thanfor you to come home with us and I will give you a new tube from home'.  I could not believe my luck so I got in with kids and all. The family must have been thinking who thebhwll is this guy?

We drove the 10 minutes to their idyllic sandstone village (Santa Eugenia) at the foot of the mountains and with no hesitation. They duly let me (a total stranger) into their home and put my mind at ease. 10 minutes later the puncture was fixed. Nick (a fellow rider from York who has been living here for 10 years and mrried to a lovely Spanish lady) is a fellow rider later said that he'd hope that karma would play its role gain and someone would some day rescue him. We swapped email addresses and I promised I'd look him up the next time I was here. I need to send a thank you pacakage as well.

In good spirits I hammered it home averaging 35kmh all the way back to Palma trying racing the daylight - there was more drama as whilst doing 45kmh I bounced against a passing car which scared me shitless - I am still not sure how I stayed upright.

On the way home it got me thinking that there is always a silver lining in adversity. The silver lining being that I had met an amazing family which I would never had done had it not been for the puncture.

Nice chat with O back at the flat sharing war stories over a glass a red and then off for Pizza with Stevie and Mo. A massive day in the mountains tomorrow.


Friday, 21 October 2016

Solo epic 131kms (2.7km vertical kilometres)

Up early to get the bikes from Joanna - O and I both on Cervelo S3s.

A large dose of coffee before meeting Mo and then straight out of Palma heading north west.

A fantastic day in the saddle with O and Mo joining for the first 20ks stopping in a lovely cafe in Capdella (after Calvia). The boys then headed east to Gallilea with me continuing north east towards the coast on the Ma-10 direction Andratz and then north. The road undulated from bay to bay amongst the pleasant wine and orange plantations.

Stopping for lunch at the Es Grau just before Estellencs was a welcome restbite which had a terrace with panoramic views of the rugged coastline with the sun popping out every so often. Estellencs and Banyalbufar were both picturesque beach towns on cliff outcrops with all the buildings in the same coloured sandstone.

Next up was Valldemossa and the notorious hairpins down to the port. I took it easy down but halfway my stomach started churning as was beginning to wonder how the hell I was going to get back out. At the bottom there were locals enjoying a Friday afternoon glass of wine an most of looking at me with a sly grin on their faces knowing that there is only one way out.

The bike today though was a dream. I am incredibly fussy about the set up of my bike and it was humming from the off which gave me the confidence to attack the 400m climb back to the cliff top. 25 minutes it took me with cars beeping to provide moral support as they came by.  minutes  later I reached the summit and then continued east along the northern coast road but this time turning north towards Deia and then again towards Soller. Whilst talking with Joanna at the bike shop she had given various versions of difficulty and so I thought it rude had I not opted for the toughest.
She had also warned that you could not take the tunnel which takes you through the mountain but instead would need to over the Col. After 100k+ of riding at that stage and more than 2k of vertical metered I was on no mood but set a steady pace and experience got me over the pass more than anything else.

Relieved to get to the top and with another 400m climb under my belt I belted down the other side taking the crazy number of switch backs and the ride back into Palma averaging greater than 40kmh. I was elated to be back and was a solo ride to remember.

Met Stevie, O and Mo for dinner at the Tapas joint called quina crue and ate like a king. Highly recommend. Then drinks and into bed at 3am. Massive but epic.

The route: