Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Marauding Mules

























Mallorca is the largest Island in the Balletic Archipelago.
It is a real diamond amongst the scattered jewelled outcrops that rise up through the surface of the Mediterranean.


This strategic outpost appears to have been an obsession for all those who seek to conquer.
The interested parties provide an assortment of classical and mythological warriors as well as a few misguided souls................ but more about them later.

The Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans were the first to arrive, in the shadow of the imposing Tramuntana mountain range to the north west.
Their respective hints of civilization were soon halted by the next batch of more boisterous inhabitants.
Gunderic and the Vandals, the Byzantines and the Barbary Pirates soon arrived taking in more than just the sea and Sangria.
Finally the Spanish, Catalans and Italians all sought to ‘have a go’ before the island became a Spanish province in 1716.
300 years on and little has changed, the Island is still invaded throughout the year.
However the only things that are taken are the vistas, and the only blood that is spilt is by accident.


The new invaders are Lycra clad warriors, with bucket list entries ready to be struck through.
Descending through the heavens from all corners of the globe the appetite for conquest has never been greater.

The Phoenicians replaced by Orica GreenEDGE, The Romans by Lampre- Merida, whilst Gunderic and his band of vandals are now replaced by Philip and the Mules.


The natives are not hostile, but a friendly bunch who provide a warm welcome, wine and victuals fit for a king.

With winter setting in and the imminent threat of having to cover ones knees, Mauel our Spanish Dr suggested that vigorous exercise, specialised hydration and an exotic diet should be prescribed he exhorted


Rather than write out a prescription he highlighted the great value of a Ryan Air £37 ticket to Mallorca and homely accommodation at his sisters in law.

Knowing his medicine as he does Manuel also decided that we should be introduced to an unfamiliar drug.

A SuperSix EVO with Shimano ultra Di2 voted the best bike in the world in 2012
Not being one who resists what might be good for me, I duly took my medicine along with some other fellow Mules.



I think there is always an inner debate in your head.

Do you hire a bike or take your own?
Having done both there is no right answer 
It basically comes down to choice, cost and logistics.

You don't want a bike that feels like a coat that you might leave behind in a pub

Something that was great when new, but has seen better days
You don't want to eat into the money you had put aside for post ride lubrication


And finally you don't want to spend more time obtaining the bike as you did travelling to your destination

Ours were sourced from Bikehead (http://bikehead.se) who now operate from two locations in Aloro and Alcudia.

The bikes were delivered to us on arrival which is a usual practice if you are in a group.
I must admit I did not know what to expect. 
My gleaming beauty were far greater than the engine that was going to be use to power it.
Things in life are never equal.
For those who like to know about the bits and pieces 

Quick Facts about SuperSix EVO
  • Ultegra 6700 Wheelset
  • Cannondale Hollowgram SI Crank
  • Ultegra 12/27 Cassette
  • Compact chainset with 50/34
  • Fizik Antares Saddle
  • Bikes comes with one bottle (Yours to keep)
  • Bike computer (Upgrade to Garmin Edge GPS €5/day)
  • Saddlebag containing 1 innertube, 2 tyre levers and a pump.
  • Continental GP4000s tyres.
  • Weight 7.1kg

As well as these there were other models designed for every level and budget.


And so to the riding

Although most cyclists come to Mallorca for the warm weather climbing the island offers everything in the way of terrain.






If you want flat there is the coastal plain running from the South West to the North East








If you want mixed terrain North to South
And if you want some mind blowing climbs,switch backs and vistas the west coast offers it all.





Most cycle shops provide a user friendly, waterproof cycle map which corresponds to the signage out on the road.

Getting lost would be more of a challenge than some of the sturdier climbs.
These also provide gradient indicators so that you can plan where you might want to rest and where you might want to be sick.
The car drivers on the whole respect cyclists and provide plenty of room.
The ones that don't are usually in hire cars with recognisable regional accents, the sort that you might find on any railway station in the UK.

Going at the end of November was a risk weatherise, but there were many positives.
The Accommodation and flights were cheaper.
The traffic was always very light.
We could always get a place at the most popular restaurants
And finally the locals will now lookout for the Mule jerseys in the 2015 UCI Cycling Calendar 





As it turned out we had three days of great cycling, with a little rain during our very last ten minutes of cycling.
All in all we actually got more wet on the inside than we did on the out.

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