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Friday, January 1, 2016

Mules go Mad in Mallorca

Way back in November 2014 The Mules sent an expeditionary force to the Island of Mallorca to determine whether its monument climbs could be accessed and conquered.
Other requirements were also sought with one proviso.
That only adjectives beginning with the letter G could be used.

Good accommodation, great bikes, good food, great beer, and of course gigantic climbs.

In the interests of all, hangovers and gastric poundage were obtained along with a bike supplier and stable for the Mules.

After much preparation the clubs first full blown tour took place this September. 

Assembling at Leeds Bradford Airport we could easily have been mistaken for a syndicate who had just won the lottery. Smiles were fixed and kind of strange, with joviality in abundance.

For the trained eye there were subtle hints that we were in fact two wheeled athletes.
The odd club cap, Rapha T shirts, and the domed outline of cycle helmets straining inside bags restricted by airline allowances.

Having a Dr with us is always good, having a Spanish one that speaks more languages than a united nations translator is a bonus.
That is until the Italian Flight attendant asks if there is a Dr on board the plane.
Super Mario (Manuel) was able to provide sufficient assurance to a poorly passenger and flight staff that we didn't have to go to Paris.
We had no bikes waiting for us there !!!!

The Hotel anticipating our arrival  sorted our rooms out in double quick time to ensure that we could relax with a few Cerveza by the pool.
During the libations there were a number of tentative auditions in an attempt to mimic Daniel Craig emerging from the water. Nobody came close.
The following morning the Mules emerged starry eyed with the anticipation of both pleasure and pain.

We were collected  by a mini bus which towed our bikes in a trailer and were driven to Inca where we started our first ride. 
It was simple, ride to Sa Collabra and then back to Palma before drinking beer and wearing are pre purchased Rapha Sa Collabra T Shirts.

Hey Shrimpers Sa Collabra is just round the next bend

After climbing for what seemed half a light year we eventually crested and came across a Cafe with lots of cyclists milling around. 'Thank F**k for that I thought' I heard that Sa Collabra was tough but it was in fact a killer. 
After taking my first sip of coffee I practically spat it all over the table on hearing that 'We had only just reached the Mountains'

 Sa Collabra was miles away. Andy Worrall at least found it amusing

The adrenalin that comes with fear soon kicked in and as we passed through the tree line the task at hand suddenly came into perspective, quickly followed by my repeated turrets.

It was magnificent and terrifying in one snapshot.

Being too engrossed in the mattress densities and the alcohol content of the beer, I had spent little time researching the Terrain during the preparations. It was not until I was surrounded by the set of Lord of the Rings (Mount Doom) that I realised that with Sa Collabra you have to go down, then climb up.
Its the toughest 'cul de sac' in the World.
I like going downhill fast......... especially with the added risk of almost certain death if you miscalculate your descent. It gives you a heightened sense of focus, or madness.

 Of course what goes down must also come up. about 12 mins down and an 70 mins  back up.
For some (Malcolm) it was pretty routine.

For me it was a hallelujah moment.
Right up there, a bucket list top ten at least.
The daily ride was only 62 miles but my suffer score was reaching 300.
Epic they labelled it - They were right.

Prior to the ride I did not really like the Rapha 'Sa Collabra' T shirt.
Visually it reminded me of a biology class at school and learning about the Spirogyra.

One of the characteristics of the Spirogyra is that it produces great amounts of oxygen and
after I had stopped panting and brought my heart rate down to a sensible level I eventually saw the irony.
Sa Collabra did look like a Spirogyra but instead of producing oxygen it demanded it like a disgruntled highwayman.

 The evenings celebrations continued well past a sensible time but this was a trip about riding hard and playing hard. The humble Mule only knows it tough.

The next two days saw further adventures and frolics and of course numerous visits to various watering holes.
For the seasoned cyclist going to Mallorca, Gran Canaria or Teneriffe has become and integral part of Spring training. I see all the benefits but for me its better as an end of season blow out.

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