A long weekend in Majorca, including the extraordinary Majorca 312
We have recently returned from Majorca where we had 5 fabulous days of cycling including the Majorca 312 (225 or 167) sportive.
As you might expect, Majorca was awash with bike riders for Britain, Germany and elsewhere. Many were on the island for the sportive mixed in with those on club trips and training escapes.
This was our first foray to the Majorca 312 and we were a little unsure what to expect. We were diligent in our preparation and open minded about what we might experience.
The 312 starts very early in the morning and we left the hotel at 5.15am to head down to the start and join the throng of cyclists in the start pen filled with nervous excitement and some uncertainty about when and where we could answer a call of nature. Once Vincenzo Nibali and others had started the masses were released. This turned out to be 15 minutes late which caused those looking to make the 312 cut off points more stress.
The initial km's tick by in a sea of colour as the sun rises and pelotons form. After 20km or so the route hits the Femenia and from there on it is up. up and up to the top of the Puig Major. As you might expect with 8000 plus riders, it is quite chaotic, but after a while people find their own pace. The climbing was quite enjoyable on closed roads and it was easy to take it at your own pace and gently weave up the climb.
The next phase of the route up to cut off 1 is beautiful. A 14km descent into Soller followed by climbs to Deia and beyond up the Coll den Claret. The climbs are beautiful, but quite tough as you start to feel the cumulative effect of the up tilting terrain. However, it is the descents that appear to cause many riders more difficulty and it quickly became apparent that many cyclists have great engines, but are less certain on technical descents and high speed corners.
The first split occurs just before Esporles. As the 167km riders turn left and the 225 and 312 riders turn right. We think it is a major strength of this route that you do not have to decide on the distance until the day/moment and if you are not feeling diamonds in your legs you can opt for a shorter route.
That said, the 167km is a brilliant route and one this author thoroughly enjoyed. The last 60km were great fine as you make new cycling buddies and whizz along in small pelotons taking turns to sit in the wind. The route back is a lovely combination of lumpy and technical terrain which make for a great bike ride. I would need some convincing to take on another route I enjoyed it so much.
Finally, the organisation.......8000+ riders is an enormous number and we felt that the registration process was superb. On the road there were lots of vehicles supporting those who required medical attention and support from many local communities. The event did start late, but the warm temperatures at the start line meant this was not a massive issue and closing roads for such a long distance is an incredible feat. One learning for future trips concerns the feed stations - they are chaotic and incredibly busy!! We recommend grabbing water where you can and remaining patient at feed stations as you will not get through them quickly!!
The feel good vibes around the event make all the suffering worth while and we have absolutely no hesitation in proclaiming WE WILL BE BACK and absolutely loved our time in Majorca.
A big thank you to our wonderful guests, the staff at the Cabot Pollensa park hotel and the organisers at the mILESTONE series for making our experience such a good one.
We plan to purchase 20 entries for next year and have opened up bookings to help clients secure preferable rates for flights and accommodation.
visit www.sportabikeplus.com/majorca312 for more information.