Distance: 167/ 312 km
Terrain: Mountainous and rolling
Best bit: Arriving at Arta knowing that I would finish
Worst bit: Busy roads of Palm
The 312km circum-navigation of Majorca isn’t for the faint- hearted.
With a time limit of 14 hours, the average speed needed to be kept above 22kph – no mean feat when you factor in 4,300m of climbing. Starting in the north-east of the island, the flat first 30km was a good warm-up before heading into the mountains.
After the climbs came the split: the 167km route turned inland, while the full 312km one continued along the quiet coastal roads would have been spectacular in better weather.The welcome flat roads started on the outskirts of Palma, but traffic lights were a frustrating interruption of flow. No matter – we were soon back on open roads.
From 150km to 250km was a blur of clock-watching and counting, but my concern about making the cut-off were alleviated by arriving at the last feed zone in the town of Arta, which had a party atmosphere. This left just 30km back to where we had started 12 hours ago.
At the ride’s finish, I was more than ready to climb off my bike, and I swore “never again”, but the sense of achievement was so immense that I’m already considering how to better my finishing time at next year’s event!
Missed it? Try this…
Marmotte Granfondo, on July 6, is a shorter 174km, but adds another 700m of climbing and covers four major cols in the French Alps making it just as epic event.
This article was first published in the May 30 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!