34 cycling members of Cycleout and GOC came to Training Camp this year, including members from Germany, Switzerland and Scotland. After the continuing cold winter weather at home, Mallorca was enjoying warm sunny weather.
I arrived on the Wednesday before the start of the main programme, joined by a few others that day or over the next days with everyone else arriving by Saturday ready for the seven days of the main programme.
We were based in the resort of Can Pastilla, which was still very much out of season for the summer tourist but fully functioning for the cyclists which was good as the place was teaming with cycling groups.
Our hotel is a large resort hotel but as a group we made our own environment and everyone else was background. The hotel was set back in its own gardens, so nice quiet nights allowing bedroom windows to be flung open all night. Now as standard the outdoor pool was open and heated and proved popular after a day's cycling.
The hotel was very busy this year, indeed it was full booked. So much so that some were given upgrades to apartments in the block across the garden. Breakfast and dinner are both self-service buffet and as we were ready for early meals we could select a group of table together. If someone arrived later they could always fit in. We all progressed through the different courses of food at our own rate. Usually followed by a walk along the sea front and a few joining in the line dancing later in the hotel with the other guests.
We had use of the secure bike stores in the hotel, which was rather full this year and we are promised an even larger store for next year.
Can Pastilla is about midway along the sea front cycling path that runs from the harbour in Palma to El Arenal. This path connects with a number of low traffic routes so the need to cycle on any busy road was very minimal. Indeed in just one kilometre from the hotel we could be in small lanes surrounded by flowering fields. The programme of rides was planned to mix mountains with exploring the open countryside towards the east and south of the island. The group reflected a very wide ability and interest range. After the combined prologue ride on the Sunday we split into smaller groups and on some days into some special interest extra-small groups.
The prologue ride this year took an inland route, introducing first-timers to the quiet routes out of the resort and into the rolling countryside. After lunch at Algaida the route offered the option for the climb to Cura with it stunning views or just to continue on quiet lanes.
Long and short routes were taken across the central plain. We were able to take in all our favourite mountain routes. Much of the mountain range was ridden in sections over the days. The North Coast from Andratx to Esporles. The high mountain section taking in Lluc and Soller was ridden in both directions by different groups. Then finally, the middle section from Valldemossa to Soller. A small group used the train to shorten the ride then crossed the mountains to ride the Sa Calobra climb. Those not wanting the mountains took full advantage of the maze of lanes east of the resort and enjoyed the sight of fields full of bright wild flowers, reaching locations as far as Binisalem, Petra and Colonia Sant Jordi.
Uwe and myself having a couple of extra days at the end managed to clock up over 1000km of cycling during our stay.
The trip brought what has been a very long winter to an end and after a week cycling on the island I am sure everyone was ready for a summer of cycling. Let us hope we actually get a summer this year.
As with most years we were joined at the hotel with members from the GSWG walking group. Again this year contact had been made with the local Mallorcan gay walking group and some of the walkers and some of the cyclists joined up with them for day of walking. Both sides very much enjoyed the encounter and contact will be maintained.
The 16th Annual Training Camp in Mallorca next Spring 29th March to 6th April is now open for booking. Full details at https://www.cycleoutlondon.org.uk/index.php/component/jevents/icalrepeat.detail/2013/09/25/380/-/-?Itemid=