A full day in the saddle is music to our ears but as we embark on what may be one of the longest rides we will ever do it does take a little getting used to. Here at Curbar Cycling we are looking ahead at participating in the Mallorca 312 next month, which circumnavigates the Balearic island in one day. The total distance, as you guessed it, is 312km and the average rider finishes this mammoth task in around 12 hours. Having ridden in Mallorca several times over the previous few years we cannot wait to be unleashed on the winding roads of Pollensa, Soller and Andratx, but we have had to rain that blind enthusiasm in a little and have actually had to consider the task in hand. We are not the sort of riders who would think of cycling as a training exercise, we believe that it exits more like a habit, or something similarly necessary in order to maintain balance in our lives. So when we began thinking about how we approach the task of completing this amount in one day we had to devise some way of training without detracting from the real reason we ride bikes. Once again we looked to our greatest asset, the Peak District.
Our haven over the hill provides us with the perfect testing ground for the hills that await us off the coast of Spain. We just have to devise a series of routes which mean we can capitalise on the undulating terrain whilst also being able to cover the distance required to get anywhere near the distance of the 312. Equipped with our fully charged Garmins, 2 bottles filled to the brim with various electrolyte mixtures and our back pockets packed with chocolate, Clif Bars and anything we could find in the kitchen cupboard, we begin on our Sunday adventure into the wild.
Pacing seemed to be the key for us, especially in the primary stages of our ride. The tendency is to get out of the city as quick as possible in order to spend the most time in the idyllic areas of the countryside that await. We soon became very aware that this tactic could seriously hinder our chances of surviving a full day in the saddle. As we began winding up Snake Pass towards Glossop the pacing really came into its own and we began feeling as if the pace we were setting was soon becoming a natural rhythm. As the air seemingly got thinner and the snow got thicker we maintained the soft tapping of our selected pace. The only time this system began to stretch was towards the end of the day. As our legs began to feel heavier and our mouths began to dry out we hit an unsuspecting climb towards the village of Flash. Notably the highest village in the country, the climb to Flash never previously entered our heads as a difficult mental and physical wall in our challenging Sunday. The road towards the foot of the climb undulated and snaked through the challenging terrain before hitting the steepest part. As we began the ascent neither one of us wanted to stop, firstly for personal pride and secondly, probably more importantly, because we didn’t want to be the first to stop. As the legs began to burn and the arms began to throb we looked up to find that the climb somehow managed to steepen yet again. This wrestling match between man, bike and road carried on for what seemed like an eternity before the road kindly calmed it’s vicious head and the gradient shallowed. As we dismounted our bikes to cross the snow drift that covered the road ahead, we both looked like toddlers as they first learn to walk, with jelly legs and empty lungs. It was harsh and unforgiving, but like many other cyclists out there, if we were asked if we would do it again, we would both jump at the chance.
We eventually managed to complete the route we had set and we got home in one piece, even if that piece felt like it had been tenderised by the previous barrage of inclines. One thing is for sure though, in a strange neolithic kind of way we both felt like we would do that any day of the week.