Majorcan Musings

312… how far is that Ted? Far enough Dougal. Far enough. 2018 saw another batch of masochistic marauders make the pilgrimage of pain to the wonderful island of Mallorca for the 312. Of course a break from the relentless cold and wet of the Emerald isle was tough in itself and leaving loved ones for a week left us all feeling a little lost and lonely at first (or is that what guilt feels like?). But once we hit the airport bar all of our previously felt misgivings dissipated. Of course, as may have been remarked on in previous commentaries, getting to the airport bar on the way out to a cycling event means that we have successfully gotten to the airport and have safely deposited our bike boxes and ancillary equipment, (1 x jocks and 1 x socks and 1 x toothbrush) into the good care of our Ryanair friends. To be honest one could write a Leaving Cert essay on the trials and tribulations of packing a bike box but maybe another time. Suffice to say that especially for first timers, putting a bike in a bike box is akin to stuffing a genie into a bottle……
And so it was, we got to Majorca, got to the hotel in one piece and as usual all we had to do was reassemble the bikes, fix Ray’s bike which is pretty much a trip ritual at this stage (really should buy a decent reliable bike Ray), slap on the sunscreen and prepare for our first cycle of the week. All of this went surprisingly well to be honest though the sight of a fellow legend standing on the balcony overlooking a busy street assembling his bike in his Y fronts and granddad vest is an image that will stay with a lot of us for years to come. Paddys on tour.
As usual the routemeister had us out and about, turn left, turn right, hill ahead, coffee here, pothole there, car up, car down and so on. First two days were just leg finders. Paddy Y front decided it wasn’t tough enough though and thought it would be far better to lock up the back wheel and see if he could stay with the group. Not to be recommended, great workout though. The sweat was pumping out of him. But Derek sorted him out and once we knew he was alright he had to endure a fair amount of slagging… in fairness he took it well. And so we rambled around the byroads and backroads of Majorca, oranges and lemons in the trees, the smell of garlic being harvested, bikes and cyclists everywhere. Lots of coffee. Lots of strategising. Bits of bike repairs. Check this. Tighten that. A little apprehension… the good kind. Buckets of carb loading. Such food. Such quantities. And so it was as we finally woke up to the main event, Saturday 28th April 2018.
Some of our campaigners had trained for the 167. Thing is it is the toughest 167 imaginable with 4,000m plus climbing. The usual legends were out but special word to Donal who made it look like a picnic. Donal, you are an inspiration to us all and a gentleman to boot. As for the 312 itself. It is hard to put in words what is involved. The combination of distance, climbing, heat and in particular time constraints means this event is special…. And so we set off at stupid o clock. Us and 8,000 others. On the line. Good buzz. Selfies. The Routemeister lending helping hands unselfishly. Can’t have been easy for him to watch on… damm his blinkin ticker. Nogger decided it wasn’t hard enough and punctured on the start line. This was to set in train a series of unfortunate events for him which he managed to overcome as the day wore on. Showed serious mental strength to just keep the heck going. With Declan’s assistance and expertise, the bike was fixed. Pat remounted. The gun went off and so did we. 20KM in we hit the mountains. Long long drags. Fantastic descents and with roads closed we let lose, lean in, lean out, peddle, lean in, brake hard for the hairpin, peddle, lean right, lean left… for 15KM at a time. Great buzz. Davy L especially enjoyed the descending and managed to nab a couple of strava segments from previous Cogs holders. That went down well… talk of the power of weight + gravity = speed 😉 We could see though that the climbing was taking its toll. Timesplits were tight for the cut-off. The temperatures were rising. Red headed Paddys giving it loads. Move over Pedro, Paddy coming through.
Food stops… mayhem. Bikes strewn everywhere. Half bananas. Cans of Coke. Bikkies and bars. But the problem was they were slow and we were losing time. Stuff your face. Get back up on your bike and kick on. FFS, look at the time…. come on…. And then we hit 170KM. Who was standing out on the road but the Routemeister. Trolley loads of food. Repair kits. Suncream. Water. Encouragement. Legendary performance Declan. We would have suffered a lot more if you weren’t there to help us. And so we ploughed on. Ray was in a league of his own powering his way through the miles. And some of us were going better than others. But the more we reflect on this epic journey it seems that finishing or not finishing within the time limit, doing the 167, the 235 or the 312 or some combination or portion thereof matters not. What matters is that as the Cogs crossed the line, some in daylight, some in the dark, the effort put in was etched on our faces. Everyone gave it everything. Nothing was left out there. This truly is a tough event and tested us all at various times in various ways. So lads, well done to all.
As we crossed the line to cheers from Declan, Graham, Colm, Steve et al the overwhelming feeling was one of relief, pride in what we had done but also that it was just great to be part of something great as part of a group of sound fellow cyclists. Beers were quickly handed around. Pizzas followed. Banter was good…. and all the talk was what we were going to do next….. earn some brownie points might be a good start…

By | 2018-05-31T15:59:26+00:00 May 11th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments