Mallorca 312 – 17hrs in the Saddle

Our 2016 Mallorca 312 and 167 packages are now available including guaranteed entry. If you wish to experience this incredible event please click below:

Mallorca 312/167 2016 with Le Domestique Tours

Mallorca 312 You know what you’ve done

312 kilometers, 3700m of climbing and an entire lap of the beautiful island of Mallorca, make for one incredibly tough day in the saddle.

For the 25 April 2015 edition, Le Domestique Tours supported a private group of two clients, with very different aspirations and very different experiences on the day of this most unique of cycling sportives.

The Package

A bespoke package affords clients a truly first class service, which in this case found us in a beautiful private villa a short ride from the Mallorca 312 hub in Playa de Muro. Coupled with private airport transfers to accommodate convenient flight times and a resident professional chef, our clients had an experience in total contrast to the volume operators found elsewhere on the island.

The Big Day

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With registration taken care of on the Friday, stomachs full from a superb three-course meal, kit laid out, alarms were set for 5am. Rising to coffee, muesli, our secret porridge recipe, coffee, bananas and more coffee, our two riders Will and Andy were loaded into their dedicated support van and shuttled to the start line to begin the nervy wait for the starter flag to drop.

With an impressively slick start procedure underway, a little over 3000 riders rolled out in just 15 minutes to begin their Mallorca 312 journey.

Will and Andy

Both clients of Le Domestique Training and good friends, Will and Andy were approaching the Mallorca 312 with very different goals.

Will who had ridden the Mallorca 312 in 2014, finishing with a total time of 12hrs 55 mins, was back to improve on this effort. Training had gone extremely well, having in the intervening period completed the Raid Pyrenean with Le Domestique Tours amongst an autumn, winter and early spring of focused training overseen by Le Domestique Training Performance Director Robert Cartledge. Working to the holy grail of being able to hold a higher percentage of FTP over the duration of the 312km, Will arrived in Mallorca confident of an improved time and ready to roll over the start line.

Andy is a relatively inexperienced cyclist, though with a rare mental fortitude that had seen him complete an Ironman and the World’s Toughest Mudder race. Weighing in at 96kg and with a very limited amount of training time ahead of the event, the past four months had been a whirlwind of trying to address the major weaknesses in his training, with full knowledge that completion on the day would come down to mental strength. Treating the Mallorca 312 as a life changing goal, Andy threw himself into the training with a bespoke plan from Performance Director Robert Cartledge. It is fair to say that a large amount of pre-race nerves were present on the big day.

The Mountains

Split into two parts, the route of the 312km takes riders via a short warm up through Alcudia Bay and onto the Ma-10 mountain road. Three cols follow in quick succession from here, with riders ticking off the Coll de Femenia, Coll de sa Batalla and Coll dels Reis on route to the highest point on the route at Puig Major. With a long descent then in the bag the route continues in the same vein, stretching through the mountains until the 150th kilometer.

Will – cruising into the mountains with a firm power target in mind, was through 140km and the Calvia feedstation by 1pm, in fine form. Flying through the Le Domestique support point shortly after Palma, to cheers from the crowds, Will was well on his way to a new PB.

Andy – the climbing was always going to be the issue for Andy, with his physical stature limiting his performance when the road went up. Having recced the opening section of the route two days earlier and with firm wattage and performance management targets in mind Andy knew what to do. Unfortunately Andy missed the opening two feed stations, setting in course a chain of events that would contribute to one of the toughest days in the saddle we are aware of! In the latter section of mountains and having been passed by the back of the race, Andy was faced with two choices, 1. Continue on, without the remaining official support of the race, or 2. Call it a day and call in the Le Domestique Tours support van. Deciding for option 1, Andy gutted it out and set his sights on the remaining 172km solo.

The Finish

Fast forwarding through the flat lands of the south of the island and the highlights of meeting Didi the Devil for the third time in a year, the final stop in Arta left the finish line in sight.

Will – the call came in shortly after 7.15pm, with Will announcing that he had safely crossed the line, smashing his time from last year by a substantial 45 minutes thanks to a higher average wattage, refined position on the bike and eight months of hard work with a coach at the helm.

Andy – ah Andy! Having driven the length of the Mallorca 312 in search of our intrepid team member without joy (the official race tracking system wasn’t providing updates on his position), Rob decided to press on to the finish to meet Will and track Andy down as a unit. On rendezvousing we placed the call to Andy and the following conversation proved highly enlightening.

Riding behind the course and polka dot green guide riders (whose purpose is to cross the line just inside the 9pm cut off), Andy had arrived at every feed station to find it closed, packed up and without any supplies. Surviving on the Torq gels provided by Le Domestique and a bonus cheese sandwich, Andy had battled on regardless, refusing to get off the bike and getting to within forty miles of the finish line. At this point, the race organisers had removed a crucial sign pointing out the hidden turn to Arta causing a moment of confusion in the fading light.

Tasked with getting Andy back on track Rob and Will helped point him in the right direction, resolving to do everything we could to get him to the finish line. Well over an hour later and now in pitch black, Andy had luckily stumbled across two other plucky UK riders, Giles and Simon, who were also determined to finish, resolving to work as a group to cover the final distance in safety.

At 11.45pm, with over 16hrs in the saddle, Andy, Giles and Simon crossed the finish line (by this point any semblance of a race finish had been removed by the Mallorca 312 event team) and headed straight to a local bar for a pizza and pint!

The Tragedy

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in Andy’s case that beauty manifested itself in the coveted official Mallorca 312 finisher’s gilet. Sadly, having crossed the line outside the 9pm cut-off, Andy hadn?t had the opportunity to collect his prize. Noticeably upset by this, we resolved to do everything we could to track him one down.

The following day, with Andy treating himself to a hard earned sleep, Rob and Will set out to track down a finisher’s gilet. Having failed to obtain one at the official race hotel (everything had been packed away and we found nobody that could assist), we chanced our luck with the ladies at the Assos outlet store had been very helpful a few days previously.

What followed is hard to believe, but owing to a mix up at the finish line the day before the ladies were in possession of the one final gilet left available, which just so happened to be in Andy’s size. A deal was done on the spot, a signed congratulations card from the ladies obtained and a triumphant ride back to the villa taken care of in record time. Presenting Andy with the gilet was one of the most rewarding experiences of the season so far, with his face lighting up like a kid on Christmas day!

Mallorca 312 30 April 2016

If you would like to join us for the 2016 edition of the Mallorca 312 on 30 April 2016, please reserve your space now via our Mallorca 312 Page.

One Response to “Mallorca 312 – 17hrs in the Saddle”

  1. Will Pierce says:

    Fabulous prose, fully capturing the events of a truly memorable Mallorca 312…we’ll be back for more next year!!
    Thank you.

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