Twenty-four members of the Bassetlaw Triathlon club headed off to Mallorca for an early season training camp. The brainchild of coach Gaz Hughes, the event was ten months in the planning and a first for the club.
With a very positive take up from club members the hotel, with its own 25-metre pool and bike rental and storage facilities, was booked. Members simply had to get themselves across to Mallorca.
The group had an early morning swim session with members divided between the pool or a short walk to the local beach for open water sea swimming. Both provided excellent opportunities for triathlon skills to be tried and tested. Cycling sessions were the next in line at 11.00am.
The club group had a range of cycling abilities and so three groups took on different routes. This was where the club coaches came into their own, leading and advising on group riding. All riders had to contend with strong winds bringing a chill to the air. The traditional stop for coffee and cake had to be taken inside due to the unseasonably cold weather.
The strong winds had a detrimental effect for sea swimming as it created strong waves but also brought in a lot of jelly fish. As several members suffered unpleasant stings on the second morning the sea swims where cancelled and everyone used the hotel pool.
The week continued with this routine, with some of the more serious triathletes adding a run session to their day following the cycle rides.
Based in Puerto de Pollenca in the northeast of Mallorca, the location offered a great range of options for the cycling. North into the Tramuntara mountains with some of cycling’s iconic routes like Col De Formentor, a dramatic headland leading some ten miles out to the lighthouse. Options to go east or south gave much gentler routes to villages such as Sineu, where the club members had the chance to ride an outdoor velodrome. Most of the club’s members, having never cycled abroad, had the different rural aspect and scenery to enjoy as they added the new skills and miles of training into their legs.
For some, like Jayne Flower, who completed the longest ride she had ever done, the week provided many highlights. Anthea and Lisa put the sea swim on the first day as their highlight, finding the use of wetsuits and the open water aspect particularly rewarding. For others it was the group riding and sharing the ‘lead’ role to give everyone some protection from the head winds that seemed to prevail always on the way back to the hotel. For Tom Richardson, it was the cycle ride out to Sa Calobra. This route, although an out and back, down and back up route is one of Mallorca’s big attractions for cyclists.
Despite having poor weather, the week was deemed a great success and passed off with only a couple of minor incidents. The diligence of the coaching team, their support for all members of all abilities was appreciated and a presentation took place at a local, cycling themed restaurant, Tolos, on the last evening.
Head coach Steve Chambers said: “The trip typified the ethos of the club – mixed ability athletes all pulling together on the club’s first ever tri camp. The conditions didn’t deter the team, and everyone got something from the trip.”
On return most members were looking forward to a quiet, restful day, Gav Toulson had other ideas. He was competing in the Sheffield half marathon the day after flying home, finishing the event in a time of 1 hours and 58 seconds.