Need an early-season goal for 2013? Entries are now open for the Majorca 312 – a one-day sportive which the organisers claim is the longest in Europe.
The fourth edition of the event will take place on Saturday April 27 and will see riders take on a full lap of the Balearic Island, which is a popular training camp base for professional and amateur cyclists alike.
We can vouch for Majorca as a spring getaway having enjoyed warm sunshine, smooth roads and long climbs when we visited earlier this year.
The Majorca 312 starts and finishes at the Iberostar Playa de Muro hotel on the north coast of the island and, if 312km (194 miles) sounds like a ride too far, then there is also a shorter half-lap which still covers 167km (104 miles).
The route heads anti-clockwise direction out of Playa de Muro and takes in the mountainous side of the island first, including the long ascent of the Puig Major, before dropping back down to the stunning coastline close to Deia.
The routes split at Valledemossa, with the shorter 167 route heading back to the finish via the middle of the island, while the 312 heads on to Andratx and the capital Palma. From here it’s round the bottom half of the island before heading northwards and to the last feed stop at Arta where the town’s fiesta will be in full swing and riders are greeted with a variety of food and drink to see them through the final 26km to the finish.
And if the distance isn’t hard enough there’s a time limit of 14 hours to complete the 312 event, although the fastest rider took just nine hours and 47 minutes to complete the full distance in 2012. To help you pace your ride, the event has a group of local riders who ride each course at a steady speed in order to finish inside the allocated time limits.
Entry costs €55 for the 312 and €45 for the 167 (before January 31) and includes an event jersey, finisher’s t-shirt, certificate and entry to the pasta party and prize presentation. The route is fully signposted, with the promise of well-stocked feed stations, mechanical and medical back up en-route and a broom wagon to get you back to base if all else fails. Entrants also receive a 10 per cent discount on accommodation at the four-star Iberostar Playa de Muro (which has secure bike storage, a workshop, bike wash and a cycling shop).
Visit www.mallorca312.com for more information and to enter.