Billed as the longest day of the camp, today’s ride comprised 166km, three major climbs and five kilometres of the most perfect riding I’m likely to enjoy on a training camp.
Before we reached them there was some serious riding and enjoying of warmth and sunshine to be done. After a coffee stop in Santa Maria, we tackled the stiff climb to Valdemossa, sped along the scenic corniche to Deia and on to Soller and crossed the Coll de Soller from the harder northern side before stopping for lunch in Bunyola.
I was a bit slow in finding the cafe selling the best cakes and was still stuffing the second tartlet as the group set off for Orient over the Coll d’Honor. It’s not a particularly long or steep climb but it does seem to go on a bit and, tartlets yet to take effect, I found myself the victim of lunch stop legs for the first few kilometres.
Meanwhile, DA forged ahead, chasing the fast lads. I finally managed to get going on the flat valley road between the coll and Orient, where my deep section wheels began to pay off into the nagging headwind. On the climb out of Orient I caught DA and ride leader Paul Holdsworth and kept going hard, dragging Shiny Boy with me.
From here to the designated regroup point above Alaro lay five kilometres of steady descent into the wind with a few superfast sweeper bends; just the kind of road I like. Pushing hard, DA and I swept past the leaders before DA himself dropped back through a long right-hander. The conditions were perfect for a pursuit, especially if, like me, one was on a full-on pro-spec bike shod with fast-running deep-section aero wheels.
Pushing 53-12, I just managed to hold the gap over DA and the others; after the braking problems of the previous day on the Calobra, those Bontrager Aeolus wheels were fully forgiven… And when DA cleanly won the “bunch” sprint at the end of the ride, he decided he really liked his Reynolds wheels too.