Last full day of the camp for me and DA and we are joined for our ride by Mark, Rob and Peter, who also go home tomorrow. Wheels in Wheels guide Carlos drives our following car; we try to look suitably “pro”.
I fancy another mountain ride to cap the week and we decide on a route that runs along the southern edge of the mountains via Campanet and Selva and takes in the Coll d’Orient, Coll de Honor, Coll de Soller and the Big One, the climb to the Puig Major. Which DA has yet to do…
Sore legs all round keep the pace steady as far as the Orient climb, on which DA puts in another of his now-trademark probing big-ring attacks. I cling on as Mark, the revelation of the week, matches our Shiny Boy all the way and Peter drops back to look after Rob. Having recently got back in to cycling, he is suffering with a bad back and climbs into the sag wagon at the Bunyola lunch stop.
DA big-rings the Soller and the remaining four of us descend together. Mindful of the danger of rim overheating on a descent with so many hairpins, I decide to keep my pace low by riding on the hoods in order to maximise air braking and reduce the work done by the rims.
As we reach the junction with the Soller tunnel exit, however, the rear tyre blows off the rim with a stunning report that leaves Peter, following immediately behind, speechless for several seconds. DA is starting to worry about his carbon wheels and, with the Puig descent still to come, I start to feel a little unnerved.
Still, new tube fitted, we drop into Soller and tackle the “Pig”. I am quickly left behind as DA hoofs up in 53-25, determined to make the whole climb without using the little ring. Further up, however, I am informed by Carlos that Peter is not far ahead and indeed I catch him with about 1km to go. “This is killing me. Does it go through a tunnel or over the top?” he wails. Time for some underhand action; “Over the top – and it’s steeper around the corner.”
Disheartened, he drops away for a few seconds and I get just enough of a gap to stay clear to the tunnel, where DA and Mark are still comparing notes on how hard they just rode.
The ride back down into Pollensa goes without incident and we finish off with a tailwind-assisted sprint that tops out at 66kph. We eat mightily in the evening.