KVG/KVB Mallorca Annual Training Camp

Purpose of this document

The intention of this document is to provide background information about the annual KVG/KVB training camp in Mallorca, particularly for those who may be considering or intending to go but have not previously been on the trip. 

Note that details specific to any given trip, such as the training camp dates and routes, will be provided separately each year. 

Introduction

The training camp is scheduled each year for a week near the end of April/beginning of May. Actual dates are made known almost a year in advance, initially via the KVG and KVB FB and in newsletter updates. 

Unlike our normal club rides, there are no designated ride leaders for the rides. This means that you need to have the routes downloaded onto our Garmin/Wahoo device and be able to independently navigate the routes. Additionally, there are no designated ride groups, so you will want to be comfortable that in general there are others going of a similar level of fitness to yourself with whom you can ride. 

To get the most from the week, a reasonable level of fitness is required for the daily back-to-back riding and the elevation involved, although there is optionality on how far and high you cycle each day. A number of us have found that the home training camp (or equivalent) in March together with some longer rides in the lead up to Mallorca provides useful and arguably necessary preparation. 

Each participant is responsible for making their own arrangements for accommodation, travel, etc.

Accommodation

We stay at the Sis Pins Hotel in Puerto Pollensa (website: https://hotelsispins.com) for the week. 

Early booking is advised once the dates for the week are known to avoid disappointment and having to stay separately in a nearby hotel. If you book directly with the hotel, you pay 20% deposit refundable up to 30 days prior to the start date, with the remainder due during your stay. To date, KVG/KVB members have received a 10% discount by booking directly with the hotel. Cost is reduced if you are willing to share a room.  

Rooms have tea/coffee making facilities and a fridge. There are Spar mini-markets within a couple of minutes walk from the hotel for water, milk, fruit etc.

Bikes are not allowed in the rooms, however, the hotel has a locked bike room for housing our bikes. Additionally, there is a room dedicated on each floor for storing our bike boxes. 

Travel 

Most (and maybe all) folks travel with Easyjet from London Gatwick to Palma airport, many choosing a morning flight to allow time in the afternoon to build and test or hire a bike and settle in. Booking of flights is advisable as soon as the Easyjet booking for the dates becomes available (typically September) and you are sure you will be going. 

Transfer via taxi to/from Sis Pins and Palma airport can be arranged directly with Sis Pins. Responsibility for organizing transfer is yours, however often someone volunteers to organise a group booking for those that are on the same flight as them. 

Additionally, there are shuttle bus services between Palma airport and Puerto Pollensa hotels, which may be a preferred option if you are unable to share a taxi.  

Transporting your bike

If you are bringing your own bike, you will need to have, borrow or hire a bike box to transport your bike in. Many of our local cycle shops have boxes to hire, including CycleOps in Tonbridge, at a cost of c. £50 for the week. 

If dismantling and packing your bike in a box is a new experience for you, then do ask some of us to give you a helping hand. Often getting the pedals off is the biggest challenge so it is worth testing that you can loosen them a few days ahead of time. Once you get to Sis Pins, there will be plenty of us around to give a helping hand as needed to rebuild your bike. 

It is recommended that your bike is in good functioning condition before going to Mallorca, making sure that the brakes and gears, in particular, are working as expected. If you find, on re-building your bike, that something is not quite right, there will be the opportunity to take it to a local bike shop, for example, Bike Island Mallorca shop (website: https://www.bikeislandmallorca.com/en/) which is a few minutes walk from Sis Pins.

Bike Hire

Many bring their own bikes, but some prefer to hire a bike for the week. It can provide an opportunity if you want to try a bike even better than your own! 

There are several bike shops in Puerto Pollensa where suitable bikes can be hired. Some that have been used in the past include:

Once again, to make sure you get a bike of the type and size you want, early booking is recommended, for example when you are booking your flights. 

Insurance cover 

At your own discretion, you may wish to take out insurance to get you back to your hotel / a bike repair shop / your bike hire shop if you have a mechanical breakdown or physical injury. In the past, some folks have used Mallorca Bicycle Rescue (website: https://www.mallorcabicyclerescue.com) which has offered KVG a discount and may be willing to again if you mention to them that you are KVG/KVB. 

Cycling etiquette

All group rides must be in full club kit – jersey and gilet if required, black or kit shorts. However, if you are riding with non-club members, club kit is not allowed.

You can cycle whichever routes you wish each day. Routes will be confirmed prior to travel to Mallorca. Pre-load all routes in the UK before you go so that you have them on your device. Remember that the rides do not have a leader assigned so it is up to each of us to have the routes and to navigate them.

There are no designated ride groups so you will need to decide for each day who you are going to cycle with. Generally this ends up as a post ride discussion with your buddies for the following day, often over a glass of wine/beer, and will depend on your aspiration for the following day – do you want to do the more challenging route or a flatter route, and at what speed do you want to ride.

Our normal cycling etiquette applies during the rides, with the exception that ride groups may be greater than 8, although large groups are not recommended for safety reasons. 

On all rides, ensure you carry your European Health Insurance Card with you. Ambulances may refuse to treat you if you cannot provide this.

What to pack

The following provides guidance on what you may want to pack:

Cycling kit:

  • Club sleeveless jerseys x2 – you may get away with 1 as they dry quickly
  • Club gilet
  • Long sleeved club jersey – optional, but bring if you have one
  • Black or club shorts x2 – the chamois may be too thick to dry overnight
  • Baselayers x2- lightweight versions help wick sweat on hot rides
  • Rainjacket – any lightweight ‘in a pocket’ one will be fine and can be needed for long descents and early mornings
  • Windjacket – optional but can be useful and less bulky than a rainjacket
  • Armwarmers
  • Kneewarmers – optional alternative would be below knee cycling “Knicks”
  • Cycling socks – several pairs
  • Cycling fingerless gloves – several pairs if you have them 
  • Helmet
  • Cycling shoes
  • Cycling cap – optional as useful under the helmet if sun if is bright, or in rain 
  • Cycling and prescription sunglasses
  • Contact lenses if used
  • Suncream
  • Chamois cream – useful, given the back-to-back riding
  • 2 bottles, 750 ml or bigger if your bike can take them, sometimes it is a distance before refills are available

Food and drink:

  • Carb drink, or electrolyte tablets, if it is hot then sweat levels go up and just water is not sufficient on hot rides over 2 hours
  • A supply of bars that you like, there are regular stops, but some of the days are long
  • Enough gels for at least 1 per day. Sometimes you just need a bit of energy when you are flagging in the last stages of a ride to get you home
  • Peanut M&M’s are very good for rides in hot countries as the shell stops the chocolate melting, and the little carb hit with a peanut for a fat based energy boost hits the spot
  • A jelly baby or a Percy Pig has saved many a flagging cyclist

Bike related:

  • Unless you are hiring a bike, your bike in a bike box, plus an allen key set and a travel torque wrench (for carbon bike) to rebuild your bike on arrival
  • Spare inner tubes (you need to carry 2 unless you are tubeless in which case at least 1 is advisable)
  • Tyre levers
  • Co2 valve and Co2 canisters. Easyjet say you can only carry 2 per person, but we have always successfully got 2 in the bike box, and 2 in the luggage. (If you store them in your washbag, they think they are for hair straighteners, and seem to be more tolerant, is the word on the street). You may wish to take a print out of the Easyjet rules on Dangerous Goods in case you are challenged
  • Small pump if you prefer to start inflating with that, but you will need Co2 as well if you get a puncture
  • Spare tyre – optional
  • Dry lube – needs applying a bit more frequently than wet lube, but you won’t need it every day
  • Baby wipes for a quick chain clean and a bike wipe down each day
  • Lights, front and back – for the tunnels, little ones are fine
  • Garmin/ Wahoo with charging wire
  • Battery booster for your Garmin / Wahoo / Phone – probably needed for the longer rides
  • Cloth tote bag or similar for carrying your cycling stuff from your room to the bike room each day
  • A track pump if you have room in your bike box – there is usually 1 in the bike room at Sis Pins but it is also useful to have another one or two to share

Other:

  • Euros for the airport to Sis Pins taxi / shuttle journey (you pay the driver directly)
  • Clothes, including shoes and a warm jumper for evenings – its informal and a little cooler in the evenings. Pretty much anything goes!
  • Shoes for wearing to breakfast with your cycling kit and to the bike room.
  • Wash kit, etc.
  • Travel wash – you will be needing to wash your kit each evening
  • A mug if you like a cup of tea/coffee in your room as the cups in the rooms are teeny
  • Tea bags/coffee if you are particular on a brand
  • Any special breakfast food such as muesli if you are particular on brand, etc
  • Phone, charger, etc
  • European electric adaptors 
  • Swimmers/towel if you are a keen swimmer – you can swim in the sea at the front of the hotel
  • Passport, travel docs, airport parking info etc.
  • First aid & medication as needed, e.g., ibuleve gel, ibuprofen, anthisan, piriton, arnica, germolene, physio crème
  • Tissues
  • Book(s) to read, although there isn’t much time for that!
  • 2 plastic hangers for hanging washing to dry can be useful as there are not many hangers in the wardrobe

Typical routes and itinerary

The following is for guidance and shows the typical itinerary for the week. Of course, you can cycle where and when you like but its quite fun to mainly do the same routes, for discussions and kudos later!

  • DAY 0 (travel day): on arrival at the hotel, build/pick up hired bikes and go for a short test ride to check the bike is set up and functioning correctly
  • DAY 1: Caimari loop (c.40 miles, 3,000 ft ascent, 1 significant climb), nothing too strenuous, but gets us comfortable to climbing
  • DAY 2: to Soller and return via Puig Major (c.100 miles, 8,000 ft ascent), or a flatter c.85 miles, 4,000 ft ascent option
  • DAY 3 – Petra loop (c.70 miles, 3,000 ft ascent) 
  • DAY 4 – to Soller then return via the Orient valley (c.85 miles, 8,500 ft ascent) or a flatter c.75 miles, 3,500 ft ascent option 
  • DAY 5 – rest day, although a few do the Lighthouse ride (c.25 miles, 2,500 ft ascent)
  • DAY 6 – Sa Calobra loop (c.65 miles, 7,500 ft ascent). We leave before breakfast is served in Sis Pins to beat the coaches on Sa Calobra
  • DAY 7 – travel home, although some manage a short morning ride if they are departing later in the day

There are also a few flat c.30 mile ‘coffee shop’ routes if you are in need of a lesser challenging day or two. 

All rides are plotted from and leave/finish on the road just outside the Sis Pins bike room.

In the past couple of years, some have opted to do the Andraxt to Puerto Pollensa ride. This involves you organising to get transport for you and your bike to Andraxt early morning (before breakfast is served in Sis Pins). The ride itself is c.70 miles, 8,000 ft ascent. The last 50 miles of the ride are the same as the last 50 miles of the Day 2 ride.

There is plenty of opportunity for lunches and coffee along the routes, not to mention the famous almond cake. Make sure you agree with your group where and when these are each day, but in any case also make sure you carry plenty to drink and emergency supplies of bars and gels. 

Eating out

On the first evening (Day 0), we all meet for a drink at the beach in front of the Sis Pins hotel. This gives an opportunity to link up with others and to hear of any last minute details or points of admin. 

On the other days, you will generally find a number of us at the beach in front of the hotel having a post ride and/or pre dinner drink. These are purchased from the Cappuccino Bar next door to Sis Pins and there is a 10% discount for KVG/KVB. 

Apart for the last evening (Day 6), we tend to eat in relatively small groups, choosing where we go and with whom. Sis Pins do not serve evening meals, however, there are plenty of restaurants within a few minutes walk from the hotel. Mostly it is not necessary to book, however it may be advisable to book if there are a large group of you wanting to eat together. 

On the final evening, we organise a celebratory meal for everyone. Details of that are provided nearer the time.

It is also worth mentioning the local ‘Al Fresco Deli’; especially good for days when a late lunch at base is needed or even a light evening meal. 

Booking onto the training camp

In addition to booking your own accommodation and travel, you need to book on the KVG website. This KVG booking includes the cost of the last evening meal and other incidental expenses incurred by the club for the trip. You will be told via a message on the KVG/KVB FB when booking for a given trip is available on the website. 

Non cycling partners may also come to Mallorca – they will need to fill their day whilst you are on your bike – there are a couple of golf courses within taxi distance from Sis Pins and plenty of walking options. If they are coming to the celebratory meal (and they are most welcome of course), then you will need to book a place for them on the KVG website.

Each year, we set up a separate FB group for just those KVG and KVB who are going to Mallorca that year. This allows us to communicate easily between ourselves on Mallorca related things without ‘clogging’ the main KVG and KVB FB sites. It is important that you join this group when requested, as it is where all detailed info, for example, the routes for the trip is posted.

Feedback on this document and further information (to Helene Fugard, email: helene@kentvelogirls.co.uk) is encouraged so that it is kept relevant and up-to-date

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