Is it more then a Gran Fondo?
By Martin of Bike Villas Travel
On Saturday 30th April, we were at the start of the Mallorca 312 for the third time with a group. No less than 8,000 participants took part in the 12th edition of this Gran Fondo on the beautiful cycling island of Mallorca. Three distances, 167 km, 225 km and the mythical distance of 312 km were on the programme. What makes this Gran Fondo more than a Gran Fondo?
In 2008, local Xisco Lliteras sat in a bar in Artá with friends discussing the possibilities of a "vuelta" on Mallorca. "What if we cycle around the whole island in one day?" was the question asked. Xisco was the only one who could not let go of this idea and started to work on it. In 2010, the first edition took place with 199 participants, the majority of whom were from Mallorca or the Spanish mainland. In addition, 13 Irish people took part, who had hired a private plane especially for the purpose.
In the first editions, the route ran along the coastlines all around the island. Nowadays, the start and finish are in Alcudia and the beautiful Tramuntana mountains are crossed from north to south. The last loop of the 312 km route runs inland to the "home village" of the Mallorca 312; Arta. From a few hundred participants, this event has grown to a maximum of 8,000. The organisation, headed by Xisco, has also grown, both in the number of employees and in the quality of organisation. Where in previous years there were sometimes complaints about the way things were organised (e.g. slow start, lack of communication especially in the COVID period and unclear cut-off times), this year it was completely top organised! Saturday 30 April was a great day that left many cycling enthusiasts with unique and lasting memories.
From the idea in the bar in Artá, the Mallorca 312 has developed in 12 years to one of the most beautiful and popular Gran Fondo's!
A unique cycling holiday
Since 2019 we have been organising a fully catered package around the Mallorca 312. Intended as a cycling week on Mallorca where the focus is on maximum enjoyment and performance on the day of the event. You will be staying in our Bike Villa Es Costeret just outside the authentic village of Alaró. For many cyclists especially known for the best cycling café Cycling Planet on the island!
Wies takes care of a delicious breakfast and dinner for cyclists every day. Ed is the indispensable force next to the bike during this week. My role is that of trainer/coach and master helper on the bike. A beautiful cooperation between three people who consider hospitality and service of paramount importance. Bike Villas Travel in optima forma!
When the participants arrive on the first day of our package, they are all fit and sufficiently trained to take on the challenge. For me as trainer/coach, the week of our 312-arrangement consists of making the final preparations to be optimally prepared on the day of the Gran Fondo (GF). This optimal preparation does not lie in making many kilometres or in hard training sessions. We build up the week systematically. On the day of arrival, we briefly ride off the legs and ride out the journey. The 2nd and 3rd cycling day we ride some more kilometres with some climbs in it to get used to the different environment and the climbing. The routes we ride are partly over the course so that everyone already has a first impression and can feel what is to come on the day of the GF! The 4th cycling day we are 2 days before the GF and a recovery/coffee ride is more than enough and there is a possibility for a sports massage. In this phase, rest is more important than cycling hard and a lot. The day before the GF, it is time to get everything ready, sample the atmosphere at start/finish and collect the start tickets. It is also time to prepare the bike, get the clothes ready, prepare the food, hydrate well and stack carbohydrates.
Making a gameplan and nutrition plan is essential in preparation for the GF. 312km and 5000hm means between 10-14 hours on the bike. Planning your ride and having the right nutrition is therefore very important! We help the participants to make a race strategy, to know the course, how fast you start and what power or heart rate you will use during the climbs. We also pay a lot of attention to making a nutrition plan: what will you eat and drink during the GF? The intake of carbohydrates and hydration are in fact a key point to maintain sufficient energy until the end.
How cool is it that I, with my own experience from participation in many Gran Fondo's and many (race-)kilometres on the bike, no longer ride for my own success but as a master helper on the bike the past 2 years have both times been able to accompany a lady (Nikky in 2021 and Joke in 2022) to victory on the 312! My role has changed over the years and I enjoy it enormously. Where I used to go for personal gain and be at the start in good shape, I now choose to use my experience in a different way. That role is mainly in bringing calm, confidence and tactical insight to the leading lady during the race, sensing which pace we are going to ride, when to push hard and when to choose for rest/recovery in the group and which wheel to take or not. How great is it then that you prepare together for a week, make plans and that on the day itself it also leads to the hoped-for result! In this way, I can also release my own enthusiasm and energy and it is enjoyment and suffering at the same time with a mighty fine feeling of satisfaction when you cross the finish line after 312 km and fall into each other's arms and know without words what a unique feat you have just accomplished together.
More than a Gran Fondo!
Yes, the Mallorca 312 is 100% more than an ordinary Gran Fondo. It is a day of suffering, enjoying, beautiful landscapes, camaraderie, pride and disappointment, a smile and a tear. Participating in our package also means gaining knowledge, making new (cycling) friends and the most important: a memory for life! The Gran Fondo Mallorca 312 is one for your bucket list!
Are you joining us in 2023?