Dorset Miles, "Her Name is Rio and She Dances in the Sand"
An early season endurance camp on Mallorca, to build the base, test the legs, lay down a marker, draw a line in the sand perhaps. The Rio Paralympic games are just seven, short months away, the Paracycling track championships in Italy in March, the last opportunity to score qualification points and a chance for riders to show form, is it really four years since London? A mix of long miles, intervals, gym sessions for the sprinters, enough to keep the squad busy, not all will be selected, all will suffer trying. A rest day allows the staff to get some miles in, so four of us head out along the seafront to S’Arenal then out to Cala Blava & Ses Palmeres, the long, straight MA-6014 rises up nicely, enough to halt conversation not enough to need the little ring. Maioris Decima, Puigderros, Sa Torre, the wind is strong, but the sun is warm, shorts in January is good for morale. Left at Badia Blava and we are in the lanes, flower meadows and orange groves, heading to Llucmajor, it just feels good, a chance for this old swanny to spin the 3 day journey out of the legs! Four drove two vans to Barcelona, then caught the overnight ferry to the island. (The crossing was rough so we remained horizontal & awake) Two head back to Palma, two of us push on to Randa, the wind still on our backs, we chat about the old days! The 5km climb goes nowhere but to the Santuari De Cura and is virtually free of traffic, great if you are feeling good, simple hard work otherwise. The head coach was enjoying his morning off, riding side by side he was obviously stronger, he knew it, I knew it but not a word was spoken. A quick photo call at the summit then straight back down, 20 minutes of toil given away in less than 5! Back on the flat it was “All our Yesterdays” again, the block headwind nagged at the enthusiasm. The clock was ticking, work was calling, so a simple retrace back down to the seafront to our base at Sometimes had to suffice. Recovery was provided by the ubiquitous Ham & Cheese baguette, followed by 5 pairs of legs on the massage table, a trip to the airport and an evening making rice cakes & energy balls for the following day.