Healthy Escapes: Get summer fit with a spring fitness holiday
If you’ve been favouring the biscuits over the bike so far this year, a last minute dash to a Mallorcan cycle training camp could be just the right mix of carrot and stick for the perfect fitness boost.
Healthy rode with Sunvelo in Playa de Muro on the island’s northeast side (known locally as ‘Bike Mile’ – each morning hundreds of cyclists of all ages and sizes roll out along the strip in front of their 4-star hotel complexes).
Mallorca has pretty much given itself over to cyclists in the spring and autumn months (Healthy went in March – by early May it’s getting too hot and full of holidaymakers) and if you’re used to England (the busy roads of London, Surrey and Kent in our cases), you’ll never have experienced anything like it – no potholes, varied countryside and cars which actually give you space.
‘If you’re used to the busy roads of London – you’ll never have experienced anything like it’
While Sunvelo offers training for serious cyclists, they can provide virtually any cycling experience you like – you just sign up each day for what you want to do. Our fellow guests included an 84-year-old, who joined the more relaxed ‘touring’ group (and enjoyed a ‘little beer’ at every refueling stop) and an Iron Man triathlete who rode in the tougher ‘sportive endurance’ group.
We rode in the sportive group, covering about 100-110k a day – a decent distance which we could certainly feel in our out-of-condition legs, but easier than you might think when you’re enjoying the benefits of riding two abreast in an escorted group of about 10 past orange groves and vineyards, chatting, taking it in turns at the front, and stopping every 30k or so for a café con leche and generous slice of the traditional Mallorcan almond cake, to be consumed in yet another sunny, picturesque village square.
If our days out cycling weren’t fitness inspiration enough, our hotel, Viva Blue, offered it in spades – not only from our fellow guests, who rarely appeared out of tracksuits or Lycra, but the facilities (not an exhaustive list: spa, pools including a semi-Olympic training pool, gym and frankly amazing, huge underground cycle station where we stored our carbon hire bikes – BMCs and Ridleys – complete with workshop, compression pumps and showers).
The huge breakfast and dinner buffets offered fresh, healthy and delicious fuelling and refueling choices for every training regime and palette – then it was back to our spacious apartment to watch the sun set over the S’Albufera Natural Park from our terrace. Absolutely everything at Viva Blue is geared up to make getting fitter as easy and enjoyable as possible, and I defy anyone not to be motivated.
‘While Sunvelo offer training for serious cyclists – they can provide any cycling experience you like’
Our third and last day I’d finally started to get my cycling fitness back – lucky then as that was our biggest climb of the trip, up Coll de Sa Bataia. It always sounds odd to say you’ve enjoyed an exhausting and occasionally painful climb – but every one of the 7.9 kilometers (I counted them) was picture book Mallorca.
Perfect tarmac switch-backs curling up the side of the mountain, shady pine trees, stepped terraces on the neighbouring slopes, a sudden long flat road two thirds of the way up, with a sheer drop to one side, allowing for a dramatic vista and a nice little sprint before the final push. Needless to say our cake on the summit was the best we had.
Sun Velo offer half-board cycling breaks with prices ranging from £72-100 per person, per night, minumum stay three nights. The price includes a premium apartment room, daily expert-led group cycling and shuttlebus transfers to and from Palma de Mallorca airport. Check out their website: http://www.sunvelo.com/ or follow them on Twitter @SunVelo