I was sitting with my face in the sun, wearing layers that only a Brit would turn up to Mallorca in, with my back leant nicely up against a wall. In my hand, a coffee with milk that tasted more like cream, as I waited for my fellow Rapha employees to pick me up from Palma de Mallorca airport.
The airport was silent. Most shops were closed and there were no queues in the ones that remained open. I’d left my flat in the morning and after a 2 hour flight I was transported to a world away from London life.
I was in Mallorca for just two days. Rapha Europe were holding an ambassador summit and I was invited along to present social media. The weekend was everything the hashtag #outsideisfree would contain if it was in the dictionary (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in the future). Mountains, riding, coffee, eating, community and landscapes.
We stayed in a group apartment, MA-13, which sounds like a floor from the ministry of defence building. With the militant organisation and always efficient breakfast, maybe it was.
Immediately life feels simplified. The wooden communal bench in the kitchen, surrounded by floor to ceiling glass, was occupied by a group of people wearing lycra and eating fresh oranges. There was a jovial energy in the kitchen. Everyone had the fresh face that only sweat from cycling in the sun can bring.
Evenings were filled with communal dinners. From sourdough pizzas to pastas and everything else a cycling travel brochure would promote. They were loud, bustling and tasty affairs. Everyone enjoying every bite of food, knowing we had worked for it.
When we sat in the presentation room during the day, the wholesome environment continued. We had several talks throughout the two days, each one sandwiched between coffee breaks. Each chair was occupied with a cycling fanatic with little hints of their hobbies worn upon them. From bike themed tattoos to backward RCC caps, everyone was proud to wear their passion. Nothing was out of place and everything was appreciated.
I was only there for one of the rides, but it was enough to re-ignite my love for the Mallorca mountains. Rolling out on a canyon bike which was way faster than I’ll ever be, the group of 30+ began their journey to the climb. Conditions were windy and dull, but apart from when you were fighting against the headwind, the landscape was enough to warm you up. Reaching the bottom of the climb, our group leader shouted something along the lines of ‘Everyone go have your fun’. 5 girls remained together. Feeling stronger with every switchback. I stopped to take a photo and the sheer buzz of being there allowed me to dig deep to catch them back up. Reaching the summit, I sang in my head ‘Here come the girls!'. We cycled up to the view, snapped some photographs and grabbed a bite to eat. Layers were taken off and conversations were turned on as the thrill of finishing a climb pours out and forms positive group discussions.
Mornings on these holidays are my favourite. Waking up with the slightly stiff legs that tell you you’ve worked hard and the first instructions of the day being simply to choose the correct lycra before heading downstairs for an enviable buffet breakfast. As my european colleagues tucked into their bread, meat and spreads, I opted for heating up porridge in a pan. What felt like an ordinary choice was watched upon with confusing eyes from one of the other girls. They’d never seen oats warmed up. These cultural moments happened throughout the whole day, forever humbling and reminding you of how big and varied the world is.
In 48 hours I realised that the only highs and lows you experience on a cycling holiday are from climbs and caffeine. Life is simple and only the essential elements remain:
Ride hard. Eat well. Sleep soundly. (Read from RCC)
A formula that is tried, tested and will never tire (even when your legs do).
Strava route: https://www.strava.com/activities/493064524