115km, ~5:00 hours, 2 crashes
Oh what a glorious day it started off to be. It was our final day of riding together and, due to the questionable weather the day before, we had moved our mountain ride to Saturday. Today was beautiful.
View of Alcudia. Photo: Dave Stubbs
The trip would see us bus to the start in Alcudia, followed by an easy 12km cycle along the water to the base of the 19km rolling climb to Cap de Formentor, a lighthouse at the end of the road. Afterwards, we’d have an option to either get on the bus or go by bike the 70km across the island to the hotel.
Ready to set off. Photo: Dave Stubbs
When we arrived in Alcudia, one group split off and went in search of the “Cobra.” Since the initial attempt had been abandoned earlier in the week, now was their chance to tackle it. The rest of us, most of us, went for Cap de Formentor. I remember this ride from the last time I was here and I remember it as being one of the hardest I had done to that point. Back then I had crossed the island afterwards for a total of 140km, my the longest ride. I was exhausted by the end of it.
A view from the lighthouse
In comparison, this was much better for me. The 30km to Cap de Formentor was challenging, to be sure, but it felt good. I did the ride in good time, had time to grab a cafe con leche and some lunch at the top, and was getting ready to head back down.
That’s when Dave arrived to tell us that one of the women had taken a fall in the tunnel. About 7km back, there is an unlit tunnel, with ditches on either side of the road. It’s a bit nerve-wracking but as long as you take your sunglasses off, concentrate on the light at the end of the tunnel and stay in the middle of the road, it’s doable.
Tunnel on the way to Formentor. Photo: Dave Stubbs
Unfortunately, it was too much for her, and she fell. We later found out that Kris had gone back to her and with thanks to a Dutch couple, managed to get her and her bike back to the bus in Alcudia, where we found them both when we returned. Some scrapes and probably a bruised shoulder, but overall, okay.
It was probably close to 2pm by the time we arrived back to the bus and where people had to decide what they were going to do – ride back by bus or by bike. A large number of people decided to ride back by bike. Those on the bus, waved goodbye to us with beers in their hands.
View from the bus. That's me, second rider from the front on the right. Photo: Dave Stubbs
In hindsight, riding back may not have been the wisest decision for everyone. It’s a rolling ride back and we’d just done a rather challenging ride already, which ended up taking its toll on some people. Add to that a headwind/crosswind and it was a bit slow going.
Many people hadn’t eaten at the lighthouse and needed to so we stopped in Sineu. We weren’t making great time and we had reservations for 7pm at one of the local restaurants in Cala d’Or for our big send off dinner. It wasn’t looking promising that we were going to make it.
After lunch, around 5pm, we split up into two groups. Our group of six was the faster of the two – Nadia and Peter were our leads, Tamsin and Rob, William and myself. We were taking turns pulling with Peter and I had come off my 5km pull just outside of Felanitx. I had settled in the back of the group when it happened.
It’s cliche, but it all happened so fast. I saw the tires about to touch but was not fast enough to react. With only 15km left in the ride, and my vacation, my front tire touched Rob’s back one and I was down.
After they had sat me down on the side of the road, I remember Tamsin asking me what happened and I told her. However, I don’t remember hitting the ground, nor the next few moments. I just remember standing off the road, watching the blood drip to the ground. I didn’t make the connection that I was bleeding, though, until they got me to sit and Nadia held a handkerchief to my head.
Everyone reacted really well. Nadia and Tamsin tended to me while Peter tended to my bike. (It was fine.) The other group came by but continued to the town square in Felanitx. I was going to need stitches. Peter had recalled a clinic nearby so Nadia stuck a band-aid on my head and I got back on my bike and we went in search of it. The clinic was not where Peter recalled so we went to the town square to join the others and to wait for a taxi to take me to a German doctor in Cala d’Or.
Peter had already visited the doctor earlier in the week after his encounter with the barbed wire and had his number. It was after 6pm on a Saturday and the doctor told Peter he’d meet us at his clinic in 20 minutes. Peter rode ahead to meet us at the clinic in Cala d’Or. Thankfully, Peter speaks German. Nadia came with me in the taxi – thankfully she speaks Spanish. Kris gathered the two groups together, now one, and led them back to the hotel.
I find it interesting how one reacts in situations like this. After I fell, I was extremely focused on the next thing I needed to do. My awareness of others was limited. I sat while they wiped my face, I answered Tamsin’s questions, I got on my bike, I got to the town square. It wasn’t until I’d gotten off my bike at the town square that a couple of tears escaped. That’s when I noticed that I hurt. The wonders of adrenaline.
We moved the dinner reservation to 8pm and I made it before 9pm. The doctor fixed me up, I grabbed a shower and walked over with Nadia, Peter and John.
Made it to dinner! With one of my fellow Groupo Mo'Toro members, Sergio
I think I was pretty lucky. I had road rash down the left side of me – the knee, hip, elbow and shoulder. Some blood pooling in the shoulder and knee along with some swelling in the knee.
The compression bandage kinda matched my dress
My sunglasses are what caused the gash in my forehead, which the doctor put a staple in along with some cloth sutures. It took another day for the black eye to set in.
It wasn’t until I got home that I took a closer look at my helmet. I could have left it in Spain. A piece was missing on the left side at the front. It was brand new before the trip.
I’m happy to buy another one.