Page 61 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
P. 61

Exercise SWIFT PELOTON, Mallorca
Exercise SWIFT PELOTON saw ten members of the 2 RIFLES Road Cycling Team conduct a training camp on Mallorca from 11 – 17 May 2019. The island has become a haven for cyclists from enthu- siastic amateurs to professional teams; a quick browse of the toughest Strava segments reveals some of the biggest names in cycling today. Those with local knowledge might even give a knowing wink, saying: “Wiggo did that climb quicker, he just didn’t upload it”. Obviously doesn’t count.
The newly created 2 RIFLES Cycling Team varied in experience from complete novice to leg-shaving, carbon-fibre obsessive. This enabled the team to split into two groups, with the newer cyclists being coached by a civilian instructor and the more experienced riders able to up the speed and mileage. Despite saddle sores and tired legs, the four complete novices were able to ride over 400km during the week, including a 100km day and the beautiful yet brutal climb up to the Coll Dels Reis from Sa Calobra. Cyclists train hard and travel from all over the world to test themselves on this serpentine road, so to have completed it having had four days on a bike is very impressive.
The initial aim of the exercise was to improve the bike skills and fitness of the experienced riders and to expose novices to the sport in the hope they caught the cycling bug. The ultimate aspiration was to get all riders to the standard where they could compete for the Infantry in the Army Road Race Cycling Series. By the end of the exercise, all ten individuals on Exercise SWIFT PELOTON had certainly improved fitness and handling, able to safely descend technical switchbacks and work together in a ‘chain-gang’.
The team flew from Belfast with all the bikes and equipment required for the week, arriving in Puerto de Pollença during the afternoon of Friday 10 May. A slightly nerve-wracking period followed as bikes were rebuilt and safety checked having been in the possession of EasyJet’s baggage handlers for a few hours. Fortunately, all ten bikes survived, and we were ready for our first day on the road
on Saturday, led by director of Epic Performance, Anthony Jemmett. Due to an Ironman 70.3 taking place on the island, open roads were at a premium on that first day and we were forced to cycle to Cap de Formentor, a 40km ‘lumpy’ route that was a bit of a shock to the system for those not accustomed to hills. Legs warmed up, the team continued to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and perfect weather, arriving back at the hotel each afternoon looking forward to getting our money’s worth out of the all-you-can-eat dinner buffet. A quick walk in to town for an ‘isotonic recovery beverage’ and then early to bed, excited about what tomorrow would bring.
Highlights included Sa Calobra, the 12km twisting descent into Sóller through the stunning Tramuntana mountains, an afternoon at an outdoor velodrome at Sineu and finishing rides with a gentle pedal along the beachfront to a café for ice cream. Bring on next year!
Captain Tom Reynolds Intelligence Officer
       Enjoying the sun at Cap de Formentor, possible the most beautiful 20km of road in the world, though somewhat ‘lumpy’
    The results after flying lap at Sineu velodrome
 Sometimes it is hard to appreciate the view. Capt Liam Scully at the top of the climb from Sa Calobra

   59   60   61   62   63