“I’m still buzzing from the Sa Calobra climb!”

Let's give a voice to those who know us best : the riders! The Sa Calobra Cycling Club is a team, your team! Today, an interview with Dave, who talks about his experience at the Sa Calobra Cycling Club and how he came to prepare for the Mallorca 312.

For those who don't know you, can you introduce yourself?
Dave Carter
: I started cycling about 4 years ago when I was 48, after transitioning from my main physical activity of road running which had started to put excessive strain on my body and was causing too many injuries. A few friends of similar age, who live close by in Dublin, also started cycling around this time, so four of us started going out for a casual spin at the weekend. And I can’t put enough emphasis on the word “casual”!

It was your second participating in one of our camps. How was it compared to first time?
My first SCCC camp was in September 2021 where I was one of the weaker and less experienced cyclists in a strong group. I learned so much on that first camp, not just from our ride captain Aurelien, but from every one of my teammates. It was a challenging week, which was exactly what I was looking for, and for me, it felt like a real achievement just to complete all the rides.

It was great to come back for a second visit in January 2023. The temperatures were somewhat cooler than before, but still made for excellent cycling conditions, with far fewer tourists and near empty roads.. January in Mallorca beats January in Ireland every time! I knew what to expect this time round, although Aurelien had made some improvements here and there, and these added to the overall experience. Marginal gains!

This camp was focused on preparing for the Mallorca 312 sportive, which I’ve recently signed up for, so there were some new routes this time which are included in the M312 in April. I was still one of the weaker cyclists, but the training I’d done in between visits had made me a stronger rider and the week felt less daunting this time.

How was the ambiance?
Aurelien has managed to create a fantastic environment which is quite unique. On both visits, there was an excellent group dynamic - great camaraderie and support amongst the group, with everyone getting on very well and a lot of shared laughter. The hospitality was awesome – our villa was comfortable, spacious and in a super location, the communal eating experience made bonding with teammates so easy, and as for the food itself – wow! I look back on both visits with very fond memories which I’ll always treasure.

You came to prepare for the Mallorca 312. How do you feel now having done the camp?
Prior to this camp, I felt excited but nervous. I like to set myself a few ambitious goals each year and for me, the M312 falls into that category. I often doubt my own capabilities when it comes to cycling, but after this camp, I feel highly motivated, a lot more positive about my chances, and will be approaching the final 2-3 months training with renewed vigour.

Did you learn a lot this week?
Heaps! Not just from Aurelien, through the six days of cycling and daily workshops (power, nutrition, 312 tips etc.), but also from Paul, our dedicated carer and mechanic, and from all my fellow teammates.

You literally smashed your PR at Sa Calobra this time. How did you manage to do that?
I’m still buzzing from the Sa Calobra climb! Aurelien takes a very data-driven approach, and we were all given a target time based on our respective power output performance during the week. Despite this, I honestly didn’t think I could achieve my target, which was a little over 13 minutes faster than the time I’d clocked in Sep 2021. I had maintained a steady level of cycling and reasonable, though certainly not prolific, number of cycling hours over the intervening months, and combined with a few Kgs weight loss through improved diet, felt physically and mentally stronger.

On the climb itself, I started hard - way over my FTP, and tried to maintain that for as long as possible, with the hope that there would be a minimal distance to the finish line remaining by the time I started to tire and fade. I had nothing left in the tank at the finish, and was happy I'd given it my best shot.

What’s your training plan for the next three months until the race?
I’m now armed with all the tools needed to complete the M312. I’ll be taking a structured approach to training, with a lot of Zone 2 and Sweet-Spot sessions, and at least one long ride at the weekend. I’ll also maintain a healthy diet, and focus on high-quality carbs intake in the days leading up to the event.