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Mallorca 312 – preparing for this supremely tough island cycle eventFebruary 27, 2020

UPDATE: Mallorca 312 has now been canceled and postponed for 2021. 

The 8,000 places available for Mallorca 312, which takes place on April 25, 2020, were snapped up in a remarkable 13 hours. According to Ironman triathlete Andreas Linden, former professional cyclist and a cycling coach on the island, Mallorca 312 is an exceptionally challenging event. He shared his insights into training for Mallorca 312 and surviving the race itself.

Andreas cycling above Port de Soller by Ida Carlsson

Andreas fell in love with Mallorca 15 years ago when he was at a training camp on the island with his school. He went back to Sweden reluctantly, vowing he’d come back some day. In December 2011, Andreas’s dream came true and he moved to the island permanently. He now lives in Sineu, in the green heart of the island.

What are the 312’s biggest challenges, Andreas?

The first one is the distance. It’s really, really far. Although the best time for completing the race is around 9 hours, most people are cycling for up to 12 hours or even more. Then you’ve got the heat. If you’re from Northern Europe, you’ll really feel it. And you have the mountains. These are the three biggest challenges.

But you also have to deal with the number of people racing. Apart from you, there will be 7,999 of them so the race is very crowded, especially in the beginning. You also have the unexpected, like a goat suddenly appearing in front of you as you hurtle down a mountain.

How do you prepare for these challenges?

You should start with a nutrition plan that covers energy, water and salt. If you don’t have one, it would be really tough to even finish Mallorca 312.

When it comes to the crowds, these will thin out on the first climb. Make sure you have extremely good brakes and tyres. You don’t want a puncture at 120 kms an hour when you’re flying down from Puig Major towards Soller. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict when a goat will appear.

What sort of training do you suggest?

The event is full but if someone is on the waiting list, they should be getting stuck into their training already. It’s not necessary to cycle the same distance as you do for Mallorca 312. Recovering would take too long. But if you can cycle two-thirds of that distance as soon as possible it’ll be really good. I’d do at least half of the distance up to 240 kms.

Preparing for the heat is more difficult, especially if you’re in Northern Europe where it’s cold. As soon as it gets warmer, you should be doing longer distances. If you can go for warmer rides that’s great. You can also train indoors.

The key thing is always to have good nutrition otherwise any training ride of a decent distance will be too long for you.

What if you haven’t started training already?

If you’ve put yourself on the waiting list, you need to start training today. As long as you don’t have any physical conditions or health issues, you’ll be safe to start but you probably won’t make the final distance. It may be possible if you’re ultra-experienced. If you’ve never trained before, forget it.

But there are short races where you can do 162 or 240 kms. The problem is the race that’s only half of the distance of Mallorca 312 includes all the mountains!

What about nutrition?

Planning your nutrition strategy for the race itself is essential. You should have as many water bottles with you as possible, maybe even a camelback.  A plan as to where to stop and how much water or energy drink to pick up at the station is also vital. You need to know, for example, that you’ll pick up two new bottles when you stop in Soller and more again in Andratx.

Andreas digs in for a climb, photo by Ida Carlsson

I can’t emphasise too much how important it is to plan your water consumption. You need much more than you do in Northern Europe, especially on the climbs.

You’ll cycle much slower and the sun will probably be on you. Plan so you have a bottle of cold water on the climb so you can shower yourself with it – think of it as extra sweat. Study the map.

Also, because this is such a long, hard race, have a plan for how much energy you can consume every hour. If I was doing it, I would say that I’d need 100 grams every single hour.

But, with water, energy bars and energy gels, it also comes down to how much space you have on the bike. You need a lot of stuff with you to give you energy for what could be 12 hours and you’re missing out on lunch, dinner and snacks. Finding the best nutrition plan is super important.

Have you trained anyone specifically for Mallorca 312?

I trained one guy, but he missed the cut-off time because he stopped to help his friend who got a puncture. The cut-off time is at Sa Pobla after, I think, something like 225 kms.

If you don’t get to Sa Pobla in time you have to go back to Platja de Muro because they’ll open up the roads again. Making the distance before the cut-off time isn’t easy. You’ve got the mountains and the heat. It can also be windy. And then you have the goats.

The waiting list for Mallorca 312 is here

Milestone Series, who organise Mallorca 312, also have cycling events in Germany, Sweden and UK. Find out more here

If you have no intention of taking part in Mallorca 312 but would like to pretend you did, go here.

All photos by the supertalented Ida Carlsson.

Andreas Lindén
“It’s impossible to predict when a goat will appear!”

David Holzer

A freelance writer for many years, David is the author of a number of books and magazine articles, mainly on the subjects of the Beat writers and yoga. He is fascinated by the remarkably rich cultural history of Deia, from Robert Graves to the present day.

David also teaches yoga for writers.

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