by Esra Parr
Having only started riding my road bike again a year ago after about 30 years of pottering about on a hybrid with regular pedals, I started riding with BellaVelo last July. I enjoyed the regular rides and the social evenings, but it was with some trepidation that I booked on to their training camp to Mallorca. I was very much encouraged to do it, and was told that all abilities would be catered for and that I’d be ‘fine!’. Isn’t that what everyone says?...
I had previously completed a 300 mile charity ride from Liverpool to London (the reason for starting riding again) so had experienced the pain of the hills in the Peak District, so I was concerned that the seriously hilly rides of Mallorca would be beyond me. Having had a chat with the organisers at Viva Velo, it was decided that I should take my own bike if I possibly could and not to worry about my abilities - I’d be ‘fine!’. So I duly rented a Bike Box Alan and packed all the kit I own, tons of nutrition and headed off feeling slightly nervous!
I downloaded all of the routes onto my Garmin before I went and decided that I’d be doing the shorter easier rides every day - after all, I was going for a holiday wasn’t I? Before I knew it, I was being whisked off with the pack, allowed to ride at my own pace with someone keeping an eye on me at all times, yet encouraging me with tips and hints on how to improve my technique and ride smarter. I learned how to descend safely and the importance of nutrition. Despite the weather being unkind in the middle of the trip, I managed to get up hills that were beyond my wildest dreams and even managed Sa Calobra, albeit rather slowly! I was ‘Fine!’. Spending time with a fantastic group of like-minded women who were hugely supportive of one another, was an absolute pleasure. I built on existing friendships and made new ones too.
I returned home feeling rather pleased with myself and can see where and how I’ve improved. I’m still one of the slowest, but I’m feeling more confident and have now signed up for other sportives and longer rides. Sign me up for the next Bella Velo training camp!