Thursday, 2 June 2016

Mallorca & The dhb Aeron Collection

There is something about Mallorca, maybe it's the mountains, the beaches, the sun, but maybe it's the ice cream…  I first visited Mallorca in May 2015, it was pretty epic, so Lucinda & I decided to come back again this May. This time of year could lead to changeable weather, but we were lucky, with temperatures around 23/24 degrees and 5/7 days of full sun so really, perfect cycling conditions, and a perfect opportunity for me to try out the new dhb Aeron and Aeron Speed range. 

Now unlike many, we don’t both taking our own bikes. In my opinion, it’s a huge hassle, you’ve got to find a bike box, pay the excess baggage and cart the bloody thing to the airport, not to mention the risk of getting your bike damaged… We use PRO cycle hire ( so have it pretty good. For the week (6 days) we paid 100 Euros each, and were equipped with Massi Team Carbons, full Ultegra, Fulcrum Quattros, they’re really nice bikes.

Day One
We arrived late on Monday, picked the bikes up Tuesday and headed out to Formentor Lighthouse, a classic route which has a few good climbs (circa 10 min efforts) and some truly spectacular views of the Island. It’s a great way to experience just a little bit of what you’ll be riding over the coming week.  The weather was perfect, no wind, clear blue skies, and around 23 degrees. I opted for the Aeron bibs and jersey on this ride. First up, the bibs. Straight from the packet the quality and feel are excellent, and improved on the previous years models. Once on, they feel very comfortable and supportive, the quality of the material is excellent and the fit is superb. The new leg grippers not only look great, but do a very good job of well, gripping. One of my pet hates is when bib shorts ride up, uncomfortable and looks rubbish. No movement at all in these. I wore the Aeron SS base and the Aeron Jersey as well. With the base, I was particularly interested to see how it would cope with the heat. In short, pretty well. It’s really is very comfortable, fits well and does an excellent job of wicking the sweat away. Kind of all you really need for a base I guess. The Aeron short sleeve jersey is actually one of my favorite items from the collection, lightweight, simple design. Good length arms and gripers, and no riding up or flapping from the main body of the jersey.  After the out and back we decided to go and check out the old town of Pollenca, with the promise of ice cream, coffee and a steep hill which looks back towards the bay. The coffee was indeed excellent, and the views superb, well worth a trip up the road. 

View from the hotel

Pollensa beach on Day one. 

On top of Formentor

Climbing again

Looking out from Formentor Lighthouse

Up & Down 

Old Pollensa Views

Day Two
Today was to be Sa Colabra (Col Deis Reiss) a 6 mile climb, averaging 7%. We had ridden it the year before, but together, so I was keen to stretch the legs and see where I was in terms of VAM and a time. We set off early (7am) as it’s 30 miles to the bottom of the climb (out and back ride) and can get pretty busy with bikes, cars and coaches, so if you want a clear run, hitting it early is essential. Time up the climb was 31:03 – 174bpm Ave – VAM 1291 – 307/27109. Seemed a pretty solid effort,  I always think I can improve after an effort, and certainly think I could and should get to 1,300 VAM on such a climb, maybe it was the hire bike… Pretty sedate ride back to the hotel, but I was glad for the cold beer by the pool after!

Summit Selfie

Classic Shot 

Back from lluc

Day Three
First time UP the Col de Battalla today. We rode down it last year , and it was a bit sketchy, loads of traffic, so another early start. Down through Campanet and Moscari. Distance is only 4.8 miles, and only averaging 5%, it’s a very smooth climb, you can really build up a rhythm. Time was 20:18 – 169bpm Ave – VAM 1126 – 368/29962. One to certainly improve on in terms of HR and VAM, but overall not too bad. Upto the turn off for Sa Colabra, and then back down into Lluc. Another scorching day, so we went for some lunch at Cala Sant Vicenc. Never been here before, but it’s truly stunning, a few little coves and beaches, restaurants on the cliff front and emerald blue sea. Think I might just stop here.


Cala Sant Vicenc

Day Four
The Ironman 70.3 event was on during our stay, so we took the opportunity to ride the course, around 55 miles with 3,750ft of climbing, most (if not all) of which is at the start up Coll de Femenia, an excellent 5 mile climb into the mountains from the coast. As we reached the summit the cloud was getting lower, the sun wasn’t coming out and the drizzle started as a fine mist, building upto a more constant stream of rain… Time to get off the mountain I think. A pretty sketchy descent down the Col de Battalla and through Campanet and out onto the flat Mallorcan lanes. A really fun route out to Muro and Sa Pobla then finishing in Alcudia. A great option for when the weather perhaps isn’t as nice as it should be.

Aeron Tan

Day Five
It rained, it rained a lot. So we watched the Ironman from the shelter of a tree for an hour or so, went for a run, chilled out and watched the Giro for the rest of the day. The evening came around, the rain had stopped, the roads were drying out. Had to get out on the bike really. Just a quick ride up the first Formentor climb. This is relatively short at only 2 miles, but average 6% gaining 640ft. I forgot my HR monitor, so just went “all out”. Was in a fair bit of pain at the top, but it seemed a good effort. Turns out it was. 8:45, VAM of 1337 and 76/30769. That’s more like it.

Day Six
This was to be out last ride on the Island, and I’d planned a big one. Weather was looking perfect again, a fresh start, but temperatures due to build up throughout the day. The route would head South of the mountains, through Campanet, Selva, Lloseta, over the Orient and Col de Soller into the Port of Soller, before hitting the biggest climb on the island, Puig Major. This was going to clock in at around 90 miles and 9,000ft of climbing, a big day in the saddle, so an ideal opportunity to test out the new Aeron Speed kit. The speed range is a step up in the collection from the standard Aeron kit. An emphasis on aero, lightweight and close fitting garments for long days in the saddle really rings true. The bib shorts are just excellent. As soon as you put them on, they feel comfortable, the wider mesh straps and mesh back offer great comfort and cooling capabilities, whilst still providing support. For me though, the best part about these bibs is the pad. dhb use a CyTech Elastic pad, I wont bore you with the details, but the different thickness throughout the pad, coupled with the channels in the pad to reduce and stop numbing meant it was amazing on this ride. Literally no discomfort at all. Of course, you don’t just buy something because it’s comfortable, it has to look good. Thankfully dhb deliver here as well, with a more matt finish to the fabric, and a range of colours for the band at the bottom. The first thing you notice about the Aeron Speed jersey is how slippy it is, sounds odd, but the material is very aero. Super lightweight and breathable it was a pleasure to ride on such a hot day in the mountains. I like the design too, looks a bit different to the standard block colours/patterns. The fit is perhaps the best bit, again, very aero and close fitting, there was no issues with the material riding up or bunching, and the sleeve length was long and gripped well. The ride to Port de Soller seemed to take longer than expected, yet we arrived around 11am, found a bar on the harbour front in the sunshine, consumed a coffee and cake and relaxed. Wasn’t quite sure I wanted to smash myself up the Puig now… As with the other long climbs on this trip I wanted to really test myself. This is a superb climb, 8.8 miles at 6%. I was feeling great so aimed to sit between 175bpm and 180bpm for the full duration of the climb, and looking through Strava I was very consistent here. Time was 42:39 – VAM 1143, average HR of 178 and 203/17485. From here it was the standard route through Lluc back to the hotel and a well earned rest.

Early morning into the hills


Snack Stop 

So that’s Mallorca done for another year, and another properly good week away on the bikes, enjoying the weather, the roads and some sweet kit. I was happy with my performance on the hills, might be quite a way off from the HC season, but pretty good practice for the Etape!  

Special thanks to dhb for the awesome kit, you can see the Aeron collection here:  For a bit of advice of size, I’m a Small in the jersey and a Large on the bib shorts. I’m 6ft 4” with a 30” waist and 36”-37” chest.

We stayed at the Pollenca Park in Puerto Pollensa, all inclusive package, it’s one of the bigger hotels in the area and caters very well for cyclists, secure basement storage for bikes, a great selection of fresh food throughout the day, and breakfast which is aimed at cyclists (porridge). We flew with Monarch and hired our bikes from who provided a fantastic service.

Thanks for reading again.


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