Majorca Day 3 - A Van With a View - Life in my Wing Mirrors
A heroic almost superhuman effort sees me limping from my bed to the GPM bus. Mark and Jules' loaded hints and half-spoken and half-breathed suggestions that there 'is a role for everyone whatever condition they are in' proving the power of negative motivation.
A short drive to the supermarket to stock upon provisions and I am out on the open road. Only to see Chris from New York coming the other way. Not from NY but from the 1st climb. Mine and Jules emergency tweaks to his feet and position in the fading light (see image below) proving futile in the face of his twanging ITB. That is a bummer of a start to the day and I feel bad as he waves me through in the opposite direction.
On the climb i get a van's eye view. Pollenca to Lluc is steady but harder than it looks because the road doesn't twist and turn too much at the start. The groups are nicely spaced and everyone looks comfortable. I feel locked inside my own head and distinctly re-real in a cheap beer kind of a way the higher I get up the climb. I can't get the temperature right as I oscillate between air-con, heat, windows down or up? Once I jettison Sandy at the top of Sa Colobra I settle for passenger window half-down, heating on full and AC every 10 minutes. Just living the life.
A short burn to the top of Puig Major sees Nick get his 3rd puncture of the day (jury still out on Mavic tyres?) and GPM guide Richie blow his biscuits as I tow him back to the fast group at 37mph uphill. Only I keep him just in the wind about nine feet from my bumper for at least a mile and a half. Stubborn bugger won't fold as I give him a slightly detached wan smile in the mirror. Colds make you sadistic don't they? Everyone knows that.
Next up - what's this? As I reverse the van at the bottom of Puig I see Alun do a submarine in my right mirror - he has ridden his Zipped Cervelo straight down a Majorcan drain. Is this his unconscious mind taking over I wonder?
Alan and Tony do a top job of inspecting the surface damage while I sleep-walk up to Deià in my private VW bubble.
In my fug I remember a peach of a lunchstop with a blinding view and plenty of room just outside Deià. A brief foray further down the mountain proves this is the sweetspot and there is no other. So I drive back up and slowly pretend to try and shoe-horn into a non-existent space between the few tourist cars already there. I need the whole space if this is to work - i.e. a bus and 26 riders - so they will all need to leave if this is to work. I keep easing and shoe-horning and I see in my mirrors a few vaguely stressed leisure suits make for their rented Corsa's, doubtless aware of the excesses on their insurance policies.
One car hangs around as the driver and partner are a little younger and more confident. I ease unnecessarily close to them and look blankly down into their car. A look at my pale unshaven face seems to do the trick.
I now reposition the bus across as much of the space as I can using the proven German towel philosophy.
The group rolls in 30 seconds later and lunch is immediately served alfresco.
The rest of the afternoon rolls under my wheels. Special mention should go to Gretchen and George. They were mentioned in dispatches by GPM guides and Jules out on the road. Both excelled in their groups on a very hard day.
Me I piloted a silver VW bus around in a trance and saw life in my mirrors. To be honest I still don't know if it was all a dream?