Mallorca 312 2022

A group of 4 Kildare Cycling club members and two friends, Jonathan D’Arcy (third from left) and Tom Balfe (fourth from left), jetted off to Mallorca for the 12th edition of the Mallorca 312.

Kildare Cycling Club was represented by Adrian Gannon, Michael Lambert and John Murray who tackled the slightly shorter though very demanding 225km and 167km routes and Eamon Kirwan who braved the full Mallorca 312 The Mallorca 312 is a 312km route (4,500 metres climbing) with 8,000 participants, a 14-hr completion time with cut offs throughout, on closed roads. Taking in the heights of the Serra de Tramuntana and the north of the island.

We travelled out on Thursday the 28th April for 5 days of cycling and revelry. Three of us had been following an online training plan from an English cyclist’s website called “Ride” (not the most appropriate name for a website selling online training plans).

We had our Bikes all set but some of us were still undecided which route we would tackle. Michael got chatting to former Irish Pro cyclist and legend, Sean Kelly in the exhibition area the day before the start.

He asked Michael, “and what route are you going to do?” Michael replied, “I haven’t decided yet.” That did not sit well with Sean, “ah, you have to decide now and go for it” insisted Sean with a determined look, followed by a wry smile.

Eamon Kirwan with Sean Kelly
Michael Lambert with Sean Kelly

Barry Meehan (as in BikefitBarry), who has cycled the shorter distances of the 312 gave some tips leading up to the event, “the 312 is like having a box of 40 matches and you need to make sure you know when to light them”.

We all got out of bed before 5am on Saturday morning the 30th of April, to ensure we were as close to the start line as possible.

By 6.30am, some 8,000 cyclists set off from Playa de Muro. The mayor of Muro, Miquel Porquer, with the help of Sean Kelly, cut the ribbon for the start, and Muro’s demons, were on hand for some light entertainment and a distraction for what lay ahead.

As we started off, cyclists took in the amazing sight of the rising sun over the bay as we cycled along almost parallel to the beach on the way to Alcudia.

Coast road to Alcudia

The start was “busy,” with cyclists overtaking each other until it began to settle down on the first long climb, the CAT 2 “Col de Femenia”, 7.1kms long at c.6% average gradient, was just one of the many, many climbs on the day. Lots fuelled with excitement and by the occasion raced up. Other more experienced cyclists or more measured in their approach, kept their powder dry for the long day ahead.

Puig Major 1,436m @5.9% gradient – the descent is just incredible at 14.1kms long

There were no crosswinds to be mindful of and cyclists could choose their lines having use of the full width of a closed road. The descent just flows beautifully, and the roads surfaces were excellent. The climbs varied with long straight sections to multiple switch backs and hairpins in 26-degree heat and as you began descending after each climb, you were mindful that another climb lay waiting for you at the bottom. Water and fuelling stations are very well positioned along the route but busy.

The striking thing about cycling the 312 are the several types of stunning scenery from busy built-up towns to sleepy villages with one old lady kneeling, praying at the side of the road en-route. Eventually, you arrive at a junction where you decide to either continue straight for the 225 or left for the 165 route. Further on, the next choice of route was to turn right for the 312 or continue straight for the 225. Turning right, the 312 leaves the main road and takes to narrower country roads until we get to Arta. Some sections were rough, with lots of steep ramps and numerous short sections of road meandering around fields ending in 90 degree turns which meant slowing down and having to push off again.

Serra de Tramuntana Coastline

With just approx. 20km before the finish, cyclists completing the full 312kms, we pass through the town of Arta where we were given a reception akin to Professional cyclists you see on TV. Metal barriers hold back the crowds on the way up to the town square, Adults, and children, holding out their hands over the barriers and chant words of encouragement. At the town square, there is a Party atmosphere with music blaring and cyclists come to a virtual stop and encouraged to drink Beer from plastic cups handed out by guys who try their best not to let you pass until you take one. Not the best way to stay hydrated, there was still a distance to go.

After a quick drink and refuelling, cyclists look forward to the last kilometres to the finish line in Playa de Muro.

Thankfully, we all successfully finished our chosen routes safely with hugely impressive times and performances.

Crossing the finish line….

L-R, Michael Lambert, Adrian Gannon
John Murray
Eamon Kirwan

We met a small number of Irish on the way around who recognised our club colours & sponsors on our club Gilets. We were encouraged to wear the events Mallorca 312 Kit for several reasons on the day, but our members still managed to wear some of the Kildare Cycling Club Kit.

(L-R, M. Lambert, A. Gannon)

The whole trip far exceeded our expectations, in terms of Accommodation for ourselves and our Bikes, Weather, Cycling, Scenery, Food, Beers on the Beach and general late-night merriment.

Former Pro cyclist Ivan Basso said after finishing: “I have enjoyed it very much. The scenery was spectacular, and the atmosphere was incredible.”

We could not agree more. We will be back!

Entries will open for the 2023 Mallorca 312 in October 2022.

Mallorca 312 2022 Teaser Video