Life as a Velusso Ride Leader
Most of my time on the bike is spent undertaking solo endurance challenges; normally unsupported and in remote locations. The adventure of being a Ride Leader in the Velusso team is a beautiful and welcome contrast to solitary hours in the saddle.
Imagine riding 400 miles: non-stop, without support, and in multiple foreign countries. During my #BlackForest400 ride I did just that: riding through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, over the course of 28 hours. Your mind and body go through a lot of different emotions and challenges throughout the ride: from adrenaline to fatigue, excitement to loneliness. Your primary concern becomes eating, riding, and just staying awake.
Life on the road as a Velusso Ride Leader is very different, and a fantastic contrast. It is a shared journey, showing guests new routes, new challenges, and helping them to enjoy new achievements.
Supporting a rider as they complete a first ascent of the Sa Calobra climb is a real buzz. Seeing the smile spread across an individual’s face as they make it to the top of the climb, or make it home at the end of their longest day to date; that’s a special feeling.
Being a Ride Leader is being a guide, supporter, coach, and friend; all rolled into one.
My most memorable day to date
It was the third day of a four-day riding trip in Mallorca. The previous two days it had poured with rain, and unseasonably low temperatures had called for two short but still very challenging rides. Today though, the sun was shining.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of heading out into dazzling sunshine, after two days of grey skies and wet roads. From the Velusso Villa, we head up into the Tramuntana mountains; heading south west up to the peak of Puig Major.
The first two hours are blissful: climbing steadily through the steaming waterlogged forest and fields, and stopping only briefly for a coffee in the sunshine.
After descending down the sweeping 14 kilometres of switchbacks to Söller, we roll onto the climb out towards Dejà. For the last two days the roads have been deserted, with most sensible riders opting to hide indoors. Today, everyone has come out of hibernation, and greetings of Hola and Buenos Días are exchanged with every passing smiling cyclist.
It is lunchtime by the time we reach Dejà, so we stop off at the fantastic Italian restaurant for pasta and risotto. A double espresso follows, to kick-start the afternoon burners.
Descending out of the mountains, the warmth and tailwind really arrive, and soon we are heading through the town of Bunyola, and onto the single-track Coll d’Honor climb. The group spreads out, as legs begin to show signs of fatigue, but we regroup at the top, and descend down to Orient for more coffee and ride fuel (cheesecake).
With only a few hours of daylight left, it is a fast spin back to Selva. Here we opt to split the group: one half going the flat and scenic road back through the groves to Pollença, the other emptying the legs by ascending up the Coll de sa Batalla.
The descent down from Lluc, in the late afternoon sun, is the crown jewel in a royally special day of bike riding. We are welcomed back to the Velusso Villa by tapas, beers, and a lasagne the size of a bicycle wheel.
What a ride. What an island. What a fantastic way to meet new people and explore new places on two wheels.