In Koersplaat Stories we meticulously relive that one, unforgettable queen stage of a rider. In this edition Nikky Alberts and her final sprint in Gran Fondo Mallorca 312.
“In front of us, a gigantic peloton of red lights winds up the Coll de Femenia. This is mental doping.”Nikky Alberts
We’re on the bus. A group of crazy people participating in a Gran Fondo today. My travel companions are enthusiastic. I’m having a hard time. This is not just any Gran Fondo. This is the Mallorca 312. Today we have to cycle more than 5000 altimeters. I focus on uplifting music. This is the real thing.
There we are, under the starry sky and waiting for the start signal. It is rumored that Alberto Contador will start in the front row. Here in place thousand, I am not surrounded by pros with shaved legs. Here are mainly cyclists with different outfits. Even someone with a garbage bag as a raincoat. It is indeed cold, but I feel like flaming. And I’m not the only one. So-called Dimonis run along the side. Fire eaters who, according to tradition, try to chase away the darkness.
The start signal sounds and not much later we roll over the starting line. Still in the dark, but that makes the view all the more impressive. Ahead of us, a peloton of red lights winds through the Serra de Tramuntana on its way to the Coll de Femenia. This is mental doping. The sun rises and we begin the descent. The road is closed and we go down like cannonballs. I have said few words today, but when I see the sea, I shout to my companions “Party!”. Because that’s how it feels.
07:39 – 13:24
But it’s not just a party. What follows is suffering in a thousand ways. On the flat, we finally start to cycle faster again. Towards Playa de Muro I start with math. “At this rate, we will be there in no time”. The hard pace isn’t for long. Morale begins to drop. It was time to blast, but I feel my legs burning.
At 88 km before the end, I meet Nicolien Luijsterburg. “You’re Nikky, aren’t you?” I’m talking for the first time today. She immediately feels like a fellow sufferer. I ask her if she knows how many women are still ahead of us and she tells me that we are leading. “So we’re going to sprint?” At the same time, I doubt it. Sprinting after three hundred kilometers, it shouldn’t get crazier.
The last fifty kilometers are terrible and hard. The limits of my fitness, energy and mental strength are being tested. We ride in a group of six, but everyone is broken. We cycle past a sign with 300 kilometers. I’m mentally broken. Why do we actually cycle 312 kilometers?
Ten and a half hours on the bike. The finish is narrow. I see Nicolien coming up behind me. She starts a sprint. I’m trying something similar. I see a peak in heart rate, but I can barely get my wattages up. Nicolien and I hug each other, it doesn’t matter who won. We don’t know either. But what a battle, what a ride, what an achievement. We did it!
A little later I get a Spanish phone call: “You have won”. After a while I understand: I just win the Mallorca 312 Gran Fondo. The award ceremony is done by – yes – Alberto Contador. I storm onto the stage and get a rock and three kisses. No one can take that away from me. The commenter sees it and asks what am I happiest with? “That I was the fastest today.”
Two weeks later I’m still glowing from this victory. The stone is prominent in the living room and my Rideposter hangs on the wall. A shout-out to Martin Lukasse. He motivated me to participate and win!
Have you also experienced a special adventure? Let us know. Maybe next time we’ll discuss the ride of your life!