End of October-beginning of November. The in-between season for the most of us. Cold, rainy, and gets dark way too early. Rollerskis are packed away while the snow hasn’t quite arrived yet. So, brave the rain or pull ropes on that old good SkiErg imagining it’s Vasaloppet time again?
Well, there is an alternative worth considering – and this story is about what you could actually do for relatively little money , but with great effect for your skiing prowess and overall well-being, including your mood.
We are in Majorca, the island in the Mediterranean. Naturally, everybody heard of it and many even paid due respect to its sandy beaches and ancient culture – in the summer.
Some time ago, good and entrepreneurial people of Majorca have realized , that apart from usual summer crowd, there is another, spring and autumn crowd – that of dedicated endurance sportsmen, both pro and amateurs.
That’s how the island become autumn capital of cyclists, triathloners and runners of all hues.
A couple of years ago one native of Majorca, a trailrunner who fell in love with skiing while studying in university in continental Spain, have decided that the truly cool sport of our days is called rollerskiing.
Meet Manuel “Manu” Rullan, founder and owner of Rollerski Majorca.
Here is what you get by signing for his camp:
– first things first: you meet with other people who happened to share your feelings that skiing is the best sport, period. You talk training regimen, equipment and races that you run and those that you plan to run. And that’s in itself priceless, right?
– brand new or very lightly used rollerskiing equipment of very decent quality (double check the pole sizes availability and brands ahead) – the only thing you have to bring is your boots.
– most of the rollerski training is on the roads, Manu will accompany and cover you with his brightly coloured van. He also makes pit stops with water and powerbars – so for once you feel like a pro skier with his own service team at the distance.
– partner hotel is a trying hard to be a sportsman’s paradise with top notch training facilities on the premises and portraits of various world and Olympic champs who train there throughout the season adorning the walls. Even the food there is skewed towards needs and preferences of endurance sportsmen. Big bonus: free of charge, round the clock self service laundry for all your sweaty shirts.
The best part, the icing on the cake, is that if you time it right, you get to train alongside a professional skiing team. This October it happened to be the Team United Bakeries, one of the best outfits of the Visma Ski Classics marathon series, led by the reigning Vasaloppet champion John Kristian Dahl and Astrid Øyre Slind, who came 2d in the same race .The full story of what it feels like to train with great skiers of our times is coming on this site later- as well as interviews with Slind and Dahl, – but even a day with pros is worth the trip to Majorca.
Rollerski Majorca camp participant and Vasaloppet hopeful Ilkka Korhonen gets advise from John Kristian Dahl, Vasaloppet triple winner>
To be clear: Dahl & Co are on wheels Number 4 while amateurs attending the camp use number 2 – and that handicap kinda, sorta allows the best of them to keep up with the pros during the training session . Advice on your technique from any of Dahl, Slind, Berdal or Ronning? Priceless!
Berdal and Slind are in good spirits. With nature like that around you’d be too>
ABOUT TRAINING ON THE MAJORCA ROADS
There are two types of rollerskiers: those who train on the roads and those who train on specialises rollerski or cycling paths. It’s a bit daunting to step on the road if you belong to the latter category, but drivers on Majorca are surprisingly careful and polite, likely thanks to flocks of cyclists that are everywhere.
Road surfaces vary from rollerski-petfect to chipseal, some stretches are unpleasant but you could avoid them if it really bothers you (I.e.hitch the ride in Manu’s van )
Vast choice of inclination from very flat to real mountain will help you model any winter race – there is a reason why world’s top marathon teams choose the island ( United Bakeries’ main rival, Team Santader is also training on Majorca now)
Perfect for serious training – about 20-25 degrees Celsius, dry throughout October
Yes, you still could swim in the sea that is still 22-23 degrees and beaches are refreshingly empty.
WHAT IT COSTS
Naturally, you need to double check with Manu, but in October both flights and hotels cost a fraction of they would in high season, making rollerski camp in Majorca surprisingly affordable.
And no, this is not an advertorial (we would tell you if it were, outright), so do your own googling for rollerski + Majorca, you do yourself a great favour. And see you on Majorca next year.