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Mara Abbott Blog: A Small Community on a Small Island!

As an American on a Europe-based team, each spring provides a chance to choose a home base to use between races.  Since this year our team camp was scheduled in Mallorca, I decided that was a good sign that 2016 was a great opportunity to explore that island cycling mecca for the first time.

I was reunited with the Wiggle crew at the Hotel Viva Blue.  I could see why they picked this as the venue.  In the US, my experience with hotels that cater to cycling events has generally involved a note in the bedroom requesting “please do not use bathroom towels to clean your bicycle.”  The Viva Blue has an entire garage with over 300 hooks and locks for securely storing bikes, a bike wash station and a full service bike shop – built right into the hotel.  Not.  Bad.

Living abroad for cycling, one gets reminders of how small of a community our sport can be – perhaps particularly when on a small island!  After a jaunt to Belgium for Le Samyn des Dames left me with an elbowful of stitches seeking removal, I sought the advice of my one known American ex-pat living on Mallorca, Ken Whelpdale.  I hoped to find a local doctor and avoid a second six-hour emergency room stint.  Ken pointed me in the direction of Juan “Jimmy” Mercadel, a local and the doctor for Team Sky.  He, in turn, graciously agreed to meet me at a local bike shop with a pair of scissors.

The day of the stitch removal also featured an island storm with 60kph winds and rain.  I hoped that I would somewhere  be able to find a stationary trainer to get a workout in, but I knew it was a thin hope, as Ken had told me that, “in Mallorca, rain means a rest day,”  when I had sheepishly asked if he had any leads.

When Jimmy heard about my plight (it was a great day to brush up on my Spanish skills), a brief consultation with the (stylish, female!) bike shop employee sent me to the nearby Irish national team house, where I was welcomed with open arms and got the ride in.  It was a bizarre and wonderful day to realize how much we all end up supporting one another out here in Bike World.

Now I am back at the Viva Blue, happily indulging for a few days before I head to Cittiglio.  Although it is the third race on the calendar, Trofeo Binda will be my first start of the new Women’s WorldTour.  I’m honored and excited to get to see first hand what the fuss is all about!


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