Barry has finished the Vuelta Mallorca Masters stage race, and brings us his report on the final stages. Read more about the event on their official website, and see Barry's previous stage reports here: Stage One / Stage Two

Stage 4

Today was the last stage and it was the Queen stage that started and ended in Pollenca and went up the Sa Batalla climb.

I was a bit worried about today; I knew the climb would be mental but thought I would be able to hang with some of the guys. But the descent is so quick off the top that I had real fears I'd be dropped, and then have a 20km solo ride of shame on the way home...

What about Stage 3?

Before I go into Day 4 I should mention there was a Day 3, but it was an 8km TT and it was a 2 hour round trip to go and do it. We were told we could miss that out and still do Stage 4, so I took advantage of the sun and rode with mates instead!

So, back to Stage 4...

Stage 4 started off reasonably; I was getting the hang of this now and because there was a major climb all the GC leaders knew that that was where the fireworks would go off; so there was no need to burn any matches too early.

I was looking forward to the climb; it's 8km at 5% and on great roads. I hoped to set a Strava PB on it, boosted by a group to work with. What I had not factored in was the lead up to the climb would be manic; I pretended it was the Tour and Ineos were ramping it up to the base!

At this stage we had turned off main roads and were on really small ones, and getting 60 riders though back roads led to bottlenecks, and that lead to huge surges out of each corner. My HR was 170 before we even hit the climb, this racing malarkey is very different than sportive rides!

There were some real whippets; I saw a guy who had a Pas Normal Mechanism jersey (which is a super race-cut fit) and he was so skinny the arms of the jersey looked baggy on him. I have never seen that before on a Mechanism jersey before (mine is super snug!)

I decided to go up at my own pace; I focused on keeping my cadence above 95 and power around 340w. My HR was so high though; I set a 20 min HR max of 172 average for the climb... that's probably 10-12 beats higher than I'd normally climb at.

As I got settled into the climb I started to pick off some riders; as I passed an English chap I said "well done" and he said "you don't have to make it look so easy". Which pleased my ego no end, but the reality was it wasn't easy at all; all my riding recently has been at tempo or below (1000km rides will do that to you). So threshold stuff is a proper shock to the system.

I eventually passed this Spanish dude who was totally abusing the 'sticky bottle' trick - it was totally shameless. Finally we got to the top, and then it's rolling for a bit before the descent.

As feared; 6 guys dropped me on the descent but I made a smaller group with 3 others. We then had a great 20km section doing through and off. Proper team work. It was fantastic; the road into Pollenca is usually super busy (I don't like it) but we had completely closed roads so it was a real privilege to be able to smash straight down the middle of it.

All too soon we were at the finish line... My first stage race was over. I had [mainly] stayed in the main peloton, I had not crashed, nor had I caused an accident. Mission accomplished!

It certainly whetted my appetite for more stage racing, it's a unique experience and one I strongly recommend. I'll look forward to applying some of my new found experience to the next race!

below: the overall classification awards - photo:

The Gear

Regular readers won't be surprised to hear that Barry is riding a Specialized S-Works Tarmac, one of our absolute favourite road race bikes.

The bike was amazing as ever; so versatile and confidence inspiring

The bike itself is the standard S-Works spec, but he's running Silca latex inner tubes for that bit of extra suppleness, and a touch of marginal-gains weight saving.

In the relatively short stages and mild weather of Mallorca the emphasis for clothing is on speed and efficiency; very different from his recent ultracycling experiences. A skinsuit is perfect for this kind of race, aero without being restrictive (and it just so happens we have the PNS Skinsuit on offer with 25% off until the end of the month).

An S-Works Evade helmet provides further aero benefits, without being too hot when putting the hammer down. It is also brilliantly light weight.

Finally the Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM computer provides data on the go. We'll be looking at that in more detail in the coming weeks.