I thought I might connect Mallorca, Yachting & Biking… So I caught up with Steve Branagh (owner of RSB Rigging Sollutions & Marine Hydraulic Solutions) for lunch at Palma Sports and Tennis in Santa Catalina… Fresh from a 2 week Festive holiday in South Africa, we sat in the sun and caught up about his biking and how he ended up here in Mallorca
When did you move to Mallorca?
Kate & I moved to Mallorca in 1999. I started RSB Rigging Solutions in September 2005 and we have grown year on year ever since. We are based in the STP yard in Palma and specialise in servicing super yachts, un-stepping and re-stepping masts, supplying running rigging and load testing. In 2013 myself and another partner started Marine Hydraulic Solutions (MHS), a hydraulic company that is also based in STP and services super yacht and large power boat clients that carry out refit work here in Palma. The luxury yacht service industry in Palma has grown dramatically in the last 15 years, it is without a doubt the biggest hub world-wide for super yacht refit work. I see this growth continuing into the future however it will require the local government and Port Authority to look at the current issue of lack of berthing space that is necessary to accommodate these large yachts.
My wife Kate owns the Superyacht Cup, which is held in Palma in June every year. She has worked on the regatta for 15 years and when the company that owned it decided to close it during the financial crisis a few years ago we decided that as the regatta is so important to Palma and encourages so many boats to spend more time here we would take on the event and keep it running. The regatta combines competitive racing alongside an informal & relaxed social programme, this years dates are 19-22nd June and we are really pleased with the interest we have already received.
So…when did you get into biking and why?
I always rode bikes as a kid… But once I started spending more time on the water, running large yachts, it took a back seat – there was never enough space for a bike and we spent all our spare time diving, wake boarding, etc.. In 2005, I moved ashore and started RSB Rigging Solutions. The time, effort and frequent periods of stress that come from starting your own company often mean that other parts of life take a back seat and for me this was my fitness. At 40, I had a mid-life crisis and decided that Triathlons were the way forward and started training and competing in sprint & half ironman distances. I also enjoyed duathlons and running races. After a few years of constantly pushing myself in all three disciplines, I was frequently getting running related injuries so stopped the triathlon training and concentrated on the bike.
What are the 5 best biking trips you have completed?
Haute Route – Alps: This was the first long distance event and as such was very daunting as I had no idea what to expect. It was a 7 day 850k stage race from Geneva to Nice with 18,000m of climbing through the Alps taking on a lot of the famous long & steep climbs of the Tour de France. It was brutally hot and physically and mentally exhausting. There was a group of us that entered and the feeling of elation when we crossed the finish line was amazing.
Haute Route Dolomites: This was the same format as the Alps ride only tougher! The climbs were steeper and the weather was very cold with persistent rain and fog for the first 4 days. We started in Venice and finished 850k later in Geneva, having ridden many of the classic Italian and Swiss climbs. I thought the Alps was tough, but this ride took me to a few dark places in the battle to finish the event!
Raid du Pyrenees: This is a legendary ride of around 750k that requires riders to finish in under 100 hours with various towns on the way that you must get a course card stamped as you go through. A group of us started on the Biscay coast on the Spanish/French border and cycled via what appeared to be every high pass in the Pyrenees to the finish town on the Mediterranean coast. Again this was a tough ride in hot weather but with a smaller group of good mates and a great friend driving a support van with our bags between stops it was a huge amount of fun.
Tour de Mont Blanc: This is by far the hardest one day event I’ve completed. It’s a 335km race around Mont Blanc with a total of 84500m of climbing. We started at 0500 with a 10k descent in the dark and rode for 18 hours via iconic climbs like the Forclaz, Grand St Bernard, Petit St Bernard and the Cormet du Roseland with final 15k’s to the finish being up a very steep mountainside in the dark. This was a brutal ride and while I was just about fit enough it taught me a lot about mental toughness, how to set simple goals on the road (just ride to the next lamppost, then the next one etc..) and how to overcome the urges to give up that a lot of competitors listened to and climbed off their bikes.
My first Mallorca 312: This was the first long distance ride I completed and started the love of this style of event. The sportive was less well known at this stage with a lot less people and the course was a full lap of Mallorca. I rode with a group of mates and had a great day on the bike.
What are you training for at the moment?
I would like to take on a couple of distance rides this summer. I plan on completing another 312 in April and would like to enter at the Haute Route Norway with you and a few mates. Right now the winter is looking busy with work in Mallorca and regattas with clients in the Caribbean. This makes training plans hard to stick to however at this stage of the year I am just trying to build up base miles whether on the road or by riding a turbo trainer using the Zwift program.
By Dan Marsh
Owner & Founder
+34 616 529 111