A cycling holiday in Mallorca
Sunny Spain…. lucky for some ;)
Our first team “business trip” and for some of us, our first experience of road riding in Mallorca. The days leading up to our trip were spent watching videos of the famous island rides, teasing ourselves waiting for the day we experienced them. Bags packed a few days early we were ready to go!
Wednesday came, the morning of our flight and it was an early start – 4 am…… what is this!!? As you can imagine the whinging carried on until boarding the plane. Some shut eye and we landed at Palma Airport, you could feel the temperature difference. It was glorious! Get us to the hotel and to our bikes!!
This was the view from our room window!
A quick spot of lunch, a classic Spanish 3-course meal and a dash of wine, we were living the dream! Then swiftly headed back to the hotel and got ready to ride. ‘Andy the fettler’, living up to his title began fettling with his bike…. we didn’t have time…. come on Andy!!! Over lunch, the skies had darkened and looked like it wanted to rain. Spirits high nothing could phase us, armed with our Orkaan gear we were ready to go, nothing could stop us! Except, of course, Andy, if he didn’t stop fettling…..
We headed out (unguided) and pointed our bikes in the direction of the mountains. It had begun…. our Mallorcan experience was underway. We started off overly excited, riding through rough roads with no real clue where to go. We ended up riding in a circles, it was comical… even the Spanish road workers recognised us from the previous loop… sniggering to themselves, helpful – Not. A similar incident happened when we went geocaching…..
Eventually…… we reached a road leading out of the town and headed towards the mountains. This road was so smooth, made climbing enjoyable and gave plenty of time to admire the views. Not at any point did I worry about how steep the climb was (something I was apprehensive of beforehand). Surely it had to get worse….
Headed towards Lluc monastery at an easy pace we eventually came to the top of the climb, a quick pitstop at the local cafe, re-fuel and re-group and we were ready to start our descent. The descent was beautiful, very fast, very grippy – you could lean into the corner confidently. The only downside, catching up with cars, they just held us up but great fun none the less.
With 100 meters or so until we arrived back at the hotel, Rob’s leg locked up. CRAMP….. Ouch! On the floor in pain literally 10 seconds away from the hotel, what a Jessie! He couldn’t have waited until we arrived back could he… how inconvenient. Get Hobbling!!
Warren of Challenge Mallorca and host of our trip joined us later on in the evening and took us for dinner. Filled to the brim with food, perfect for refuelling after the day we just had and the biggest day yet to come! Spirits were high and we were ready for day 2.
Woken up by the sound of a rooster – cockadooooooodalooling and the smell of an amazing breakfast there was a sudden flurry of goats jumping out of bed and stampeding down the stairs to see what was awaiting. Setup in the hallway, complete with high ceilings, marble flooring and grand doors leading out to the courtyard, lay our breakfast on a giant stunning hardwood table. A feast fit for kings! Fresh bread, meat, eggs, yoghurt, coffee, OJ and our new favourite – Sliced bread topped with tomatoes and a trickle of olive oil! Perfect!
After demolishing the breakfast, we prepared ourselves for the day in the saddle, allowing Andy some fettling time. It was an Arrow Swarm day, all 5 of us including our guide Warren were wearing the limited edition Arrow Swarm jersey, we looked the part! Ready to set-off, we mounted the bikes that Warren sourced for us (thanks) and prepared to roll out. BUT TROUBLE……… Tim M had a puncture… great start, we hadn’t even made it out of the hotel. Was this a sign of things to come?……..
The route for today – Cap de Formentor.
One of Mallorca’s most famous rides ending up at cap Formentor, the most Eastern part of Mallorca’s Formentor Peninsula.
It was a nice steady flat ride, to begin with. Cami Vell de Pollenca – Cami Vell de Campanet – Port de Pollenca where we stopped briefly for a mechanical. The beach there was stunning, looked like a great family destination! Leave the other half and kids on the beach while you partake in this epic ride…. just a thought ;)
Mechanical sorted we began our journey out of the port and started the climb towards the viewpoint where a tribute monument for famous architect Antonio Parietti stood. Quick selfie and admiration of the views we were ready to get back to it but all of a sudden a gust of wind lifted Andy’s New Met helmet and took it over the ledge where it lay…… it would have been a 200m drop down the cliff face and into the sea if Rob hadn’t grabbed the chin straps and caught it in the nick of time.
Fun and games over we got back to it, a slight detour to visit the Talaied d Albercutz, a 17th-century pirate watchtower. The highest point in the area with vast views of the port and surrounding land.
We didn’t stay long, group photo and back on the bikes, descending down the fast swooping roads with little cross wind blowing. Back on track to Cap de Formentor, the next few miles were great fun, fast descents with some sharp hairpin corners, a great experience which lead us down the mountain and to a forested area. We saw local goats casually grazing on the size of the roads…. always a great spectacle! The road took a sharp incline which lead us out of the forest and back up the mountains. This road was long and steep, gear grinding and sweating away it soon lead us to the entrance of the infamous TUNNEL.
Riding through the tunnel was brilliant fun, an experience in itself. Thinking nothing of it, you could see the end of the tunnel, we ploughed on. The further into the tunnel we went, the more your senses become confused. It was super dark inside and we had no lights, it wasn’t the best move! Pitch black you couldn’t see a thing other than a small speck of light in the distance which was the exit, it was weird, disorientating and gauging where in the road or how close to the wall you were, proved difficult. But wait, it gets better…. It’s extremely interesting when cyclists enter the tunnel from the other end going mac 10 downhill towards you. The only thing you can hear is their freewheel buzzing while you’re struggling on, hoping you’re not in their way.
Tunnel completed, the route had many more challenges install for us. More fast descends, slow steep climbs, sharp turns with plenty of elevation until you reach the top of the another mountain. Once you reach the top there is a small descending bend which takes you around the mountain and from here you can see the road snake down to the Cap. What a legendary sight!
Plenty of cyclists at the cap, loads of bikes – all sorts of makes and models lent against the sides. A complete takeover! At this point, the group rekindled and of course had to try the coffee! Some local heroes came over to greet us, the goats meet the goats. It then occurred to us that all those fun descents that lead us here were now going to be painful climbs. Before we began to seize up we mounted the bikes and cracked on with it.
We ploughed on back the way we came, smashed the uphills, straight through the tunnel and eventually we were almost back at the viewpoint where Andy almost lost his helmet. Then disaster…….. Rob got cramp again. Both legs locked up, he almost came off his bike not being able to un-clip. It wasn’t the best place to stop let alone get a cramp. The road was narrow and we were only a couple of miles from the view point but it was a steep climb. Warren’s expertise came into play and Rob was soon back onto the bike taking on fluid. It was a slow painful grind to the top but waiting for him was a stash of sweets and energy juice. Quick stretch again and we were underway. We descended back down to the port and at a fairly easy pace along the flat, we headed back to the hotel.
We ended day 2 with a beautifully prepared 6-course meal….. don’t we know how to live it up!!? HAHAHA
Our last day in Mallorca :( The weather, as if we were at home – raining. It wasn’t very inspiring. We make wet weather gear, we should have gone out….. it didn’t happen. The general consensus after breakfast was – we weren’t going to go out. Andy, on the other hand, manned up and went out for a ride in the rain. However he forgot to switch on his Strava…. so did he really go for a ride??? If it’s not on Strava – it didn’t happen. Hahaha unlucky Andy!
Bags packed and reluctantly back on the plane home.
”Where did we park the car?”
What a great holiday!…… I mean ‘business trip’……
We had a great time in Mallorca, but it wasn’t all fun & games. Watch this space as we’re planning to feature more heavily on the island very soon. Cheers for reading.