A short entry and a very fast reflection on the two-wheeled part of this years holiday.
Mallorca has a reputation as a cyclists paradise and, from the little I have seen, this is entirely correct. The roads are good and generally well-maintained, the motorists are very respectful (apart from some of the tourists) and the scenery is simply beyond belief. Perfect for someone like me, something of a novice to climbing in spite of the Ventoux efforts and, to be honest, hopeless at descending!
I did not do any huge (100km plus) rides but a couple of just under 70km and, in any case, was more interested in going up and down stuff then doing any huge distances. After a couple of warm-up rides I undertook the ride which, at this time, is the highlight of my brief time in the saddle. Cap de Fermentor was stunning, both in terms of the path and also in terms of the objective. I left fairly early in the morning and enjoyed roads that were pretty quiet, just a few other cyclists and the odd car. A real advantage, a couple of days later we (my partner and I) went up by car a couple of hours later in the day. Horrendously busy! The road that is pictured below and are the last few turns before the summit were full of cars on that day!
Another highlight was a climb to the Monastery or Lluc via the Coll de Fermenia hill. Personally, I found this a tough climb in to wind and on a hot day. I don’t mind admitting I was overtaken a few times! As for my descent? Well, the stats were awful and I know they would be bad so I don’t mind admitting I stopped a few times to take pictures. After all, sometimes you have to stop and look. It was worth it!
Add to these a couple of stiff little climbs nearby where we staying, the Ermita de la Victoria near Alcudia for example, and this was a great break. Also, a good personal test for me riding on an unfamiliar rented bike that was also without cleats, as is standard for my bikes. Descending did go well from Cap de Fermentor, albeit not very fast! From Lluc it was more of a lesson and I realised that I have to be wary of my limitations, such as the weakness in the right arm which impacted turning and braking. I am no idiot and so took it slowly. Again, the excuse of fantastic views helped.
The limits did mean that I did not try the famous climb from Sa Calobra; the climb would have been fun but the descent to get there? No, this is one time where I did not feel comfortable. Perhaps if I was on my own bike that I knew well? The tiniest tinge of regret but in the end we all need to know our limitations.
All in all, a great break from a cycling perspective. One that has whetted my appetite for climbing, something I cannot claim to be good at but which enjoy. Add to this some stunning views and this is a perfect break.
And, with a very small number of exceptions, other cyclists were very polite as well which is not always the case. A lot of hellos which, funnily enough, makes the painful stuff easier. Perhaps a simple reflection of the fact that everyone was enjoying themselves; even the nastiest climbs had such stunning views, it was impossible not to smile.
In closing, somewhere I would certainly love to come back to. It helps that, after a hard days cycling, there are plenty of beaches to lay on. Mallorca certainly has it all covered!