I knew it was going to longer than that!
Julian decided a 40ish mile route was the plan for the day. We headed out to Campanet for a coffee stop (Almond cake) before heading through Moscari to Selva then turned south to Inca and headed to Sineu for lunch. But, it was market day and packed with people watchers so we took a pretty little lane across a railway line and on to Petra for a late lunch.
We left via a rolling road. Robin and Phil had a blast back (it was all a blur!) on one of the nicest roads ridden to greet Kath and Jan who were having bikes delivered to the Villa.
The rest of us went the same heading from the coast. We had a tail wind with the heat soaking into our bodies. Once on the coast the road becomes a bit busier as we went through Can Picafort heading north to Alcudia. A bust resort and the start of Jan’s Ironman next Saturday morning. A flat route back to the villa with the sea on our right.
A total if 72 miles!
We went out early and headed to Port de Pollença to meet Andrew, Paul and Phil S in their town house before carrying on to the lighthouse at Cap de Formentor – before the coach’s clogged up the road. It was a spectacular roller coaster ride with amazing views – which we paid for with our coffee and pain au raisin!
Back for a seafront coffee while Robin prepped a buffet lunch (credit to the Wheelers jerseys for allowing 4 baguettes to be carried within) a restful afternoon by the pool for the boys while the girls went to Alcudia for an ice cream and pedal exchange.
Dinner courtesy of John, a veggie chilli and a few bottles or this and that!
A massively epic classic!
The Sa Colobra is an iconic climb that no wheeler wants to miss out on.
Phil S, Paul and Andrew met up with us and we all set off together. It’s a much harder beginning to a days ride than Halvasso – given that we have to make 680 metres before we finally descend for the start of this famous climb.
We were in no hurry and the hire bikes had a good range of gears so, spinning up the mountain, we could all enjoy the amazing scenery. We were in good spirits and stopped for coffee and a croissant before dropping down to Sa Colobra. However, Ian was still not feeling 100% and made the decision not to descend heading back to the villa to enjoy the pool instead.
Wanting to get it over and done with we were all soon making our way up the steep incline with Julian, Phil 4 and Robin all chasing times – Robin targeting his “age category”,
Robin says – “Phil and I pressed on, both of us working to our heart rates. We quickly became a small group but I was well out of my comfort zone. We’d attracted a few riders that joined Phil and I and one rider chose to “halfwheel” in the gap between us – this, I thought, was odd and it annoyed me having this person riding so close. I told him to “back off!”. Later he rode up between us again and I said, “ I don’t want you there please”. “I ride behind you?” “yes please, do that”. I think he was Spanish.
Our time in Mallorca is very much holiday time but for Phil and I these little conquests are quite important.
We’re in a group of 4 now; the irritating man who rode between us has thankfully gone to the front and Phil is strong and good enough to ride with him – but I’m not so I’m riding behind another rider and fourth in this small group. The gradient does get easier so at every hairpin I overtake him as I drop a gear and stand for some relief. During the straights to the next hairpin he overtakes me and this repeats itself again and again. I can still see Phil and it startles me like it startled me the very first time I rode this, when I see the iconic arch where the ride loops over itself, indicating the pain was soon to end and I’m now preparing to empty the tanks and catch Phil!
I don’t but I’m so happy for Phil. And I’m now the 3rd quickest (on the Strava leaderboard for men aged 65/69) that has ever been up Sa Colobra. Phil gets a PB at 6 and a half minutes faster than last year.”
The rest of us came up in our own manner taking a variety of times. We are all chuffed to bits with our own achievements.
Day 4, Robin, Phil, Julian and Amanda
We’ve been here before, cycling to Soller. We decided to miss out the coffee at Campenet and the riding through quiet lanes to Bunyola. We decided instead to take the main road and what we thought was the quicker route – but was in fact considerably longer.
Wind and sun conspired against us! The day seemed suddenly like it was going to be quite a long one!! And it looked like we would not get to Port de Soller until 1.30pm, maybe 2pm for lunch.
Cruising down to Port de Soller, Robin suddenly shot “off piste” in search of water. We found water – and also peaches – and ten minutes later we were back at the wonderful restaurant we had found last year. Same amazing reception, same amazing spaghetti with prawn and large beers for the boys. Amanda has a G & T, the same as last year.
Its not “as good” as last year. It’s better! And we still have a beautiful route home. Whom to blame it on – Julian, for his prior knowledge or Robin for his map? Either way we end up climbing hundreds of feet only to descend to the road we really needed.
Amanda is overheating and with the unnecessary and steep climbing we’ve just done, it’s not turning out to be a great start home.
It is hot! Hot, hot hot! Amanda is suffering with her back and the heat of the day is really getting to her. Eventually we meet the road we should have been on and begin climbing to the tunnel that will take us towards Lluc and the long downhill to home. The road surface is perfect, the gradient is easy, the heat is intense. Phil and Julian press on, Amanda struggles in the heat and Robin as sweeper, keeps his distance – he knows Amanda well enough!
It is a long climb but it’s an easy gradient, however due to the heat and Amanda’s struggle with her back progress is slow. Julian and Phil carry on the the top and Amanda and Robin take it more easily sharing what water they had. Thankfully at the top, before the tunnel, Julian was able to top up Amanda’s water bottle. There is still some climbing, but essentially we are now back home. Through two tunnels and two mini climbs and we are descending back down to Pollença.
Through the second tunnel, we’re now in familiar territory and Amanda is happy to press on, in fact, the speed of our return journey home is incredibly quick. Poor at climbing this afternoon, Amanda now shows a clean pair of heels down hill.
We all arrive back, thankfully, not too much after the 7.30 deadline for dinner. Kath and Jan, yet again, produced an amazing meal from a limited range of ingredients in the fridge. Really delicious. Really, really welcome.
90 miles and 7234ft climbed.
Day 4, Ogils
After the exertions of yesterday, climbing the hlls to Sa Calobra, the Wheelers split with Robin, Phil B, Julian and Amanda setting off for Soller (more hills!) and the others wanting an easier ride.
Paul pedalled off on his own to Selva, Campernet, Sa Poblanos, Miri and Alcudia leaving the other six regular ogils to become cycle tourists for the day.
A gentle ride to the caves of Cala de Sant Vincenc which we never found! Even John, who’d stayed there before, couldn’t remember where they were. We enjoyed lovely cake and coffee sitting in the sunshine before riding up to the town of Pollenca.
We climbed the 365 steps to a little chapel and had ice creams while serenaded by a Spanish guitarist. There were distant views back to the coast and Puerto Pollenca where we returned for a lunch by the seafront.
Just 17 miles, but a very enjoyable day with time for a swim and sunbathing on the beach. It’s proper cycling again tomorrow, now we’ve had a good rest.
Mallorca Wheelers – the last day
The last day of cycling has dawned and decisions have to be made. Easy route and wind down or harder route to give it one last push. There was no need for an early decision. We were all going up to the garage stop beyond Coll de Femenier and then we could either turn left to head back to base or turn right towards Port de Soller. We got to the garage feeling pretty good so right or left? In my case along with Phil Samuel and Paul Crudgington sanity did not prevail so right it was! We had a beautiful ride past the turning down to Sa Calobrathrough the tunnels, past the lakes and then down the long hill into Soller. I should at this point emphasise the word LONG. Half way down seeing Soller way below I realised what we were taking on as the route back – not good! I have to say though that Port de Soller was beautiful and we had a superb meal at the restaurant joined by Robin and Phil but the moment came when we couldn’t put it off any longer and we were off back up the hill. I soon found out that in my case this was a bridge/hill too far. I found it brutal. Ten miles of 5% and by half way up I was really struggling. Phil Samuel was doing his best to look after me. He also tried to lift my spirits by telling me that the temperature had fallen from 35 to 32 degrees but somehow this didn’t make ne feel better! I had to have several rests in the shade for rehydration but finally I saw the most welcome road sign I’d ever seen – the sign for the first tunnel. I took another break in the shade of the tunnel chatting with another cyclist whose group had just had to send water down to one of their number who was suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration. What fun we were having! There were still another 25 miles to go to get back to base and there wasn’t much left in my legs for any climbing but it was still beautiful. We got back in good time for the final get together in the Celler de Parra restaurant and another lovely meal to crown a great week.