Cycling · Mallorca

Mallorca Cycling Holiday: Day 3

Unlike the previous morning, breakfast was much easier to sort out, since I had some left-over muesli and milk from the previous morning. That meant I was able to get going a bit sooner, and before long, I was back out riding around the bay.

Coll de sa Crue (Cat 2: 7.9 km @ 4.6%)

The first 25 km were exactly the same as the previous day: riding along the beach, through town and up the very quiet and narrow Coll de sa Crue past the military base. This was now my second time up the hill, and was able to pace myself a little better. Also there was a military helicopter that flew in, landed, and flew away again which was fun to watch as I navigated the switchbacks.

On the descent, instead of turning right to head towards Puigpunyent, I turned left. This took me on a large loop around the western corner of the island. At the bottom of the descent, I found myself in the town of Calvià. Here, I had a problem. The road that I had intended to take which led through the centre of town was one way, in the wrong direction. I guessed some detour, which turned out to be rather inefficient, but made it through town nonetheless. I checked out a café on the way, but all it seemed to have was drinks and no food.

Coll d’en Esteve (Cat 4: 3.5 km @ 4.1%)

I rode on the the next town: Es Capdellà. The road rose gently into town from the river, by the time I was on the other side, I was climbing what was probably the easiest climb of the whole trip, the Coll d’en Esteve. This was relatively short, and only became steep near a lone tight hairpin at the top, but marked the change over into the Andratx valley. There wasn’t much to write home about regarding this climb.

Coll de sa Gramo (Cat 3: 5.1 km @ 5.3%)

The descent took me to the outskirts of Andratx, one of the larger towns to the west of Palma. Here, I managed to find a café which sold me a nice, but cold, meat pie. This was much needed, as the next climb started almost straight away: the 5 km long Coll de sa Gramo. This was an absolutely gorgeous climb. Apart from the first kilometre or so, it hugs the mountainside and the view isn’t obstructed by many trees. You get to see the top from a long way off, and you always feel like you are climbing towards it. Very quickly, you get views over Andratx and the surrounding area, but it is the alure of the view of the other side of the pass which really motivates you. As I climbed, I kept being overtaken by a couple on holiday who would stop for some photos, drive on a little, then stop again. Near the top, there was a large and popular picnic area, but the real charm was to come over the summit and be greeted by a wide view over the north coast of the island; the vast Mediterranean sea stretching off to the horizon. The climb itself was rather constant; though it is rather easy to imagine the sweeping shots of a peloton from a helicopter.

Coll des Pi (Cat 3: 1.9 km @ 6.6%)

After the long descent down one of the many steep gullies on the north side of the island, I arrived at some avalanche tunnels. It is always bizarre to ride through tunnels; it is not a perspective I usually see with regard to cycling. Straight away after the tunnels, I was back to climbing, this time the Coll des Pi. This was one of many undulations of the coast road as it wound its way high above the steep coast. Though it was the first and steepest, it didn’t feel like much of an achievement, because the road would just go out and around another headland and climb again. It was getting later in the day, and the constant undulation really took it out of my legs. It seemed like an age until I would pass through the two towns along the road: Estellencs and Banyalbufar.

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Coll de sa Bastida (Cat 3: 2.9 km @ 6.9%)

After Banyalbufar, there was another climb to get back onto the Palma watershed: the Coll de sa Bastida. This climbed right out of the town, and you got some good views of it early on, but it quickly got covered in by the trees all the way to the top. There wasn’t really much to remark about the climb, but once I was over the top it kept undulating even more, until I could finally descend through Esporles.

Around this time, I made a slight wrong turn. The sign to Palma said to go left, but this was a faster way for cars, longer overall. I ended up having to go back a little to follow the less busy and more quaint road through Establiments.

I also got chased by a dog, which meant I had to swerve dangerously into the left lane to avoid hitting and injuring the dog, myself or my bike.

By the time I got back through Palma, I looked at my Garmin, and saw that there was a fair possibility that I could make it back to my hotel in under 5 hours, so I set it as a challenge for the now familiar ride around the bay. This challenge meant I would have to ride fast, which was hard to do around the somewhat pedestrian friendly first half of the ride around the bay. The final 5 km along the beach road were flat out; some of the hardest I have ridden so late into a day’s ride. Near the end, I realised I wasn’t quite going to make it, and so backed off a little. But half a minute later, I realised that I perhaps could. I sprinted up the little hill away from the beach and stopped outside the hostel in 5 hours exactly.

Now that I knew that the restaurants closed early, I was prepared, and went out to a steakhouse I had seen on the ride home for dinner. I had a large-ish steak for dinner, which felt especially good after the hard finish to my ride.

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