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Mallorca mountains mastered!

Rick Chapman reports on the club's recent trip to Mallorca:

Majorca is a fantastic place to cycle, with climbs and roads to suit all. With many hire shops it is geared up for riders. Car drivers are respectful, surfaces mostly well maintained. Coastal roads show off great sea views, and the cols offer challenging physical and mental tests. Village squares, often next to ancient churches, are wonderful relaxing places for a cafe stop.

The Climbs

Sa Calobra (9.6km / 7%)

This famous road is both a hard descent and tough climb. We arrive late in the day, avoiding the traffic that can block the narrow track. Although we have seen pictures before, we are stunned by the ribbons of tarmac beneath us, seemingly thrown down by some giant hand onto the stony, rugged land.

We descend cautiously to the lovely little port.

The ascent back is a true test of our legs. The steep grey rock face on one side,

and blue sea view on the other, gives a different atmosphere to any other climb. Looking up is to see switchbacks high above, but also to take in the magic of this place. Tom Pidcock’s KOM time of 22 minutes seems barely believable, it was quicker than we went down! A welcome sea breeze stops us overheating, and the gradient is steady. When we reach the Coll De Reis sign we feel very proud of our efforts, and a little emotional.

Puig Major (15km / 6%)

Rising from the town of Soller, this is the highest climb on the island. We soon settle into a rhythm on this very consistent rise. From bottom to top, it never gets too steep. The surface is good, with excellent views of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. The challenge is the length, but our legs push us slowly up this soaring peak with its height of 1445m. We emerge through the tunnel to take in views of the deep blue Gorg Blau and Cúbar mountain lakes.

Coll de Sa Battalla (7.8km / 5%)

The climb starts in the small village of Caimai. It quickly dawns on us this is a beautiful ascent. We rise through a pine forest, with several switch backs. It is a warm clear day, and reminds us why we love cycling.

Looking around we see fellow cyclists beneath us, blue sky above, and from halfway a large valley vista stretching into the distance. A very enjoyable climb.

Ermit de Betlem / Col de Pescadors (5km / 4.5%)

This monastery is north of the town of Arta and the climb is divided into two. Up to the first ridge we climb through deep woods on a poor road surface. After a short descent the gradient becomes steeper, through pine trees on a narrow but much better maintained tarmac. It is very quiet road, leading only to the monastery.

Coll de La Creueta (3.7km / 5%)

This climb starts easily from Puerto Pollensa, but we soon find it difficult to get into a smooth cadence as there are short, steep sections of 10% along the way. To the south we can see all the way across the curving bay to Alcudia. We push on to the summit with its stunning cliff top drop to the Med.

The Roads

MA-10 (110 km / total ascent 2400m)

This beauty is from Andratx to Pollensa. A shuttle bus drops us in Andratx, and then kilometre stones mark all of our way home. With stunning views of the Med on our left, it is a coastal road like no other. We roll up several climbs on this route, the biggest being Puig Major. We finish tired but happy after our memorable day on the awesome route.

Sa Pobla to Petra (30km)

This interior road reminds us of Tuscany with its cypress trees and small, pretty villages. We stop for coffee in Muro and sip while old Majorcan men chat. This is about taking in the laid back pace of life here, far from tourist areas.

Pollenca to Alaro (38km)

A undulating twisty road through olive groves and vineyards really shows us what cycling here is about. Quiet with decent surfaces we pass the hills on our right and farmland on our left. Several small villages punctuate the route, offering up a glimpse of the real Majorca.

Santa Maria del Cami to Alcudia (42km)

A very quiet flat route. We stop for good coffee/cake in Sa Pobla.

Port Pollenca to Cap Formentor Lighthouse (36km)

As we are based in Pollenca, our legs are fresh for this ride out and back to the lighthouse. On the route there are three distinct climbs with several mini descents, including the Coll de la Creueta climb. Although the road is busy today, we are not held up too badly. The deep blue Med backdrop invites us on, towards the end of the island, and constant stunning views.

And a road to avoid

The MA-12 from the MA-3330 to Arta is a busy fast road, past a quarry and its trucks. This section is a climb so we are on the road longer. The narrow cycle lane does not help.

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