Mallorca Training Camp: Coll de Sa Battala & Sa Calobra

The third day was a big day for us as we were going climb Sa Calobra, a 10 KM climb with an average gradient of 7.2%. Before we even reached this climb we had to tackle Coll de Sa Battala, an 8KM climb with an average gradient of 5%. The climbs we did yesterday were no match for these. We all had set personal targets for ourselves on Sa Calobra which was the main source of motivation.

Coll de Sa Battala was a gradual but testing climb. Conveniently there was a petrol station and coffee shop located at the top which was popular with cyclists. We regrouped here and continued through the rolling terrain. Sa Calobra is a ‘down and up’ climb, to climb it one has to ascend down it to the port of Sa Calobra which is a dead end. The only way from here is to turn around and ascend the mountain.

Refuelling before the big climb!
Refuelling before the big climb!

We reached the top of Sa Calobra, fuelled ourselves and began the descent. The descent was exhilarating, however the hairpin bends were quite daunting to take on at speed. We reached the bottom where we saw other cyclists. After a short break we turned around and began climbing. Abu Thamim and Monjur were out of sight almost immediately whilst me and Jav were bringing up the rear. Soon we had all settled into our own rhythm and separated from each other.

I found Sa Calobra very challenging especially in afternoon sun, however I managed to make it to the top and rewarded myself with coffee and cake.

We spent some time at the top recovering before we set off for home. The day finished on a high with us making it back to the hotel minutes before sunset.

Smashfest Training Camp: Cycling in Mallorca

It all began in March last year when someone suggested we go abroad for a cycling trip. I decided to go because I hadn’t done something like it before and also saw it as a good opportunity to bond with individuals in the group.

Our group consisted of four people (including myself). Abu Thamim, who conquered Stelvio earlier this year, planned and organised everything for this trip. Javed, based in Birmingham brought a wealth of experience and a steely mental resolve. The final addition to the group was Monjur who is more known by his reputation for randomly attempting cycling activities extreme in nature.

It was decided early on that we’ll be heading to the Spanish island of Mallorca as it is a well known and popular destination for road cyclists, amatuer and pros alike.

As I began reading about Mallorca and the popular cycling routes, I realised that most of the routes will involve a significant amount of climbing. The climbs were long in length and the gradients were testing. A lot featured hairpin bends; something that is alien in England (especially in the South!). Not having the opportunity to test myself on similar climbs beforehand made me feel apprehensive. All sorts of thoughts ran through my mind; would I be able to make it up Sa Calobra without stopping? Will I be reduced to the walk of shame on Puig Major?