Mallorca: Memorable Moments and Final Thoughts

Memorable Moments

Throughout the week, there were many amusing and worthwhile moments.

  • Foolishly walking 2 miles in the midday sun on the first day to an Indian restaurant…which was closed.
  • Having a 3 course meal at the cafe where every course was a surprise to us!
  • Jav and his ‘Terminator’ pose for pics.
  • Monjur, Abu Thamim and Cap Formentor
  • Paying restaurant bills in 1 cent coins.
  • Monjur towing the group home at the end of nearly all the rides when we were all on our last legs. This was after he claimed to have bonked multiple times on the ride (allegedly).
  • Jav’s sprint finish onto the summit of the highest climb on the island.
  • Monjur waking up in the middle of the night to have a gel because he was…bonking.
  • Abu Thamim leading us out onto the wrong side of the road.
  • Abu Thamim’s masterclass in climbing on Sa Calobra.
  • Abu Thamim destroying the group on a ‘recovery’ ride.
  • Me pedalling home one legged.
  • Waiting for hours in vain for a halal kebab shop to open.
  • Seeing the local muslim community and praying jummah.

Final Thoughts

Apart from my mechanical near the end of the ride on the last day, the trip was a success overall. Everyone enjoyed themselves, the scenery and weather was amazing throughout. We met quite a few people from the UK too. The local people were also very friendly and welcoming. Although not immediately obvious, there is also a significant community of muslims on the island. There was a good turnout at the masjid we attended for jummah in Sa Pobla, mashAllah. I would strongly recommend Mallorca for cycling. Credit to Abu Thamim for organising pretty much everything, from booking flights and accommodation to planning the routes and giving mid ride massages.

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.

Mallorca Training Camp: Ermita de Betlem & Ermita Bonany

Our first official ride involved two significant climbs; Ermita de Betlem near the town of Arta and Ermita Bonany near the town of Petra. As we went through the town of Arta, the narrow alleyway like roads and historic building structures emanated a strong sense of history and heritage. (clips of Arta coming soon)

monjur-betlem
Viewing point at Ermita de Betlem

On the outskirts of Arta, we passed an undulating area of greenery and Abu Thamim informed us that the first climb, Ermita de Betlem was approaching. With this announcement, the group splintered with each of us climbing at our own pace. The gradient rose gradually throughout. After seven hairpin bends, the flat section of the finish was finally in sight. At the top we were rewarded with a magnificent view of the bays of Alcudia and Pollenca, the Serra Tramuntana mountains and Cap de Formentor.

VIRB Picture
The ‘Titanic’

We then headed back the way we came. Our route took us through Arta again and then south towards Petra, the location of the last climb of the day; Ermita Bonany. Along the way we had a few toilet and refuelling stops. As we neared the second climb, Monjur decided to showcase his latest party trick, aptly named ‘The Titanic’.

 

Overlooking Petra from Bonany.
Overlooking Petra from Bonany.

The second climb had a similar pattern to the first, we all went at our own pace and regrouped at the top. Compared to Betlem, the climb was sheltered from the sun by surrounding trees, however it did feel slightly steeper especially nearer the top, possibly due to fewer switchbacks and the legs feeling the mileage we had covered so far. Upon reaching the top we were met by an imposing church and a superb view of Petra and its surrounding areas.