This ride was an easier outing after doing a significant amount of climbing the previous day. We set out with the aim of extending the route on the way back depending on how we felt later on in the ride.
The route began very flat as we cruised alongside the coastline heading towards the north of the island. The first climb was mostly in shade and led us to a stunning view point where we regrouped and took pictures. From here the route was rolling and we all settled into our own rhythm. The sunny, clear blue skies and the Balearic sea provided a stunning backdrop throughout. We were heading to the northernmost point of the island where there was a lighthouse amongst the cliffs.
We reached the top of the lighthouse to discover that there was a production crew filming scenes for a film. We also found a small coffee shop, we settled here for a short while tucking into the treats on offer.
We then headed back the way we came. At the first viewing point we bumped into quite a few cyclists including some from England. Monjur then decided to split off from the main group to do reps of the climb. The three of us then set off to Sa Pobla, a small town around 20KM from our hotel with the intention of finding a masjid to perform jummu’ah (Friday prayers).
We arrived in Sa Pobla and spotted a sister who gave us directions towards the town square. As we headed in this direction, we spotted what seemed like a grocery shop. It turned out the shop was in fact a halal butchers owned by a very helpful Arab brother. With a combination of broken Arabic and sign language, we managed to get directions to a local masjid. The masjid looked quite unassuming from outside, however inside it was very spacious and also had a separate floor for sisters.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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’.
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.