Mallorca Training Camp: Eastern Tramuntana

room-breakfast
Breakfast in the room.

Billed as our ‘Go hard and go home’ ride. The ride was going to be our longest and hilliest of the week. We set off extra early so had breakfast in our rooms as the hotel restaurant hadn’t opened yet.

The forecast told us to expect wind throughout the day and rain later on. We all packed extra layers in preparation.

As expected the sky was dull and grey which was a big change to what we were blessed with in the previous days. The wind also picked up, however Abu Thamim and Monjur took it upon themselves to shelter the rest of us.

The grim conditions failed to dampen the group’s spirits and we took it in turns to stage ‘breakaways’ on the first climb, Col de Orient. Abu Thamim in particular was guilty of some questionable antics on the bike.

We experienced some light rain which didn’t last very long, however we had to contend with a block headwind on the wide open roads. Once again Abu Thamim and Monjur admirably shared the workload for the group between themselves.

Our second significant climb of the day was Coll de Soller. The ascent involved countless switchbacks, probably the most of all the climbs we had completed so far. The descent followed a similar pattern; with the constant switchbacks never allowing one to get into a rhythm.

puig-major-ascent
Ascending Puig Major.

We regrouped at the bottom and then continued north towards Soller where the third and biggest climb of the island awaited us, Puig Major. The climb was gruelling and lonely as we had all split up. I found that the kilometre markers on the side of the road made it easier mentally to focus and break down the climb into manageable chunks. As we got higher the sudden drop in temperature was noticeable. After what seemed like an eternity, the distinctive tunnel and viewing point marking the end of the climb came into view. I joined Abu Thamim and Monjur who had been there a while, we then decided to head back down to keep warm and give Jav some company.

puig-major-top
Puig Major conquered!

At the top we bumped into some cyclists (also from London!) who took a group picture for us. It was a massive relief to know that all the major climbing for the day had been accomplished. The rest of the ride now consisted of mostly descending and a few gentle rolling hills.

Soon we were in familiar territory, passing through roads we had rode on earlier in the week on way to and from Sa Calobra. Feeling the cold and wind, we stopped for a hot drink at the coffee shop at the top of Coll de Sa Battala.

Having refueled and warmed up we then continued our ride. Minutes into the ride, disaster struck in the form of my crank arm giving way. We tried several fixes but to no avail. I was told I would have to ride one legged for the remainder of the journey. I was extremely fortunate that most of the remaining route was descending. Nonetheless there were one or two gentle inclines which almost made me want to stop and give up. I was painfully slow on the flat sections and owe a huge thanks to my comrades Abu Thamim, Jav and Monjur for pootling along whilst I was aimlessly spinning on one leg. The end of the ride for me was far from the grandstand exciting finish I was expecting however it was still satisfying to complete the ride considering I could’ve easily been stranded out in the middle of nowhere.

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.