Mallorca was amazing! That’s the first thing to say. A great holiday, beautiful cycling, great weather and lovely OCC people. In fact it felt less like a holiday and more like a parallel universe… going back to 26°C just as the weather was turning cold in the UK, and having a week of cycling with lots of friends on superb roads with beautiful scenery, beaches and cafés…. dreamy!
Between 25 and 30 members went over together, most of us lasting a week, and some longer. More are yet to go, and some who went before are returning with them. So this is a personal write up just to tempt those who might want to try it in future, and to trigger some happy memories for those who were there. I, like many others, had never been before.
So why Mallorca? It’s geared up for cyclists.You can hire a carbon road bike for €130 a week, and the hotel had it’s own secure bike garage. The island itself is only about 40 miles across, but has a variety of scenery from the Tramuntana mountains down one coastline to a largely flat interior, interspersed with little towns on hills. Add to that miles of virtually traffic free minor roads (called camis), and cycle lanes down the side of major roads, and you have a cyclist’s paradise. Even some who came with little intention of cycling ended up doing so, and loving it.
Three rides were particularly memorable for me, and all for different reasons:
- Cap de Formentor – I’m afraid you had to be there for this one (and only 4 of us were) – but I think it started when Julia admitted that she had got her tubs of chamois cream and Toni&Guy ‘Stick it up gel’ confused that morning. This led to a phrase never to be heard again on a bike ride: “oh, I’m going to look up the etymology of unguent”. This hilarity (ok – I said you had to be there) was all amidst spectacular scenery on a rocky peninsula ride to a lighthouse – an iconic twisting road full of hairpins! Coming back we stopped for a swim at a beautiful beach where old people mysteriously got carried off in a strange boat. The 50 miles took us about 9 hours to complete, such was the leisurely nature of this day memorable for its laughter!
Coll d’Honor and Orient – Club Captain Brian has been to Mallorca many times and when asked where we should ride, this was his first answer. A flat ride out, followed by climbing the Coll d’Honor, leads to the hanging valley of Orient. It should have been spectacular in a scenic way, but it ended up memorable thanks to an apocalyptic rainstorm just as we reached the summit of the Coll. After sheltering for 20 minutes until we were all freezing and huddled together like penguins, we gingerly descended the hairpins to Orient. But it was on the sweeping descent to Alaro when the road turned to a river, and the rain was so heavy we could barely keep our eyes open, that it turned into simply a survival mission! Insane! What’s more, on arriving in Alaro the road was blocked by roadworks and we stood in a river of orange water wondering what to do next. Then we got accosted by a dear old Spanish lady in her doorway frantic for help. We just stood there soaking, shivering and shrugging our shoulders as she was pointing and shouting. This bizarre sight was eventually resolved – her front door flood defences (a hinged piece of wood) had been washed away, and we were able to retrieve it for her! Hooray! Believe me we needed any warm feeling we could get at that stage! An hour later, we were full of Spaghetti Bolognese, the sun was out, it was 25°C again, and we had a pleasant ride home…. but the mental scars still remain! 😉
Sa Calobra – There is only one road into the tiny port of Sa Calobra. It twists and turns in a ridiculous fashion, 6 miles and 2000ft down from the mountains to the coast. So you have to go down it first to come back up. Going down my jaw dropped and I just started laughing at the prospect of coming back up. There is no photo that can really do it justice: hairpin after hairpin zig-zagging to the right then left, seemingly going on forever.(check out this gallery) It was quite tiring going down! But myself, Vanessa, 2 Steves, John, Michael and Gary all climbed it that day, with Julia and Christine doing it the next. The sense of achievement was what made this day memorable. There really are some stunning rides to be had in Mallorca!
So those were the rides, but the company was just as memorable. It reminded me a bit of being a student again – friends on tap! There was always someone to go for a drink with. Rapha’s over the road was the bar of choice for a post ride ‘debrief’, but there were also post ride swims in the sea and beers on the beach (about 100yards away), meals out, and some fantastic cafe stops on rides: Muro bakery for pies (sorry Ken!), and Tolo’s bar in Port de Pollenca to see Brad Wiggins’ bike hanging from the ceiling.
Yep, Mallorca was amazing! Thanks to everyone who came along and made it so 🙂
Now about next year….
Club members booked their trip with Mallorca Wheels or independently with Jet2 or other airlines. Most of us were booked in the same 4 star hotel (Hotel Janiero) in C’an Picafort. There was plenty to do for non cycling partners – walking, swimming, bus trips. A range of rides happened each day, informally organised by members in the morning and ranging from epic rides described above to more gentle 30 mile meanders around the flatter interior. Groups from Otley traditionally go out to Mallorca in May and October – so watch out for news of future plans.