Friday, 10 January 2014

Cycling in Majorca

Oh, what a week it was! Why hadn't we ever done it before? We were checking prices of flights to go back there again before we even left.
6 days, 550km, 8000m elevation (that's more than I did here in London in two months!).
Sea, mountains, sunshine... A bit cold in the shade and quite windy but who cares with such views around!
A view from almost-the-top of a 25-km long climb.
Port de Pollenca, where we were staying, down below.

Lazy Port de Pollenca.
A gorgeous early morning (8.30am, on holidays!)
A beach in front of our apartment.
Cap the Formentor lighthouse.
A little suicidal goat at the lighthouse.

We arrived to Port de Pollenca on 31th of December and celebrated the start of the New Year in an... Irish pub, the Mulligan's! With beer and the lucky 12 grapes at midnight, with no fireworks but surrounded by Irish accent, Guinness and freckles!

New Year's eve at the Irish pub in Majorca :)

The town (and whole Majorca) seemed to be hibernating though the winter. Most of the hotels, restaurants and shops were locked up ("Closed until March" signs on the windows), there were no tourists or in fact almost no people at all. The place was all sea-and-mountains, quiet, lazy, amazingly relaxing and slow.
We enjoyed our coffee (and a delicious lemon mousse cake, I need to try to make it at home) in one of two open cafes, hardly believing how sunny (if cold) it can be in January!

Sean enjoying delicious coffee.
I've found my shop! But it was closed, like everything.

But most of all there were climbs. And descents. But mostly climbs (it takes longer to go up than to go down after all). We were staying almost the beach, we were cycling up into the mountains, then around the mountains, and then down towards the sea at the other side. And then again: up, up, up, hilly, hilly, down, down, down on the way home.
8000m elevation: to get it you need 6 days in Majorca, or 2 months in England, you pick!
And probably for the first time in my life I enjoyed those climbs, staring around all the time and almost falling of the bike when doing so but how to look at tarmac where you have a paradise around you.

Sean hardly sweating up Coll de Femenia

At the top after climbing for 1.5h!

And then there were also descents, like the one to Port de Sa Calobra: a 10km-long smooth road, with countless switchbacks and breathtaking views (sorry for no evidence, I was to scared to stop), and it seemed to go on forever...
Well, we had to climb it afterwards and that was when I realised that because it was so beautiful, I forgot to eat properly, and started bonking 20min before reaching the top. Luckily the Chinese restaurant was open (not much choice off season) and their servings were huge!

Down at the sea level on the other side of the mountain, Port de Sa Calobra.

Climbing back up the switchbacks.
And some more climbing, long climbing from Port de Soller.
I'm off the saddle not because I'm so cool and strong but because my bum was so sore that I couldn't sit any longer.
 I can certainly recommend you this motivational technique if you need to practise off-saddle riding.

As everybody knows (and most agrees), coffee and cycling are almost inseparable, like Pixie and Dixie, or apple-pie and vanilla ice-cream.
One day we decided to stop for a quick espresso in a cafe at the junction of mountain roads. We entered, and stopped at the threshold, shocked! It was filled with cyclists up to the ceiling, there were dozens of them, I sometimes see smaller crowds at the races. It took us over 10 minutes to get to the counter and hut two coffees, luckily Sean's got some experience in using his elbows from the starts of cyclocross races ;)
Funnily enough, we saw hardly anybody on the roads for the rest of the day, I wondered were they all had disappeared.

We all know that food is important, and food on long rides is crucial. What can fit better to sunny rides on a Spanish island than a Mojito gel?!
It tasted delicious and felt just right!

The only competitor to the mojito on the day: Haribo bears!

As the weeks was progressing, it was becoming more and more windy and cloudy, with some threats of rain (fortunately the forecasts were wrong) and we did some flatter routes (only 1000m of climbing) and we found a lovely switchbacks climb Coll de Batalla from Caimari to Lluc (there's an interesting 13th c. monastery in Lluc, worth visiting if you're around) which was hidden in a forest and covered from the wind.

Road to Caimari


Some more climbing.

That's how holidays look like.



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