For once, an early morning sun greeted us, and arm & leg warmers were stored in back pockets for use on the long descents to come. The country lanes were awash with brightly-coloured pace-setters, and as the pelotons passed, you occasionally picked up a whiff of embrocation. Today was going to be a climbing day……two major summits that would demand about 7000 feet (2,200 metres) of toil against the force of gravity. Oh, what joy!
The first ascent was to be the Coll de Sa Batalla (so aptly named!)…..nearly 8kms of a 5% gradient to a height of 576 metres. The great incentive was the excellent watering-hole at the top, shared by hundreds of other roadies, all out on a mission to conquer the last few major ascents before the end of the week.
But the Sa Batalla paled into insignificance against what was ahead of us. The infamous, and much-feared, Coll dels Reis ( Sa Calobra), which descends for nearly 10kms, from a height of 682 metres, to a little remote bay from which there is only one way out……….. the very same 10kms (7% gradient) climb back up to the summit. The descent alone inspires terror in some, as it snakes its way ever downwards. If you are nervous of steep, winding descents, it is best not to contemplate it from the top…..just get on with it! Save your nervous energy for the 50 minute arduous climb back to the top.
Every such climb always has a pay-back. As we headed back to Pollenca, the descent was very long and very fast, with little need of brakes. An exhilarating finish to the final day of the tour.
Distance for the day: 107kms/67 miles
Distance for the week: 749kms/ 465 miles
Recommendation If any of these reflections on Mallorca have caught your attention, and you fancy ‘dipping your toe in the water’, you need to contact Tony Cork. Click here for his website: http://www.majorcacyclingtours.com/. Tony has spent many decades in the world of cycling, both as a practitioner and organiser. His training camps and tours are organised with every attention to detail. They are superb. If he could arrange the weather, he would do that as well!