Once again, early October saw seven SOC members (Richard, Peter, Johnny, Trevor, Keith, Anth and Mike) sample more of Majorca's cycling delights. The island offers the perfect combination of guaranteed sunshine; mountain and coastal scenery; quaint hillside villages; an abundance of inviting cafes; not to mention smooth roads and mainly considerate drivers.
As in past years, we stayed at the excellent 4* Portblue Resort, located between Port de Pollensa and Alcudia. Here we were joined by five more cycling companions, expanding our number to 12. This made for great mealtime banter.
Day 1 saw most of the group head for the ever-popular Cap de Formentor, climbing Coll de la Creueta and taking in the striking coastal views on route to the lighthouse. An ice cream stop, and in Peter's case a swim, at Formentor beach on the return was welcomed in the prevailing heat. 31 miles and 2,800 feet of ascent, a nice warm up ride.
On Day 2, five of us rose early to catch the Mallorca Bike Shuttle to Andratx. The planned ride was the stunningly beautiful, 75 mile and 7,750 feet ascent route along the coast and over the Tramuntana mountains. There were many highlights, including morning coffee overlooking a crystal blue sea on the cafe terrace; the contrast of hidden valleys with hilltop villages; dramatic mountain peaks and of course (for all the wrong reasons) the 10 mile unrelenting Puig Major climb to the Tunel de Monnaber! The latter was especially punishing in the near 30 degree heat, but the rewards on the descent down to Gorg Blau and, subsequently Coll de Femenia, made it worthwhile.
Day 3 demanded an easier, recovery ride and so several of us rode out to Coves de Campanet, to enjoy coffee and apple cake on the picturesque cafe terrace.
On Day 4 we undertook a 40 mile, 3000 feet ascent ride up to Lluc Monastery via the splendid and fortunately, largely shaded, Coll de sa Batalla. Lunch was enjoyed at the monastery and, after a stroll round the monastery grounds and market, we descended via the sweeping bends of Coll de Femenia.
Day 5 plans entailed a 50 mile, 2500 feet ascent ride to Santa Magdalena Monastery. The urge for a late morning coffee, followed by a challenging ‘mechanical’ on Johnny’s e-bike, left us behind schedule. With the sweltering heat the majority headed for the nearest shaded lunch stop, whilst the remaining Englishman joined the mad dogs to brave the midday sun and head for the monastery!
On our final day, many of the group headed out to the Ermita de la Victoria, taking in the views of Alcudia Bay and returning via the pleasant small lanes surrounding Pollensa. In the meantime, a couple of us were unable to resist the pull of Sa Calobra, Femenia and Batalla, so ending the week with another truly memorable day of riding.
All in all, another thoroughly enjoyable week of cycling adventures shared with good friends.