bikebritain News December 19, 2012

Ride 1: Saturday: The (self-proclaimed) 'Easy' Day

...or 'How to avoid a day of unacceptably low mileage'

No one was more surprised to find Lukey's bike box emerge intact off the luggage belt at St.Joan airport. After bike reassembly, drink, food and more drink it was finally ride time. The plan was we would build up gently, starting with the mountain climb from Pollenca through to Lluc. This meant we would ascend for about 7.4 km at just over 5%. We would descend through the foothills and then make out way throw the interior of the island back to Port de Pollenca. I was a mixture of excitement and anxiety since here I was, back in Mallorca, on the bike that I had previously struggled on. Lukey was quiet, no doubt wondering what was ahead. He didn't have to wait that long. The climb began just 6km from the Port. Malc took responsibility for the pace and we steadily made our way up the side of mountain. The surface was good, it was sunny and visibility was excellent. We had a perfect view of the Puig probably 35 km away. It dominated the skyline. I felt comfortable and by the looks of things Malc was coasting. Lukey was making steady progress at the rear but touch with my wheel. I don't recall how long the ascent took, but it was pleasing to reach the sign that indicated what we'd achieved. Now for a bit more up! 

The roads were quiet and the views were spectacular. I was with 2 friends and all we had to do was cycle and eat, with no time pressure. We even had lights! Some further climbing eventually resulted in a glorious descent, the like of which you never experience living in the UK. Long sweeping turns, tight hair pins, all aspects of technical down-hill riding were covered. I liked the climbs but I prefer the descents. Time to go FAST! 

We worked out way down to the famous monastery at Lluc, arrived there and wondered why we'd bothered! Cleated shoes don't lend themselves to wondering about and soak up the tranquil atmosphere. So we left! We enjoyed another descent into a small town called Selva and stopped for lunch. This constituted us wondering in, buying sandwich material and producing food on an industrial scale outside, much to the bemusement of any local who happened past us. Fed and watered we set off only for me to pick up the second puncture of the day. (I don't think Malc had managed 30 minutes before he had a flat rear). Both of us had individually considered changing tyres beforehand but had not bothered. We were rueing that now. My rear tyre was slit in multiple paces and experience said that it was only a matter of time before I had another. Malc was in a similar position. 

This irritated me a lot. What a silly thing to do. We decided we would return home via the most direct route and see if we could find a bike shop open and buy more rubber. Else we'd have to get on with it. Amazingly, we found one. A bike shop that is. I mean. It wasn't open, but it did look promising. It wasn't open for another hour and as things stood, Day One was looking like "an unacceptably low mileage day".

Lukey suggested we rode out to the lighthouse. We had 2 hours of light a least. Sounded like a good idea to me, so off we went. Almost immediately, we started climbing. We zigzagged our way to the top, the incline and the headwind providing an additional challenge. By now, Malc had put some distance between Luke and I and I considered leaving him to it. Trouble was, I couldn't do it. I upped the pace and began to reel him in. I was making progress, but it was evident that unless something more dramatic happened, I would not catch him. Let’s see what the legs have got I thought and put a burst in. Legs responded. It hurt, but not too badly. By the time I caught him, we were two bends away from the 'top'. Or let's say ‘vista point’ at least. We rode through the summit together, enjoyed the view and waited a short time for Luke. 

I spotted a car that looked to be climbing towards the top of the peak; you could go further up…...

Lukey joined us.

The car continued climbing and then disappeared. 

We could definitely go up more. This was important since we did not have the time, realistically, to go to the lighthouse. We would be returning in the dark and that wasn't ideal, lights or no lights. But we could carry on going up……..

I'll level with you, this was not greeted with universal approval. Malc was very concerned that this was really an 'unmade' road and we'd get another puncture. It was fair enough, but I would not be dissuaded. He knew that really.

We continued up.

Yes, the road wasn't great, but it was nevertheless a road. Avoiding potholes and sharp looking stones we climbed again, but this time the gradient was significantly more; an average of 10% now. But we were being rewarded with a terrific view of the Bay of Alcudia. We reached a deserted building at the top and climbed up to the tower that stood 20 meters or so ahead of us. Clear blue skies and dramatic coastline greeted us. Well worth the effort. Some obligatory photos later we gingerly made out way back to the bikes and coasted back to the bike shop. 

Some dithering and around €200 later we had bought 3 new tyres, enough power bars to fuel the British Army and one saddle bag between us. Now the first day was complete. No injuries, a few laughs, 2 punctures and tired legs. Job done! Now bring on Sa Calobra. 

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