Ride 4 : Valldemossa or Bust!
bikebritain's solo tour of Mallorca, May 2013
Start/Finish Orient : Bunyola : Soller : Valldemossa : Santa Maria : Alaro
Ride time: 3:50
Distance: 84 km
Av speed: 21.87 km
Ascent: 1334 meters
Calories: approx 2900
I was in two minds about what to do for my last day. I wanted to make the most of my time, but the previous day had sapped a lot of energy from my legs. It had been one of my biggest climbing days in the saddle. Certainly the hardest day I've undertaken on my own. So what were my choices?
Pollenca was an option, but what had really tweaked my interest was the climb into Valldemossa from S'Esgleieta. I had not ridden this before and it would also allow me to ride the road down to Port de Valldemossa and/or Port des Canoges, routes I had not previously attempted before. Decision made.
I elected to cycle there (Valldemossa) by going via Alaro which would mean my final climb of this holiday would be the Coll d'Honor. Arriving at Alaro, I managed to locate the back road I had ascended on day one. (Note to file, careful of the cobbles along the way). I zoomed down the road, duly noted my own advice (there's a first), and stopped in time to 'manage' the cobbles. Weird why they are there? I continued through to the Palmanyola junction and onto the S'Esgleieta roundabout. It was uphill from now on.
I had done well avoiding the wind until now. However, I now had a headwind to handle whilst climbing. Nice touch. The most challenging part of this hill I think was the bottom. My legs had yet to do any hill work - and they were not happy at that prospect! Taking it steady I ground out a fairly pedestrian pace, taking it one revolution at a time. A tried and tested strategy. Not too long afterwards I saw the town limits. I recalled that the last section was quite steep having picked up speed very quickly going in the reverse direction. It peaked at 11% so I was right. I'd soon ridden over the summit and passed the coach loads of people that had arrived at Valldemossa for the day. I continued on.
I passed the turning for the Port deciding I would prefer to ride this part of the MA-10 before attempting any more climbing heroics. I should not have worried. Having not ridden this part of the road for some years I had forgotten that it wasn't that hard. A few kilometres climbing and then 7 or 8 kilometre descent appeared. Fun-time! I weaved my way downhill and before I knew it I was at the junction. Go left, I head into Esporles. Go right, I discover Port des Canoges. I went right.
It was similar to a mini Sa Calobra without the coaches trying to push you off the edge of the road. No fun really. It was just as twisty with the tightest bends I'd experienced so far. The descent was a lot of fun. The ascent would be....well....interesting. At the foot of the hill were a surprisingly number of houses along with a couple of obligatory restaurants. There was no one about, other than a lone surfer. I sat on a bench overlooking the sea, eating my isostar bar and did a little piece to camera. It started raining. I didn't care. It was very peaceful and nice to be at the coast. I spent a few moments daydreaming, thinking empty thoughts then got myself together again. There was a hill to climb. The hill kicked in immediately. Legs throbbed. They were working again. Yesterday's exploits were beginning to tell. This would be another example of slow and steady. No solo attack on the hill at Port des Canoges for me. The kilometres slowly clicked by and the view improved the higher I went. Soon I couldn't see the sea, it was hidden by the forest below. A few more hairpins later and I was back where I started, at the junction with the MA-10. Time to head back in the direction of Orient.
I thought it was pretty much downhill from Esporles and I was right. Having managed about 13 km in 45 minutes, I racked up 7 km in the next quarter of an hour. Bunyola was in touching distance and so, I decided, was lunch. I would stop there for food prior to my final climb. On the way I found a 'new' road to the town. It made no material difference to the route, it just sliced off a corner and I ended up on the usual approach. I rode to the cafe at the town square but it was busy and I'd passed a place where the locals hung out. I decided to test my pitiful grasp of Spanish and try my luck. I'd also seen they were serving Pa Amb Oli and that was just what I was looking for. Bread, oil, tomato and Jamon Serrano. Perfect. I immediately managed to confuse the waitress who wanted to serve me paella, but the barman grasped what I was after. I sat down and soon after, stuffed my face. Bang On!
Fuelled up, it was time for my last climb of the holiday. Not ideal on a half full stomach but so be it. I started slowly (no change there) and enjoyed the ride out of Bunyola into the wild. The sun was blazing down. I took it steady and enjoyed the views; no need to rush home. The climb from this side takes about 6 km. By kilometre 4, the legs were grumbling loudly at me. Shut up legs! What do you want me to do? Stop? Unacceptable! So the voices in my head continued to moan at me until I reached the top. I did so and coasted down the backside to the hotel. That was it. My cycle holiday was over.
Words, Thumbnail and Slider Image - bikebritain ltd.
A video of this tour will be available shortly at www.bikebritain.org