Ride 1 : Coll de Soller - Hello Old Friend
bikebritain's solo tour of Mallorca, May 2013
Start/Finish Orient : Bunyola : Soller : Valldemossa : Santa Maria : Alaro
Ride time: 3:36
Distance: 83.44 km
Av speed: 23.15 km
Ascent: 1523 meters
Calories: approx 3000
The hotel was a good choice, perfect location with the only noise being the wind through the trees and birdsong. The mountains overlooked the whole scene, imposing their presence on the surrounding countryside.
First ride, I thought I'd break myself in gently. The exit from Orient involves going downhill in either direction. I decided to head towards Bunyola and get some hairpin practice in. With very little on the road it made for an exhilarating start, weaving across the road trying to find the right line. The entry into Bunyola is incredibly narrow, barely wide enough for a car and I threaded my way through the back streets before I found the main square. No more than 10 minutes later I was at the foot of the Col de Soller. Hello old friend.
We (as in myself and Malc) reckon this is a 16-17 minute climb and I still figure that's about right. I cruised up it, enjoying the scenery. Straight over the top, again more hairpins (30 to be precise) to negotiate. My plan was to work my way to Valldemossa and ride along the flat back to Alaro. The section of the MA-10 between Soller and Valldemossa is one of the more challenging stretches, but I was wearing fresh legs so it didn't phase me. The ascent into the small village of Deia and then up again to Son Marroig and beyond is a challenging one. I kept it steady, plodding my way up the windy roads. It's funny how your mind-set changes. At home the prospect of kilometre after kilometre of climbing would daunt me. In Mallorca it's normal. It's what you're here for. So just grind it out. And I did.
The descent to Valldemossa is exciting but it’s never as fast as you think it should be. At the junction you can turn right and continue along the MA-10 or left and head into town. I went left. Valldemossa was heaving, a description I would apply only later to Sa Calobra. The 4 km to the S'Esgleieta roundabout was a wonder. Average of 50 km, speeding down off the hill, following the smooth tarmac to where the road flattened off. I turned right, ready for some work, conscious I'd meet a headwind at some point! Surprisingly, not here; I cruised along at 32 km, quickly reaching the outskirts of Santa Maria. Not wishing to ride all the way to Consell, I found a signpost indicating 'Alaro' on what looked like was a back road. It was a back road - and a hilly one at that. Zero traffic, it was best described as undulating. There was even a cobbled section - cue panic - "Don't damage the Zipps!!" Luckily I was going up-hill and not down.......
I was almost out of water and made a mental note to buy another water bottle. Through Alaro, Orient was 8 km away - up the Coll d’Orient (the easier approach). The legs still had something to offer so I beat out a decent rhythm and 20 minutes or so later I had arrived back at Hotel Dalt Muntanya. It had been a satisfying initial ride, but it had also confirmed I wasn't really in the right shape to attempt the length of the mountains and back in one day. That would have to wait.
Words, Thumbnail and Slider Image - bikebritain ltd.
A video of this tour will be available shortly at www.bikebritain.org