I woke in my hotel in Mallorca, hungry and desiring breakfast. Being a budget hotel but not a Youth Hostel, there was no breakfast explicitly served in the hotel, but the hotel manager recommended a supermarket just down the street. I went to find my breakfast. Numerous stores had the words “supermarket” emblazoned across their storefronts, but they were either closed, looked like clothing stores, or looked like convenience stores. Lost, I returned to the hotel to Google the exact location of the supermarket and eventually found my way there.
Like most foreign supermarkets, you can only base your purchases from the visual appearance of packaging. I wandered a bit until I found the muesli section and selected the most fruity-least nutty muesli on the shelves. I also found some milk, and once I figured out how it was being distributed, returned to the hotel for breakfast in the company of the hotel cat.
I went upstairs and changed into my cycling clothes, before heading back downstairs to start my ride. To begin, I rode around the bay that I had cycled the previous night. Only this time, I had the full view of the city to my right, the boats to my left and the mountains in front. The route was designed more for the average town cyclist, not a road cyclist, but I didn’t mind because it was more scenic than the main road slightly further inland. After the long, straight, beach road, it had sections on the edge of the sand or around the edge of a small bluff with planes landing overhead. I got some more impressive views of the Palma Cathedral.
Coll de sa Crue (Cat 2: 7.9 km @ 4.6%)
Eventually, I found my turn-off, and began climbing straight away. The road led up through some of the outer suburbs of Palma. After a couple of traffic lights, the traffic started to clear, and was non-existent after the turn-off to the motorway for the next 6km to the top of the climb. This was the climb of the Coll de sa Crue, and it was the first time I’d climbed a pass since I was back in Australia (Cambridgeshire is rather flat). It was a good introduction; there were no outstandingly steep bits on the entire climb; it was just a steady, if slightly long, rise the whole way up. At the bottom of the climb was a military base, and for the rest of the climb there were scary-looking signs warning not to leave the road. I didn’t mind, since the road was quiet, narrow and windy. I discovered that the road had kilometre markers which helped count up how far I had come. The top came as a bit of a surprise; I had been in a forested section for a fair while and all of a sudden, I went through a cutting and the road just starts going downwards.
The top half of the descent was much like the climb itself, winding softly down a forested hillside. Eventually, I reached a junction and turned right. The view to my left here now opened up a lot and I could see the Spanish farmland nestled amongst the hillside.
I finished the descent proper as a rejoined the main road, where the tree-cutters were doing some rather loud pruning. It was a gradual uphill drag to the town of Puigpunyent. This was my planned location for lunch, and one of the few towns that I would see on the days ride. Coming through the town, I spied a café with a couple of other bikes parked in front, which I decided was sufficient to determine the appropriateness of the establishment for my needs. I went in and found a lady who spoke some English, and ordered a bottle of water and a ham and cheese sandwich. Unfortunately, though I asked for still water, I ended up with a glass of sparkling water, which I find rather hard to rehydrate with. After a few sips, I ended up putting the oversized ice cubes directly into my water bottle and just eating the sandwich.
Es Grau (Cat 3: 3.2 km @ 7.1%)
Straight away after Puigpunyent, I began climbing the second climb of the day; es Grau. Merely minutes after lunch, however, I heard the sound of something falling to the ground from my bike. I stopped, and discovered that my hand pump had fallen off; the attachment to the bike had been to brittle and broken. Disheartened, I put hte pump in my back pocket and kept riding. Es Grau was much shorter and steeper than the Coll de sa Crue, but it didn’t feel too difficult. The first half was winding amongst small farms, each of which were interesting to look at. The second was a bit more wild, but views opened up over Puigpunynet and the valley which really distracted me from the climb again. I underestimated the number of hairpin bends; I kept predicting that the end was just after the next few bends, but it would surprise me with another set. Once again, the top itself was rather unremarkable, but it had a nice sign with which to take a selfie.
Coll den Claret (Cat 3: 4.8 km & 4.9%)
The descent down the other side was narrow again, but fast. I found the main road again, turned left and started climbing for the third time that day. The road here was much wider, two full lanes, where the previous climbs had only been narrow affairs. The lower slopes felt like they had been designed purely for cars, but there were a few hairpins near the top to entice me as well. Overall, it didn’t feel like much of a challenge, especially compared to the earlier two. However, I knew that more daunting things were coming soon, and I needed to prepare.
The final descent of the day was more of a continual uphill drag to the town of Valldemossa. The road was straight and exposed, so I just put my head down and pedalled into it. From there, the road turned south to head back to Palma. It wasn’t long before it broadened out into a wider highway, but there was a wide enough kerb to ride on that the traffic didn’t bother me. The scenery started to be more and more built up, and before long, I was riding around the centre of the city itself. The wide boulevard that encircles the old city was quiet enough that I had a lane to myself, though the constant traffic lights did become a little annoying. I reached the beach again, and proceeded to ride back around the bay to my hotel.
I took my bike up to my room, went to shower, and then went out in search of food. By the time I left the hotel, the Sun had set, and many of the food restaurants were starting to close up. I walked along the esplanade a fair way, getting increasingly nervous, before I found a restaurant which was open, but only for a little while longer. I had some fabulous tortellini, before walking back along the beach to dump myself in the hotel bed.