Mallorca sits atop every cyclist’s dream vacation destination. It's ideal year-round weather, endless variability in terrain, and countless number of small towns make it a must visit for anyone planning their next trip. This past September, six close friends of Enroute and members of the Diversion Ride Club made the trip to Spain’s island paradise for a week of riding.
After a long travel day spanning Vancouver, Toronto, Frankfurt, Barcelona, and Palma, the group touched down in Alcúdia, a town in the northern portion of the island known for its beautiful blue Mediterranean beaches and access to some of the best roads around.
Sunday – Cap de Formentor
74km / 1,250hm
The first day of the trip took us to one of the most famous parts of the island, Cap de Formentor. Four punchy climbs along the day make up most of the route’s elevation profile. Straight out of Port de Pollensa is the Coll de Sa Creueta, at 3.3km with steady 6% gradients, it offers fantastic views of the bay and alpine-esque hairpins cut into the shore of jagged limestone rock. We ride up the incline confidently on fresh legs, striding through each corner, and got our first taste of what will be served all week. Following the climb, the road splits through an olive grove for a few kilometers until you reach the gate which cars are no longer allowed to pass. The greenery soon gives way to dry and rugged terrain along the coast where the first sights of Cala Figuera are had. The turnaround point is the lighthouse halfway through the out-and-back route. A steep descent to the viewing point at the end of Formentor treats us to more views of the Galerot and Colomer in the distance.
Monday – Coll de Femenia & Sa Colabra
122km / 2,250hm
On the second day of the trip, we ventured south-west on the Ma-10 from Pollensa towards Serra de Tramuntana. The route began with a flowy 25km section of road passing through many almond blossoms along the way. The dry farming crop system the island is known for made for a cool foreground as we approached the first ascent of the day, the Cat. 2 Coll de Femenia. At 8.9km with an average gradient of 6%, it mirrored the profile of Vancouver’s Cypress Mountain, a climb we are all well familiar with. The Coll de Femenia grants access to the northernmost region of the Tramuntana mountain ridge linking the towns of Pollensa and Lluc. Once over the top, the next 9km approach up the backside of the Coll dels Reis led us to the main objective of the day, Sa Colabra. We re-grouped before descending into the small coastal village of Sa Colabra. Fortunately, the early departure on the day allowed us to beat any traffic as we railed the 26 hairpin bends down to the water.
Sa Colabra is one of the most famous climbs in the world for cycling. Sheer limestone cliff faces reach down to the turquoise sea. Once you are at the water, the only way out is to climb the 9.5km 7% road back up to the top. Although it was tough, the views in every direction highlighted by the famous 270° turn made the 38-minute effort go by quickly. Feeling accomplished, we rewarded ourselves with a few ice-cold Estrellas before getting back on the bike for the 44km descent home.
Tuesday - Santa Maria del Cami to Andratx
100km / 2,150hm
The queen stage of our week. We set off early in the morning in the van to start the route from the interior town of Santa Maria del Cami. We met up with a local cyclist and guide, Adrian, who would show us around for the day. His plan was to tackle the Coll d'Orient, Coll d’Honor, Coll de Sóller, Coll de Can Costa, Coll d’en Claret, Coll den Bleda, Coll de sa Bastida, Coll des Pi, Coll des Grau, Coll de sa Gramola, and finish with a beautiful descent down Carretera d'Estellencs into Andratx.
It was a hard route to say the least. We pedalled through the towns of Alaró, Orient, Bunyola, and Sóller as we headed towards the coast. One of the many road highlights of the day was reaching the bustling little coastal village of Deià. It is located about 16 kilometres North of Valldemossa, the next step on route as we snake through the stunning Serra de Tramuntana mountains. The road offered up a dramatic and consequential series of twists and turns. We stopped for lunch in the colourful town of Banyalbufar to enjoy some almond cakes and to give our legs a rest. The final bit of the route passed through Estellencs and into Andratx where the van was waiting to take us back up north.
Wednesday – Alcúdia to Santa Margalida
57km / 350hm
A much needed rest day following yesterday’s banger. Easy spin along Platja de Muro before stopping in Santa Margalida for coffee and treats.
Thursday – Alcúdia to Playa Sant Vicenç
43km / 250hm
The legs were still recovering from earlier in the week. Some of us decided to take the day off and head into town, while others went for a spin from Alcudia to Playa Sant Vicenç. The 37° heat we have been riding in for the last four days was starting to get to us. Fortunately, we were able to go for a swim in the cove in our kit halfway through today’s route to cool down.
Friday - Cap de Formentor & Coll de Femenia
118km / 1,860hm
The final day in Mallorca before we flew out early the next morning to Paris. One last epic ride to cap off a stellar week on the bike. We made our return to Cap de Formentor, now knowing what to expect and where things would get tough. Seeing the lighthouse for the second time proved to be just as spectacular.
We went back up the Coll de Femenia for one final test of the legs. Atop, we stopped at a famous Repsol location that was a meeting ground for many cyclists in the area to enjoy a cold drink. Col de Campanet was the last descent of the trip before rolling back towards Alcúdia.
A special thanks to Alex, James, Nicola, Tim, and Carol for the week of challenging riding and great memories. To Adrian, for sharing his local knowledge and arranging our bikes. And to MAAP / Enroute, for providing the kit I wore all week.
Until next time Mallorca.