Ciclosol – Port Pollensa
Most years, we go to a “training” camp in Mallorca in April. It’s not so much performance training – more to get rid of the winter leggings and layers, dig out the “UK Summer Kit” and get our limbs exposed to some UV rays. But we have found a well organised group-rides provider based in Port Pollensa (in the NE end of the island) which gives good routes into the hills but also across the flatter lands in the middle of the island. Ciclosol runs their camp over 2 weeks – we usually go for just the second week.
We started this habit in 2009 and have a selection of images and ride reports from then and from 2014 & 2015.
April 2015 rides
This year the venue changed to Hotel Bahia, to accommodate the increasing numbers of cyclists (170 this year over the 2 weeks) and it turned out to be a big improvement.
The daily rides are split into several groups, depending on fitness or effort levels desired. More often than not, all groups reconvene for a lunch stop and water-bottle re-fills.
Group 1 is for the hard riders and they do about 100 miles at an average speed of 19/20 mph.
Group 2 is as group 1 but a bit slower at 17/18mph.
Group 3 do 60/80 miles at an average of 16 mph. (This group was split into 2 because of the numbers involved).
Group 4 do similar rides to group 3 but a bit slower at 14 mph.
Group 5 the ‘Touring Group’ do exactly what they want! Some cycling, some walking, but always plenty of fun.
This is one of the most iconic climbs in the world and should be on every aspiring cyclist’s “bucket-list”. Words alone cannot do it justice so let the pictures do the talking…
It climbs 2250 feet over a distance of 6 1/4 miles with 26 hairpin bends, one of which goes through 270 degrees making you ride over the road you’ve just climbed. The average gradient of 7.1% makes this a tough ride especially on a warm, sunny day. The descent isn’t easy either with many sheer drops at the edge of the road but you have to go down before you can come up because the only other way to get there is by boat. The fastest ascent (Strava KoM to 2020) is 24-54 by Sebastian Henau, one of Team Ineos’ Columbian climbers. Eric managed a respectable 57 minutes (and see GMcC’s time from 2009 in the gallery below).
The whole ride, which includes 2 other climbs to and past Lluc, was 6o miles with 6700 feet of total climbing.
This is the normal destination for a Sunday ride, this time taking the coastal road through Alcudia and Can Picafort before heading inland up ‘The Steps’ before dropping into Petra. This is a very popular spot with several cafes in the square.
From Petra, the inland road to Sineu, then Llubi and to Sa Pobla is a fine ride. From there, options are either the flat coastal way back to Alcudia or via Campanet and over Golf Course hill…
Another classic cyclist’s challenge on Mallorca: to climb up the big lump south of the airport, visible from large parts of the centre of the island, to the “big lollipop” radar station and the monastery. The Puig de Randa, rising 543m out of the plain, has been a place of pilgrimage ever since Ramon Llull founded Mallorca’s first hermitage here in 1275.
The majority of pilgrims now are cyclists and it’s a good climb up to the top; the café at the top, however, is not the best. In fact, quite a lot of cyclists prefer to do the climb and then return to the bottom to visit the cafés in Randa, Algaida, or Montuiri.
As shown on the route profile, it’s mostly flat but for the climb up to the hermitage. The total distance was 79 miles with 3350 ft of climb.
A Loop to Son Serra
Climbing up the Coll de Femenia from Puerto Pollensa at the start of this ride certainly gets the blood flowing. After a few miles of slight climb along straight road, it suddenly kicks up with twists, turns, steep gradients and a false flat, to reach the top at 1900 ft. The climb is known to cyclists as ‘Lluc’ which is the name of the Sanctuary located near the top.
This is followed by a great descent down Sa Batalla to Selva and on to Inca, Llubi, Santa Margalida to Son Serra de Marina for lunch.
After lunch we returned to base past Can Picafort, Alcudia and along the coast road. Total distance 66 miles with 3500 ft of climb.
Rain was forecast for today so we were left to fend for ourselves – best to keep it local and avoid the winding mountain roads (which become glass-like in bends – there is actually crushed glass in the asphalt mix to help it cope with the summer heat, but doesn’t mix well with fuel spillages off traffic!) – so we decided to ride out to the Cap de Formentor lighthouse.
Although this rarely features in the guided rides, it’s one of our favourites. It’s only 14 miles to the lighthouse but there are two decent climbs making a round trip of 28 miles with 2800ft of climb.
After a few photos we headed back towards base but, as it still hadn’t started raining, we went to Cala Sant Vicente for lunch at a beach café. From there we set off for Sa Pobla but the rain started, so we cut it short. Total distance 51 miles with 3350 ft of climb.
The Orient Valley Loop
Another classic ride on Mallorca. Nice hair-pinned climb, swooping fast descent (if done clockwise).
The weather was back to normal – warm and sunny – dry roads. So, out the flatlands through Sa Pobla then the Cami Vell lanes to Santa Maria del Cami for lunch and then onto Bunyola and the ‘Orient Loop’. Those first 35 miles were fairly flat, but at Bunyola it all changes, with the Coll d’Honor climb, a technical descent, then the shorter Coll d’Orient to the village (at a height of 1800 ft). Thereafter, there is a long, gradual, fast, free-wheeling descent to the Alaro junction. Stunning rocky outcrops in view. After regrouping at the bottom it was an undulating ride along the back/bike lanes through Lloseta and Campanet to base.
Total distance 73 miles with 3300 ft of ascent.
The Coll De Sa Batalla route to Lluc
For the last day of the training camp, the leaders decided we should have a nice, easy, flat ride. The plan was to go out through Campanet, Selva and Lloseta to Binissalem for lunch then return via Sa Pobla. Nicole, however had other ideas! She hadn’t done enough climbing during the week so decided she wanted to leave the group on the way back and climb Lluc again, albeit in the opposite direction to the last time. Unsurprisingly, we couldn’t persuade anybody else to join us!
Thus Nic and Eric we left the group near Inca, returned to Selva and onto the Sa Batalla climb. Being on their own, they were able to stop now and then to take photos and appreciate the views, rather than flogging it in a peleton. So that made a nice change.
Total distance 57 miles and 3300 ft of ascent.
Back again, for more of the same – sunshine and great rides to get fitter and start that tan on our pasty-white Rochdale wintered limbs.