Thursday, January 19, 2012

Escaping to the mountains of Majorca again

Pics L>R
1 View of mountains from Palma. 2. Great sunset up by lakes. 3 Plaza in Soller.4 One of a trio of walking companions!5 6 7 Sa Calobra. 8 By the tunnel at Puig Major.

Winter can be pretty dismal in the U.K at this time of year so I will be off to Majorca again . I will be spending New Years Eve in the square in Soller ( probably taking part in traditional grape eating festivities !!! ) and then heading off on some of my favourite rides in the western mountains. I plan to take the climb out of Soller up towards Puig Major and up and down Sa Calobra again.

I also intend to head further south to Deia and Valldemossa and several other climbs such as the twisty road up to the Col de Soller and into Bunyola...

I will do a blog on the rides on my return. O.k here goes------

Arrived in Palma on the 30th and sun was shining with blue sky. Wow to think that only hours before I had been in dismal, grey U.K. We had a fantastic lunch by the sea on the south of the Island and then after a great walk to clear the cobwebs. Back to the car to find broken window and rucksack gone. Luckily only cards and incidentals disappeared -----I hope they enjoyed my cheese and pickle sandwiches though !

After a night in Palma which is a lovely place ( when you know where to go ) and feels very safe walking around at night time, headed off to Soller .This was fun because we had left the car to be repaired, so borrowed another friends old Peugeout. If any of you have seen the Bourne Identity it was a bit like that (the Mini scene) !Anyway the old diesel had next to no clutch so we would without a doubt take the tunnel through to Soller and avoid the enjoyable hairpins up and over the col de Soller !Soller is a beautiful old town with cobbled streets linking up beautiful 3 and 4 storey houses with the Plaza in the centre as the main focal point .With it's restored Victorian tram line still transporting people back and forth to the Port of Soller and the backdrop of the mountains on three sides it really is a magical place !!

Once you open the big solid wooden door of my friend's house you are taken aback as these rather austere old houses- which look so unfriendly and cold from the outside- become beautiful and frankly luxurious living quarters. Lovely !

Regarding cycling-------It would have been rude to cycle everyday so I did a full on two days of cycling interspersed with some amazing mountain walks which were just as much fun !!

The first ride was from Soller up to Puig Major so a climb of over 1000 meters over about 10 miles.I have been down this before but never up and it is a super climb with great road surfaces which have even been improved upon since last year (particularly the road from Pollenca up to the Monastery of Luc). From the tunnel I cycled past the lakes and on to the Col de Reis and then of course one of my favourite rides was coming up-------descent to and ascent from Sa Calobra. Fantastic again ------sunshine, blue sky, warm and no other cyclists all day apart from one. Sorry !! ------you should all go !!!

The climb up from Sa Calobra was as usual fantastic------yes the cycling was great but also admiring the engineering feat too.The day was a public holiday so having set off with no drinks -thinking as usual that I could pull in for something en route-there were no cafes or shops open.So apart from a coke at Sa calobra I was pretty parched.Probably because of lack of fluid I found the climb back to the tunnel quite hard and it is always pretty cold up there too--reasonably high. The whizz down to Soller was of course over in a flash and as exhilarating as usual at speeds of 45-65kms/hr.

So cycling day was approx 82 kms and really enjoyable.

Day 2 I decided to cycle south to Deia , Valdemossa with a descent and ascent to and from Bunyolbufar. From there headed back into the hinterland through Esporles to join the main road running from Palma to Soller. This is a long straight road but traffic is generally very sympathetic to cyclists------lets face it in the season lots of money comes to the Island from people like us.

The reason I had come this way was so that I could climb up the Col de Soller which once again I have been down but not up. Lovely hairpins and views back to Palma. Not high at about 565 meters but really pleasant. From the top (Cafe owned by English guy shut too ) fairly rapid descent to Soller.I was feeling really good and had just over 11/2 hours left before agreeing I would be back !! So shot back up to Puig Major and down again. This ride was approx 120kms so a really good days ride .

Hope you enjoyed the read...................