A Tale of Two Roads
Bicycling magazine once described Mallorca, Spain as, “like Disneyland for cyclists” and they are not far from the truth. There are no fuzzy bears or life-sized mice riding around the island but it does seem a bit like the whole place was purpose-built to please roadies. Not wanting to miss out on what is really the world’s largest unofficial annual cycling festival a small group of riders makes their way from Peterborough every March. There they will join the tens of thousands of Europeans that are already there.
Ever since people have been able to make a living racing their bikes finding the ideal place to train in the off-season has been critical. Mallorca has an incredibly diverse road network and is dry, warm, cheap and easy to get to from northern Europe. From racers to recreational riders it has become the ultimate destination. Starting with the pros who come to train and then race the Trofeo Mallorca in February there is a steady stream of recreational cyclists until Late May.
Sure, there are thousands of kilometers of great cycling to be experienced but there are two roads so spectacular that they will never be forgotten by those lucky enough to ride them. Cap de Formentor is a lighthouse at the end of a spectacular winding mountain road. Ending at a clifftop 1000′ above the Mediterranean the road snakes along a ridgeline through open forests and stone pinnacles until the final climb to the lighthouse. Along the way the ever narrowing ridge offers views of the island’s distant villages as well as the waves crashing on the huge cliffs below.
Sa Colabra, known locally as the snake, is a more committing ride. The heart of the route is the long plummet to the ocean followed by the inevitable climb back out from the cove. Standing at the bottom one will hear the nervous laughter of the countless riders from all over the world that come to sample this route. The harbour at Sa Calobra is probably the one place in the world where one could learn to say, “I can’t believe we have to go back up” in fifteen different languages. And there is indeed only one way out. Up. Way up. This is one of the most spectacular bits of road building that a rider is likely to come across in a lifetime.
I don’t wish to give away too much. Soon you will start to hear whispers of the twenty or so Peterborough riders who will make the trip this year. They will each have a story to tell. So, ask them, how was Sa Calobra? How was Cap de Formentor?