What goes down, must come up!
The winding, hair-raising descent from Mallorca’s Coll dels Reis to the tiny port of Sa Calobra has to be one of the most depressing free-wheeling stretches you can do. Never mind the beautiful smooth tarmac, the stunning views down into the valley as the road snakes below you. You can ignore the spectacular rock formations rising dramatically above you as you descend. The fragrant pine trees, the bleating goats on the hillside. On a sunny day the scene is near perfect – a deep blue Mediterranean bay, white boats bobbing to welcome you into the village. But you can forget all of that – because as your knuckles get whiter and whiter with gripping your bars for minute after minute of sweet descent, there’s just one thing on your mind…
I’m gonna have to get back up.
Sa Calobra is the end of the line – the road doesn’t go anywhere else, so the only way out is to climb back up 682m over 9.4km – that’s an average 7% gradient. I’ve already had a confidence wobble before going down, but a quick pep-talk from my friends persuades me I can do this. Mallorca is the winter playground of European pro teams and with challenges like these it’s not hard to see why it’s ideal for them to practice their cat 1 climbing skills. Now they’ve all gone off to do their jobs in the Spring Classics and in warmer conditions at the Tirreno-Adriatico. Today, I’m just focusing on getting back up to the top – in whatever way I can! I know my friends are waiting and we’ll celebrate with a slab of the famous Mallorcan almond cake when it’s done.