by Dan Marsh
As a cyclist you look for certain raw ingredients when you create the perfect road biking trip.
To kick things off, your guests demand regular, low cost flight options from different destinations around the world. They don’t want to spend too long cooped up on a plane and an arduous airport transfer should be avoided. The riders seeks that perfect cycling climate, where conditions are significantly better than those their friends are enduring at home. The somewhat strange habit of comparing their razor like tan lines is a important as comparing Strava segment times from the previous year. Stunning scenery, a mixture of terrain and plenty of inspirational climbs all go into the pot, along with the well maintained, smooth, sweeping roads.
When you create that perfect dish, the seasoning is as important as the raw ingredients and makes the food come to life. “The seasoning” for a cycling trip is the deep routed culture of the land you are peddling across.
As a cyclist, you seek a land where the inhabitants embrace cycling, where cars and cycles to live together in close harmony… for cycling to be in the blood of those who have been brought up in the villages that you cycle through… for the Tour de France to be a realistic dream for every small child growing up…. for owners of the cafes and hotels to understand what it is like to spend a hard day on the bike…. or them to understand that look on your face that says “cortado & a full fat coke”.
Mallorca has all of this and more – there is nowhere in the world that does cycling the way Mallorca does cycling. To top it off, the hotels genuinely cater for cyclists, transfer companies are geared up for bike boxes, the bike shops are stocked up in line with demand and you can get sports nutrition in most petrol stations.
There are a number of great cycling sportives throughout the year and there is a competitive local racing scene. There is the seal of approval from those that know – The professional teams. WorldTour teams run training camps here at various times between December & March – getting out on our roads and using the Palma Arena to fine tune their TT bike positioning. The 4 day UCI race The Challenge Mallorca attracts all the top teams at the start of the year and is fairly unique in allowing teams to change their daily roster of riders.
As a resident of the island, the cycling scene changes with the seasons – you cycle different routes, with different people, at different times of day, for different lengths of time. In the summer, you are prepped the night before and you head out just after sunrise. You tend to do far more shorter power based training, you seek the shaded climbs such as the Coll d’Honor and more often than not, you ride on your own… From the end of October through to March, with reduced work demands, you tend to ride longer distances. Catching up with friends or cycling with clubs, you seek out the more exposed climbs such as San Salvador or Randa and Santa Maria again becomes the hub of cycling activity. Once you are into April & May you tend to do the longer hillier rides typically over 100km and 2000m vertical – the likes of Sa Calobra are back in play.