Following on from last month’s issue of the Islander, here are my next set of climbs on the island…
The Well Known
If you want to reach a monastery at the summit of a climb, then the climb to the San Salvador sanctuary is a must. Starting just outside the town of Felanitx, the PMV-4011 road is the one you’re after, dead-ending at the top of the hill. With a comparatively short length of just 5km, Sant Salvador is often overlooked by riders focussing on the mountains of the Tramuntana. That’s a big mistake though as Sant Salvador is one of the most unique and enjoyable climbs on the island with hairpins galore, a mini-Mont-Ventoux isolated feel and incredibly punchy gradients. You’ll find a café at the top, so you can sip a café con leche while taking in the 360 degree views, and the historic monastery before you head back whence you came.
Distance: 4.7km, Average gradient: 7%, Steepest gradient: 15%
Puig de Randa (from Randa)
Another monastery climb to the Santuari de Cura, this is another one to cross off your list. There are in fact two approaches, with both meeting just shy of halfway up, but I’ve picked out the approach that heads through Randa simply because the KOM is held by Fabian Cancellara, reaching the top in a staggering average speed of 29.1km/h.
What sets the Puig de Randa out though, is the fact it’s not in the Serras at all – it sits right in the middle of the island near Llucmajor and Algaida. That means it’s a perfect climb to shake things up if you’re not the kind of rider that enjoys the big mountains every day, but enjoys the occasional smaller test instead. A bit like Cancellara, really.
A brilliant training ride climb in the middle of the island with far reaching views. Unlike most of these climbs, but similar to San Salvador, this is in the middle of the island and stands alone. The route starts in the pretty town of Randa where there is a great old lunch stop serving traditional Mallorcan food & is in the sun. The climb starts gradually before hitting the hairpins with nice views down the valley. After a left turn you start seeing wide views of half of the island before a flatter section. A final couple of hairpins gets you to the top and the old monastery which now has a nice restaurant. Well worth a walk around here, you can see so much of Mallorca on a clear day and its a lovely place to rest for a while and have a drink.
Distance: 4.6km, Average gradient: 5%, Steepest gradient: 7%
Cap de Formentor
While technically not a climb on its own (the last 500m, switchbacking rise to the lighthouse notwithstanding), the whole ride out from the Port de Pollença is worthy of inclusion – and takes in the Coll de la Creueta as an hors d’oeuvre.
From the bottom of the Creueta descent, there’s one road out as it follows the spit of land to the lighthouse viewpoint, meandering and rolling its way up to the cliff face.
There are three distinct climbing sections punctuated by mini descents, before a slightly longer descent and then the final rise to the Cap.
The route out and back is characterised by stunning ‘endless’ views out to sea, around 1000m of climbing (both ways) packed into less than 40km of riding, and a unique photo opportunity at the lighthouse itself. There’s also a café there, so need we say more?
Distance: approx. 18km
Coll de la Creueta (southern climb)
The Coll de la Creueta is one of the most out-of-the-way climbs on the island, but if you want to reach our wildcard tenth ‘summit’ at the Cap de Formentor, then you need to climb this 3.2km ascent.
It averages six per cent and starts at the Port de Pollença, which means there’s no excuse not to be fresh (if you’re staying in the port town, like many of the pro teams), or well-fuelled if you used the popular seaside Tolos Bar as a coffee stop.
What goes up must come down, so the other side features a sweeping descent with views of the seas as you head down to the Play de Formentor. If you’re heading the other way, the climb is slightly longer, although arguably a touch shallower.
Distance: 3.2km, Average gradient: 5%, Steepest gradient: 9%
The Less Well Known
Port des Canonges
Great little descent from the ma-10 at the 80km marker and then a winding climb up from a beautiful bay. The gradient averages around 7% but has a kick up to 15% for a very short section just before the top. There are a number of hairpins, too many to count and the scenery is excellent. Two cracking Mallorca restaurants and some wonderful coastal views…. Best in the summer, as the sun comes up, before it is too hot and the beach traffic starts.
The swooping road is surrounded by trees and offers regular glimpses of the blue sea way below.
To be aware of
The road is narrow. Although quiet, there will be the occasional tourists in rental cars looking at the stunning views, not always at you. Some sections of the road has been resurfaced.
Port de Valldemossa
A bonkers climb. The road is so narrow and bad and steep in places that you will question why you ever contemplated it, even started it. A third of the way down you will know – it is brilliant, a route like this this is reason enough to cycle. Amazing views that lead to an oasis of a Port that is so welcoming it is difficult to leave. If you like Sa Calobra, you will love this climb. Starting at sea level and winding up on an average surface for 5km at an average gradient of 7% you get arguably more thrills per metre than anywhere on the island. Sharp hairpins and cliff faces is the name of the game here.
Starting one kilometre off the main ma-10, the surface is not great. Take care though as the views keep dragging your eyes away from where your tyres are going. There is very little traffic and loads of shady trees that line the numerous hairpins providing welcome shade. Arriving into the sleepy Port you really feel that this is what cycling in Mallorca is all about
When you finally get around to going back up, it is worth the effort. Not as long as Sa Calobra, but the same 7% gradient that does not let up and is action packed through the twists, turns and cliff faces.
To be aware of
The road surface is not great. Fairly bad in places, but manageable as well as being too narrow for all but the most pigeon chested of us, care should be taken especially with holidaymakers in the occasional rental car
By Dan Marsh – Owner & Founder
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