Saturday 2 January 2010 Soller, Col de Soller, Bunyola, Coll d’HOnor,Orient, Alaro, Inca, Coll de Sa Batalla, Gorg Blau, Cole de Puig Mayor Tunnel, Soller. Distance: 102 km (62 miles) Maximum Height: 871 metres (2,860 feet) Altitude Gain: 1,900 metres (6,234 feet) This circular route has a total of 4 mountain passes, the highest and last of which is the tunnel of the Puig Mayor. View of Puig Mayor from the outskirts of Soller
Coll de Soller Alt: 499 metres Length: 7.9 Kilometres Altitude Gain: 435 metres Average Gradient: 5.5%
Setting out before dawn up past Soller towards the tunnel. Ingeniously crafted water bottles held long thin sandwiches, and in addition to this, we carried as little as possible. The few miles to the Soller tunnel were cycled in the morning darkness. As the cars drew away from us underground through the tunnel, light grew and we were left alone on the road to hairpin our way gradually but steeply up to the Col du Soller marvelling at the feat of engineering as the hairpins stacked up one on top of the other up and up through the orange terraces until we passed the font de Teix where the water is made. (think this is how it works) Bunyola A fast descent to Bunyola where, turning left, it was difficult to tell if the narrow rutted way was in fact the road to Orient. It was, and we were off again, more hairpins, people trying to race us. ( you know the sort, they are going slow, so you overtake and as you do so you hear “grunt,…..whirrrrr… click” as they shift up and start busting a gut to stay on your wheel. ) The road is narrow and quiet. Coll d’Honor Length: 6.1 Kilometres Altitude Gain: 346 metres Average Gradient: 5.7% Orient Admire the views as you cycle through the Orient valley, a little used (by cars anyway) route. We saw a merry group of local cyclists out for their pack run. Had to stop along the way here as my feet were so cold they were killing, took shoes off and jumped around to try and warm them up. Shortly after this, we came to a roadside café, just opening up. The grandma sitting in a corner peeling potatoes for lunch. The landlord was busy lighting a fire, which we willed him to get a move on with. The road approaching Alaro gives views of the impressive twin climbing crags, Would be lovely to climb there but you’ve got to get there somehow with all the gear first. Coll de sa Batalla (starting from Caimari): Length: 8.4 Kilometres Altitude Gain: 413 metres Average Gradient: 4.9% The surface on this road is like black velvet, but you have to pay for this with its popularity with tourists and coaches. Puig Major Tunnel At 871 metres it is the highest mountain pass on the island Puig Mayor Tunnel (starting from the Gorg Blau reservoir): Length: 4.8 Kilometres Altitude Gain: 243 metres Average Gradient: 5.1% (beware the 1st km is 8%!) Jim kept having to stop and pump up his tyre, hoping that it would last till we got home. It did. From the Coll there is a long section of what should have been an enjoyable high road, made unpleasant by a strong cold wind against us. Finish the ride with a downhill ride through the dripping tunnel, and an exhilarating 18 kilometre descent back to Soller.