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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

April 12th: Sa Calobra

 I woke up in the middle of the night again and had a tough time going back to sleep, something I attributed to alcohol. I'd avoid alcohol for the rest of my stay in Mallorca for this reason.

All the forecasts for rain had proven wrong so far, so I ignored the clouds and rode out of Port de Soller the easy way for a change so that I would know how to do it. The climb up to Puig Major was a steady 6% grade, and easy to do in the middle chainring. I reflected on how much easier it was to ride an unloaded bike on tour.
Down below, there was some smoke, reflecting that on an island the easiest way to get rid of garbage was to burn it, but unfortunately that also came with some smell, something we would repeatedly have to breathe every time we rode out of Soller.
At the Sa Calobra intersection, I headed up to Coll dels Reis faced with the clouds which weren't apparent when I left this morning. The descent alternated between sun and clouds until I got near the bottom when it became sunny.
The road was dramatic and beautiful, providing swooping S-curves all along its 5.86 mile length. I stopped a few times to take pictures on the descent before realizing that I was going to climb it, and climbing is a much better time to take pictures than descents, because staring at the scenery while descending was likely to cause me to crash.
Nevertheless, on the narrow canyon-like section I couldn't resist shooting a selfie --- it looked so cool! And at the bottom at the official start, I turned around and climbed back up. The climb was fun, though nothing exceeded 10%, and this time I had time to take better pictures.
The day was starting to become busy, and I saw a car drive through the narrow section at speed, narrowly missing a cyclist coming the other way on the one-lane canyon. Most drivers on Mallorca were polite, but there's always some tourist who rents a fancy car and then has to push it, not mindful of everyone else who's sharing the road.
The second time around, I rode all the way to the bottom (and later turned around and climbed up again so that I could say I'd done everything), and confirmed with the information office that there would be a ferry at 1:45pm. I still had time, so I could lock my bike and walk through to the beach via the tunnel. The Mediterranean looked an un-earthly shade of blue, and I enjoyed the views very much. The water was still cold, however, and no one bothered to even try to swim while I was there.

I decided against getting any snacks, figuring that I'd be able to get something once I was back in Port de Soller. This turned out to be a good thing, since when the ferry showed up, it did something insane that I'd never seen before. Rather than dock abeam to the ferry terminal, it docked bow first, deployed a gang plank, and then, with a crew member stabilizing the dock end of the gang plank, had the passengers disembark or embark on the gang plank! The video doesn't give you a sense of how jerky the gang plank could be, especially if you were wearing cycling shoes. I had SPDs and made it a cross while lifting my bike high up in the air, but the folks who were wearing road-style cleats had to take off their shoes first, or had the crew members deal with their bike.
The way back was a bit of a rough ride as well, but I got to see the coastline of the island where no roads went, which made for good viewing. It was spectacular how rugged the island was, and we had a good time. When I got back to the hotel, Mike was getting his massage. I got some snack, got showered and laundry, and then asked Mike if he wanted to go to Linus' restaurant in Deia for food. He was amenable to that idea, so I asked Linus for a reservation.
Linus had mentioned that his chef was from Singapore, and sure enough, when she showed up, I asked her if that last item on the menu was "Mee Pok" and she confirmed it! Of course I had to have it, not having had decent Mee Pok for at least 10 years! Karsten showed up with both his young boys, who demonstrated how much better behaved German kids can be than American kids, and Linus as well.
We tried and failed to pay for dinner, and I was once again humbled by how gracious Linus and Karsten were as hosts to strangers they'd only met just a couple of days ago. We would tried to make plans to ride again together but circumstances intervened and we were never able to do so before we had to leave Mallorca.

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