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Friday, May 17, 2019

April 15th: Col d Honor and Col de sa Batalla

 I started the day climbing over Col de Soller again. At this point, I'd climbed over every method out of Port de Soller at least twice, which was disconcerting to me as I'd never done that much duplication on a tour before.

Thus it was that when I got to Bunyola and spotted the climb over Col d'Honor I was excited. The road was a one lane road wide enough for just one car in most places, and none of the festive "century ride" crowding I'd seen on previous days. I wasn't unhappy, as getting the road all to myself was a nice change.

Once on the descent, I rode through many lonely little towns and passed many farming villages, including meadows, until I got close to Lloseta, where once again I encountered large groups of cyclists on the roads. Certainly much more than any car traffic I'd seen so far in Spain. In the beautiful hill town of Selva, I stopped at a supermarket, bought a bottle of water, a banana, and a local sweet from a young woman, which would have been remarkable throughout the rest of Europe, since usually the big cities suck up all the young people from the rural countryside. I loaded up my water bottles and shared the rest with a group of cyclists from England, and then proceeded to climb up Col de sa Batalla.
I was astounded by how many cyclists were on the road, but since this road was also used by car tourists, I was even more astounded by how patiently each car would wait behind a group of cyclists until it was safe to pass. There were no signs of impatience and road rage, which was both remarkable and a pleasant change from USA cycling. The ride felt like a convention of international cyclists, with folks from the Scandinavian countries, Germany (of course), England, Finland, and even Switzerland and Canada. The Europeans in most cases were repeat visitors, coming here to escape rotten weather in their home countries.
Once over the pass, I rode down to the Sa Calobra intersection, and kept going up to the tunnel road, where the number of cyclists dropped dramatically. I met a group of Canadians, who told me that one of them had suffered a bike breakage during the airline transit. "It looked like someone dropped another heavy object onto the padded bike case." The carbon frame had snapped in 2, and though the replacement cost of the bike was $10,000 the airline depreciated it $2,000 for being 4 years old and the cyclists was forced to rent.

On arrival in Soller, I ran into Mike who was already ready to start packing his bike. I got myself settled in, grab all the gear I wanted to stick in the bike box, and went down to join him. It took a good hour to pack, with a significant amount of time getting the bike box to close snugly, and then we were ready. I asked the reception to organize a taxi ride to the airport for early the next morning. "Piaw, how are you going to do without breakfast!" said Mike. "I'll just buy stuff in the markets at dinner time and scarf it down in the room."

We had dinner at El Sabor, bought food for the next morning, and then packed everything in our carryons as best as we  could, since the next morning would be a 6:00am pickup. I took one last night shot of Port de Soller from our balcony.
I reflected on how prescient Brad was: 6 days was just enough, and not too much. Cap de Formentor would have been nice (and perhaps we should have done that on our car rental day instead of Sobremont). Mike was pretty sure his wife would ask him to take her back, and I was looking forward to switching locations.

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