Lots of bends, lots of braking
With the other riders on the camp opting for a rest day, DA and I decided to ignore warnings of imminent rain in the mountains and set off for the legendary climb of Sa Calobra. DA, on only his second visit to Majorca, had never seen the climb before and wanted a look before the official training camp ride up it at the weekend.
We were joined for the ride by Majorca veterans Ken Jones and Alan Ramsey and approached the Calobra from the south via Selva.
Once again, DA showed a clean pair of heels on the climb, but cheesecake in the Repsol garage at the top eased the pain of defeat and, anyway, there was the descent of the Calobra to come…
The weather stayed dry and we climbed the short coll preceding the descent with high hopes of an enjoyable drop to the coast. Dry, it may have been, but the wind was stronger in the mountains than on the coast and, as we left their shelter for the famous flyover bend near the top, it caught us. Or, rather, our deep section wheels.
The ensuing swerves un-nerved Dave and encouraged me to seek the shelter of the lower slopes. Thing about the Calobra is that it packs a lot of bends – and hence braking – and puts a lot of heat into the rims. About two thirds of the way down there’s a long section where the brakes aren’t really needed followed by a right-hander where they most definitely are…
Which is where my front inner tube gave up the unequal fight with rim heat. It blew, but gently enough to allow me to stop while still upright. By the time DA and Ken arrived, I had almost got the replacement fitted. I inflated it, put the wheel in the fork and began packing stuff away and the new tube blew, this time with a sharp report that made Dave jump.
I fitted my second spare, which stayed up, and we continued the descent. Then, it too went pop and I was left tubeless and with nothing for it but to wobble down to the first available cafe, where my companions freshened up with coffee and cake and set off back up the climb while I sat and waited for Wheels in Wheels to rescue me.
Well, it’s one way to enjoy Sa Calobra without having to ride back up.