Mallorca, Spain via The Cyclist's Menu
We had two main objectives during our trip to Mallorca, Spain; leave the rest of the world behind and ride our bikes…a lot. We packed only what we needed, nothing more, and set off to tell our human-powered story. We were confident the more we rode, the more we'd see. It seems silly, but we wanted a reason to stop, to chat and learn from the locals. It was our entry into a world where society is in constant motion with the sun. Rather than trying to beat the norm or stay up to speed, we enjoyed every bit of the 900 miles and 68k vertical feet of it. In between, there were countless cortado's and enough smiling that tan lines formed on our cheeks. The island is in the middle of the Balearic Sea, with Menorca to the north and Ibiza to the south. It's 100% Spanish, however the Mallorquina way of life is uniquely theirs. They have their own dialect, ways of cooking certain foods, and natural differences for which the island has become known. What we came to find out is the road cycling there is like nowhere else in the world.
If and when you visit this island, you too will grin from ear to ear—the scenery will blow your mind. The concept of Road Camp has been in the making for years now. The question being, "Can we create an experience that highlights a civilization and its culture that has been evolving since 2000 BC?" For all you historians out there, that's the transition from the middle to late Bronze Age! What better way to see it than from a bike with some of your closest friends and everything you need on your back?
We were on a mission to see the Mallorca that most don't experience. The moments where no cars are on the road and no other cyclists are stirring. The quiet time that only the goats seem to enjoy. We don't follow recipes, we aren't your typical outfit, and you'll be hard-pressed to find any normal schedule when you ride with us. We believe that's the beauty in what we do. Traveling to us is undefined, it's remembered not because you were told where to go or what time you will eat. Rather, the fact that seven days allow for the ability to suddenly vanish into thin air, without any pressure or thought whatsoever. Road Camp was our moment to live.
Mallorca has a bustling market scene. Each village is like a separate state. They have their own vibe, their own ways of doing things, their own speed. Most are only 5 kilometers away from each other, however each one represents the commonality of Mallorca and how important the idea of family and time are in this life. Our home base for 3 weeks was Campanet. Nestled in the northeast corner of the island, this unique little town is a hub for cyclists. With a grand square in the heart of town, riders from all corners of the island stop in or ride through, dawn to dusk. The centers of most towns on the island are marked with a massive church. Campanet was no different, the church being the backdrop for a triangular courtyard with tables. A group of riders take a break as celebratory pints are thrown up: Salud!
Tuesday is market day, making food shopping easy and as fresh as it gets. We decided to cook only with what we could find. It made for incredibly fun meals, ones that spoke to the springtime in Mallorca and exactly what the locals were eating at home. It was a lot of new items that I hadn't really used in the same dish before. Dates, peaches, green onions, garlic and potatos were staples, alongside meats like chicken, pork and rabbit. Because society still operates the same way it has for hundreds of years, we fit right in, always having a good working bag with us at all times. Whether it was a plethora of personal items stuffed in our ride wallets or meats, cheese and vino stacked into Heidi's Cinch Tote, our life felt a bit more intact.
Interacting with the different producers at the market helped me think about new ideas and ways in which to combine things like soppressata and olives, grilled chicken and rice. We're fairly positive a bottle of olive oil was consumed per week, if not two! Many of the heritage olive orchards are close to 1000 years old. Traveling with Topo Designs made daily life easy. Something we've been searching for are durable travel bags, ones we can throw in the dirt, throw over our shoulder for the market or hold a bottle of wine for the last 30 miles of a ride. It's dirty, stained and a little faded at this point, but both the Classic Duffel and Travel Bag proved more than worthy.
Our list of rides seemed to build as we hovered over our map of the island, night after night. Andrew Chad had his sights on a few locations that were prime for sunrise and late evening adventure. We spent our days in search of far off corners and cafés down dead end streets. Our favorites include Sa Calobra, Cap De Formentor, The Petra Hills, Puig Major, The Orient and the famed Coastal Ride via Ma-10. Mallorca is truly a cycling paradise and very easy to travel around without much hassle. A word that's said often is, "Tranquillo." After a few days you get used to it and slowly fall into the groove.
What about the routes you ask? Well, the most incredible thing about this island is you don't really need one. A comprehensive map exists; it's up to you to decide where to go. So, we did just that. It was my 3rd time on the island and I was stoked to share it with my partner in crime, Heidi Rentz and two incredibly close friends, Andrew and Jake. Both of these boys have helped curate The Cyclist's Menu into what it is today. I knew I wanted to show them the cream of the crop. One direction I hadn't explored was east to west across the southern side of the Serra De Trumantana. A 118-mile loop that heads west from Campanet to Andratx, traces the Coastal Route (Ma-10) all the way to Soller, over the mountains, through the foothills and back home. This ride heads through the thick of the island, exposing some of the best climbs, descents and long winding coastal views. You ride by those 1000 year old olive groves we mentioned and ancient Roman ruins. This ride defines our time on the island; it's what we talk about over beers. It exposes so much of what we love about Mallorca and why we will travel back each May for Road Camp, season after season.
Based in Longmont, Colorado, The Cyclist's Menu seeks to connect people to the food and land in beautiful places. We provide an adventure on the bike and in the kitchen unmatched in this industry. Whether on their road or mountain bikes, gravel grinder, a trail run or swimming in an alpine lake, Heidi and Zander celebrate the beauty of a healthy and active lifestyle with their clients.
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