30 Mar Sa Calobra – The Best Way Up
The ‘official’ climb is 9.4km at 7%, but opinions differ as to where it starts. The main car park seems to be the favourite.
So you’ve got the right gearing (see previous post!), necked a caffeine gel (on top of the cafe con leche you had at the beach), and you’ve got a full water bottle, you’re ready to go!
The first few kms have some long straights in them, which as always, can be discouraging as progress appears slow – don’t worry, just be steady, don’t go into the red here, there’s plenty to come. Spin a light gear (it will probably be your lowest) to warm your legs up.
Soon the hairpins appear – a good technique is to go out wide and cut the apex – it will be steepest here, but stand up and pedal to boost round, then sit once back on the straight.
Try to vary standing and sitting, it will relieve muscles and strains. Generally speaking, drop it 3 gears when you stand, back up 3 gears when you sit. (Di2 makes this easy! Just one long press)
Keep taking small sips of water. Focus on breathing; as long and deep as possible, exhale fully, your body will take care of the inhale part. Listen to Jens Voigt – “Shut up Legs”.
With about 2.5km to go you can see the top and it looks a long way off – concentrate on the next bend though and keep going.
Just before the 270′ bend it flattens off slightly, but it’s not over, power round that famous bend and charge up the last 300m to the very top.
Stop, pat self on back, take photos! You have conquered Sa Calobra!