The island of Mallorca is a well-known hotspot for cyclists and triathletes. The majority of those who visit head to the mountains – and who can blame them? With famous climbs like Puig Major and Sa Calobra and beautiful beaches at Port de Soller, it’s paradise for training – sure. The thing is, we don’t often race over mountains, at least not in Britain. The bulk of triathletes are racing on flat or rolling English roads on time trial bikes. Luckily, Mallorca has the perfect place for you. The small town of Colonia de Sant Jordi. Here we talk about why Colonia is the perfect location for a triathlon training camp.
Swimming – 5/5
Colonia de Sant Jordi is home of the world famous BEST Swim Centre. This has played host to some of the best swimmers of all time including the likes of Rebecca Adlington, a legend of British swimming. Not only that, the German Triathlon Union have used it as a base of training for their athletes. World famous triathlon names like Jan Frodeno and Kristian Blummenfeldt. This centre is one of the best places on earth to swim with a 50m pool and a gym on site. The best part is what the swimming pool doesn’t have – a roof. I’m writing this from Mallorca in March and let me tell you, the sunshine in the south of the island is definitely warmer than in the mountains. It’s a beautiful place to train. The open air pool makes being up before sunrise a little easier knowing the sun will be on your back as soon as it comes up while you swim early mornings.
Colonia is also on the coast (not that anywhere in Mallorca is particularly far from the beach) and boasts some beautiful open water swimming. Every year they host the annual “BESTFest” which is a weeklong event with a series of open water races from one kilometre in length to ten. It’s usually attended by some world-class swimmers. Watch out for jellyfish though, stings don’t really hurt that much but it can be uncomfortable for a few days.
Cycling – 4/5
Mallorca has a number of famous loops but the roads around Colonia are less well known. There’s some really cool monastery climbs like the Randa which seems to protrude out the plane with almost no obvious geological cause. Be careful on the descents as busses containing tourists are round every bend – going up it’s great though, laden with other cyclists to race. The flat roads in this end of the island are perfect for time trial bikes, riders can ping along the smooth roads which are mostly traffic-free away from the main routes.
The most important part of cycling, however, is yet to be addressed. What are the cafes like I hear you cry? Well, you’ll be pleased to know they’re excellent – provided good, cheap coffee is what you like! The centrepiece of the cafe stop at this end of Mallorca is the cafe Colonia. This is an espresso shot with a scoop of ice cream on it and it’s as good at the end of a long hot ride as it is simple. Good locations for an end of ride cafe are in Ses Salines – an old town with a big square full of cafes. If you prefer a mid-long ride stop you should try Sa Ruta Verda in Caimari. You usually have a tailwind on the way home from there in the afternoon and it’s a net downhill run into Colonia.
The big mountains around Soller and Sa Calobra are accessible from Colonia but be prepared for a big day in the saddle.
Running – 5/5
Colonia is host to a beautiful selection of running trails, there are three loops of various lengths as well as routes which go along the seafront. There are a number of beaches nearby, all of which have trails and dirt roads behind them with Es Trenc on one side and Carbo on the other.
Recently, since the pandemic, Colonia de Sant Jordi has finished a beautiful, new, 400m six-lane running track. This is fantastic for those athletes who like a good track session (or a fast beer mile). Most of the roads around the town have an associated bike path too that’s perfect for hard reps on the road. There’s something for every runner here and a post-run paddle in the sea is always on hand to speed up recovery for the next day’s training.
The town – 4/5
The town of Colonia de Sant Jordi is a pretty sleepy little town but it does have some quirks. There’s an array of lovely cafes and restaurants along the seafront. The town boasts a small aquarium as well as a number of vibrant bars for your rest day night out.
The Last Word
The mountains in Mallorca have been a Mecca for cyclists for as long as I can remember. I’ve been coming here to Colonia de Sant Jordi since 2018 and I believe it should be the default choice for triathletes organising a training camp. Besides, it’s much less windy than Lanzarote. Mallorca has an amazing bus network making transport from Palma de Mallorca Airport to Colonia both cheap and easy – I really don’t know what you’re waiting for.
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