Nada Sa Colabra

I wrote this while watching apparently fearless cyclists whizz by to descend Sa Calobra. I wrote this sat from the nearby café, sipping a coffee, admiring the view.

Failure looks pretty picturesque so far. But it doesn’t feel it. I didn’t intend to be sat here so soon. This was supposed to be my reward after descending the twisty Sa Calobra and climbing the 6km back to the top again. 

With the numbers of times I’ve chickened out this trip (day 1 with descending, day 2 with the rain and day 5 again, with descending), my goal to climb the height of Everest is seeming very, very far away.

I hate being afraid. It takes over every sense that I have. It literally paralyses me to the point that I forget what I’m doing on the bike. Because I know what I should do, I’ve managed it the past couple of days! But one big gust of wind towards the top knocked all of that out of me. 

I tried to rationalise and coax myself to carry on. I pulled in to stretch and calm down my breathing​. To review the descent route and profile. It didn’t look too steep, and I would just take my time. But it didn’t work. I went to carry on and another gust of wind hit me. There went the little bit of confidence I’d built up from my pep talk. 

Helmet off. Bike racked. Coffee ordered. And here I am, admiring the view, writing and consoling: it’s okay that I didn’t manage this descent, better to be safe than sorry, while also reminding myself to stop being so hard on myself and see the positives. Yes I failed to descend Sa Calobra, but I did get to enjoy some relaxing in the sunshine while admiring how beautiful Mallorca is.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Alec Alty says:

    Don’t beat yourself up Kat. Just enjoy life! Xxx


  2. Dan C says:

    Boundaries are there to be pushed, but not at the expense of common sense! You’re doing great, hope you can adjust the plan and still find a way to beat the challenge – knowing you, I expect so!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kathrynalty says:

      Thank you Dan! I looked last night, and while I might not make Everest I’ve still climbed the equivalent of 20 mountains in just 4 days riding which I’d say is pretty good going!!


  3. Hi Kat, I’m in Mallorca at the moment, escaping London, for a week of cycling. I did my first sportive here a few years ago, the Mallorca 167, and sobbed my way down from the Puig Major in the rain…because I was scared of the descent. I really feel for you, and sympathise, I know that fear. I love cycling up things, but instead of enjoying the achievement of reaching the summit, I used to panic about the inevitable descent to follow.
    I am still fearful, but much better than I was, I think I thought descending was all about confidence, but its about learning to descend. Three things that have helped me learn…
    1. When on a less steep hill, that you feel comfortable with and could perhaps freewheel, cycle and get used to moving at a faster speed.
    2. If you have a friend who is more skilled at cycling downhill than you, practice by sitting a few bike lengths behind them, and follow their line. This really helped build my confidence, I spent a day cycling in Italy with a lovely cycle guide, who realised my fear and encouraged me to do this, he couldn’t understand why I was the first of the group up everything but always the last down.
    3.If you can find a good climb near you, cycle down it slowly checking for pot-holes, and switch backs, as these are the things that I worry about, then do it again a little faster once you know there are no hazards.
    Sorry to fill your blog page with my ramblings, but I really do wish you happy cycling both ups and downs!


    1. kathrynalty says:

      Thank you so much for this! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my fear, we’re sat in the airport ready to head home now.
      The descent back towards Port Pollença from the top of Col de Femenia became my comfortable descent. I did it 3 out of the 4 days and was getting quicker and more confident each time. I’ll do the same with the hills back in Surrey to keep growing and learning. I went to a talk by Emily Chappell recently who said the best thing to do is train what you aren’t good at and what you aren’t confident at and I think descending will be my big one!
      Thanks again and happy riding!!

      Liked by 1 person

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