“17 switchbacks. That was how my Trek Travel guide described the climb up Col de Soller on the third day of my Trek Travel Ride Camp in Mallorca, Spain last month. And that was just the warm up.

That day my Garmin told me I put in 5 and 1/2 hours of ride time and climbed over 8,500 feet. My route took me up and over Col de Soller, then up and over the highest peak in Mallorca, the Puig Major, and then out and back to Sa Calobra, a gorgeous port town on the western side of the island accessible by a single winding road. Sa Calobra – the Cobra – descends 2,000 feet over the course of six miles. Reminiscent of ribbon candy or coils of spaghetti, that descent is at once both thrilling and terrifying as I hit the brakes sharply into the hairpin turns, then accelerated to get back up to speed, again and again and again…but more on that later.

When I dreamed up this vacation last fall, I had a few simple requirements. I wanted to ride a bike outside in February. I didn’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money. And I wanted it to be in a stunningly beautiful place. Oh, and I didn’t want to have to worry about flying my bike or riding a hybrid. Easy, right?

Trek Travel’s Mallorca Ride Camp fit the bill to a tee. This enchanting island jewel off the coast of Spain isn’t just for beach goers; it’s a choice destination for cyclists everywhere, including many pros. There, I got a rider’s-eye view of the Tramuntana mountains, fertile valleys, and tranquil turquoise waters on picturesque, pothole-free roads.

I’ve flown my bike across the country and I’ve rented bikes before on vacation. I’ve even resorted to trying to get in some training time on a heavy, ride-share bike now available in most big cities. It’s always kind of nerve racking (and expensive!) to hand over your bike to the airlines – fingers crossed it will get there in one piece. And somehow rented bikes never really feel the same to me. Call me spoiled.

What sets Trek Travel vacations apart is the quality of the bikes you ride. I had the option to ride a Domane 5.9 (included) or upgrade to an Emonda SLR, either one equipped with Shimano electronic Di2 shifting. Because Mallorca is a climber’s paradise, I opted for the Emonda upgrade. When I arrived, my guide had already set up my bike using my fit coordinates, which included swapping the stem out to a smaller length. After installing my own pedals and saddle, I hopped on for quick ride around the hotel parking lot. It fit like a glove.

But what really made the trip head and shoulders above other cycling vacations I’ve taken was our guides. It was a pleasure to show up each morning and have my bike ready, water bottles filled and Garmin maps loaded. Our guides’ knowledge of the country, language ability and most of all the pure joy and sense of adventure they brought to each ride – whether they were driving the support van or riding along with us – was awesome.

On the last day, as I was cycling along the coast from one ridiculously picturesque mountainside town to the next, I saw a large peloton approaching. Fast. A pack of thirty or forty men went streaming by in a flourish of colors, followed by their team car — Leopard. I gave them a friendly wave and a nod, communicating that feeling of joy of being out on your bike in one simple gesture. Yeah, I wasn’t going anywhere nearly as fast. But during my week with Trek Travel, I truly felt like a pro. And frankly, it’s something I could get used to.”

– Trish Dugan, Syracuse Bicycles
Syracuse Bicycles goes to Mallorca, Spain with Trek TravelSyracuse Bicycles goes to Mallorca, Spain with Trek Travel