A sporting challenge in rural Mallorca

Sporting activities have occasionally affected us in the rural valley in Mallorca where we live. In our early years of living here, the circuit of an annual car rally that was part of a local spring fair included the narrow lanes around our home area. For several hours on one Saturday a year the lanes were closed to all other traffic, so we were either confined to our homes, or out somewhere, for the duration.

The first year we experienced this, a few motorists drove into our field to park their cars. There was a gap in the wall at the time, and our field was one of the few accessible places to leave a vehicle off the lane. We allowed these marshalls and spectators to park on our property, and settled down to do a little spectating of our own from our terrace.

Wheely fast

Road restriction notice

The car rally no longer comes our way but, a fortnight ago, advance road restriction notices were posted for the main road at the top of our lane. Because of the Thomas Cook Ironman 70.3 Mallorca, various roads would be closed for the cycling part of the event. The Ironman 70.3 is billed as the world’s toughest race. How could we not be there?

No, not taking part. If you don’t already know (and I had to look it up), the 70.3 relates to the number of miles travelled (which equates to 113 kilometres). The challenge includes a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run (a half-marathon). My own bike’s had two flat tyres for at least a year (which would have been the least of my problems), and The Boss doesn’t possess a bicycle. That’s why we wouldn’t be taking part.

Two for the ‘Tinman’ 4.6km

The competing cyclists would be whizzing past the top of our lane during Saturday morning, so we decided to have a little exercise of our own and walk up to see some Lycra-clad sporting excellence in action. The walk from our finca is only 2.3 kilometres, so our own challenge was more ‘tin’ than ‘iron’, but after a very long hot summer with not a lot of physical exercise, it was quite enough.

Making it look fairly easy . . .

Making it look fairly easy . . .

Apparently 2,500 competitors from 57 different countries took part in this year’s event and presumably all cycled past the top of our lane at some stage. We saw several dozen Ironmen – and Ironwomen – go by (the majority were already further ahead) before walking home again, exhausted from watching their efforts. I have no intention of pumping up my bike tyres any time soon . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goodbye, chickens . . .

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Some time ago I wrote about ses galines de sa rotonda  – the flock of chickens that had been living in the middle of a traffic roundabout at Plaza Madrid in Manacor for the past couple of years. After an unpleasant episode involving some stray dogs, our feathered friends were recently given a safe ‘home‘ by the local council. Bravo, I thought, at the time.

The island newspaper Diario de Mallorca wrote an article last month about the installation, designed to keep the chickens safe from prowling pooches. The article explained that if the flock grew to more than the usual 15-20 birds, any surplus would be relocated to Natura Parc. Fair enough.

But this week we noticed that the chicken hut has disappeared. And, it seems, so have all the chickens – unless anyone has actually seen them in recent days? Looking at various comments on their Facebook page (3,188 ‘likes’) – if my translation of mallorquín is accurate – all of our feathered friends have been sent to Natura Parc. They’ll be sadly missed by their many fans . . .