By Lesley Keith
LAST week was the so-called ‘Ironman’ in Mallorca and two weeks before that was the ‘Mallorcan 312’.
Just in case you live in a complete vacuum and have no idea what these actually entail they are two magnificent endurance races which are huge here in the north of the island.
The Mallorcan 312 is a race for cyclists through the Tramuntana Mountains and, yes, they cover 312 kilometres.
The winners completed it in just over 10 hours and the rules are if you haven’t finished it in 14 hours you aren’t counted… no pressure then.
The Ironman is another humongous feat where you have to swim 2 km, cycle 100 km – again through the mountains – and then run 20 km.
The winners in this one made it in under 4.5 hours.
How is this even possible? Who are these super humans and frankly could they make me feel any more like a blob?
They actually went past the end of my road and I couldn’t even get up in time to see them go by! Whatever they’re on I wouldn’t mind a little bit please.
Now I know that the lycra-ed cyclists generate a great deal of emotion on the island.
Many a flagging conversation has been ruined by the ‘C’ word with rages and arguments going on into the early hours.
Trust me alcohol and comments about cyclists do not mix. I think of it as lighting the blue touch paper, make sure you stand right back.
Everyone has an opinion but whatever yours is you just have to admire their endurance. I drove to Sa Calobra on Saturday along the aptly named 15 km ‘Snake Pass’ – well actually my partner drove and I pretended we were re-filming the Italian Job – and there they were, big groups of them doing a pretty good speed up steep hills… AND smiling!
Whatever you say, that’s impressive. There have actually always been cyclists on this island for as long as there’s been bicycles and yes I moan as much as anyone when wedged behind them in my little El Pando but well I got to say it……WOW!
These endurance events tend to take place at the weekends, usually a Sunday and quite early. I must be honest that Sundays took some getting used to here when I first arrived.
It was what is laughingly called Winter and all the shops stayed shut on Sundays, even big ones like Eroski and Lidl. I actually quite liked this, a proper rest day which has long been lost in the UK. I have to admit though I did have to make emergency visits to the local Spa shop, which was the only thing open until I got my head around it.
Then I discovered that you aren’t supposed to work on your car or wash it on the street and no noisy power-tools to be used either.
I don’t know how strongly all this is enforced but I now have the perfect excuse not to wash my car! I think it’s great.
While on the subject of cars, I’m still coming to grips with my own and learning the unwritten rules of the road here.
One important rule seems to be never leave your handbrake on when parking which means someone can nudge you to get a little more space.
My friend on the mainland calls this ‘The Spanish Kiss’, and with what I’ve seen here I think maybe we could step it up a gear and call it ‘The Mallorcan Snog’.
Yet another reason to never buy a car with decent bodywork and by leaving it dirty a lot of scratches are hidden anyway.
Something tells me El Pando would never survive a fully automated car wash anyway so best I don’t risk it…On a positive note it’s air conditioning is finally fixed, now it’s just the windscreen wipers!
I’ll keep you posted!