The Annual UMSDT Madness

Ultra Mallorca 2015 -5

Someone, a while ago, started an extreme, long-distance mountain challenge event,  somewhere in the Alps. A few dozen fanatics participated in that first endurance event, sometimes dubbed as sky-running. One of the early athletes must have been coming from Mallorca, because soon enough the challenge sports activity was brought to Mallorca, aptly named Ultra Mallorca. Last Saturday, the Mallorcan event held its ninth annual run, this time over three distances: Ultra Mallorca with 112.1 km between Andratx and Pollença along the highs and lows of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, Trail Mallorca, a shorter distance of 66.8 km from Valldemossa to Pollença, and a Marathon-type distance of 44 km from Sóller to Pollença, called Marathon Mallorca.

Ultra Mallorca 2015 -2

This year, some 2,300 runners participated in the three challenging races against the clock, the inner madman, or madwoman as the case might be, and lastly, the body physics, plagued by blisters, spasms, exhaustion, cramps and some such ailments. The winner over the long distance, Pau Capell Gil from Cataluña, came to the finish with a time of just under 12 hours. The fastest female over this length was Andrea Huser from Switzerland with a time of just over 14 hours.

Ultra Mallorca 2015-2

The middle distance, Trail Mallorca, was won by Paweł Dybek from Poland with a time of six and a half hours. This athlete had been the winner of last year’s long haul. The fastest female was Magdalena Łączak, from the same Polish team as her male colleague, in a fraction over seven hours. Winner of the marathon distance from Sóller to Pollença was Tòfol Castanyer from Sóller with a time of 3:23:18 hours. The winner in the female category was Joana Maria Cañellas Campins in a time of 05:18:41 hours.

Ultra Mallorca 2015 -4

Of the total number of 2,300 runners, an amazing 1,749 participants finished their heroic course well within the allocated times. They may all have suffered their individual aches, pains and maladies as well as utter exhaustion but one can safely assume that their egos were shining like the brightest star on the firmament. Each finisher was awarded a medal. For them, taking part seems to have had an effect of emotional doping, so to speak. Participating was the drug and finishing was the reward.

Until next year, perhaps.

The Annual UMSDT Madness

The Balearic Mountain Championship

The annual car race up the Sant Salvador mountain near Felanitx is the fourth out of six races making up the Campeonato de Baleares de Montaña 2012 (Balearic Mountain Championship). So far, races were held to Valldemossa, to Monte Toro and to the Castell de Son Mas in Andratx. After Felanitx, two more races remain in this year’s competition, up to Puig Major (October 6th-7th) and to Cala de Sant Vicenç (October 20th-21st).

Tomorrow, September 1st, will be a day of training sessions, starting at 16h30. The proper race will be held on Sunday, September 2nd, at 09h30. Thirty cars have registered to compete here in Felanitx. And the winner is …..

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of mallorcarallye.com.

Muchas gracias.

The Balearic Mountain Championship

The Slow Decline and Fall of Bullfighting in Mallorca

There was a bullfight event in Palma’s Coliseo Balear the other night (Thursday) with three Toreros. The event will have been the only corrida this year in the island capital. There won’t be a bullfight in Felanitx this year either, for the third consecutive year, and Inca has also cancelled its annual bullfight. The anti-taurine movement may slowly get the upper hand in Mallorca after all. There were close to one hundred animal rights protesters outside Palma’s bullring on Thursday night making their voices heard, whistling and shouting insults at the pro-bullfight spectators. The bulls, it seemed, were not perturbed, even though in the end not a single bull survived the spectacle.

One bullfight was staged in Alcúdia earlier this year, and another one in Muro. That was it, as far as I know; three bullfighting corridas in a whole year when in the past there may have been ten or twelve. Times they are a-changing.

The photos (top and centre) were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and the photographer, Manu Mielniezuk. The photo (bottom) was taken in Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 26th, 2012. The time was 19:36:48.

Muchas gracias.

The Slow Decline and Fall of Bullfighting in Mallorca

Mountain Olympics at the Barranc de Biniaraix

Whilst the couch potatoes amongst us, including yours truly, were busy watching the London 2012 Olympics on the telly last Sunday, a few hundred Mallorcan men and women (and children and dogs) participated in a kind of Mountain Olympics at the Barranc de Biniaraix, near Sóller. The competition was organised by the Secció de Muntanya del Círculo Sollerense and was held for the eleventh year. The contest was held in two categories, one against the clock and the other one just for the excitement of participating. The course had a length of 4.8 kilometres of cobbled Cami de Pedra en Sec.

Young Pere Rullan Estarelles was the overall winner in the male category with a time of 00:28:15, whilst María Eugenia Gallastegui Alemany was the fastest female with a time of 00:38:50.

If you haven’t been to the Barranc de Biniaraix you should make that one of your walks and hikes to do when the Olympics are over and done with. You will find one of the best scenic routes on the island, I promise, and you won’t have to run.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of flickr.com, C.C.D.S. and the photographer, Joan Vicens i Vidal.

Thank you very much, and

moltes gràcies.

Mountain Olympics at the Barranc de Biniaraix

The Dragonera Event

Sa Dragonera is a small and rather beautiful island, just off the coast of Sant Elm, at the Western-most point of Mallorca. In 1995, the island was declared a Parque Natural (Nature Reserve) and has enjoyed environmental protection ever since.

For the last twenty years, an annual kayaking event has taken place there, involving a 13 km long Volta a Sa Dragonera by canoe or kayak, and so again this Sunday just gone. I wish I was fitter than I am and in a more suitable athletic shape; I would really like to participate in one of these festively sportive challenges. A challenge it is every time; even though there is neither a race nor a winner, but the currents of the open sea on the western shore of Sa Dragonera can apparently be quite strenuous, depending on wind and weather.

For the last two years, there has also been a similar swimming contest, the Volta a Sa Dragonera nedant, an open water swimming challenge but also, non-competitive. The course is over a distance of 10 km, and all they got at the end was a lousy T-shirt. No, I’m only joking. A total of 110 swimmers participated in the event last May, including extreme swimmer Anna Wardley from the UK. Ms. Wardley had earlier swum the English Channel and the Straits of Gibraltar. She has recently embarked on a 5ive Island Swim Challenge for charity purposes, a series of five extreme swims around Dragonera (done), Portsea (Hampshire, UK), Jersey (Channel Islands), Tiree (Inner Hebrides, Scotland) and the Isle of Wight (Solent, UK). Not bad for a female who used to work in Public Relations. She actually commented that the Dragonera swim proved to be much tougher than she had expected. I bet. Well done, in any case. One done and four to go, Anna. Best of luck.

The photos were borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of flickr.com/photos/jmdiazpalmer (top), ultra-quim.blogspot.com.es (centre) and annawardley.com (bottom).

Thank you very much,

muchas gracias, and

moltes gràcies.

The Dragonera Event

The Seven Year Itch

Rafa Nadal has done it again. He beat the seven-year itch and conquered his seventh Paris Open trophy at Roland Garros yesterday, Monday, after Sunday’s final had to be interrupted because of rain, and continued on Monday. Nadal has won Roland Garros in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and now, 2012. Congratulations to the man from Manacor. Only Richard Sears, William Renshaw, William Larned, Bill Tilden and Pete Sampras have achieved a similar feat by winning the same Grand Slam seven times.

Yesterday’s win was Rafa’s 11th Grand Slam trophy. He has also won twice in Wimbledon (2008 and 2010), one Australian Open (2009) and one US Open (2010), apart from winning 21 Master Series titles, eight in Montecarlo (2005-2012), six in Roma (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012), two in Madrid (2005 and 2010), two in Indian Wells (2007 and 2009), two in Canada (2005 and 2008) and one in Hamburg (2008).

The list of Nadal’s tennis achievements would not be complete without mentioning his 17 ATP titles: seven Conde de Godó in Barcelona (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012), two in Stuttgart (2005 and 2007), one in Sopot (2004), one in Costa do Sauipe (2005), one in Peking (2005), one in Acapulco (2005), one in Bastad (2005), one in Dubai (2006), one at Queen’s (2008) and one in Tokyo (2010).

Rafa also won four Davis Cup trophies, in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011, as well as the Gold Medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

And the man has only just turned 26.

The photo was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of futuretennisstars.com and the unnamed photographer.

Thank you very much.

The Seven Year Itch

High-Tech in the High Mountains

My friend and loyal reader David commented on the breadth of the topics this blog covers, and that he never realised that Mallorca was so interesting. These kind words were well received. Mallorca offers so very many different facets indeed and even more than I have covered in the nearly five years of this blog’s existence (six weeks to go for the fifth anniversary) and its 1,789 blog posts. The thing is that most of us are only aware of our immediate surroundings and environment. Let me talk about golfers who know more than I do about what is going on in the golfing circuit, and perhaps much less about falconry. Or the boat people who are fully entrenched in yachts and knots and marinas, and not very much else apart from wining and dining.

Yesterday, for instance, the most amazing Ultratrail Mallorca took place in the Serra de Tramuntana, and not many people gave it much attention apart from close friends and family members. There were perhaps 1,800 participants walking, running, ambling and limping the 105 kilometres between Andratx and Pollença, with the best able ones beating themselves in just over eleven hours, all satellite tracked from high above and chip controlled from down below. I think it is amazing what goes on here on the island and what a shame that most of us are not aware of half the going-ons, most of the time.

Anyway, a big applause to the brave athletes who yesterday not only managed to cross the finishing line after some twelve to twenty hours but who also conquered themselves in the proceedings. What an inimitable feat.

The yellow machine in the photo (above) is a high-tech chip detector on one of the five check-points between start and finish in yesterday’s competition. Each and every participating athlete was equipped with a microchip and his or her whereabouts or passing-through and time was monitored. The red numbers on the runner’s vest in the photo indicate one of the 1,200 participants who started the race in Andratx at 00h00, and the green number tag indicates one of the 600 participants who started the competition in Valldemossa at 08h00. The carriers of red had been on the go for 18 hours by the time this picture was taken, and the carriers of green, ten hours. Utterly amazing.

I reckon there will be much more going on here in Mallorca before my enthusiasm and wonderment are exhausted. Stay tuned.

The photo (top) was taken in Escorca, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 21st, 2012. The time was 18:13:29. The image (below) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of Google and siguemeya.com.

Thank you, and

muchas gracias.

High-Tech in the High Mountains