The Final Frontier Challenge
In a year of lockdowns and restrictions many of us have rediscovered the joy of being outdoors and walking, hiking, running or cycling. Here on Mallorca we are spoiled for choice as to where to go, and blessed with stunning country side, mountains and beaches….and also some amazing cycling routes.
Some months ago, we took the decision to host a cycling event in aid of charity. We teamed up with our partners Cobham SATCOM and decided to support local charity Yachting Gives Back with any funds raised. The Final Frontier Cycling Challenge was launched, with the emphasis on it being an inclusive and fun ride.
The logistics of organising an event whilst complying with Covid rules and regulations were in itself a challenge. We set the date for the 30th April, planned the route, organised the photographers and drone, booked the support vehicle, reserved socially distant spaces in the restaurant and invited the guests – the response was fantastic, and we were soon fully booked. As time went on restrictions eased a little and the only other variable was the weather, which teased us right until the final day when the forecast rain showers failed to appear, and the sun came out. Everything was in place for an epic ride!
Antonio Parietti was a visionary road engineer born in Mallorca over 100 years ago. He made a huge impact on the island and across the Balearics, building and modernising 700km of road networks. Yet he is still relatively unknown, especially amongst cyclists. His most famous roads include the now iconic Sa Calobra known locally as “the snake”, and the road from Pollensa to the lighthouse at Cap Formentor. The Cap Formentor road was to be our challenge. It is a superb cycling route with some “moderately” tough climbs and spectacular views. Parietti Cycling kindly provided us with our team jerseys (“gracies Toni” is printed on every one in recognition of Antonio) and our riders could pay also homage to Señor Parietti as they passed the monument to his achievements en route to the lighthouse.
Pic of monument
Yachting Gives Back is a registered charity whose volunteers collect basic living essentials
from the yachting industry, donating them directly to people living in extreme poverty in
YGB supports soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food banks and children’s charities by
providing food, nappies and baby equipment, bedding, toiletries, sanitary products,
cleaning products and clothing.
Pandemic Poverty – The number of households in the Balearics with all members
unemployed has doubled from 18,300 at the end of 2019 to 36,600 at the end of 2020.
(Labour Force Survey, National Statistics Office). Families are hungry and can’t pay rent.
ONG Medicos del Mundo has attended to 40% more people living on the streets of Palma
during the pandemic compared to the same period the year before. (Ultima Hora 24.11.2020)
YGB has zero overheads and every euro raised buys food and essentials for people in need.
We were overwhelmed with the number of people who wanted to join the ride. Our wonderful team was made up of yacht crew and yacht service companies and we had riders of all abilities. One captain was even celebrating his birthday by taking on the challenge! Most riders arrived by car to congregate in the amazingly accommodating Siurell restaurant in Pollensa for breakfast and to fuel up before starting the climb. However, three hard core cyclists arrived fresh faced and smiling having cycled all the way from Palma. And yes, after the event these pros even cycled all the way back again!
Suitably fuelled up the riders set off in staggered groups. They were followed by a support vehicle in case of emergencies and thankfully there were none. As you can see from the video and the photos these riders never stopped smiling! Having reached the lighthouse, we helped them refuel with refreshments, they took time to take in the breath-taking views, then they were off again, back to Pollensa to enjoy a well-earned lunch of paella.
This wonderfully generous group of people from the yachting community raised a magnificent total of €4,300 for Yachting Gives Back.
Nick Entwistle and Louise Balfour from YGB joined us for lunch and so were able to be presented with the funds raised and meet the riders. YGB commented “An incredible effort by all, and a beautiful, well organised and fun event. We are so grateful to e3 Systems and Cobham and sponsors. The people we help on the island will benefit enormously from the funds raised. Thank you.”
The event was a terrific success and we have had excellent feedback from participants including the comments below.
“I wanted to drop you a quick line to thank you and all the e3 team for a wonderful cycling event last Friday.
It was really nice to catch up with you all and at the same time be able to contribute to such a wonderful cause, and of course do some leisurely cycling!!”
“First of all, thank you for a great day with a brilliant result in helping Yachting Gives Back and compliments for e3 being pro-active to make the first yachting event on the island since a year and helping the people who are not so fortunate as ourselves.”
“I just wanted to say a huge thanks for the Charity day. It was a massive success.”
Given such positive feedback we are already planning to make this a regular event in the yachting calendar, and the next Challenge be in the autumn. We may well decide to pay homage yet gain to Señor Parietti by tackling one of his other epic routes. In the meantime, many e3 staff have been inspired to invest in lycra and spin the wheels…and no, we won’t be doing a group photo 😊.
With special thanks to the wonderful yachting photographer Christopher Scholey who donated his time for free to support the event: https://www.christopherscholey.com/yachting.html.
For more information on Yachting Gives Back: http://www.yachtinggivesback.com/.