Off-Season Cycling Training

As we move towards the end of the summer, we need to focus on an important phase. Off-season cycling training is very important, and can be the key to a successful new season. And the sooner this training starts, the better. That does not mean that there is no downtime. The body needs a rest, as well as the mind. Therefore off-season cycling training can involve a lot of time off the bike. No need to keep climbing ,  nor eating too much. This is now becoming more popular amongst pro cyclists and triathletes. This does not mean that  we must spend the winter in the gym, paying large fees. What is now crucial is flexibility, core strength, and controlling body weight.

Off-Season Cycling Training

The fundamentals of cycling are watts per kg. It really is that simple. So, during off-season it is vital not to let the weight increase too much. Obviously, with less time on the bike, weight will increase naturally. Once full training resumes, the weight will come down. Control the diet, and do not let the kgs rack up. This is the most important part of off season cycling training. Gentle running, or walking keep the body in shape. And in Galicia, that enables you to enjoy the beautiful scenery and mountains. Secondly, less bike means more time for other work. All top cyclists have an incredible core strength. This is the base that they build from, enabling the legs to do the work. What is the best way to increase this strength?

Key to Core Strength Improvement

Pilates are very popular for core strength improvement. This improves flexibility too, another key point for cyclists. There are many types of Pilates, and the best for cyclists are those that really focus on deep core muscles. We are not looking for six pack abs. No, we need to concentrate on the deeper internal abdominal muscles. Many videos on You Tube are available that focus on internal abs. I will not recommend any. Find the one that suits and stick to it. A good base of core strength, with controlled breathing is vital. Get this right, and your season will start well.

 

Promoting Cycling in Galicia

I feel like I have to write a short post about promoting cycling in Galicia. As readers of this blog know, there are many reasons to come to Galicia and enjoy your passion. The Galician roads are safe and second to none for cyclists. The natural beauty of Galicia is evident, and more when enjoyed from a bike. Post-ride, the Galician gastronomy is a delight, with abundant Galician wine and beer to keep you happy. And on the “day off”, exploring Galician history, and its cultural Celtic roots can be explored. All in all, a great destination for your next Cycling holiday in Spain. The question is, what are the Government doing to promote the cycle tourist here in Galicia?

Promoting Cycling in Galicia

Well, the answer to that question is not enough in my humble opinion. And that is where we, at Cycling Galicia aim to shake things up a bit. And the time is ripe for a variety of reasons. In our biggest city Vigo, the local council has just invested six million euros on a new cycling superhighway. This links Chapela in the east, next to the great Rande bridge, to the beach at Samil. This will be the first highway of its type in Galicia, and hopefully not the last. The Vigo council has really gone to town on this initiative, and rightly so. Like all big cities, traffic is a problem, and safe cycling in these cities must be promoted.

Xacobeo 2021

It may be two years away but promoting cycling in Galicia via the  Xacobeo 2021 is already kicking off. When the day of St James, the 25th July , falls on a Sunday, Galicia celebrates with gusto. The year is designated a Xacobeo year. (Xacobeo is Galician for St James). The central government promotes the region in a huge way. The Camino de Santiago sees a huge spike in pilgrims, and Galicia comes alive. And cycling is taking centre stage too for the celebrations. Rumour is that the Vuelta will either start or end in Galicia. And we know a Vuelta without Galicia is not a Vuelta at all. There will be a World cup of Cyclocross too, after two successful Spanish national championships. And campaigns to promote cycling in Galicia will take centre stage. We hope to see you here. You know where to come for your next cycling holiday in Spain.

Thoughts on Power Meters

In my blog of August 28th, Strava application debate, I touched on Power meters. I said that I would return to the subject, and thus here we are. So, what are my initial thoughts on Power Meters? Well, before I go any further, they do cause a bit of an argument. As cyclists, we all love to think that we know best. Our bikes have a lot of components, and we all like to argue that we have chosen the best out there. Best value, best looking, best weight/performance ratio etc. Well, that hornet’s nest is well and truly kicked over with Power Meters.

Thoughts on Power Meters

Firstly, which one do you buy? Crank mounted, pedal mounted, bottom bracket or hub incorporated? All have their pros and cons. My research on that will carry on, and I will refer. Now, I think hub mounted looks the best result. However, all have their pluses and minuses. I want to be more generic about their use though. I, like many ride my bike to enjoy it. If you only ride your bike to compete, the argument for power meters is simple. Which one should you buy, not should you buy one. That is 100% clear. Power meters will increase your performance, guaranteed.

Experience of Power Meters

So, what I have done in my, yet primitive research. Well, I have been out training with a friend who swears by them. We weigh the same, are the same height, and ride similar bikes. So, in theory my output and his should be similar. We follow his power meter. I have yet to buy one. So, what have I discovered, and has it altered my thoughts on Power Meters.? Firstly, training has become more intense. You are ruled by the numbers. Interval training is a good example. I have not tried it on any Galician climbs yet, only on flattish roads. Maintaining the wattage on 1-2 minute intervals is a tough job. Your body says no, the numbers say carry on. Without doubt, I have seen a marked improvement in my strength and ability to hold the speed. I am becoming a stronger rider in a short space of time. Huge uptick for power meters from me. But…

Negative Thoughts on Power Meters

This is a simple answer. The enjoyment is taken away from riding. It’s all about the numbers. Maintain X watts for Y amount of time. Repeat. Great, but I am human, not a computer. I have feelings, and I love riding my bike. I like to chat; I like to stop for a coffee and shoot the breeze. I don’t want to talk endlessly about watts per kilo over a milky white. I am one of the 90+% of cyclists who ride because we love it. Not because we want to win trophies or grab KOM on Strava. We simply are cyclists, nothing more. So, what are my final thoughts on Power Meters after a month of “using” one? I will carry on “borrowing ” my friend’s one once or twice a week. Let’s see if I feel the same if I start to really get my legs strong thanks to the Power Meter training. Will the bug bite? I will keep you informed.

Cycling Friendly in Galicia

Here in Galicia we like to think that we have everything that we need for cyclists. It isn’t just the cycling routes that we can organise, or the incredible variety of climbs. No, we also have incredible nature and beauty and a huge amount of safe traffic free roads. Added to that, the fabulous Galician gastronomy  and Galicia’s incredible culture and history ensures a fantastic cycling holiday in Spain. So, what can make Galicia better as a destination for cycling tourists. Well, the imminent arrival of Cycling Friendly in Galicia. So, what is Cycling friendly?

Cycling Friendly in Galicia

Cycling Friendly is a company that was launched in Mallorca eight years ago, by three cycling friends. It is a community that provides information in many destinations for cyclotourists. Obviously, being a Mallorcan company they are strong at that island. Mallorca remains the principal destination for cyclotourists in Spain. However, times change, and it is clear now that other regions are becoming popular. Cycling Friendly has grown their network across the peninsula, out to the Canary Islands and into France. And soon, we will have Cycling Friendly in Galicia. So, how does it work, and what will it bring?

What is Cycling Friendly?

The purpose of Cycling Friendly is to direct cyclotourists towards facilities that actively encourage their presence. Hotels can sign up to the Cycling Friendly service and be provided with a substantial amount of material to help cyclists. Whole rooms, or basements are converted into storage sites, and mini workshops. Mechanics can be provided to help cyclists when they arrive. Every conceivable tool is provided for those who can repair their own bikes. Safe, locked facilities for your precious bike are standard. And above all, cyclotourists can arrive at their destination, knowing in advance that they are actively welcomed. So, get on the website, look at how it works, and keep your eye out on Galicia. It can only add to our appeal to have Cycling Friendly in Galicia.