Detailed Look at the ITU World’s Route

Yesterday we shot the official video of the ITU world’s duathlon and triathlon route. The video should be ready for release within two weeks, and we will upload it here. So, let’s have a detailed look at the ITU World’s route.  Firstly, the route itself can be found here on my personal Garmin link .  There are lots of graphics available on the official webpage of the world’s detailing the route. However, here we will endeavour to illustrate details that you won’t find on the graphics.

Detailed Look at the ITU World’s Route

Firstly, the link above is just short of 32 km. This is because the most distant part of the course wasn’t ridden, due to time constraints. This section is 2km on wide national road, firstly a descent totally constant of 4.5%. At the bottom a 180o turn and climb back on the same road. Very simple, no problems. So, let’s get started. The boxes are situated next to the famous “Ponte de Tirantes”, the “bridge of the braces”. The first 2km are a flat technical route through the university area. Six roundabouts are taken, but mainly with 90o turns. This should be taken at speed without any problems. The route then turns 180o on to the national road leaving Pontevedra. This is a gentle climb, but careful, as the asphalt is not good. It is concrete, and does have some cracks, which will hopefully be filled before April!!

The Road out of Pontevedra

The organisers have really dug deep into their box of trick on this route. And this becomes apparent less than a km out of Pontevedra. A sharp right turn hits a 200m ramp at 8%, which drops down to a roundabout. The drop again is 200m at 8%. A 180o turn at the bottom, and head back to the main road. This will get the heart racing. A right turn back on to the national road leads to the flattest section of the route outside of transition. My advice is to reserve energy, as the road starts to rise, and will sap the legs. The road is a decent surface, but broken in sections, and the run off can be poor. The climb is steady at 5% to the turn for Balderuso. Then the fun starts.

The Reservoir Section

The right turn sees an immediate pitch up. Not too steep, but enough to get out of the saddle. The climb hits 8% but not for long. It is a power climb, but one word of caution. There is a cement works after 1km, and many lorries use this road. Thus, they can leave small stones on the surface, so you must be very wary. The organisation will clean the roads beforehand, but it is still best to be cautious. Past the cement works, the road opens out into a sweeping decent to the Pontillón reservoir. Time to recuperate, as the course then gets tricky. The organisers have had some fun in this section.

O Gabián and Bordel

No detailed look at the ITU World’s route is complete without a thorough study of this section. It is very technical, not a metre of flat, and some VERY technical sections. Passing the reservoir the road turns right and sharply downhill. After 500m, there is a very sharp left, off camber and more than ninety degrees. The road narrows, and the surface is poor. Be careful at this section. A sharp left turn hits a ramp of 10% stretching for 300m, back to the main road. This loop is technical and tough. If you get a chance to see it before your race, do so. The road then drops for 2km to the 180o turn, and then straight back up the same road. The section averages 7% and is very constant. Past the reservoir, and back to the main road is a fast section, taking care with the road surface. THIS ENTIRE SECTION is on a narrow road, divided in two, with very little run off. Technical, very little flat. Tough.

The Road Back to Pontevedra

The route gets back to the wide national road after the descent from the reservoir. A sweeping right turn leads to a 5% descent to the 180o turn in San Antoniño. Very wide, and very fast. The climb back up this descent is a power climb, wide road, no problems. Then follows a straight road back to Pontevedra. 7km at full speed. The road is wide, smooth, and the speeds will be very high. It isn’t technical, and provides an opportunity to relax and recuperate, back to the centre of Pontevedra. There are several roundabouts back in the city, but nothing to worry about.

Conclusions

The route overall is not easy. Each km lap has 540m of climbing, with sections touching 11%. The road surfaces are generally good, but attention is required. None of the climbs are hard, and stronger rider can take them in the big ring. I only did one lap and did a lot of stop and starting. However, I did the entire ride in the 50 ring with 27 cassette. The main road climbs are steady, and do not pitch up. The road to the reservoir is smooth but beware of small stones. The hardest section is in O Gabián. Highly technical, tight turns, steep descents into steep climbs. Caution is the byword here. Sacrifice speed for safety here, and you will enjoy your day. Good luck to everybody.

Routes of the ITU Worlds in Pontevedra

In April more than 2,500 athletes will descend on Galicia to participate in the ITU World Championships. It will be a festival of sport, the like of which Galicia has never seen before. The world can discover the wonders of Galicia, its wonderful natural beauty and its cultural history. And let’s not forget its abundance of food and drink !!! So, what of the routes of the ITU worlds in Pontevedra. What can everybody expect from the event.

Routes of the ITU Worlds in Pontevedra

For those of us who know Galicia well, pan flat is never really on the menu. Even the numerous roads that hug the coastline a very rarely flat. Normally we have to face a lot of uphill tests, as Galcia offers many climbing tests. So, many competitors believe that the routes of the various events will involve a lot of 34/28 combinations. So, let me set your minds at rests. Whilst the routes are not pan flat, the “climbs” are not severe. There are ramps that touch 9%, but these are very small efforts. We firmly believe that the elite competitors will tackle the routes on TT bikes. The age groups will easily cope with normal road bikes.

37,5km long route to Bordel

This route will be used in the long- distance triathlon, aquabike and age group duathlon. The route, after a small switchback through the university heads out along the national route N550, the old camino de Santiago, heading north. The road is a wide, well asphalted, and smooth surface.  It heads north towards San Amaro on this road, before a sharp right turn on the PO-224. This road is narrower, and on some stretches doesn’t have any drop off area. As it will be divided for the return phase, passing, although possible, will have to be done with care.

Pontillón do Castro

The beautiful reservoir of Pontillón de Castro is the high point of the routes of the ITU worlds in Pontevedra. There are beautiful views, although competitors probably won’t get to see them. The road then drops quite sharply towards O Gabián. This is the part of the route that needs the most care, as it is a narrow village road. At the bottom, is a sharp left turn back up to the PO-224 road. It is only 800m long, with an average of 7%, but will be a good test, especially on the third lap.

The road back to Pontevedra

The second turning point in Bordel is the start of a fast climb of 2km at 4%, back to the reservoir. Then back to the main national road, descending along the same narrow road. This section is fast, but curvy. Caution will be the correct advice on this stretch, especially if there is any rain. The wide national road continues to descend and will be the fastest stretch of the route. The most extreme point of the route at San Antoniño brings the race back up the descent. Then a long meandering descent back to the start/finish in Pontevedra will give an opportunity to really pile on the watts.

 

World Triathlon Championships in Galicia

2019 is the year that we have been looking forward to here in Galicia. At last we can welcome the World Triathlon Championships in Galicia. This huge festival of sport will run from the 27th April to 5th of May in Pontevedra. There will be five different events spread over the nine days. Duathlon, Triathlon Cross, Aquathlon, Aquabike and long-distance Triathlon. Competitors will range from entusiastic over 60’s , to the world triathlon legend, and Galician, Javier Gomez Noya.  His presence alone will guarantee that the locals will turn out en masse to watch the event.

Different Events at the World Triathlon Championships in Galicia

The ITU event will have five different types of event. Duathlon is a combination of riding and running. Aquathlon, is running and swimming. Aquabike is swimming and riding. Triathlon Cross is swimming, mountain biking, and running. And finally, long distance triathlon is swimming, road riding and running. In total, the organisers are expecting upwards of 3000 competitors to arrive in Pontevedra and enjoy the wonders of Galicia. We hope that they will sample the local cuisine, and the beauty of the Rias Baixas in general. 

Pontevedra

The centre of the world triathlon championships in Galicia is the city of Pontevedra. This beautiful city hit the headlines last year, for its traffic free city centre initiative. This proved to be very popular indeed with not just the locals, but in the worldwide press. Pontevedra has hosted many sporting events, and the local council works tirelessly to promote sport and wellbeing. There are plenty of hotels in the area, as well as out towards the coast at San Xenxo, O Grove, and the Morrazo peninsula. And all overlooked by the beautiful Monte Castrove mountain. Here at Cycling Galicia, we wish the event every success, and hope that it will encourage many more to book their cycling holidays in Spain here.

Steep Climbs in Galicia

All of us who ride a bike, and love watching cycling, are fascinated with going uphill. And even more when those inclines are very steep. And if you are looking for double digit percentage challenges, there are plenty of steep climbs in Galicia to choose from. Because of its unique geography , Galicia has plenty of mountains, and many close to the coast. This is what makes Galicia a truly wonderful destination for cycling tourists. Our website has a long list of Galician climbs  . Lets look at some of the steep climbs in Galicia.

Steep Climbs in Galicia

The most famous of the steep climbs in Galicia is the south face of Monte Aloia . No trip to this part of the world is complete without tackling this challenging ascent. Its peak, at 635m above sea level, gives breath-taking views across the river Miño valley towards Portugal. The ascent starts on the city limit of Tui, the historic cathedral town on the Portuguese border. The climb to the top is 560m, at an average of 8%. However, the climb ramps up to 14% in sections. And after a small false flat in the second kilometre, it is a pretty steady 10% until the last kilometre. Whatever your form, Monte Aloia always provides a stern test.

Steep Climbs in Galicia with a coastal view

The beauty of Galicia is that its geography provides mountain climbs that are very close to the coast. Two wonderful examples of this type of climb are Monte Groba from Mougas , and the mythical Monte Santa Trega .  Both these climbs tower over the Atlantic Ocean and are short and steep. Mougas is accessed directly from the coast road, and gently rises for a kilometre. Then it really kicks in, with ramps touching 16%+. The glimpses of the ocean as the climb twists up through the trees, are well worth all the pain. Santa Trega is just 3km long. However, packed into those three kilometres is a lot of Galician history. The Celtic castros after 2kms are worth stopping for on the descent. A great photo opportunity. And the views from the top are breath-taking, as is the coffee shop!

Northern Portugal 

The beauty of “Old Galicia”, as the first 75km of Portugal are known as, is its geography. Plenty of mountains, and many of them with steep climbs. Two of these are Arga de Cima , and the beautiful Capela de Sao Silvestre. Both these climbs are within 10km of the frontier with Spain, so easily accessible. The Arga opens up to the stunning Sierra de Arga, with views across to the Atlantic. Its ramps of 20%+ will really test the legs. The Capela, is a gentle start, that becomes brutal in its final 3 or 4 kilometres. Just to punish you a little more the last 300m are cobbled. However, the small chapel at the top is a wonderful place to say a prayer and give thanks that you have survived.

Booking your 2019 Cycling Holiday

Christmas has passed, New Year celebrated, and its back to work, or whatever daily routine you have. So, what is the next step, now that we are all giving up drinking, eating carbs, shaving etc etc. Well, of course, it is booking your 2019 cycling holiday. With the weather freezing cold, and only the very brave venturing out, it is time to look forward to that holiday. And what better place to do so than Galicia. And here is why.

Booking Your 2019 Cycling Holiday

Galicia has so much to offer, it is hard to know where to start. Let’s go with the weather. Galicia does not suffer from the extremes of other parts of the peninsula. It has four distinct seasons and provides year-round cycling. The first ten days of January  has seen zero rainfall and an average temperature of 15 Celsius. Perfect for winter cycling. The roads in the province again are perfect for riding. Road safety in Galicia  is paramount. Cyclists in Galicia benefit from quiet roads, wide lanes on the bigger roads, and above all the 1.5m respect rule from drivers. Galicia has a deep history of cycling, so drivers are very considerate of their two wheeled companions.

What to Expect in Galician Cycling?

When you are booking your 2019 cycling holiday, it is important to know the terrain. Galicia can provide whatever type of challenge that you require. If you like to climb, don’t worry, there is a varied list of Galician climbs to choose from. However, if you prefer something flatter, and more scenic, then Cycling Galicia can tailor make a tour for you. For example, our six day cycling tour could be for you. It provides some great cycling with a climb a day thrown in. Plenty of scenic routes by the Galician coastas well as through some beautiful inland scenery. Truly we have something for everyone.

Off the Bike Considerations

Another important consideration for when booking your 2019 cycling holiday is “post-bike”. Many places are isolated, offering the same evening routine. At Cycling Galicia, we try to be different. You cannot come to Galicia without sampling the Galician gastronomy. Whether you are a lover of meat , or seafood, Galicia has the best that Spain has to offer. and to accompany it, some of the best wine too. Every evening, included in the price of your trip, we will visit different restaurants, to sample their fine products. Also, we will introduce you to Galician culture, so that your trip will leave you in love with the region. And now with Ryanair flights to Vigo from Stanstead, Galicia is even easier to get to. What are you waiting for? When booking your 2019 cycling holiday in Spain , Galicia must be the first choice.

New Years Resolutions

So, here we go again. Every January we start out with our new years resolutions. And every year it is the same. Give up drinking, lose weight, the normal aspirations. January, with the cold weather, increased rail fares, and post-Christmas blues is never a great month. However, it can be the beginning of a great year for those of us who are bike nuts. Work done in January can really pay off as the season progresses.

New Years Resolutions

As anybody who rides a bike knows, the laws of physics dictate the movement. Power to weight ratio is key. So, getting that weight off is crucial if we want to improve. There is no short cut. I am fortunate enough to have a daughter who is a doctor, so have always sought her advice on this. And that advice is very simple to follow. Easy stuff, like chew your food for longer. Eat smaller portions. Drink at least two litres of water a day. There are thousands of diet books and opinions. Common sense trumps them all. Accustom your body to want less food, and keep it hydrated. These are the basic building blocks of lowering your weight

Non-Cycling Exercise

It is extremely important as a cyclist to exercise without the bike. Not doing so will seriously impede your progress. All pro cyclists will tell you the same. Stretching is fundamental. One of your new years resolutions should be to find time every day, preferably after getting up stretch. Ten minutes is all you need to start with. Obviously, legs are the most important, particularly the flexibility of the hamstrings and the calves. These longer muscles need extra care. The core is vital too, to provide stability for the legs on the bike. And the back must be in a god place to avoid pain. My friend Dan Lloyd over at GCN has a good simple routine that can be followed.

Bike Related Exercise

Obviously, another of the new years resolutions should be to get those kms on the  bike. With customary bad weather in January, it is always hard to get going. However, it is vital that you do so, even if it is gentle runs, or 30-40 minutes on the rollers. The key is to get those legs turning over regularly. If you can get 100km in each weekend then great, do it. That foundation will be crucial as the season gets going. However, if you can only fit in sessions in the rollers, then build the intensity quickly. Make sure that in a 40-minute session, at least 15 are spent at close to maximum.

Get That Holiday Booked

And the most important of your new years resolutions is to book up your cycling trip in Spain.  And why not make 2019 the year that you try something different. Galicia provides some of the best terrain in Europe for riding your bike. Whether it is flat coastal roads, or beautiful scenic mountain climbs, Galicia has something for every type of rider. It is an unspoilt paradise and here at CyclingGalicia we are waiting to tailor make your next spanish cycling holiday.

 

Cycling Events in Galicia in 2019

As we wind down towards the Christmas and New Year festivities, our minds turn to the adventures in 2019. My brother in law runs a a holiday booking website. He tells me that boxing day is the busiest day of the year. So, what is on offer for cycling events in Galicia in 2019? Let’s look at three of them.

Ourense Strade Termal 7th April

Of all the cycling events in Galicia in 2019, the Ourense Strade Termal is, by far the most interesting. This will be just the second edition, but already it is in high demand. Limited to 500 places, the Strade is the only opportunity to ride road and gravel this year in Galicia. The start and finish are at the Hotel Caldaría Lobios, who provide a huge buffet after the event. There are three routes available, 70km, 105km and 139km. All three routes have four sections of strade (gravel) and provide a real test to very ability of rider. All three routes have a lot of climbing, but nothing excessive. The scenery is incredible, and the routes cross into Portugal. Get yourself involved.

Gran Fondo de Ezaro 7th July

The Gran Fondo de Ezaro has quickly become the reference for cycling events in Galicia in 2019. It is a qualifier for the UCI Gran Fondo World series that has its final in Poland in September. The route is 134km along the coast close to Finisterre. And the final 2.5km, after almost 1500m accumulated climbing, is the mirador de Ezaro. This climb is hsort and brutally steep. The last 1.8km average around 14%, and the steepest ramp hits 30%. The Vuelta de España has used it on three occasions,and there will be hundreds of fans on the climb on race day. A wonderful event, and well worth all the effort.

Cicloturista de Gondomar 8th September

This is a much smaller event, held on the second sunday of September. What is great about this club run event, is the climb of Monte Aloia. It is the only opportunity every year to experience this climb traffic free. The route also takes in the lovely climb of San Antoniño from Gondomar,again with traffic controlled. This race is non-competitive, and always bring out 300-400 riders just to enjoy their bikes and the stunning scenery of  southern Galicia.

 

Starting the Training Before Christmas

We all know that after a long season, be it competing, ciclotourist or just a weekend cyclist, everybody needs some downtime. The pro’s season ends in October, and they generally take November off. That is forced on them, due to their calendars. But what about us mere mortals? When is the best time to give the body a rest? Taking everything into consideration, I have always found that starting the training before Christmas, is always the best idea.

Starting the training before Christmas

The end of the summer now is generally classed as September/October. Due to the congested calender, many decent ciclosportives are moving their dates towards the back end of the season. Also, an early autumn holiday is also very popular. Indeed, here at Cycling Galicia, we can heavily recommend late September as an ideal time for you cycling holidays in Spain. The weather is excellent, and we can tailor make any trip to suit your needs. It is a perfect way to end the year and take that much needed November rest. And it will set you up to start the training before Christmas.

Getting back on the bike

December is a tough time to think about the bike. Christmas now seems to start in August, but come December, it is a major part of all our lives. We know, that despite best intentions, the food and drink will flow. The pounds will pile on, and the body won’t fancy riding. Therefore, starting the training before Christmas is vital. Leave it through the festive period, and you won’t want to return to the hard work. Start before, and that bit of form that you will capture, will help to cure your excesses. The training must be kept simple. Easy rides, plenty of cadence, any climbing done at a steady pace. It is the month to tick over physically. When January arrives, you are ready to step it up, not start out.

It is more mental than physical

The beginning of the training is more mental than physical. In Europe, the weather is never the best, but every opportunity to get out should be taken. It really is purely body maintenance that December requires. Don’t go crazy, just don’t let yourself fall into the trap of putting off a ride. I always find that going out in a small group is better than on your own. Thus, you can make sure that you all chat away, and don’t exert yourselves too much. The hard kms will be mid-January through to end of February. December is a time to celebrate, to enjoy. That can include the bike, and those 3 or 4kg less come New Year are worth the small effort.

Saddle Adjust Free App

As a person who has always suffered from mild back problems, cycling was always going to be a challenge. Having one leg just over a centimetre longer than the other means constant adjustments. Especially in the terrain that I normally ride in. Thus, for me, my saddle position is very important indeed. I lend one of my three bikes out quite a bit to clients, as well as friends looking to try out a Bianchi for the first time. Thus when I have them returned, like to adjust them back to exactly the same position. Tape measures and spirit levels come out, but as we all know, there is always a small difference. Therefore I was intrigued to be introduced to the new Saddle Adjust Free App. And I must say I was impressed by it.

What is the Saddle Adjust Free App?

The Saddle Adjust Free App can be downloaded from the Apple store using this link

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saddle-adjust-by-velobuddy-com/id1116071603?mt=8

or from the Play Store on this link

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.saddl

The app is free, and very simple to use. It allows you to save all your favourite saddle positions, as well as take photos of them. It may be that you favour a different saddle position, depending on what sort of riding you are doing. I like to tweak my saddle if, for instance I am doing a four-hour flat ride, as opposed to a couple of hours climbing and descending. The Saddle Adjust Free App allows these adjustments to be easily made, and more importantly for your saddle to be reset to its original position exactly. I can honestly say that customizing you saddle has never been so simple.

How to use the Saddle Adjust Free App

Once the app has been downloaded, the process of configuration is very straightforward. The smartphone is placed on the saddle, and thus can be adjusted to the MILLIMETRE. The app is very minimalist, so even if you are not a “techie”, it is easy to use. Within a couple of minutes, you will be able to discover all its benefits. The app has its own presets depending on what sort of bike you use it on. Also, it allows for the saving of each saddle adjustment that you enter. Thus, you no longer have to worry about lending your bike to anybody. In no more than a minute, your saddle will be back where you want it. EXACTLY where you want it. Give it a try, you won´t be disappointed.

World Triathlon Championships in Galicia

As we draw 2018 to a close, already excitement is building here in Galicia for 2019. Next year is a very exciting one for cycling in the region. Why is that? We will welcome some of the world’s finest cyclists and athletes to the World Triathlon Championships in Galicia. They will take place in Pontevedra over eight days from April 27th to May 5th. Pontevedra, the city now famous for its car free zones, will become a haven for cyclists.

World Triathlon Championships in Galicia – The Events

The ITU championships are all modes of tri and duathlon. The most well know is the swim-road bike-run, made so famous by legends such as the Brownlee brothers in the UK. In Galicia however, there is only one legend, Javier Gomez Noya. Noya, a native of Galicia, although born to Gallego parents in Switzerland, is Mr Triathlon in Spain. He lives in Pontevedra, and this event is like a homage to him. You can expect huge crowds screaming his name when he competes in his triathlon. However, there are many other events in the schedule. Duathlon, run and bike, aquathlon, swim and run, and triathlon cross, swim, mountain bike and run. This last event will take the bikers up Monte Castrove, the mountain that overlooks Pontevedra. This is the photo from the front page of Cycling Galicia.

Who will be competing?

This event is very special, as it includes the best in the world from every category. Not just the pros, but amateurs too. Different age groups, both male and female will tackle the same courses as the pros. Almost 2500 athletes are expected to descend on Pontevedra for the event. It is a huge logistical challenge for the region, but the Gallegos are up for it. The organisation committee were present in the last worlds in Denmark, and the Europeans in Ibiza. Sponsors are in place, and the signups for volunteers are increasing rapidly. Social media is gathering pace, Pontevedra will be ready for this festival of sport. The world triathlon championships in Galicia. Come and get involved and see for yourself.