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February 13, 2019

Detailed Look at the ITU World’s Route

by Dean Fletcher

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.

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February 5, 2019

Routes of the ITU Worlds in Pontevedra

by Dean Fletcher

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.

 

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January 23, 2019

World Triathlon Championships in Galicia

by Dean Fletcher

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.

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January 23, 2019

Steep Climbs in Galicia

by Dean Fletcher

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.

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January 10, 2019

Booking your 2019 Cycling Holiday

by Dean Fletcher

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.

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