December 12, 2018

Starting the Training Before Christmas

by Dean Fletcher

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.

December 5, 2018

Saddle Adjust Free App

by Dean Fletcher

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

or from the Play Store on this link

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.

December 4, 2018

World Triathlon Championships in Galicia

by Dean Fletcher

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.

November 29, 2018

Galicia ABTA Top Twelve Holiday Destination

by Dean Fletcher

At last we are seeing the great and the good of the travel industry waking up. They are waking up to Galicia. It is official after the publication on Wednesday of ABTA’s list of destinations to watch for in 2019. Galicia ABTA top twelve holiday destination. The question is, why has it taken so long for them to see what has been obvious to us for years? We will discuss this later in this blog.

European destinations in the top twelve

There are five European destinations in the top twelve. Bulgaria, Madeira, Thessaloniki, Poland and Galicia. Eastern Europe, we know is growing as a tourist destination. As more people discover these previously unknown destinations, the more popular they get. However, eastern Europe still carries a certain stigma, despite the EU expansion. Is it safe, how is the infrastructure, healthcare in emergency etc. Some of these questions are part of this stigma, and clearly things are improving. However, it will take more time. Galicia, however, doesn´t have any of these problems. It is in Spain, and Spain is the most popular holiday destination in Europe.

Galicia ABTA top twelve holiday destination

So, why has it taken Galicia, a Spanish province so long to be noticed? The answer to this is multifaceted. Primarily, Galicia doesn´t fit into what we all see as “normal Spain”. Galicia is green. Very green. Not the kms of desert roads, and nothingness that is found in the southern part of Spain. Galicia has beautiful mountains and beaches. It also has a very varied geography  and more temperate climate  than the rest of Spain. Also, it is a haven for Spanish tourists, who escape the heat of the interior in summer. So, Galicia has never been marketed to the outside world. Nowadays, relying on a domestic market in any business model is dangerous. So , the Galician government has embarked on a marketing drive, that is now winning awards.

What makes Galicia stand out?

So why is it that we have Galicia ABTA top twelve holiday destination. Galicia remains unspoilt. The domestic tourism has allowed it to change little over the years. EU money has improved the road system  and opened up the province. Galician food  is amongst the best in Europe, as it is almost 100% locally sourced. The prices are low compared to other regions in Spain, which always will attract visitors. Galicia has its own deep rooted culture and language. All of this adds up to the perfect holiday destination. And even better on a bike. If you are looking for a destination for a  Spanish cycling holiday then look no further. Galicia is your first choice. Galicia ABTA top twelve holiday destination. Come and see what the fuss is all about.

November 20, 2018

Camino de Santiago

by Dean Fletcher

The Camino de Santiago, in English “The way of St James”, is a world famous pilgrimage. The pilgrimage ends in Santiago de Compostela, here in Galicia, a world heritage site. The cathedral there dates back to the 12th century and contains the remains of St James. These remains are the reason that hundreds of thousands of pilgrims do the walk each year. And don’t forget the cyclists too!

History of the Camino de Santiago

The actual name of the city is Santiago de Compostela. Roughly translated to English this means “St James in the field of the stars”. The origin of this name dates to the early 9th century. The legend says that a bright star led a shepherd to a field on Mount Lebredon. There he found the remains of St James, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. The Spanish king at the time King Alfonso II decreed that a church should be built on this site. Within this church would lie the remains of Santiago “St James”. From that point on, the cathedral became a point of pilgrimage for Catholics. In 2018, more than three hundred thousand pilgrims registered their arrival in Santiago.

Different routes of the Camino de Santiago

All roads lead to Santiago for pilgrims. There are officially four routes that arrive in Santiago, and each route spreads out across Spain. The most popular is the French route, across the north via Leon. The northern route runs in parallel hugging the Bay of Biscay. It is not as popular as the French route, but each year sees more pilgrims. The primitive route is the shortest, from Oviedo in Asturias. This was the route from the 10th century, when Oviedo was the seat of the Spanish king. Very popular now is the Portuguese Way. The full walk is from Lisbon, but the most popular starts in Porto. The original route enters Spain in Tui, and the coastal route close to the Celtic mountain of Santa Tegra . This route will introduce everybody to the beautiful scenery of Southern Galicia , such as Monte Aloia  and the Rias Baixas.

Cycling the Camino de Santiago

Over the last few years, cycling the camino de Santiago has become more popular. To follow the actual camino one must use a mountain bike, or at the very least a gravel bike. It can also be done on a road bike, although one will have to deviate slightly from the original routes. However, it is quicker, and for those pressed for time a more viable idea. Whichever way you decide to experience the camino, it will bring you to Galicia, the jewel in Spain’s crown. So, whether or not you are looking for a walking holiday in Spain or a cycling holiday in Spainchoose Galicia. You won’t be disappointed.