Having watched the World Championship road race yesterday, it got us thinking about very steep climbs. Seeing the best cyclists on the planet , zig -zagging up the final climb begged the question. Is this really what cycling is all about? So let’s try and answer that question.
Cycling is a sport that always includes a degree of suffering. Regardless of your standard, at some stage it is going to hurt. Most cyclists, certainly those who get to a decent level secretly enjoy that sensation. Indeed, for many cycling is all about the pain. That is the challenge, the raison d’être for want of a better expression. And the most suffering occurs when the road goes upwards. And very steep climbs now are all in vogue.
Very Steep Climbs in Galicia and Portugal
The recent Vuelta de España featured some brutal ascents, and the organizers seem to want to promote this. Spain and Portugal are two countries that have some very mountainous regions, so are ideal for lovers of very steep climbs. Galicia and Asturias are the best regions for this, so a cycling holiday in Galicia is perfect for those who like 20%+ ramps. In the list of Galician climbs there are plenty to choose from, the hardest being Arga de Cima and Sao Silvestre. Both these climbs hit ramps of 20%+ , and are a proper test for lovers of lactic acid.
Steep Gradients: Enjoyable or not?
However, sometimes these type of climbs can become excessive. Yes, it is always good to say that you have survived these brutal tests, but can they be enjoyable? I think the answer to that question is quite straightforward. Yes and no!!!! Yes, because of the sense of achievement gained by tackling something that pushes one to their limits. And no, because the sheer effort and sometimes agony of getting up 20-25% gradients means that nothing can be appreciated during the effort. Legs and lungs burning whilst you move at no more than walking pace, cannot be enjoyable.
So, whilst it is good to try these very steep climbs, I think “less is more” for enjoyment. That is why with our our bike holidays in Galicia we try to balance the climbing with much more. There are plenty of very steep climbs, plenty of long steady climbs, and plenty of undulating and flat terrain. We have it all, and the scenery and weather too. So if you want to enjoy a cycling holidays in Spain, come to Galicia.