Thursday, July 19, 2012

Training for Cycling the Length of Spain

Length of Spain Bike Ride Update

Just a quick blog to report progress on the training for the Length of Spain ride (see original blog entry here) which we are starting, up on the north Atlantic coast of Spain, on 15th September this year.

Summer Cycling Training in Spain

September is not really a great time to do such a big ride for those of us lucky enough to be living in the wonderful south of Spain, as it means the peak of your training coincides with the peak of the summer temperatures!

And whilst riding along the coast to enjoy the coastal breezes this time of year is great (I am certainly not complaining, especially when hearing of the rotten summer weather in the UK) it does mean your rides tend to be flat-ish.

To do any proper mountain training involves heading inland a bit, and this time of year this tends to mean temperatures which are even higher. It was 41 degrees on the inland route I usually use this Saturday (near Coin), and 38 degrees at Malaga airport just the other day as I was doing a cool evening coastal ride!

So it’s a case of early morning starts and late evening rides, when the temperature is usually about 28 degrees this time of year. And mixing coastal and mountain rides, sticking to the hills nearest the coast. I am currently doing less rides, but longer rides, about the 70km in length. We are planning to average at least 100km a day, with shorter days when the weather is poor, or the roads are mountainous, or we have the headwind from hell. We will do longer rides on the tailwind, downhill, sunny days!

I guess it’s a sign of the coming ride that my current mileage for July is already at 310km, which beats my previous July record here in Spain by about 300km! And bear in mind it’s the 17th July as I write, we still have plenty of July to go!

Bike Prep and Cycling Technology

The trusty 2012 Trek Madone 4.7 has been superb on my 3200km (2000 miles) training to date (just a drop of oil and a pair of tyres to date has kept things running really sweet). But in preparation for the 'Length of Spain' (about 1200km) it has been booked in for a service, and a the mounting of a mountain bike back block in preparation (this also needs a new Shimano Ultegra RD 6700 Long Cage rear mech fitting for anyone also planning this mod).

I have ‘manned up’ to the current 11-28 gearing and manage all my local mountain climbs, many around 20km all up, with this gearing so I could probably cope, but I have decided to go 11-32 so I have that ‘comfort gear’ just in case we run up against anything short and real steep. I don’t want to walk a single step! It may also give us other options if others on the ride (real 'cyclists' – see the video) want to do some more mountains on route.

A GoPro HD Hero2 camera is on order from Madison in the UK (who do loads of other bike kit including the Shimano stuff) so we can share the experience in super high def, and another mate has a tracker gadget in mind to show live progress – which will show, via the internet, our position and speed apparently (this will stop us jumping on a train if the going gets tough).

Support Vehicle Drive in Spain Wanted

We are currently looking for a support vehicle driver – basically someone, or a couple, to drive along behind us on an ‘nearly all expenses’ paid steady jaunt across Spain. Any volunteers please apply (or see our ad on

The Length of Spain Cycling Route

A reminder of our rough route can be seen here

All is good so far!

I guess the good news is, despite all the hot summer training I am still thinking cycling in Spain is brilliant! Hope I feel the same at the end of September!

Role on the start!

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