Vincenzo Nibali completo

Once more into the (cycling) breeks

It’s time to put on the bibshorts again.  As those who follow our blogs know, we try during the summer season to take some cycling based exercise during every day of one or more of road cycling’s Grand Tours. This year we are doing the triple and spinning the pedals for the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. That’s 21 days in the saddle for each one. With two Grand Tours under our belts already the last one, the Vuelta, begins today in Malaga.

In an ideal world this would involve a trip out on the road bikes each day. The reality is that during the summertime peak season there often isn’t enough time between finishing the hostel cleaning and the next check-in period starting. What that means is that we spend a lot of time first thing in the morning sitting on a turbo trainer in the deluxe bike shed (the former artist’s studio) in the hostel garden. It is a lot better than no exercise and the Grand Tour challenge helps to discipline us to get our heart rates up at a time of year when we are pretty tired from a long working day. We do go out on the road bikes when we can but it is easier to do during the Giro in May than in July and August.

We’re looking forward to both our own exercise and some TV marathons during this year’s Vuelta. It’s always an exciting race to watch, with lots of climbing and some beautiful scenery to see – very different from Italy or France. As ever, it will go through some mountainous areas which we have visited on trekking holidays. We’re particularly going to enjoy Lagos de Covadonga. We saw a summit finish there in 2005 whilst on a trip to the Picos de Europa. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to go out on General Wade’s road above Fort Augustus or on the Bealach Ratagan during the next few weeks for our own version.

The end of the Vuelta also coincides with the end of peak season for us here at Saddle Mountain Hostel. Once our 21 days of cycling have ended we will be able to get out more on the roads and in the hills as we start to get a bit more free time. Before we know it our own annual holidays will be upon us.

Meantime it’s back into the cycling gear. We will be supporting our Sicilian Vincenzo NIbali as usual. He was cruelly taken out of the Tour de France by an idiot “fan” and probably won’t be fit enough to win the Vuelta but we’re sure he’ll try to put on a show as he comes into form nearer the end of the race. Forza lo squallo!

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