Madrid – Segovia Mountain Bike 2017

La Madrid – Segovia ha sido una de las pruebas XC Marathon que he realizado en 2017. Fueron 115 km de bicicleta de montaña, partiendo del madrileño barrio de Montecarmelo en el distrito de Fuencarral, y finalizando en la propia ciudad de Segovia.

De un total de 1595 bikers, acabé en la posición 364, parando el cronómetro en 07:13:21

Certificado de finisher: Madrid – Segovia 2017

Resulta gratificante acabar esta prueba justo al lado del  Acueducto de Segovia

Aunque la carrera cronometrada no acaba bajo el acueducto, sino a la entrada de Segovia. Es allí donde la organización pone el último punto de control, así como unos boxes de lavado en los que poder dejar relucientes las bicicletas (sin coste adicional). Es un buen detalle, pues de esta forma los que vayan a disputar la marcha, pueden despreocuparse del tiempo durante los últimos kilómetros.
Además es un buena medida de seguridad, pues al llegar a Segovia la prueba está abierta al tráfico rodado, y  es mejor extremar la precaución sin preocuparse de tiempos ni marcas.

Al final, lo cierto es que es bastante emocionante bajar las escaleras detrás del acueducto montado en la bicicleta, con el público aplaudiendo, y poder acabar justo debajo de tan magnífico monumento.

En total sumaron (según GPS) 115 km, con 2330 metros de desnivel.

Ver Relive de la prueba

¿Cuál es mi opinión de la prueba?

En general puedo decir que es una prueba que me ha gustado.
Es una prueba ideal para bicicleta rígida, pues no existen tramos demasiado técnicos. Al ser una prueba rodadora, se beneficia a este tipo de monturas frente a las de doble suspensión.

La carrera tiene dos partes bien diferenciadas. La primera parte es muy rodadora, transcurriendo por vías pecuarias hasta llegar a Cercedilla (km 60 aproximadamente). Allí hay un gran avituallamiento, y una parada para descansar. Conviene no relajarse mucho en el avituallamiento de Cercedilla, ya que el tiempo de descanso empieza a contar antes de llegar a la zona de descanso. Esto es así porque el arco de control de tiempos está al finalizar la cuesta de entrada a Cercedilla, y no al entrar en el propio área de avituallamiento. Entiendo que la idea es no entrar en el pueblo preocupados por el crono, sino centrados en el tráfico. Lo veo bien,  pero hay que saber que si nos relajamos en exceso, es posible que sumando el tiempo que tardemos en llegar al avituallamiento  al tiempo  detenidos en éste, sobrepasemos los 30 minutos de descanso máximos estipulados. Cualquier tiempo superior a 30 minutos será tiempo adicional de penalización, por lo que conviene no tomárselo con demasiada parsimonia.

Después de Cercedilla es otra carrera distinta: se asciende el Puerto de los Leones (1492 metros), y una vez coronado se inicia un descenso por senda técnica (en la que se forma cierto tapón y dónde a buen seguro habrá alguna que otra caída).
Ya descendido el puerto, comienza un constante vaivén de tramos rompe-piernas, y cuando al fondo ya vislumbramos la ciudad de Segovia, el recorrido nos regala tramos de constantes subidas, bajadas y toboganes (algunos de pronunciada pendiente y difícil ascensión), en los que será necesario echar el pie al suelo. A esas alturas el cansancio ya va haciendo mella, y la pendiente de alguno de ellos hace que sea prácticamente imposible subirlos montados en la bicicleta.

Valoración de la prueba:

Es una bonita prueba, no muy técnica, ideal para aquellos a los que no le guste los recorridos demasiado complicados.

¿Qué no me ha gustado?

Algo ajeno a la prueba en si. El hotel oficial “Villa de Madrid” está en el medio de la nada, y resulta muy aburrido quedarse allí. Mejor alojarse en algún otro hotel y desplazarse hasta Montecarmelo para tomar la salida.

El tramo final se hace muy pesado, ese constante sube y baja de toboganes, resulta un poco aburrido cuando ya pesan las piernas.

Las duchas en Segovia están totalmente masificadas, y con ¡agua fría! No es la mejor forma de acabar una prueba duchándose entre decenas de personas con agua fría.

Por otro lado el recorrido es muy bonito. Quedará siempre en mi retina la entrada en descenso  a Manzanares el Real, con el pantano y el castillo de fondo.

Y el ambiente de la prueba puede decirse, también, que es muy sano.

¿Volveré?

Si, probablemente, pero saliendo en categoría “Open” en lugar de en categoría popular, para intentar hacer el mejor puesto posible.

How to use Google Maps to plan cycling routes

Google Maps is an excellent resource to plan for your next cycling adventure.

It is very convenient and amazing, and I truly recommend using it for the creation of interesting routes.

The way you can use Google Maps to plan for a cycling adventure is as follows:

  1. You just need to navigate to maps.google.com and draw a route there. Probably you are already used to the interface of Google Maps, but just as a reminder:  you can select the start point, and each intermediate point you want to visit along the route, or leave Google to determine automatically the route to take from beginning to end.I normally prefer the manual mode, and draw directly the route over the map, controlling exactly what points along the route I want to visit, and putting special attention to the gain in height (as it is an important information just for knowing the feasibility of a cycling route). In this first step you simply drawn the route in Google Maps.It is very important that you drawn it properly, and that you ensure that what you are drawing in the map  is a route that will worth the visit afterwards.
  2. Once you have the route drawn in Google Maps, you need to copy the generated URL, as you will need it for the format conversion. The URL  will be certainly a long one, with information about longitude and latitude, as well as other parameters used by google. Just copy it entirely from Google Mapst to the clipboard.
  3. Once the URL is copied, you will need to convert it to a format that is well understood by your GPS device. My preferred device is an Iphone with the Wikiloc app loaded, or a Garmic Edge 310. Both devices understand .gpx format well, so .gpx will be for me the target format to convert to.
    At this stage, what I want to achieve is to convert the Google Maps route to  a .gpx file so that I can upload it to my GPS device. However, all I have is the URL copied from Google Maps, so how do I accomplish this? Well, I need a third party software for doing it. I use an online resource very helpful for all GPS related tasks. It is called GPS Visualizer, and the URL can be visited here: http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/convert_input

    Once you are on the WEB of gpsvisualizer all you need to do is just paste the URL resource obtained from Google Maps on the field that says… “Or provide the URL of a file on the Web:”, ensuring that you have selected the radio button that says GPX as the Output format.Take a look to the following image for clarification:

Once ready, click on the Convert button. After only few seconds, it will magically provide you with a .gpx file that will be downloaded automatically. That is the file that contains your route.

The final step now is just to upload that GPX file to your GPS device. I do it via the web of Wikiloc.com, but it is very simple no matter what method do you prefer.

And that is how I plan my cycling routes. Cool, right?

 

 

How to be seen while cycling

I am an early bird, and I prefer to do exercise in the morning.

The problem is that I also start working quite early, so that means that I had to rise very early if I want to do some exercise before starting to work.

As it is clear to me that I am so exhausted on the evening that I need to go directly home and then I would never train, I force myself to wake up very early, like 6:15, whenever I want to achieve something.

The problem (particularly in winter),  is that there is no light at that time, and that my favorite sport is cycling and it can be very dangerous to ride with no lights.

I solved the issue partially with a couple of HALO belts.

This is what I normally bring with me:

LED USB Rechargeable Reflective Safety belt

www.halobelt.com

They will see you, that´s for sure.

Now I just have to find a head lamp good enough for the mountain bike.

Cycling Iceland

I do normally have many ideas popping in my mind. That is my normal status, nothing to worry about. Those ideas are normally killed by my brain after a couple or days. RIP, no sadness, you were probably not good enough to live longer. This is also why I do need to write, to stick my ideas to something more durable than thoughts.

However sometimes it happens to me that one idea survives. Weeks, months, even years. Then is when I know that I do need to do something about it.

I have one idea on my mind for a lot of time now.

I do not why exactly, but I do have a desire to embrace in a cycling adventure, and that cycling adventure will be to cycle Iceland.

Why Iceland? Because the power of the nature there must be amazing.
Several years ago I went to Norway and got amazed. I swore I would come back, but now I feel like Iceland is setting between Norway and me.

Lots of preparation still needs to be done, and this is not something that is going to happen tomorrow, but I have started to roll the dices.

Lets cycle Iceland

 

AITANA – EVA nº 5

I am struggling since I came back from Rome. I feel cold and I have remained indoors the last two days, drinking infusions, watching TV and doing nothing, trying to leave time for fully recovering.

But today, I decided to test myself and go for a ride, as I was thinking that is a real pity to remain at home while still on holidays.

This is what I did:

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 15.30.09

Basically a distance of 54.19 km, with an average of 19.1 km/h and with a 1214 meter of gain in height. My average ppm were 145, not low, but still far from my limit.
I covered from the town of Guadalest to the “Port of Tudons”, which is the base of the Aitana mountain (the highest mountain in Alicante´s province).
Curious thing it worths mentioning: in Aitana there was a militar base from the air force. It was the EVA 5 (Escuadrón Vigilancia Aérea, num 5).
More information EVA 5
EVA nº5 - Aitana
Siempre Vigilantes - EVA nº 5
Researching a little bit, it seems that nowadays is dismantled (since December 2007), but still you cannot access to the enclosure, which is locked and guarded, and one radar is still operating there. Furthermore, today I saw a lot of activity on the road that goes to the base, an even a big lorry was accessing it, so I though some work was being performed. When I arrived home I did some searches and I think that I can explain why the base had activity today, and why the doors where opened allowing some vehicles to go inside the military installations. I think  everything  is related to this:
Anyway, back to my history…
On special ocassions, like the “Vuelta Ciclista a España 2009”, the access is allowed and you can climb to the top with your own bike. Is an effort of 6 km, which I never had the pleasure to do, as I was not in the area when they opened the doors last time.
You can see it in this youtube video , the ascension starts at minute 32.
Apart from that, another curious history about EVA num 5, is that there has been several OVNI incidents detected there.  Those incidents were declassified by the air force some time ago. I obtained the page referred to EVA NUM 5, just to take a look. Years 1975 and 1979 seem to be the years with more activity.
OVNI REPORT EVA NUM 5 AITANA
Amazing, right? You can download all the declassified documents here
You can also hear (here) the comments of one person that was on duty at the end of March 1982 and saw something. His comments does not seem to me very impressive, but probably what he saw was impressive for him, as he still remembers clearly.
The testimony starts @  1h:04 min
I guess all is related with military operations being conducted by Spain or another countries at that time.
Just as a side note: I do not believe in any extraterrestrial life (unfortunately I think there is no one out there), but probably the incidents reflect that they were performing some kind of military operations at that time (without informing the military at the EVA 5).  Notice that, for example, on the incident of 02/06/1979, they mention that probably they were paratroopers exercises being conducted.
It is surprising to me how many information is available just by Googling it.
My pictures from the day:
Port de Tudons Octubre 2015
ZONA MILITAR
PORT DE TUDONS

 

On every Sunday there must be fun

On every Sunday I can be caught riding a motorbike.

Is one of those pleasures I am reluctant to dismiss.

These days I do ride in the canyons a Ducati Monster 695.

The bike is already a classic, and I must confess that I loved that model, even before I managed to get one.

When I ride it, I always think: why future has brought so many complications?
I love the simplicity of the Ducati 695. The 73 horse power is more than enough to put a big smile in your face, the weight is right, the height is low so the control over the bike is great. Why more?

When I do see one of those big monster that now the multi-trail bikes have become ( BMW GS 1200, I am finger pointing you), I cannot understand why people is mad for driving them.

Obviously I should be missing something, but If I drive a bike is because the purity and the simplicity that it transmits to me. Otherwise, if I want comfort, I drive my car.

I could becoming an old geezer, but that is how I do see things.

I loved every single minute I spent with my Ducati and I wish I can ride it more, much more miles.

Thanks old lady