5 Tips to Ride Soria as a Beginner.
Hello, Fellow Cyclists of the Road.
As our COVID winter seems to be extending into actual winter, it could be that our window for winter cycling could close slowly or that there is a general recognition that the show must go on, and the window opens again, and then to stay on topic, once freed of the noose of restrictions, the Google search of "best road cycling destinations in Europe" to default to best road cycling destinations in Spain which in turn will default to best road cycling destinations in the Canarias, which leaves you with Gran Canaria or Tenerife and it's Gran Canaria that I want to take you to.
For 12 eleven years, Cycle Gran Canaria has been on Day 1 introducing beginner cyclists to The Soria Climb (https://www.strava.com/routes/12860774) The actual climb starts about 28km in, you can't miss it, but as I contend, it starts right from your hotel, so here are 5 top tips to get the whole route done and not fixate on one part, Soria is Soria, not just the climb, but the climb is where things become undone, and the bill gets presented on the final ramps home and for some that ruins their day, so let's avoid that.
Nº1 The rolling flat in the morning sunshine leaves the resort and develops into 6km of short punchy climbs with wide descents. I generally up the pace on the initial punchy climbs, there are 6, this is an excellent chance to do some light interval training to open the legs and lungs because, at the end of the 6 short climbs, we pause for a breather and leave when everyone is breathing calmly and relaxed.
Nº2 Now start rolling at your own pace on the sunny flat to the supermarket stop where we stop again, take some juice, and a small local banana. I advise people to do this flat section on the inner ring, with high cadence, this keeps your legs fluid and you don't burn the matches you need later. At the supermarket get your bottles ready for the main climb, 2.5 km up the rolling road, still, the inner ring still nice and fluid.
Nº3 Now the Soria Climb Official as it's called on Strava, the first ramp I have seen, completely demoralize young amateurs from Holland, you have to find your gear that's comfortable to spin calmly with, if people pull ahead, let them, it's their nerves that are cracking. The first left-hander at the end of the 1st ramp will put you usually into a headwind, it's only for 300m then it becomes a tailwind. Ride upright, get the air in, and enjoy the view! By now you know the gradient does not change, it's another 5km exactly like it is now. The steps you took leading up to this point, should be paying dividends now!
Nº4 2 Short Tips, where y0u can and with good awareness ride the outside of every steep corner, and look deep to your 5 or 7 o'clock to ensure there's no riders or cars coming coasting down. The gradient is always higher, it can raise 7% to 10%, and with maybe a dozen corners, it's a lot of kilojoules wasted. There's one 100m flat section, the only one, take a drink, a brief shake of the legs, and keep at it.
Nº5 After lunch, you will return the same way, down the hill, takes about 10 15 minutes, stay relaxed, ride close to the white right-hand side white line all the way. Gran Canarian roads has many never-ending tight corners. A lot of energy is lost on a long descent by stress and worry, so take your time, we will regroup at the bottom. From there it's 16km on the flat to the roundabout at the coast, the group will be pulling so again, all the tips will be working for you now, the last hurdle is the 2 all-out climbs along the seafront if you have anything left in the tank these 2 climbs will vaporize it, if you have enough, you will be on the podium of your peers at the regroup point at the bus stop opposite Pasito Blanco.
There you have it, it's about "conserve", "burn", "conserve" & "burn" again. We'll do the Santa Lucia Loop next.