This Week, PDX Cycling Online is Going to be La Vuelta de Puerto Rico Online Instead

La Vuelta founder, William Medina commands a lot of respect on and off the road

Greetings from sunny (and warm and humid) San Juan. I’m here helping out with La Vuelta de Puerto Rico this week. La Vuelta is a three-day bike tour that is not for the faint of heart. This is a 3 day, 375 mile bike ride around the entire island. And that tally doesn’t count today’s optional 40 mile spin around San Juan. Tomorrow’s ride goes from San Juan to Ponce. This leg alone is 148 miles. Riders are split into three pelotons. The fastest group averages 20 M.P.H. The slowest group averages 12 M.P.H.. In my mind, that’s still a far cry from slow — particularly when you are talking that sort of distance in the heat.

It is not surprising that the riders getting ready for tomorrow’s challenge appear to be extremely fit. Not a clydesdale in the bunch. These guys and gals are also packing some serious hardware. High-end, high-dollar bikes as far as the eye can see. Lots of Colnago, Pinerello, Campagnolo, Dura Ace, custom Ti and carbon fiber to go around. There is even a wood-framed Renovo (Portland, OR in the house!).

Oh yeah, there is one dude keeping it real on his Bike Friday. I saw him drop a guy on a Pinerello on the one climb this afternoon, which should please the lovers of these peculiar foldable mounts.

These cyclists have inspired me to redouble my fitness efforts in hopes that I might be able to come back next year as a rider. This time, I’m happy to hang out in the rear with the gear in an air-conditioned vehicle and take in the sights of this beautiful place. I’m exhausted, so I’m going to leave it at that. I’ll be posting updates when I can over the next few days. In the meantime, you can check out my photos on flickr.

Update: I was very wrong about the speeds — the “slow” group averaged 18 M.P.H. The Fast group was 25 – 30.

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