Preparation for the Via de la Plata has been very hit-and-miss.
Despite winter, the year got off to a good start with a personal challenge to cycle 10+ miles per day, and run 2+ miles per day. This streak lasted from Boxing Day up until 20 January. Having took a tumble (in the house on the rollers) the day before, I took a nasty fall on some black ice early one morning.
The bike escaped with just cosmetic damage, my shorts and tights were shredded, but my elbow and wrist took the brunt, plus a 3-inch graze on the thigh. The arm injury kept me from cycling for a full month, and only now, two months since the fall, I’m still quite nervous on the bike, and still have pain in the wrist and especially in the elbow.
The week after the fall I ramped up my running, and over-did it with a 60-mile week, which resulted in a knee injury. My own stupid fault. I’m still not able to run now, 6-weeks on.
Nevertheless, each week my cycling mileage, my elevation, and my confidence increases, albeit gradually. Strava tells me I’ve managed 420 miles and 22,000ft elevation over the last 28-days – a mix of road and cyclo-cross trail riding. It’s not incredible, but the distances are gradually increasing each week.
Via de la Plata: Logistical Preparation
Other preparation has included finding somewhere in Santiago de Compostela to get my bike packed ready for the return flight, finish buying (and testing) gear for the ride, and brushing up on my Spanish.
Although I’ve read a fair bit about the Via de la Plata route through online articles and an app, I still feel like I know absolutely nothing about the terrain. I am shit with directions and have a terrible memory. There really is very little point in me studying maps, directions and all that jazz.
That’s another point: My research tells me there isn’t a good map for this route, so I’ll be going unequipped, relying on markers and asking ‘Donde esta la camino?’ and misunderstanding every Spanish answer.
In the meantime, let’s hope the dry weather continues in the North-East of England, so I can continue to ramp up the training, and for more nights sleeping under the stars!