“It’s like Christmas, for Cyclists!” – quote from 8 x LVPR rider at the completion of the 2017 event
Following is a list of FAQ for the club trip to Puerto Rico in Jan 2018 based on what most people have asked me over the last 12 months. Got more questions? Join the conversation in the Google Group here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/src-lvpr-2018
What is the official event website?
What are the dates?
The ride starts at 5am on Friday Jan 26th 2018 in downtown Old San Juan and will complete there at ~5:30pm on Sunday Jan 28th 2018.
Am I capable of completing the 375 miles?
Having ridden with many of you, I would say if you are capable of hanging with the SRC Sunday group, you’ll have no problems riding in Peloton C, if you are comfortable on a 75-85 mile Saturday ride, you’ll be fine in Peloton B. Many Sunday riders would also be more than capable of riding in Peloton B also.
If you really want to smash it out, feel free to sign up to ride Peloton A riding at 28mph+ all day, each day (a.k.a the “if you have to ask, don’t ride in it” Peloton)
Will there be a group booking?
LVPR does not offer a group booking service or discount. All registrations are individual. If you intend to join us, you will be responsible for your own sign up which is available here.
You will have the option to enter a Team Name during Step 2 of registration. Please standardize on: Steiner Ranch Cycling
Note the price does increase each month, so the earlier you sign up, the cheaper it is! This year they also are offering a 100% refund option for an additional $100. Link to pricing table here.
How much will the trip cost?
Registration prices for the ride are on the website and it increase slightly each month the closer you get to the event. Feb registration started at $500 and hits $700 in November (plus a small processing fee ~$25). Link to pricing table here. This covers the ride, full support, fully stocked rest stops, 3x breakfasts, 3x lunch and dinner on the final day. On top of this, you’ll need to budget for;
- Event Registration – $525-725
- Flights to San Juan – $350-$500 from Austin
- Bike shipping – $70-$150 each way depending on the airline
- Hotels – San Juan ~$250/night, Ponce & Mayaguez ~$175/night (per room)
- Meals – $20-30 for dinner
- Local transport in San Juan – Transport to-from Airport to San Juan ~ $30 each way
- Tips for mechanics (if you use them) – full mechanical support is provided, the guys are great and work on tips only
In the past I have shared hotel rooms with my friends to keep costs down.
If any of you are road warriors like myself with hotel and airline miles to burn, San Juan usually has good availability of redeemable miles’ flights between Austin and San Juan and SPG (Sheraton) and Hilton have local hotels in San Juan.
How long should I be in Puerto Rico for?
My recommendation is that you arrive in San Juan Wednesday, spend Thursday building your bike, get registered and be ready to roll at 5am Friday morning. If you are also interested in doing the San Juan City Tour, this will allow you to do this also.
We will finish the ride at 5:30pm on Sunday. It is quite practical to leave San Juan on Monday, or spend a few extra days winding down in Puerto Rico.
Where should I stay, what are the lodging arrangements?
The event has a number of ‘official’ hotels on the route that they arrange full logistics support from (bag pickup and drop off each day). This list does not usually get published until 4-6 months before the ride. You are free to stay at any hotel, house, campground you wish however, but if it’s not an official hotel you are then responsible for transporting your own gear to one of the sanctioned pickup points each day.
How long are the days?
Day 1 and Day 3 are the longest at 155 and 133 miles respectively. You can expect to spend 10-12 hrs on the road with 8-10 hrs saddle time (depending on the peloton you ride.) Day 2 is ~80 miles and finishes around lunch time and you are usually at your hotel by 2pm.
Full route details are here: http://www.vueltapr.com/The_Ride/The_Route
Can I change Pelotons after signing up?
You can change down Pelotons at any time during the event, however there have been instances they have stopped people who signed up for C riding in B or those registered for B riding in A. My advice, if you think you might like to give B a go, sign up for B, you can always decide to ride C during or after Day 1.
Can I change Pelotons during the ride?
On Day 1, if you start riding B and find it too hard, you can drop back to C at any rest stop. On Day 2 and 3, this opportunity does not exist due to the ride logistics.
How do the Pelotons work?
LVPR is a truly unique event in that it is either a race nor a ‘ride’ like the MS150 or Tour De Cure where everyone starts together and ends when they get there. There are 3 distinct Pelotons that depart and ride together each day. Peloton B & C are paced by road captains (and often the moped of event director William) to ensure the average pace stays on track. Good news here is, you don’t need to (they actually won’t let you) do any pulling at the front! Peloton A is more self-regulated given they have no max avg speed to maintain.
Each Peloton has it’s own police escort(s), EMS vehicles and SAG that follow them the entire route. You will become very accustomed to police on Harley Davidson’s blasting off along the side of the Peloton as they race ahead to close the next road or intersection for you to roll though.
How often are the rest breaks?
Peloton C breaks every 20-25 miles. Peloton A & B usually do a slightly longer stretch of ~35 miles after breakfast on Day 1. Breaks are usually 10-15 mins long and lunch is ~45 mins to an 1 hour each day (depending on how whether the Peloton is on or slightly behind its schedule).
Can\Should I bring my family?
Each year the event organizers do provide a family and friends shuttle service called Guagua DeTour for an additional fee. This is a 3 days service that follows the Pelotons around the island, does some sightseeing and gets to rest stops and major climbs in advance to cheer the riders on.
While I have not taken my family (I have young kids) I have heard the following feedback from others in the Peloton that have;
- The days are long and families are in the car for most of that time.
- When riders get to the hotels, they are often too exhausted to full engage with their families
- We start long before sunrise all days, which usually disrupts family members who aren’t 4:30am risers.
If you have a partner\family who’s up for this, then there is a way for them to participate. If not, and you want to make a vacation of it, my personal recommendation is to have the come into San Juan on the Saturday and meet us on arrival at the finish line. There is a large festival atmosphere here on the final day, you can meet your family and head off for a few days of R&R at one on the many amazing resort locations not far from Old San Juan.
How do I get my bike there?
You have a few options;
- You can pack it up in a bike box or bag and take it on the plane with you. ($70-$150 each direction depending on airline you fly)
- You can ship it ahead of time using a service like BikeFlights.com (this option is expensive ~$850 return last time I priced it)
- You can rent a bike from the event organizers
I don’t know how (or don’t want to) to pull my bike apart and put it back together?
Take your bike to your favorite store in Austin, have the box it up. There are great mechanics associated with the ride in San Juan who will come to your hotel, build and tune your bike for you for a nominal fee (see comment in pricing regarding tips for mechanics). They can also come to your hotel and box your bike back up again as early as Sunday right after the ride completes.
What is the San Juan City Bike Tour and should I do it?
The City Tour is a ~40 mile ride prologue around San Juan on Thursday before the main event. I completed it the first year I went but opted not to the second. It is an easy ride around the city that visits a lot of local tourist attractions and places of significance and is useful for you to get used to the roads, the heat\humidity and riding in a police escorted peloton. The ride usually leaves at a more respectable time of ~8:30am and is back before lunch. If you would like to do the ride, sign up. If not, I will lead a shorter ~20 mile ride that same day for those that want to make sure their bike is functioning 100%. Both options will also include going by the registration hotel to pickup your packet.
City Tour Route from 2016
What are the roads like and do I need anything special?
The road quality fluctuates from great to sub-optimal. Biggest issue is large pot holes, sunken manhole covers and dead iguanas. It’s highly recommended you run 25mm tires (or 28mms if you like) and a good durable tire. I’ve run 2 years on Gatorskins with no issues. A friend of mine ran GatorSkins in 2016 and then Specialized Roubaix Pro’s in 2017. In 2017, he got 4 flats on the first 2 days. He swapped to GatorSkins for Day 3. I’ll leave it at that.
I need more convincing!
Take a read of this article from Bicycle Magazine from 2011 when they rode LVPR: http://www.bicycling.com/rides/adventure-guide/my-bike-went-puerto-rico