Exploring The Mountains and Coastline of Galicia

Rob Howard / 11.05.2019

Raid Gallaecia will explore the coasts and mountains of the region which gives the race its name, and in which the organizers take such pride.

The 484km course will visit the coastal regions of the Mariña Máxica and Mariña Lucense, while inland teams will cross the Serra do Xistral with its luxuriant forests and remote villages. In total the route will pass through 20 municipalities.

It might be a race with a strong coastal element, but it still packs in 13,700m of ascent.  The summits are not high in Gallaecia but the teams will have a lot of ups and downs to cope with, and some ‘unhelpful’ vegetation.

Historic cathedrals, ancient sites, small fishing villages and a UNESCO biosphere reserve will all be part of the course, which will venture out of Gallaecia for the first time (into Asturias).

The teams are now arriving in the host town of Viviero, where they are accommodated overlooking the wide sweep of the coastal estuary of the Viviero river. The race has published a schematic with stage details and has described some of the locations, so while the final course is still to be revealed savvy teams can figure a lot out.

The race will have 9 stages, 4 are mountain biking stages totaling 297km which is a large part of the total distance and will surely favour strong cyclists (though those who have done their research will know there will be stages where teams won’t be riding all the time!)

There are 3 and a bit trekking stages, totaling 139km and as always these will be pivotal to the outcome of the race, especially the longest stage of 72kms, and if navigational is demanding. That leaves two kayaking stages (49km) and there will also be a rappel, some caving and a short SUP challenge.

In total this will cover 30 maps, all at 1;25,000 and provided on waterproof paper, with the exception of one orienteering map at 1:20,000.

The winning time is predicted to be around 76 hours, and the course will be open until Saturday May 18th at 14.00.  There are a couple of cut-offs and one Dark Zone and teams have been told all but one of the transitions will be covered, there will food at two (they even have the menu!), and hot water at most.  This is a race which really looks after their teams!

The last word should go to Race Director Pablo Lopez who has described the course as follows; “The Raid will travel this year to one of the most unpopulated areas of Galicia. The northern coast of the province of Lugo, called Mariña Máxica, is one of the most virgin coastal areas of the whole Iberian Peninsula.

“The route will also travel into the interior to pass through some of most steep and wild regions of Galicia.  Team will visit forgotten places like Serra do Xistral, or the surroundings of the Eo River, which is on the land border with Asturias. The terrain is characterized by the luxuriance of its forests and has very few villages or towns. It will be a really great place to experience a true adventure.”

The full course will be revealed to teams at the race briefing at 19.00 on Saturday, and they will be given their first maps an hour before this. They will get maps for the first 3 stages for the start, and then in transition 3 will get the maps for legs 4/5/6, and finally at transition 6 they will get the maps for the final 3 stages.

The race will start at 10.00 on Sunday when the online tracking and all the race maps will be live online. (There is expected to be live streaming of the start too.)

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