La Vuelta 2022 Route

Starting in Utrecht, the Netherlands (a start planned for 2020, before being cancelled because of the pandemic), before heading to the Basque Country, to Cantabria and to Asturias, then transferring south to Alicante, through the south of the country and then north to Madrid – the race makes its return to Spain’s capital following an absence last year and a final stage time trial in Santiago de Compostela.

Running from 19th August to 11th September (with the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta – the associated women’s race – also being expanded to five stages, 7th – 11th September), next year’s Vuelta is being promoted, as ever, as ‘one for the climbers’. With seven stages directly labelled as ‘mountain stages’ (although nine days have summit finishes), there are also several hilly stages in the mix and two time trials – a TTT for the first stage in Utrecht and an ITT on Stage 10 in Alicante (both flat, the ITT one which should suit the specialists). No Stage 20 (or 21) time trial for this Grand Tour, however, perhaps returning to a more traditional route which was only disrupted by the pandemic, or because organisers cannot hope for a repeat of that La Planche des Belles Filles day forever.

Stage by Stage:

Stage 1 (19/08/2022): Utrecht – Utrecht, Team Time Trial, 23.2km

Stage 2 (20/08/2022) ‘s Hertogenbosch – Utrecht, Flat, 175.1km

Stage 3 (21/08/2022): Breda – Breda, Flat, 193.2km

  • TTTs, not being a common feature of a Grand Tour, always throw up a few surprises, but usually not too much drama. Stage 1 is therefore likely to set up the GC for the first few days, with stages 2 and 3 being flat, but it’ll probably all change after stage 4, when the road begins to climb.

22/08/2022: rest day

Stage 4 (23/08/2022): Vitoria-Gasteiz – Laguardia, Medium Mountains (Hilly), 153.5km

Stage 5 (24/08/2022): Irún – Bilbao, Hilly, 187km

Stage 6 (25/08/2022) Bilbao – Ascensión al Pico Jano. San Miguel de Aguayo, Mountains, 180km

  • Three stages in the Basque Country, with the quickly changeable weather and hardly a kilometre of flat road, ending with the first mountain summit finish at Pico Jano (in Cantabria), are likely to show who the favourites are going to be in this edition of the race.

Stage 7 (26/08/2022) Camargo – Cistierna, Hilly, 190.1km

Stage 8 (27/08/2022): La Pola Llaviana/Pola de Laviana > Colláu Fancuaya, Mountains, 154.5km

Stage 9 (28/08/2022): Villaviciosa > Les Praeres. Nava, Mountains, 175.5km

  • The Asturian hills (and mountains) are the next challenge to be faced by the Vuelta, including the first climb of Colláu Fancuaya making the finish of stage 8 perhaps even more dramatic. We’ll have to wait and see.

29/08/2022: Rest Day

Stage 10 (30/08/2022): Elche – Alicante, Individual Time Trial, 31.1km

  • The ITT in Alicante is the only time this discipline makes an appearance in this year’s Vuelta and, with a flat course designed to favour the specialists, some impact on the GC is guaranteed but its extent is unknowable, that all depends on who is going well at that point in the race.

Stage 11 (31/08/2022): ElPozo Alimentación – Cabo de Gata, Flat, 193km

Stage 12 (01/09/2022): Salobreña – Peñas Blancas. Estepona, Hilly, 195.5km

Stage 13 (02/09/2022): Ronda – Montilla, Flat, 171km

Stage 14 (03/09/2022): Montoro – Sierra de la Pandera, Mountains, 160.3km

Stage 15 (04/09/2022): Martos – Sierra Nevada, Mountains, 148.1km

  • These mountainous Andalusian stages with summit finishes and climbs heading high above 2000m along with a pair of flat stages make up the rest of the second week.

05/09/2022: Rest Day

Stage 16 (06/09/2022): Sanlúcar de Barrameda – Tomares, Flat, 188.9km

Stage 17 (07/09/2022): Aracena – Monasterio de Tentudía, Flat, 160km

Stage 18 (08/09/2022): Trujillo – Alto del Piornal, Mountains, 191.7km

Stage 19 (09/09/2022): Talavera de la Reina – Talavera de la Reina, Hilly, 132.7km

Stage 20 (10/09/2022): Moralzarzal – Puerto de Navacerrada, Mountains, 175.5km

  • These final mountain stages are where, even if it looks pretty final, the GC will be decided. These could be where the race is won (although that would probably take something dramatic, think Froome in the 2018 Giro), but the race could very easily be lost here (it happened to Dumoulin in 2015, when Aru finally took red).

Stage 21 (11/09/2022): Las Rozas – Madrid, Flat, 100.5km

  • The final stage is one for the remaining sprinters, and then the winner is crowned and the race is over until next year.

Note: I’ve never written a route announcement reaction before, but I always think it through. I’ll definitely write more stuff like this though, because I really enjoyed doing it. Up next, if I remember (fingers crossed), an end of year reading wrap-up, and there probably won’t be any mention of bikes, unless you count Guillaume Martin’s Socrate à vélo, which was one of the best books I read this year.

Back to blogging

Once upon a time, I was a regular on WordPress. A post a day, for nearly a year, if you can believe it, I certainly can’t. Except, that was nearly seven years ago now, when I was eleven didn’t know what I was doing (I still don’t). Ever since, I’ve gone through phases and said each time that this time would be THE time, and it never was. So, I’ll say that this is it, I’m back again, and I won’t be, because the internet is more saturated than ever, people are busier than ever, I’m busier than ever (or, I have other things that need doing and so the blog goes to the bottom of the pile and is forgotten about, yet again). Therefore, I’m making no promises, as much as I’d love to say this will be a daily, weekly, fortnightly, thing, I’m not going to. If I have to expectations, failure will be impossible, not that I mind failing sometimes.

However, enough rambling, I did actually have something that I wanted to say and that’s that I want to talk about a book I recently read, and adored, so, thanks Rare Mags (a very lovely independent bookshop in Stockport – highly recommend if you’re ever in the Manchester area) for having it on your shelves, and that’s Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game.

THE GLASS BEAD GAME

I haven’t yet managed to organise my thoughts about this book and I don’t know if I ever will (I definitely need to reread it at some point in the near future because I know that I will have missed something important). It’s one of those books where not a lot happens, yet everything does. Because it reads like (and, I guess, is) a biography (of a fictional person, yes), the novel focuses more on the relationship between Joseph Knecht (the subject) and the world around him – Castalia (the setting), the eponymous game – rather than any specific event. It means that the book has a slow pace, but is never boring – in fact, quite, in my opinion, the opposite. Even when not much is happening plot-wise, the descriptions are fascinating, and have to be read with Google on hand (or, I found they did anyway because I found words I’d never come across before, or concepts which, while not vital to the plot itself, were still things I wanted to understand).

I think this book isn’t one I’ll fully appreciate until I’ve lived a bit longer, lived a bit more, and read it a couple of times more. I think, although I’m not sure, I understand its themes on a superficial level and it can be seen as an allegory for the relationship between the intellectual life and real life, however lovely the ivory tower may be, however fulfilled your dreams may be, there will always be something else to want, to dream of, to escape to. And I don’t know if that’s something that terrifies me. In the novel, Knecht has his aspirations but is there fulfilment ever enough? Or is there always something else to want? And have I completely misinterpreted the whole book? It’s very possible, because this is a book that you can always learn something new from (intellectually, morally, fundamentally) and so there is a sense that it is a book you will never stop reading. It is certainly one that will forever remain on my bookshelf, and be re-read frequently (she says, before getting distracted, yet again).

Also

Now, this isn’t about books, because I’ve decided that this isn’t just a book blog, nor an aromanticism/asexuality blog, as its name might suggest. It’s a whatever I decide to write about kind of blog, and so I’m going to write about cyclocross, because Val di Sole in the snow was epic. I don’t think there is another word for it. I’m quite new to watching cyclocross (I started following it last season) so hadn’t ever watched such a snowy race. And, the fact that van Aert won there, after having won in the mud in Essen the previous day, means that he’s going to be hard to beat going forward, even when van der Poel returns to cyclocross (especially since he’s been injured). Which makes Dendermonde on Boxing Day even more exciting, right?

Also, I’m determined to write more on my blog about cycling so that my thoughts become (fingers-crossed) more articulate and less rambling, because otherwise no one will be able to understand what the hell I’m on about.

Right, I think that’s everything I wanted to say, maybe I’ve missed something, maybe there’ll be a follow up post, maybe there won’t be,

Thanks for reading my wittering,

Em x

This Wasn’t The Plan.

I’ve blogged on and off for years. I go through phases where I start a new one: a Tumblr, a website, etc. I write post after post. I forget I even did it.

The cycle repeats.

I always say that each time I start a new one, “This is it. This is the final time I start again.”

It never is but I’m saying it anyway. The longest I stuck with a single blog was the first time I started one, when I was eleven. I kept up with it, at least one post every week, for more than eighteen months. No one read it. That wasn’t the point. After that, I got a bit into writing fanfiction and the blog became unimportant to me. No one read my fanfiction either, not that I ever cared. I don’t (really) write for people to read it. I sometimes like to go back to things I wrote in the past but I don’t ever imagine that someone else would. I just have to keep putting things that I’ve written onto the internet. Out into the void. Where I no longer have control over them.

I love the internet.

It’s wonderful. Yes, I am completely aware that it is also deeply problematic. But so is anything that has such a wide affect on the everyday life of every single person (either directly or indirectly). That selfish part of me wants to have at least tried sharing my thoughts.

That’s what I’m going to (attempt to) do. Infrequently. Probably. Although, if you’ve come from my Instagram (which I’ve linked: it’s @emnicbooks), you’ll know how inconsistent I am.

I’ve not decided exactly what I’m going to be writing. I don’t know if it’ll be poetry (I’ve done that before on my original blog), stories (done that before too), book stuff (a bit like on my Instagram but more in depth), music stuff or aro ace stuff. Or a mix of things. It’ll probably be a mix of stuff. Or nothing at all. I don’t know. Let’s see. If there’s anyone even reading this other than me. And, Em, don’t cringe. Please!