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Once again I am late in getting this issue out. I have
plenty of excuses, but probably no one wants to read them. However, this
issue is packed full of information about upcoming races and tours and
begins with some interesting general articles on cycling. There is also new information on Arizona races to be held in
January and February. Hopefully the profuse verbiage will make up for the
lack of promptness and mediocre quality.
In this issue:
Arizona's Stop Signs Could Become Yield Signs for
Do Chain Lubes Work? — New Study
The Hindsight 30 — An Expensive Mirror Replacement?
PCCC's Weekly Crits — February, March, and April
Tucson Weekly Criteriums — February 23 through March
Avondale Criterium 1 — January 23
Eurand CF Cycle for Life — January 22
Tour de hero — January 29
Flapjack Flats Individual Time Trial — January 30
McDowell Mountain Criterium — February 5
Bicycle Haus Criterium — February 6
GABA's Picacho Century
— February 6
Valley of the Sun Stage Race — February 11 to 13
Other February Races
Not Your Mom Tucson Tour — February 18 to 21
ABC's Wickenburg Overnight — February 26 & 27
Tour de Cure — March 12
GABA's Sierra Vista Bicycle Classic — March 13
PMBC's Mining Country Challenge — March 19
Bike MS Arizona — March 26 & 27
Alta Alpina Challenge — June 11
Feedback — Our Readers Respond
Road Cyclist News
Arizona's Stop Signs Could
Become Yield Signs for Cyclists
Many of you will remember that last year a bill was introduced in the Arizona State Legislature that
would have effectively permitted cyclists to treat stop signs as if they
were yield signs. If the bill had become law, cyclists approaching a stop
sign would have been required to slow down, and if the intersection had
been clear, would have been permitted to proceed
through the intersection without coming to a complete stop. The bill made
sense, because a cyclist who comes to a complete stop and puts a foot
down requires much more time to clear an intersection than does a cyclist
who is able to keep both feet on the pedals. However, most non-cyclists
do not understand this, so the bill never reached the floor. It was
killed in committee on a straight party-line vote after all of the
minority Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the bill but every
Republican committee member voted to kill it.
Now the bill has been
reintroduced in the House with minor changes by representative Daniel Patterson, who is a
bicycle rider. I think most cyclists know that this bill is a good
idea. However, a promonent cyclist named John Forester wrote a book
called Effective Cycling in which he argued that motorists and
cyclists should have the same rights and same responsibilities.
This argument is logical up to a point, but unfortunately, some "cyclist
advocates" have given this statement the force of a religious belief.
Cars and bi8kes should both have rights to the road, but a logical
person will recognize that there have to be exceptions. No logical
person would argue, for example, that bikes should use the
high-occupancy lanes on a freeway. I believe that bikes and cars behave
very differently when accelerating away from a stop sign, and I believe
that those cyclists who do not want there to be different rules for
cyclists and cars at stop signs on ideological grounds should put there
ideology on hold and look at the4 situation logically.
would like to read the bill and follow its progress through the Arizona
State Legislature, you can do so by clicking here.
Do Chain Lubes Work? – New
Does lubricating your chain do any good? Engineers at
Johns Hopkins University set out to study bicycle chain performance on a
test jig set up in a laboratory using an infrared camera to detect heat
generated by friction in the chain. They found that a bicycle chain is
very efficient, transmitting 98.6 percent of the energy from the chain
wheel to the sprocket, which means that only 1.4 percent was wasted as heat. However, from the photograph of
the test jig, it appears that it was set up to test the chain under ideal
conditions with no derailleur and no chain misalignment. I suspect that
on a derailleur bicycle where chain alignment changes as gears are shifted and where the chain passes through the
small-diameter pulleys on the derailleur, results may be different.
The main factor affecting chain efficiency in the test was
the diameter of the chain wheel and sprocket. The larger these were, the
better the efficiency. Surprisingly, lubrication had no effect on the
chain's efficiency. Another surprise was that increasing the chain's
tension improved its efficiency.
Researchers speculated that
although lubrication serves no purpose on a new chain tested under clean
conditions in a laboratory, it may be important when a chain is used on a
bike in the outdoors, where it may serve the function of keeping dirt out
of the inner workings of a chain and therefore decreasing friction and
extending the chain's useful life. Most of us believe that under real-world riding
conditions, a chain lasts much longer if it is kept
clean and well lubricated. Although I hate the job, I plan to continue
cleaning and lubricating the chains on my bikes in the (perhaps mistaken) belief that I am
doing the right thing.
If you would like to read an
article about the experiment on the John Hopkins University Website, you
can do so by clicking here.
Hindsight 30 – An
Expensive Mirror Replacement?
The company Cerevellum is
previewing a camera and monitor on its Website that would allow a cyclist
to see what happens behind the bike. The device consists of a video
camera that mounts to the seatpost under the
saddle and a 3.5-inch color monitor that mounts on the handlebars. It
also includes an LED headlight and taillight. The
camera and monitor are connected by a cable. The
system is powered by a lithium-ion battery that the company claims gives
13.5 hours of continuous use. So far, I have seen no indication of
pricing, but whatever it costs, if the Hindsight 30 ever makes it to
market, some techno-nerds are bound to buy it. Those of us on more modest budgets will probably stick with a $10
mirror, which does that same job, is smaller and lighter, and does not
To connect to Cerevellum's Website
and evaluate the Hindsight 30 for yourself, click here.
PCCC's Weekly Crits –
February, March, and April
Once again, the Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club (PCCC), the
oldest bicycle racing team in the USA, will present our evening
Midweek Criterium Series every week during the months of February,
March, and April. The crits will
be held in the parking lot of Phoenix Municipal Stadium on the
southwest corner of Priest (also known as Galvin Parkway) and Van Buren
from five to seven p.m. To enter the parking lot, use the entrance on the
south side of Van Buren just east of Priest. Riders must
be licensed by USA Cycling to participate, but day licenses will
be available at registration for $10 and we also hope to sell the $60
The races are held on Tuesday
evening except for a few dates in March, when they had to be moved to a
different day of the week due to conflicts with other users of the race
site. There will be four races: a 15-minute D race for
juniors and beginning racers including category 4 women and category 5
men, which begins at 5:00 p.m., a 20-minute C race for category 4 and 5
racers, which begins at 5:20, a 30-minute B race for racers of category 3
and below, which begins at 5:45 p.m., and a 45- to 50-minute A race for
category 1 through 4 racers, which begins at 6:15 p.m. In case
there are not enough riders to make up competitive fields in the A and B
races, these two events will be combined into
one race that will start at 6 p.m.
The cost of the race is $5 for the D race and $10 for the
other races. For riders participating in more than one race, the cost is
$10 for the first race and $5 for the second. Juniors can choose to race
in a second event at no additional charge. Spectators are
admitted free and are advised to bring a lawn chair in order to
more comfortably view the race. Some have even brought along their
outdoor barbeque equipment and made a picnic out of watching the race.
Because entry fees are modest, so are the prize lists.
There is no prize for the winner of the D race, and prize money for the
other races will be based on a percentage of the
entry fees. In addition, we will be giving away the much coveted "cookie
primes", where racers sprint for a bag of cookies on a lap during
the race. We also expect to give away prizes donated by spectators and businesses.
These races are not only an excellent way for riders to
hone up on their cycling skills, they are also
an excellent spectator event, because spectators are able to see the
entire course. For those who do not understand the tactical aspects of
bicycle racing, they will be explained by a Blarney-Stone-kissing bicycle
racer who used to be a Phoenix radio disk jockey, namely by me.
To view and/or download the race brochure in PDF format,
Weekly Criteriums – February 23 through March 9
Tucson also holds weekly criterium series in the early
part of the year. The races take place on Wednesday evening starting at
6:00 p.m. and are held on a closed
course with 13 turns, which should certainly give riders a lot of
practice at bike handling. There are five races each week: a 20-minute
race for juniors and women, a 20-minute race for masters 40 years old or
older, a 20-minute category 5 race, a 30-minute category 3 and 4 race,
and a 30-minute category 1 and 2 race. The entry fee is $15 for all races
for riders who register online in advance or $20 the day of the race. Juniors
race free and are not required to preregister. As is the case in all
Arizona Bicycle Association races, riders must be licensed by USA
Cycling. Licenses will be available to purchase at the race. The race
location is 11800 South Harrison Road in Tucson, which is near the Rita
exit (#273) of Interstate 10.
the Website of the sponsoring race team, Tolero
Velo, for more information, click here.
Criterium 1 – January 23
The Arizona Bicycle Racing Association (ABRA) 2011 racing
season kicks off this Sunday with the Avondale Criterium, to be held at
South Avondale Boulevard and West Coldwater Springs Boulevard in
Avondale, Arizona. Racing starts bright and early at 7:30 a.m. with the
master women’s and juniors’ races on the course
simultaneously and continues through the day until the masters men 50+
race concludes at 5:05 p.m. The entry fee is $30 for all races except for
the master women and category 5 men, who pay $25 to race, and the
juniors’ race, whose riders pay $5. For more information and an
aerial view of the course, click here.
Eurand CF Cycle for Life – January 22
The letters "CF" in this ride's name stand for
Cystic Fibrosis, which the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation would like to
change to "cure found." This ride is a fund-raiser to fight
this dread disease. The ride starts this Saturday from the Ed Hooper
Rodeo Grounds in Casa Grande, Arizona and takes place in the farmlands and
desert that surround the city. There are 15-. 35-, and
65-mile routes with SAG stops every 10 to 12 miles. After the ride, there
will be a beer garden and lunch at the finish line. Communication
among SAG wagons and SAG stops will be carried out by amateur radio
The ride's organizers point out that cystic fibrosis is
the leading life-threatening genetic disease among children and young
adults in the USA. The average lifespan of those living with cystic
fibrosis is only 37 years, so finding a cure is very important.
For those not yet registered, the registration fee is $35
through Friday and $45 at the event on Saturday.
Riders are also expected to raise at least $200
in contributions by ride day. Those who raise
significant contributions will be rewarded by some very desirable prizes.
For more information on the Eurand
CF Cycle for Life ride, click here.
Hero – January 29
United Blood Services and the Los Freeloaders cycling
group present their annual bike ride on January 29 to support National
Volunteer Blood Donor Month with advanced, intermediate and beginner
routes. The ride begins at the United Blood Services headquarters at 6220
East Oak Street in Scottsdale. The advanced ride starts at 8:30 a.m. and
has a length of 62 miles, a metric century. The intermediate ride starts
at 10:30 a.m. and is a metric half century of 31 miles. For beginners, a
five-mile fun ride will start at 11:00 a.m. The routes will be on
lesser-traveled city streets in Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Tempe. Riders are requested to check in at least a half hour before
their start times.
The cost of the two longer rides is $20 until January 22
and $25 thereafter. Cut those prices in half for the fun ride. However,
the object of the ride is to recruit blood donors. Riders are encouraged,
but not required, to sign up three blood donors. Those who sign up donors
by January 22 will be entered in a raffle with a
chance to win what Blood Services promises are “great prizes.” Those who
want to donate blood but do not wish to ride may donate in the name of a
rider by signing up at www.bloodhero.com. For more
information on the event, click here.
Flats Individual Time Trial – January 30
Summit Velo, a Tucson-based racing team,
will promote its annual Flapjack Flats Time Trial on January 30. The
course is out-and-back on Park Link Drive, which connects the Interstate
10 Frontage Road with to US Highway 79. Registration is
conducted online in advance of the race and costs $5 for juniors
and $20 for others. Registered riders will be fed a free a flapjack breakfast after the
race. For more information, click here.
Mountain Criterium – February 5
There will be two criteriums in the Phoenix area the
weekend of February 5: The McDowell Mountain Regional Park Circuit Race
on Saturday and the Bike Haus Criterium on Sunday. As its name implies,
the McDowell Mountain race will be held in
McDowell Mountain Park about four miles north of Fountain Hills on
February 5. Please bear in mind that there is a fee to enter the park for
both spectators and racers.
Registration for the race is online or by mail and costs
$30 for the first race and $10 for each additional race until February 2.
After that date, a $10 late registration fee is added.
Juniors race free. A portion of the entry fees will be donated to two dog-rescue organizations:
Amazing Aussies and Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue. Both organizations will
have booths at the race.
To see a race brochure in PDF format, click here.
Bicycle Haus Criterium – February 6
The second criterium of the February 5/6 weekend will be
the Bicycle Haus Criterium at Firebird Lake at 2000 South Maricopa Road
south of Phoenix. Racing starts with the Masters 50+ and 60+ races at 7:30
a.m. and continues through the day until the Open Field Circuit Race
concludes at 5 p.m. The latter race should prove interesting, because it
is open to licensed racers of all categories. It could turn out to be a
surprise if a racer from one of the lower categories wins against the
category 1 and 2 riders, or it could turn into a crash fest as
inexperienced category 5 racers wobble around the course attempting to
keep up with the experienced category 1 and 2 crit
The entry fee is $40 for most races, $20 for the race for
collegiate men and women, ant $10 for juniors. For more information,
Picacho Century – February 6
For those who like a flat course, the Picacho Century is
for you. There are three ride options, a 100-mile full century starting
at 8 a.m., a 71-mile ride starting at 8:30 a.m., a 35-mile starting at 9
a.m., and a 15-mile ride, which also starts at 9 a.m. The ride starts at Cortaro and Silverbell in
Tucson, which is one mile west of I-10 exit 246, and heads north through Avra Valley and Marana. The 100-mile ride goes as far
north as Picacho Peak before turning back to Tucson..The
ride fee is $25 for members of GABA and ABC members and $40 for other
riders registered in advance. A $10 late feel will be
added for registrations submitted the day of the ride. This ride
could be a great opportunity for those of us who live in the Phoenix area
to make some cycling buddies or renew some old
cycling friendships in Tucson.
To access the ride's Web page, click here.
of the Sun Stage Race – February 11 to 13
The Valley of the Sun Stage race, known to most racers
simply as VOS, is an annual event and one of the top races in the state
of Arizona. There are as of yet no links to the race’s Website yet, but
the stage race usually consists of a time trial on Friday, a road race on
Saturday, and an exciting criterium on Sunday.
Look for more
information in the next edition of Arizona Road Cyclist News.
Other February Races
Although details are not yet available, February will
conclude with two criteriums and an individual time trial. The Sun Devil
Criterium, promoted by ASU’s racing team, will be held
on Sunday February 20. The expected location is in Tempe. The Wildcats
get into the act on Saturday February 28, with a criterium in the Tucson
area promoted by the U of A bicycle racing team. Finally, the Vulture
Mine Individual Time Trial will be held on
Mom Tucson Tour – February 18 to 21
The 2011 edition of Not Your Mom’s (NYM) annual tour from
Scottsdale to Tucson takes place over four days from February 18 through
February 21, which is President’s Day weekend. The tour will be sagged,
and each rider is permitted to put one piece of
luggage in the SAG wagon, so you can ride your racing bike and leave your
touring bike with panniers at home. However, riders are
expected to take turns driving the SAG wagon and to chip in for
The first day's ride on Friday is a 66-mile
jaunt from Scottsdale to Florence. Day two is a 64-mile ride from
Florence to Tucson which includes a 37-mile-long
gentle climb of 2300 feet. On Sunday riders will
peddle 56 miles of gentle downhill from Tucson to Casa Grande, and on
Monday the ride concludes with a 55-mile ride from Casa Grande to
NYM is a chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club (ABC), and
its participants are expected to join ABC to
take advantage of the club insurance. For more information on the
Scottsdale-Tucson four-day ride, click here.
Wickenburg Overnight – February 26 & 27
The Arizona Bicycle Club (ABC) is holding its annual
roundtrip ride to Wickenburg on the weekend of February 25 and 27. The
ride starts in the Albertson's parking lot on the Carefree Highway just
east of I-17 at 10 a.m. Motor vehicles will carry luggage, so riders
will be able to pedal the easy 45 miles to Wickenburg unencumbered by
pannier bags. The cost of the ride is $25 for members of ABC and other
area bicycle clubs and $30 for others. Riders are also
expected to book and pay for their own motel accommodations.
The ride is limited to 30 riders, so it may pay to
register early. To view the ride's Webpage, click here.
Cure – March 12
The Tour de Cure is a fundraiser for the American Diabetes
Association. The starting point for the ride is the Reach 11 Sports
Complex at 2425 East Deer Valley Road in Phoenix and features three ride
choices, a 62-mile metric century, a 35-mile ride, and an 8-mile fun
ride. In order to participate, each rider must raise at least $150 in
The ride will be well supported.
SAG wagons will rove the course looking for problems, and mechanics will
be available to take care of any breakdowns. Communications
will be handled by amateur radio operators in each SAG wagon and at rest
stops. The ride organizers also have
medical volunteers lined up to man all rest stops and will have a first
aid tent at the start/finish area.
If you are interested in this ride, you can get more
information from the Tour de Cure Website by clicking here.
Sierra Vista Bicycle Classic – March 13
GABA presents the Sierra Vista Bicycle Classic on March 13
with three ride options: a century, a metric century, and a half metric century. As the ride's name implies, the
ride starts and finishes in Sierra Vista, specifically in the parking lot
of Buena Vista High School. The full century goes south all the way to
the traffic circle in Bisbee and includes the climb up to Mule Pass plus
a ride through the historic town of Tombstone for a total of 103 miles.
The metric route cuts off the loop through Bisbee. The half
metric century appears to be an out-and-back route.
The registration fee is $25 for GABA and ABC members and
$40 for others with a $10 adder for those who register the day of the
event. You can view the ride's Web page by clicking here.
Mining Country Challenge – March 19
This ride, promoted by the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club,
follows the route of the now-defunct Mining Country race, which the
Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club used to promote every spring, except that
the starting point has been moved from Miami to
Superior. The long version of this ride competes with
the Bullshifters' Heart of Arizona Century for
the infamy of being the most difficult one-day century ride in Arizona,
and even the short version involves two ascents of the infamous "End
of the World" climb, which can require some cyclists to get off
their bikes and push and causes even those cyclists who stay on their
bikes to cry out in pain. This is a ride for real masochists,
which makes it the the perfect ride for many of
As stated, both the metric and full centuries start in
Superior. The century climbs up the mountain through Queen Creek Tunnel
and tops out at the little settlement called Top of the World before
descending into Miami. The section from Superior to Miami is the only
touchy part of the ride, because sections of the highway are narrow with no shoulder.
From Miami it's generally uphill
to the nearby city of Globe. After Globe, the route continues uphill at
about eight percent for mile after mile to the top of El Capitan. From El
Capitan, it's a thrilling and welcome downhill
into Winkleman, where the rest stop serves
After Winkelman, the route
climbs Ray Mine Hill. The climb seems awful, but it's
just a warm-up for what's to come. If there's a SAG stop at the top of
this hill, stop, drink, and fill your water bottles, even if you feel
strong enough to proceed, because you're about to face the ride's
ultimate challenge. Soon you will see the road ahead seem to shoot up
into the sky at an impossible angle. The usual reaction when a cyclist
first sees what lies ahead is to exclaim: "Oh,
my God!" The climb is just under two miles,
but it averages 11 percent with sections that are even steeper. If you have
a triple chainring, this is where you'll use the granny gear. Racers many years ago appropriately
nicknamed this climb "End of the World."
When you reach the top of End of the World, you can relax
and enjoy the rest of the ride, which is generally downhill back to
Superior, where you will be forgiven if you
collapse at the side of the road.
The metric century is an out-and-back from Superior to Winkelman. By cutting about 40 miles off the full
century, riders avoid Top of the World and El Capitan, but riders still
must climb Ray Mine Hill, and they get to do End of the World twice, once
in each direction. This may be the shorter version of the ride, but it
still ain't for
I don't know what the ride fee
is, but I assume the fee and a link to a registration form will someday be
posted to the ride's Web page, which you can view by clicking here.
Arizona – March 26 & 27
The 25th annual Bike MS Arizona Round-Up Ride will start
in Florence, Arizona on March 26 and 27. This is a fund-raising event to
fight Multiple Sclerosis. The ride starts at Heritage Park at 600 North
Main Street in Florence, and promoters expect that 1,500 cyclists will
take part. Riders get to choose from 35-, 75-, and 100-mile rides on the
26th and 30-, 50-. and 75-mile routes on the
27th with SAG stops every 10 to 15 miles. In addition to food and drink,
the SAG stops will collect excess clothing that riders strip off as the
day warms up (don’t take off too much, please), bag the clothing, and
transport it to the finish line where riders can collect the bags after
The routes are figure-8 and are so
designed so that cyclists can cut the ride short if they
overestimate their abilities. All routes are on flat terrain in the
farming area near Florence, Coolidge, and Casa Grande.
In addition to being supported during the ride, cyclists are also
taken care of when they are off the bike. A large tent will
be provided for those who wish to sleep out Friday and Saturday
nights. Riders must provide their own sleeping bags. Showers are also
available all day Saturday and Sunday, and for those who raise at least
$1,500 in contributions, there will be a special VIP tent, and there will
be individual team tents for teams that raise $10,000 or more. All
participants must raise at least $250 in contributions to participate in
To access the ride’s Website, click here. Those who do not wish to ride but
who would like to contribute money can do so by clicking on the “Donate/Pledge”
tab at the left side of the Webpage.
Alta Alpina Challenge – June 11
This ride is still months away, but it is the type of ride
that you want to plan for well in advance, both because it is out of
state and because it is very challenging.
The Alta Alpina Challenge:
Riding the Wild Sierra is promoted by the Alta Alpina Cycling Club, a road and mountain-bike club
based in the Carson City, Garnerville, and Lake Tahoe areas of California
and takes place on June 11, 2011. This is a ride for macho cyclists who
love to climb hills and who want to enjoy a challenging cycling event in
the cool High Sierras at the time of year when temperatures in the
Arizona Desert can be over 110 degrees.
There are four versions of the ride, or cyclists can
design their own challenge depending on just how willing they are to
suffer. The Wild Sierra Metric is 64 miles long and features 5,000 feet
of climbing. For those who want to double the pain, the Wild Serra
Century is 110 miles long with 11,000 feet of climbing. Sill not enough? Try the 134-mile long 5-Pass
Challenge with 16,000 feet of climbing. The real masochists (I know you’re out there) will chose the 8-Pass Challenge with
20,300 feet of climbing, which is claimed to be the “World’s Toughest
Double Century.” 100 miles of the route is at elevations above 7,000
feet. OK, the course is only 198 miles long, but purists can circle the
parking lot a few times at the finish to make up the extra two miles.
Compared to this, Arizona's Mining Country Century is just a ride in the park.
The registration fee is $100 for the 8-Pass Challenge, $90
for the 5-Pass Challenge, and $60 for the other two rides until May 1.
After that date, add a late-registration fee of $20 for the 8-Pass
Challenge, $15 for the 5-Pass Challenge, and $10 for the other two rides.
An optional ride jersey is available for $69, and those who finish the
8-Pass Double Century may purchase the 8-Pass Finisher jersey for the
To access the ride’s Website, click here.
Feedback – Our
In your article about
Mining Country I think I was with you when the
bee got into your helmet.
But I think it was coming down "End
of the World" rather than the descent into Winkelman.
I know it does not
matter to anyone but us but I thought I should mention it. I think the
year was 1981 or 1982.
Your trip to Europe
this summer sounds like it will be great.
was definitely on that ride, and I know
from long experience that his memory is much more trustworthy than mine,
so he is probably correct. Besides, descending the very steep End of the
World with one hand on the bars and the other ripping off my helmet makes
a much better story. OK, I admit that it probably didn't
happen on the steepest part of the descent, but my cycling yarns tend to
grow with the passage of time.
don't remember everyone who was on the ride, but
I believe I remember Ranier Zorge
and the Nesdill brothers, Tom and Mike. Mike
had to get back to Phoenix early, so as I remember, he turned around in
Miami and cycled back to East Phoenix.
There were some other riders
with us as well, all members of the Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club, but I
no longer remember who they were.
I heard the hiking
trail you'll be doing is absolutely beautiful
but can be difficult. If you have time there
is a hike I did last summer that I highly recommend...England Coast to Coast.
It is 193 miles from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. It is a little
north of York and starts in St. Bees and goes to
Robin Hood's Bay.
I'm sure you will have a wonderful
time hiking in Europe. I would love to hear about it and I'm sure a lot of our cycling buddies would as
well. Are you going to do a blog?
don't think I'll have time to add on another
hike in England, Sally, but maybe on the next trip. I do plan to lug a
laptop in my backpack, and after considering your suggestion, I plan upload my trip diary to a blog for
anyone who wants to read it including my five-week hike along El camino de Santiago, sometimes called the Way of
Saint James in English.
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