La Vuelta Puerto Rico is a premier cycling event for endurance athletes looking for a 'pro-like' experience. In three days, a 'fast-paced' group of international cyclists, divided into three pelotons, cover a 375-mile course that circumnavigates the entire island of Puerto Rico. The route takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes, including the lush foothills of the tropical rain forest, serene coconut plantations, exotic beaches, world-class marinas and every singleton of the 42 coastal towns.
For many, riding La Vuelta is like being part of a professional stage race, without the actual racing. Police escorts and rolling roadblocks keep the international peloton moving through streets occasionally filled with cheering spectators. It is not uncommon to see motorcycles transporting photographers and filmmakers that capture the drama as it unfolds, and a caravan of support vehicles is always present and ready.
Unlike a stage race, La Vuelta features rest stops throughout the day where riders can 'relax' for a short period and take in the breathtaking scenery while enjoying local cuisine and Caribbean hospitality before climbing back on their bikes for more pedal-pounding pleasure.
The Peloton is what makes us different!
If you’ve ever watched a professional stage race and thought about how great it would be to be part of a peloton of skilled riders as you glide effortlessly through pristine countryside, you are in luck. La Vuelta Puerto Rico is all about the peloton (and, yes, peloton riding is every bit as fun as it looks).
At La Vuelta Puerto Rico, riders divide themselves into three pelotons based on the pace they prefer to ride. Peloton A is for the hammerheads, and travels at sustained speeds at times in excess or 28 mph all day (a pace very similar to professional stage racers). Peloton B rides between 17 to 25 mph averaging 18 mph. Peloton C rides at 15 to 22 mph and averages 16 mph. Riders are expected to be able to maintain these speeds (Pelotons B & C) for the entirety of the event in order to keep up with the averages of 18 mph and 16 mph respectively.
Distance and Topography
La Vuelta Puerto Rico prides itself on its distance, yes, 375 miles in three days. Its participants will complete 155 miles the first day; 80 miles the second day and 132 miles the remainder on the third day. The total elevation gain for all three days is approximately 12,845 feet (Day 1: 5799 ft.; Day 2: 2571 ft. Day 3: 4475 ft.) Expect all kinds of terrain, from flats to rolling hills to climbs and also expect a very sharp change in topography when you least expect it. The majority of the climbs are slow and steady, but there are also a few short pitches that are quite steep (you’ll know them when you see them!).
In Puerto Rico winter, the average high temperature is 83°F while the average low is 70°F. Rain showers are always possible, but are usually brief. Be prepared for sunshine and humidity most of the ride. Staying hydrated is essential and for that we provide plenty of hydration at every stop, all stops for that matter. It's also important to use high-SPF sun block and wear appropriate clothing. Headbands, cycling caps and arm protectors are extremely popular accessories among seasoned Vuelta veterans.
Where to Stay & Luggage Transportation
Every year we publish a list of affiliated hotels located in San Juan, Ponce, Mayagüez & Rincón. Arrangements have been made with these including group rates and bike box storage in San Juan, that will make your stay more pleasant. We strongly recommend you pick one of our affiliated hotels since the luggage transportation is provided to and from these hotels only. If you choose to stay at another hotel in San Juan, in the house of a friend or family member, or in an AirBNB, you will need to make arrangements for your bike box and you will need to bring your standard airline carry-on sized luggage to the start. La Vuelta Puerto Rico does not provide for bike box storage.
La Vuelta is a fully supported cycling event. Rest stops are spaced at an average of 25 miles apart and stocked with water, juices, sport drinks, refreshments, fresh fruit and a wide variety of other snacks. There are designated breakfast and lunch stops where riders will find locally cooked delicious meals with the Puertorican flavor! Support vehicles will be available for bicycle emergencies. Mechanical support will be offered on the course by professional bicycle mechanics. Medical, EMS and ambulance support will be available throughout the entire Vuelta (24/7). Cyclists are provided with emergency contact numbers for medical or mechanical assistance before the event begins. In the unlikely event that you are unable to complete a particular day, you will be offered transportation to your hotel. Should you, for any reason, need to completely withdraw from the event, our staff will assist you in arranging transportation with a taxi or Über for your return to San Juan.
Equipment, Requirements & Recommendations
- Rider numbers– we provide each rider with a unique number that will help us recognize you. It identifies you as an official rider in La Vuelta to other riders, police, etc. The bib number is required to be pinned to the back of your cycling jersey each day. Same goes with the helmet number, the bike number and the wristband provided at check-in.
- Tires– Due to the varied nature of the roadways on the island, we recommend using puncture-resistant all-season tires. Minimum 25 mm are very popular among seasoned Vuelta riders and its the size we have been recommending since 2006. Many others use kevlar lining for extra protection and we strongly recommend all tires be at the maximum pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
- Lights– Due to the early-morning departures, cyclists must have a white light affixed to the front of their bike, as well as a red light affixed (not blinking) to the back. Lights attached to helmets is also allowed.
- Helmets– Riders are required to wear appropriate safety helmets at all times while actively riding your bike, it's the Law in Puerto Rico.
- Cell phones– Riders should carry cell phones in case of emergency. Speaking over the phone while riding is prohibited unless you use a bluetooth wireless device. Using headsets tethered to your cellphone/iPod/mp3 is stricktly prohibited.
- Aero bars– The use of aero bars is prohibited. Please remove them from your bikes prior to the event. We have a zero tolerance for obvious reasons and if you have aerobars, you will not be allowed to participate.