As the intensity of your training increases it is vital that you have regular treatment & guidance from a physiotherapist. Using the same physio, who gets to know your body and has experience of treating professional athletes from the same sport really helps to keep you on track. Before I headed out for this weeks Bulletin ride, I hooked up with Nerea Alonso, owner of Lets Fisio, for a quick coffee. Nerea has worked for a number of different professional cycling teams and was with Cycling Ireland at this year’s Rio Olympics.
DM – How did you end up in the world of physiotherapy?
NA – Since I was a child, I have always done different types of sports. So in terms of a career, I wanted to try and work in sport and help people with different injuries.
I decided to study physiotherapy in Barcelona (for 4 years), at the same time I was involved in cycling because my brother was training to became a pro cyclist. He was my guinea pig.
After a few years on the road with different cycling teams, I went to Madrid to specialise in sport physiotherapy – then I started working for the Spanish National Team. At the moment I’m running my own sport physiotherapy business in Mallorca & I work for Cycling Ireland.
DM – What was it like to be at the Olympics?
NA – It was a great experience to be at the Olympics with Cycling Ireland. That really was a dream comet true. It is absolutely amazing to be part of the best sport event ever and to see it from the inside. We stayed in the village and were able to see losts of the other events when we weren’t working.
I also really enjoyed learning from other countries, our job is a global one and being in contact with other professionals gave me different view on everything. It is important to know the latest techniques and advances in physiotherapy.
DM – Any tips for cyclists? – how they should look after their bodies?
NA – Cycling has changed immensely over the last few years. They have to do a lot of work to do off the bike – it’s not just about training on the bike. My best advice would be a comprehensive 30 minute CORE workout – 4 or 5 times a week. This will give you the stability that you need in the main muscles that connect your hip and legs with you upper body. And of course a good stretching session after training – quads, hamstrings, calfs, glutes, psoas. You can never do too much stretching (90% of people don’t do enough).
DM – Most common cycling injuries you treat?
NA – There are few common injuries that you see in cycling. Knee pain is always one, more particularly IT band insertion. This is often due to tight quads, which can stem from a bad position in the bike.
Other big problem is lower back pain. The hip angle varies depending on your bike position and is quite short if you are in a time trial position for long time. That causes a shortening of the psoas muscle and it pulls on the lower back.
I always recommend a bike fit, because tiny issue often translates into bigger and more exaggerated problems.
Nera owns www.letsfisio.com
This week’s route
Our start point was Bicimetrics Bike Fit Studio – where Nerea’s physiotherapy practice is based. I rode out with Jon Sowerby, the bike fit guru and owner of Bicimetrics. Jon has become my first port of call with any bike niggles & questions and works on the majority of the cycling events that we organise.
We set off heading east past Son Moix & left onto Cami de la Real. We went through the unspoilt Mallorcan village of Son Sardina and then onto the Soller Road. The combo of the narrow caminos and the wider main roads meant we were quickly out in the Mallorcan country side – amongst the almond trees and the roaming sheep. We entered Bunyola from the Santa Maria direction, both Jon & I prefer to avoid the busier Soller road. The square is bustling with villagers of every generation, gossiping either over a coffee or just standing in the square. We turned right and head up the Coll d’Honor and one of my favourite rides in Mallorca. In a similar way to parts of the Pyrenees, the climb starts in the village, on a narrow road, lined with cosy little houses. On the climb you are treated to the views of the terraces on the opposite side of the valley and the magic forest at the top. Once through the trees, the valley opens out and you head through Orient and a fast descent down into Alaro. We stop for a coffee at Cycling Planet www.cyclingplanet.es, owned by David Muntaner. With the tables made from the track of a velodrome, the cafe is pays homage to cycling and more specifically the track. David & Albert Torres were the Madison World Champions in 2014, he represented Spain in the 2008 & 2012 Olympics and now coaches the Irish track team.
We leave Alaro out the back of the village, hug the northern edge of Santa Maria and then west towards Esporles. The gradual incline to the BP garage raises the heart rate, before we then turn left and head down towards Palma. On the ride in we pass the traditional Mallorcan Restaurant of Es Muntant www.esmuntant.com and through Establiments.
Ride Distance – 73km, Vertical metres – 750m
Strava segment– “Coll d’honor (real)”
Distance 6.2km, Avg Gradient 5%, Highest elevation 535m, Elevation difference 336m, Category Climb 2, 34,457 Attempts By 19,248 People, KOM – Matti Helminen 14min 39sec, QOM- Jennifer George 17min 29sec