domingo, 22 de enero de 2023

The Opportunist

It was cold, yes. But nothing crazy. 

I was wearing only two layers. The Opportunist though was wearing 5!!



Roads were also fine. You could see white fields and ice in some corners but we stuck to the main roads and it was absolutely fine.


For some reason no one signed up for my ride so I ended up joining the one led by The Opportunist.

10 riders. It only bothers me a little bit that The Opportunist’s rides are more popular than mine. Only a little bit.

Not only that. It was a very well behaved group. No surges, all riding as a peloton, nice through and off display at Drift Rd, no one complained about route changes. It only bothers me a little that riders at The Opportunist’s rides are better behaved than the riders I lead. Only a little bit.

We even had a coffee stop in a new place. The Lake View Cafe (https://goo.gl/maps/RHnZ59N1emfjmXrd9). Good cakes, friendly staff, eggs on toast are a must


It only bothers me a little that The Opportunist managed to find a coffee stop that is certainly more picturesque than the coffee stops I know. 


What worries me, more than a little bit, is The Opportunist taking all the sprints today.

Not a display of power and speed. No, The Opportunist is not a sprinter. The Opportunist is a real opportunist. 

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/8433378212 


Take care

Javier Arias González


sábado, 21 de enero de 2023

Windsor with Dai and DD

 Today was “easy riding pacing masterclass” day.


Lesson one. 

Let Dai get the front and sit there for about 40 kms. That will give you enough time to observe and learn.


A real shame about that sprint. I knew we were close to Windsor, I knew the sprint was coming. The problem was I didn’t know where the sprint sign was so I missed it. Dai took it, wherever it was, and I was second. 


I put it down the “probably better this way” account. Even a semi-autistic weirdo like me suspects that passing someone to take a sprint after sitting 40 km on his wheel is probably not going to go down well. Even if the person you are passing is calmed down, relaxed, never competitive Dai.


Obligatory coffee and half a cinnamon bun at Windsor and back to the road.


Lesson two.

Let DD get cold and, as The Pope, she’ll move to the front pushing the pace to warm herself up. Dai will naturally take turns in the front with her. There won’t be any need for you to go to the front. That will give you extra time to observe and learn.


A shame about the final sprint though. I knew very well where the line was this time. It took me close to a thousand sprints against Rupert to learn where it was. I now know it very well. The problem was I forgot about it. I totally forgot about it! As soon as I realized we were by the traffic lights I saw a fair amount of cars so I told Dai and DD that in the report I was going to say there was too much traffic to sprint.


So, a real shame we had too much traffic in the final sprint and we couldn’t sprint. I fancied my chances even if I had been working hard all morning.


That was it. A great day for riding. I missed about twenty points in the green jersey competition but it was still a productive morning. After all, I learnt a lot about how to pace easy a group. Not that I plan to use that skill any time soon though, life is comfortable sitting on everyone else’s wheel and learning.


The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/8427218933 


Take care

Javier Arias González


sábado, 14 de enero de 2023

Collada de Arniciu. Solo, non-stop

Today the entries for Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) opened at 12:00 (Paris time). Where was Javier at 11:30?


Sitting in front of his computer prepared to fight for an entry.


What happened at 12:00?


An undetermined number of other crazy cyclists also tried to register themselves. PBP’s website went down.


For a whole hour I was reloading the website again and again only to get again and again the same error.


To make things worse every now and then I’d see a message in the different forums and whatsapp groups of someone saying they had confirmed their registration. Some of them even reported the number of entries left.


At that point I was trying with two laptops two different browsers from those laptops and from my mobile. Ah! And every now and then I’d VPN to France in case that made any difference.


I managed to register at 13:14.


13:28 I was out riding.


Decided to go for a route I didn’t know just because I liked the name of the climb (Collada de Arniciu). I had no idea about it, only that it looked like a long climb in the profile. I had “stolen” the gpx from someone else’s ride. Don’t even remember whose ride it was.


No very clever decision if you ask me. Especially considering it gets dark at 18:30 around here. That left me with 5 hours to ride those 130km. I reckoned I had plenty of time.


Now, very quickly I realized my legs were not feeling that great today. Not sure why. I still decided to stick to the plan.


By the time I got to Infiesto I had been riding for 1h45m and only covered 44km. My Garmin told me I had around 20km of climbing in front of me.


I considered the idea of turning back. I insist, I didn’t know the climb and it started to look very likely I’d end up riding in the dark. I had lights on my bike but only those to be seen. Not ideal for night riding.


Being honest, I didn't consider the idea for very long. 


I just kept riding. The next time the idea crossed my mind I rejected it straight away “because I’m already halfway up the climb” (when the reality is I barely had ridden the first couple of kilometers). It’s amazing how easy I can trick myself.


The climb felt longer and harder than I anticipated. It was also hotter (18C) than I was expecting. This is only to add dramatism to the fact that when I got to the top I had ridden for 2h55min. I had 3 hours and 5 minutes to ride 65 kms if I wanted to get home in daylight. 


I knew most of the ride would be downhill, still, at that moment it didn't look possible. Less so when I started to descend and the road surface was as terrible as on the way up. 


But it was possible. 


Favorable terrain meant I only had to accompany the bike, the climb up La Gargantada was half decent (10mins at 291w, after 110km in 4h:15min in the legs), being in known terrain did the rest. I got home at 18:30. Perfect timing.


Not really happy about today’s performance but, hey, guess who is going to be in PBP’s front group?



The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/8391686140/ 


Take care

Javier Arias González


jueves, 12 de enero de 2023

Otra Madera pa'lla, Otra Madera pa'ca

 Britney Spears’ Oops!…I Did It Again (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CduA0TULnow) is the musical reference for today’s ride.


Like yesterday, the weather was too good to not ride outside so, like yesterday, I rearranged my agenda and went for a two hour ride in the afternoon and avoided my usual turbo session. 


Unlike yesterday I went for a steady session. That was what I would have done if I were at the turbo, that was what I aimed with this ride. I’d say I did very well. 


Not my merit though.


When I started to climb La Madera on the way out a rider came to my side and started to talk to me. It turns out it was Eugenio. 


Who is Eugenio I hear you asking. Well, I met Eugenio in the final kilometers in Paris-Brest-Paris in August 2019 and met him again today, three and a half years later.


As always happens in these cases we had a lot to catch up on so we rode next to each other chatting all the way up, all the way down, then all the way up again and all the way down again. 


You know what they say about steady sessions, right? That you have to be able to chat without losing your breath while riding… That’s exactly what we did.


So Eugenio saved me from the temptation of pushing myself on the climbs. A temptation I was certainly feeling after the coffee at my mother’s.


Oops!…I Did It Again. Again I was luckier than prepared.



Take care
Javier Arias González

sábado, 31 de diciembre de 2022

Last ride of 2022


The perfect day to finish a great year.

First a nice easy spin to Nava with Xuancar and Rober.


Then a good effort climbing La Madera against the wind. 18 minutes at 285w (https://www.strava.com/activities/8315910713/segments/3044249500521788748).


Finishing with a sprint to get two wind assisted PRs (https://www.strava.com/activities/8315910713/segments/3044249500523065676 and https://www.strava.com/activities/8315910713/segments/3044249500525580620).


2022 was a fantastic year for me.


The 6th of August I declared myself in the form of my life (https://www.unbiciorejon.com/2022/08/i-am-in-form-of-my-life.html).


I finished “the season” at the beginning of October getting PRs up Broome Hall Road and Box Hill (https://www.unbiciorejon.com/2022/10/end-of-season.html


From October to the end of the year I was mostly focused on steady, endurance rides. Still happy with the numbers at the end of the year.


18,829 Kilometres. My biggest year so far, 8.16% more than my previous record (17,409 in 2021). It is now obvious that in 2023 I’ll target 20,000 kilometres.


4,002 of those kilometres, 21.26% of the total, were on the turbo. I think this highlights how important turbo sessions are for me. 


By bicycle:

  • 8,549 (45.40%) with my summer bike

  • 8,465 (44.95%) with my long distance bike

  • 1,343 (7.13%) with my old bike (I will use this bicycle only on the turbo now)

  • 472 (2.50%) with my Mountain Bike. I was considering buying a new MTB but with these numbers I don’t think I can really justify it 


The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/8315910713 

Take care

Javier Arias González


sábado, 26 de noviembre de 2022

Dai's ride to Dabbling Duck

 Short and flat (https://www.unbiciorejon.com/2019/02/javiers-ride-classification-criteria.html)


As you would be expected to ride at the end of November.


Mind you that short and flat doesn’t mean easy.


It was a “steady k2” ride. 


Somehow, “steady k2” it’s becoming synonymous with K1.5. Something that is completely against my idea of “steady k2” but totally expected if you have Dai leading a ride with two “climbs” in the first 20 kms and with an espresso in his veins (I don't have proof, nor doubt).


Punchy.


Even if he had been out of the bike for weeks. Even if he said he wasn’t going to sit in the front. 


To be fair I also had a coffee at home (although mine wasn’t an espresso), I hadn’t ridden much in the last three weeks, and, me too, found myself sitting in the front more than I had planned to.


Surprisingly (in my case, not a surprise at all in Dai’s case) I felt ok(ish). Enough power to be there in all the climbs and enough endurance to last the whole ride. 


To put the cherry on the cake I played the “fair sprinter” role (there is always a first time for everything) and gave Calum all the details about the Esher sprint when we were at Cobham. My mother would be proud of me.


 Playing the “fair sprinter” doesn’t mean to play it wrong from the tactical point of view. I was the fourth wheel (out of eight riders), in the drops from the first “ramp”, paying attention to every potential move. Yet, I almost screwed it. 


Calum attacked.


Not sure where but certainly too early.


So early that took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting it. 


Yes, I know I said I was paying attention. That was my intention but, somehow, I got too relaxed and distracted. Not the first time that has happened to me. I guess I have to work on my attention span. 


I had to put in a big effort to close the gap. Never doubted I was going to it, but it certainly took me to the limit.


A few seconds after I reached Calum’s wheel he looked back, saw me there and flicked his elbow.


To hell with the “fair sprinter”, I thought. I refused to move to the front and stayed on his wheel (I’ll omit this part of the story to my mother).


Calum gave it another go.


This time I wasn’t taken by surprise but that didn’t help much. He was pushing hard and I was struggling to keep up. 


The thought of letting him go crossed my mind. In fact I started to look for a decent excuse but before I found one (and that is a very short period of time; I’m very fast finding excuses) Calum slowed down a little bit. And then a little bit more. 


I stayed on his wheel. Waited and waited. It felt like an eternity but I was fearing another attack from Calum and I knew I didn’t have the legs to sprint all the way to the line. Wait and pray. A sprint tactic I’m very familiar with.


It doesn’t normally work but in this case it helped that Calum didn’t know where the line was (Rupert wasn’t riding today so I definitely knew where the line was).


I attacked at the right point (for once) and managed to open a gap big enough to get me to the line. 


A win!!!


I’m now going to forego a well deserved Spanish siesta to write the Spanish version of this report so my mother knows I’m a champion (my wife and daughters are lost cases in that regard). I’ll omit certain details but I’ll make sure I don’t embellish the story too much. It has to feel credible.


The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/8170788294/analysis/16380/17403


Take care

Javier Arias González

domingo, 30 de octubre de 2022

Drift Rd. then Windsor

 Felt tired to start with but, since it was a ride I proposed, I felt compelled to sit in the front from the beginning. 


Riding in parallel with Rupert, chatting while pretending you are taking it easy only lasted until we hit the first ramp where I was duly dropped. The same happened in every single ramp we managed to find in this pan flat route.


At some point, fairly early into the ride to be honest, I fell back and sat on Calum’s wheel. 


That was super helpful in Drift Road. To the point that I got to the conclusion that aerodynamics, when plays in your favor, is a marvelous thing.  


Aerodynamics helped me all the way to Windsor where I went for the traditional (for me) latte and half cinnamon bum (notice the half bit, I’m such a pro wanna be). 


The caffeine did its magic and on the way home I rode a bit over excited. Riding over excited means I was second to Rupert at the sprint and only because Calum had no clue where the line was (a trick that always works). 


It also means that as we were approaching the end I started to dream about the big siesta I was going to have this afternoon. 


Siesta that starts on 3, 2, 1…


The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/8042495498 


Take care

Javier Arias González