domingo, 5 de noviembre de 2023

Maybe it is all psychological


I'm of the opinion that head wind out, tail wind back is not a good deal. Somehow you really feel the head wind the first half of the ride and you don't feel it at all on the way back. I’m guessing it is just psychological, that the wind is there helping you. It doesn’t matter, if you don’t feel being helped it is not worth all the effort of fighting against the wind during the first half of the ride. Not a good deal.

I think I shouldn’t have had coffee before the ride. My excuse is that after a week of not riding much and the feeling I had after yesterday’s session at the turbo ( that my form is disappearing quickly I was scared of today’s ride. So I had a coffee before the ride. Having a coffee before a ride makes me feel optimistic and strong. My guess is those effects are mostly psychological, on the other hand, the physiological effect of having to stop to pee a bit too often is very real. Having The Pope joking about it is also a very real effect. Having a coffee before the ride is not a good deal for me.

After the Brace of Bramleys’ disaster (, where I lost every.single.sprint. One of my objectives with today’s ride was to recover my self confidence as a sprinter. What better way of counting all the sprints you take during the ride. It certainly helps keeping the count in your mind and not mentioning out loud so your riding mates don’t challenge your objective. It is also convenient to ride with a GC rider and a climber in a short and flat route. It is true that no one contested any of the sprints I won so you could argue those wins don’t really count. It doesn’t matter. After three weeks of disgrace I feel much better now. Relieved. Maybe it is all physiological but my reputation is now restored.

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González

domingo, 22 de octubre de 2023

A conocer la subida a Banduxu


Banduxu is a beautiful climb, but harder than what the profile suggests. Not really the best climb for a day I wanted to ride easy.

In a huge display of self discipline I manage to control myself and take the climb as easy as possible.

A shame that self discipline blew in pieces the moment an unknown rider passed me a few meters behind the top of the Fuejo climb. 

Inexplicably, I jumped on his wheel. Started to whistle to make the point I was riding easy clear and stayed a few meters behind his wheel all the descent. I'm a very bad person.

We passed another rider and that was the sign for me to take the front and start pushing the pace and show them how it is done. I'm a terrible person.

Luckily for me very soon I was turning right and they were going straight. We told each other goodbye as we were friends. 

All in all 10 minutes of not that great self discipline and just another behavior I'm not very proud of.

As penance I punished myself by riding slowly and pledging that I wouldn't flinch if a cyclist passed me.

The fact that I knew that road was not heavily traveled by cyclists detracts a little from my penance. But I can't really count on my self-discipline to get to heaven.

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González

domingo, 8 de octubre de 2023

Don't ask me

I don’t think people understand the amount of risk they are taking when they join one of my rides.

Today seven reckless riders joined my ride to Alice Holt. Judging by the number of questions I got I came to the conclusion that people expected me to know the route. I was even asked how many more kilometers to the coffee stop.

Every time I was asked I had no idea of the answer. Too arrogant to admit my ignorance, I made up my answer every single time. For the space of 30 minutes I gave the answer “about 20 kms more” the three times I was asked about the coffee stop.

I’m sure the group came to the conclusion I was not as reliable as my confident answers looked. It didn’t help that we got out of route a couple of times and the coffee stop was at the 90 km point when I thought it was at km 72. 

So, let me be completely open on how this works in my case.

I select routes based on distance. I normally don’t look at the amount of climbing. 

I always know the name of the place where the coffee stop is. I usually have no idea of what kilometer it is.

In fact, for half of the coffee stops out there, I know the name we give the coffee stop but I only recognise the place when I get there.

Even for routes I’ve ridden many, many times I don’t know where I am 80% of the time. Even when I know where I am, half of the time I’m wrong. 

I consider a successful ride if I made it home and didn’t see a “Welcome to Scotland” sign. 

What I now check in every single route is what is the sprint at the finish (too many sprints missed for not checking this basic fact).

Today was not an exception. 

Knowing exactly what line we were sprinting for contributed to my win.

The fact that none of the others knew where the line was contributed a little bit too.

So you now know. Don’t ask me anything about the route that is not what is the sprint at the end. Don’t expect an accurate answer in either case.

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González

domingo, 1 de octubre de 2023

Evaluating the impact of popcorn in recovery

Yesterday we decided to go to the movies. 

That’s actually a pretty good recovery activity if you ask me. You don’t have to move much, you can always fall asleep and blame the film for it and you get to eat popcorn. 

I didn’t know much about popcorn’s recovery properties but I’m always happy to run a scientific experiment and find out. 

So, when I was asked what bucket size I wanted I went for the biggest one. The only right answer considering I was pretty hungry after yesterday’s ride ( 

Now, when I saw the size of the thing I almost panicked. The thing was quite big, even for a pretty hungry cyclist.

Luckily I managed to control myself and pretend it was ok. I wanted my wife to believe I knew exactly what I had ordered. I think there is still a (small?) chance she doesn't think I’m stupid.

After all, I told myself, the film, Oppenheimer, is three hours long. Plenty of time to finish it.

I started at a very good pace. By the time all the trailers had finished I had gone through a quarter of the bucket.

An hour into the film I had gone through half of it but my pace was slowing down dramatically. That thing of starting a bit too fast and slowing down seems to apply to other things in life beyond cycling.

Not long after that I found myself with my stomach threatening with a big explosion and very, very thirsty.

Yes, it was salty popcorn and I didn’t order water.

Totally on purpose. You don’t want other elements to confound in the effect of popcorn in your recovery. It could ruin the science behind the experiment.

Somehow I survived the rest of the film. I didn’t eat the whole bucket but I’m confident saying I ate all that was humanly possible. 

How did I feel today?

Well, n=1 and all those details scientists insist on mentioning, but I felt pretty good actually. Legs felt fresh.

As soon as we started to ride I found myself at the front of the group. Not only that, I returned to the front of the group a few times. And you know that rarely happens.

The pace felt easy all day, the final sprint felt easy (we had to call it off due to a car though) and legs are not that tired after the ride. 

So, as far as I can tell, eating salty popcorn (without drinking any water) until you feel you are about to puke contributes positively to your recovery.

I would recommend conducting additional research with a smaller popcorn dose and, maybe, combine it with some water as a potentially better recovery strategy.

Follow me for more sports science knowledge.

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González

sábado, 30 de septiembre de 2023


The picture is not from today's ride but it works well to illustrate the post

 “I’m exceptionally keen for a chatty k2 pace” said the ride organizer.

And I was exceptionally happy with that approach. As soon as the pace as agreed I started to plan in my head my assault at my PR at Ditchling Beacon, 5:46 on 15th of June 2018 (, more than 5 years ago.

In that ride I had also targeted a PR at Ditchling Beacon. I had a very simple strategy. Ride easy all the way to Ditchling and give it all at the climb. And I did it. PR by 26 seconds!!! From 6:12 to 5:46.

A “chatty k2 pace” was my opportunity to repeat that strategy. 

Unfortunately for me it didn’t work. I did 5:53 ( 7 seconds too slow. 

To make it worse I was beaten at the KOM by Sep Kuss.

The funny thing is I didn’t know it at the time. In fact I was convinced I had beaten my PR.

I was so happy with my performance that I didn’t care I didn't take Juniper’s KOM or Horton’s sprint despite having great legs. 

I’m not that happy now. 

I could be sillier but I’d need to train for it.

The ride in Strava:

Take care 

Javier Arias Gonzalez

domingo, 24 de septiembre de 2023


 I knew I had done a good climb up to Green Dene (

You kind of know that when you see yourself a handful of seconds behind Dani, Robbie, Creme Brulé and Dai.

But I didn’t expect to improve my PR by 21 seconds (from 5:14 to 4:53), especially considering I wasn’t on fresh legs.

Before I get too excited I have to admit I was sitting on the group wheels. For as long as I managed to stay in their wheel anyway. Also, looking at power numbers it feels to me we were assisted with a bit of tail wind. 

In any case, I'm very happy with it.

The problem was that my legs noticed the effort. Not the best news considering the pace was punchy at times and I wasn’t sure how the rest of the route looked like and how far the coffee stop was.

We eventually got to Seale and that was my opportunity to get coffee and a scone; plain, with jam and cream. My weapon of choice when urgent recovery and energy is needed.

It worked very well at the beginning (if being a bit over excited and over confident on how strong you are counts as “very well”) but it didn’t last long.

Moved to the front a couple of times and that felt hard. Tried to sprint once (Ripley) and I wasn’t even close (Dai took it).

The always optimistic Javier still had great hopes for the Esher sprint but as soon as the key move happened I found myself with no legs and in no man's land. 

The group from behind caught up with me. Creme Brulé did a monster turn in the front but he was going so strong I struggled to pass him. In fact more than me sprinting it was him just slowing down.

4th in the line.

With my sprinting dreams destroyed I checked Strava as soon as I got home. I knew I had done a good climb up to Green Dene and I needed any bit of positiveness I could get to recover my morale.

Went into the shower dreaming that I’m a climber now. Let’s see for how long the dream stays alive.

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González

sábado, 23 de septiembre de 2023

One of those days

 Today was one of those days.

Everything was meant to be perfect. 

Nice weather. Chill but not too cold and mostly sunny.

A big group (10)  to have plenty of opportunities to sit up. X

Legs feeling fresh after a good night's sleep. X

Morale high after a strong coffee in the morning.

A flat route to show off your sprinting skills. X

And today, the day you were feeling fresh on a flat route and able to sit on the wheels of a  big group while the caffeine was convincing you are the best sprinter in the world…

Today was one of those days when your di2 runs out of battery. 


From km46!!!!!

As I’m running out of new ways to embarrass myself I’m starting to repeat the ways I embarrassed myself in the past.

The ride in Strava:

Take care of yourself