domingo, 13 de enero de 2019

Alice and Bidders. Bidders and Alice

Flat but a decent distance and with Bidders and Alice in the ride, even if she was on tired legs, I knew it was not going to be an easy one.

Going west meant strong head wind on the way out, tail wind coming home (I still have this philosophical debate on what is best for trainig purposes head or tail wind first?)

Six in the ride, I had never ridden with the other three so had this first few kilometres trying to asses if the ride was going to be hard or super hard.

Everything started nicely though. We rode very well together, turns in the front fairly distributed (although I have the feeling that Alice sits there more than anyone else).

Come the first "hill", Playhatch, just a tiny bump in the road. Bidders was in the front and I was on his wheel. He set that pace that I love. He pedaling efortless and me in the pefect equilibrium between I can hold him and I'm dying here. I didn't outsprint him, not because I thought I couldn't but because I didn't know where the hill finished and he kept pushing it in the flat so I thought there was more climbing ahead of us.

A few kilometres later the second hill came, Pishill. Bidders sat in the front and I was second wheel. He did his usual game sustaining a constant pace ignoring competely that the hill was getting steeper and steepr.

I honestly thought I had him. I even was thinking on where to start my sprint. All wishfull thinking, he kept the speed in the steepest part of the hill and I blew in pieces mere metres from the top.

We stopped briefly at Henley (km100) for a refill and right after the stop we had White Hill. I put a nice effort and I made it first to the top but that was only because the rest of the gang couldn't be bothered to push it that hard after the stop.

I was feeling strong and I was happy to push the pace.

At some point I realised we were heading to Drift Road, a sprint I'm terrible at. This road goes on forever (6km), it always feel so long that I always have problems to know where it finishes, where should I start the sprint.

But this time I had a plan. Follow Bidders, sit on his wheel and only jump when you see the roundabout.

Easier said than done but I gave myself a fair chance.

Started cautiously at the end of the group. The rider ahead of me left a gap and I passed him easily. I was now fith wheel and cool like a cucumber.

Bidders took the front but I didn't panic. As always with him the pace didn't went up that much, just ever so slightly. I was happy just sitting.

But he kept increasing the pace, very slowly and at some point I noticed there was a small gap between Bidders and the second bike (don't remember the rider).

What do I do? what do I do? I decided to wait a little bit to see if the rider were going to close the gap, but in a few seconds I realised it wasn't going to happen so I went.

Passed the three riders and closed the gap. By the time I managed to look back I saw the rest of the riders didn't follow us. It was just Bidders and myself. Good!!!

Or maybe not.

Very quickly I noticed the effort of passing the three riders and closing the gap had taken a bit too much of me. Tried to hold the pace hoping that Bidders would easy a little bit.

It seemed reasonable at the time but now, from my sofa is even funny.

There was no way that was going to happen!!!

He just carried on pedaling as it were easy and the inebitable happened. I was dropped.

Not like a stone, but properly dropped. Being in no man's land was silly so looked back and saw the group approaching. Easied a bit and when they passed me I jumped at the back.

Miraculously I managed to recover a little bit so I moved to the front to help to keep the pace. Alice took the front in the home straight and I still managed to sprint with her.

Pretty happy with my effort.

I was still feeling strong and happy to keep pushing the pace in the short steep climbs that we were riding through.

But that feeling didn't last long.

Slowly but surely it started to feel harder and harder to keep up with the pace that Bidders and Alice were sustaining.

Not that I was in trouble but just that sudden realisation that you are not feeling strong anymore, that you are happy just to hold in there.

Decided to sit all the way to the final sprint.

Bidders takes the front.

This time there was no way I wasn't going to allow anyone between me and his wheel.

Second wheel I was. Alice on my wheel.

She knew I was going to sprint.

I knew she knew.

I knew she was going to sprint as well. I don't know if she knew I knew.

No idea what Bidders knew but I would say he didn't cared at all bout the sprint.

Hands on the drops. Wait, wait, wait....

And...

Actually I'm wasted and there is no way I can sprint.

Alice noticed it and she went for it. And took it!!

By the time we made it to Hampton Court I was over the moon.

Yeah, I know, I didn't take any of the sprints and I was wasted, but who cares. Sprints are just games and being wasted is the logical result of a ride with Bidders and Alice.

What really matters is how well we rode together, how much I enjoyed the route (despite being flat), how well I felt and, best of all, my left knee didn't hurt.

I was riding the same bike, same shoes as when it hurt me and not a slight sign of pain.

By the time I made it home I was smiling despite having a flat on my rear wheel.

I'm so tired and writing all this took me so long that I'll repair tomorrow :-)


Take care
Javier Arias González

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