domingo, 12 de julio de 2020

Today was humble pie eating day

Lets start recognising I felt tired from the first pedal stroke. Having to admit that I was still affected by yesterday's 128km, not particularly fast, pan flat route was the first piece.

As early as Hamptom Court a group of five riders passed me, when I was in TT position. Excellent! I thought. A group riding at a similar pace as the Saturday gang. Let me see if I can hold on their wheel.

I managed to hold on their wheel but at the expense of yo-yo-ing at the back of the group. By the time our routes diverged near Windsor I was hapy about it. I have had enough of being battered, welcomed the opportunity to ride at my own pace.

At the footsteps of the "climb" after Henley a rider passed me standing on his bike and saying something about being uphill and giving it a go. Sounded a bit like a challenge but I didn't bite. He was riding way too fast. In fact I was impressed by his speed. I figured he was attemting his PB.
Funny enough I saw him blowing up in pieces 200 metres ahead of me. That was too tempting to let it go. I accelerated to get to him and before I passed I accelerated even more. Said to him "Allez, allez" as I passed him way before the top of the "climb".

Proud of myself I continued riding at my own pace only to notice, at a cross roads a few kilometres later that he was 10 metres behind me. I didn't think much of it, nor it spiked my competitive side I continued riding at my own pace.

It was only a few kilometres later, when I had taken a left turn that I noticed he was still there. To his credit he rope next to me and told me "I swear I'm not following you, this is also my route". Well done mate! We chatted a bit, enough for him to tell me he was only 30k into his ride and it was only his sixth week riding. Well, I said, that explains why you went way to hard up the climb. What I didn't mention is that meant a second piece of humble pie for me.

From km 75 I started to feel tired. I knew this was going to be the hardest part of the ride. I knew it was going to last until Sunningdale, km100. From Sunningdale I know the route home and knowing that I knew I was to feel better.

I was in TT position most of the time. Not putting much power but trying to spin the legs to keep a good speed. At some point I felt someone behind me. For a second time in the day I didn't care (I almost cannot recognise myself), I kept riding at my own pace. Not for very long. I felt he was accelerating to pass me. Oh that feeling. When he was passing me he said "It this the first time in my live I pass someone in a TT position". I wish I had the legs to challenge that, instead got my third piece of pie. It was almost welcome, I was starting to feel hungry.

I was still chewing the last bite of the pie and I felt another rider on my wheel. I started to wonder if today was "jump on Javier's wheel" day.

Looked back and yes. There was a rider on my wheel. He said hi. I said hi. I carried at my own pace. He sat there for a few kilometers and by the time we were arriving to Ascot he rode up to me and said "Thank you mate. I'm finishing my ride here. That's whay I was not riding that strong". I managed to answer with a smile and got my fourth piece of cake.

For me arriving to Sunningdale is like being almost home. I still had 30k to go but knowing the roads helps me to manage my efforts and you can bet I needed that today. I was really tired.

Walton-on Thames is also a special place for me when I ride with the Saturday gang. At this point I always disappear from the front of the group. I'm either too tired to hit the front or fresh enough to start thinking about the sprint at Hampton Court. I couldn't hide today. It was all my effort.

Riding on TT position I saw two riders ahead of me. They were riding approximately at my same speed, it took me ages to close the gap. I thought it might be a good idea to just sit on their wheel. Being there they surely were heading to Hampton Court. It was only that by the time I was almost there I realised they were riding touring bikes and they were actually riding very cassually, not even trying to ride fast. By the time I was in parallel to them I saw they were fully loaded, carrying handlebar bags, frame bags and saddle bags. You can sin with your thoughts I was told so I got my fifth piece of pie.

That's it. Got home exhausted. Carmen asked me what I was going to have for lunch. Nothing, I said, I'm not hungry.

The ride in Strava: (surprisingly I was 12 minutes faster than yesterday)

sábado, 11 de julio de 2020

My brain

Left home thinking longer ride than last weekend, ride easy.

Before Windsor a rider passed me and my brain started to sing Forzen's let it go, let it go, let it goooooo!!!!! (

But only for a few seconds. Heck, I don't even like that song! I accelerated a bit and passed the rider and drop him soon after.

From that moment my brain got hooked in the mantra "Deeeespacito" (slowly) (

Last time my brain did that to me was climbing Marie Blanque at Quebrantahuesos. I certainly was riding despacito. Is there any other way of going up 4km at 12% when you already have 130km in your legs a you have burnt a few too many matches?. But having to do it with that song in your head is tortue. I almost quitted on the spot!

There is probably something wrong in my brain because from Despacito it switched to Leonard Cohen's Bird on a wire, this version in particular Such a weird jump!

It was an improvement though. I do like Leonard, that song too. The problem was that is not the best song to have in your mind when you are trying to spin your legs at 90rpm. The disparity between the rythm of the song and the cadend in my legs drove me mad for a while.

It was all solved when a SUV driver decided there was enough room in the country line for me, his machine and another car that was coming in the opposite direction. All songs disappeared from my brain in a fraction of a second.

From km 100 I started to feel tired, my brain stopped completely. I think that is a survival mechanism. Thinking consumes energy, even more if your brain is wasting sugar with pointless sonds.

Brain came back to live briefly as I was approaching Hampton Court. Just enough to think "this is the point were the sprint should be launched". Theoretical sprint training today though. There was no way I was going to sprint against myself. I was too tired.

Got home, got a shower. Ate a magnificent paella and now my brain is telling me it is siesta time. Time to switch the brain off.

For the first time in the day I'm going to listen to my brain.

The ride in Strava:

Take care
Javier Arias González