sábado, 26 de septiembre de 2020


That's what I fealt this morning. I had a fairly heavy week in terms of riding and my legs didn't lose any time to remind it to me. As soon as I walked down the stairs to get my breakfast my legs screamed "Why are you doing this to us?". I could have tried a Jens Voigt's "Shut up legs" but my legs are not that well disciplined and they wouldn't shut up. That made me fear today's ride.

I knew is was pan flat and not particularly long, only 138km. I shouldn't have any problem to stay on the wheel of the group. But my worry was not being able to stay with the group, my fear was how hard that was going to be. I pictured myself strugling by the time we got to Hampton Court (km 7) and I didn't like the image. I turned on the coffee machine.

I'm so lucky caffeine is not a banned substance! I had my breakfast, and a coffee. By the time I jumped on my bike I wasn't afraid anymore. I was actually cold. Autum is definitively here.

In the "first half" of the ride I was feeling well. I knew it was the effect of the caffeine so I was prudent with all my efforts but didn't shy from working in the front (there you have a new Javier in the making). 

I say "first half" even if we stopped before we got to half of the ride. I did a great demonstration of my computer skills being able to order using Fergo's website and, obviously, I order a coffee for me.

We had a small climb straight after the stop. Not my favourite way to warm up after sitting ouside in the chilling wind. I took it easy, letting the climb to warm me up. As soon as I got to the top I tried to load the big chainring.

It didn't work. I immediately realised my di2 had run out of battery. I'll blame the battery itself. Otherwise I'd have to admit I had failed to charge it properly and I read enough about nowadays politics to know taking responsability for your acts is not in fashion these days. The battery is to blame! I should start a career in politics.

I told my ride companions. With 80 flat kms to go I resigned myself to ride the rest of the route alone riding all the way home in the small chainring. 

Now, what happened is between a few small bumps in the road, crossing a few villages, a few bits with lot of traffic, some constructions with traffic lights and a few times they waited for me I managed to stay at the back of the group for most of the time.

Another side effect was that as soon as a bump in the road came I just went for it thinking "Doesn't matter if you burn yourself and get dropped, you can just easy pedal all your way home". I did that one, I did it twice, and thrice. It was obvious I was still under the effect of the caffeine but it came to a point that I thought. "Wait a second. If you were able to use all your gears there is no way you'd be riding that way. You are way too conservative to ride like that. Always trying to make sure you don't empty yourself too early. Always thinking about the whole ride. Never not caring about emptying your legs before you finish the ride.". 

It turns out I surprised myself. I foud I had more energy I thought I had (oh caffeine, oh caffeine). I ended up enjoying the second "half" of the ride. Spinning my legs like crazy, riding not caring about blowing up, sprinting at 148rpm to get to 300w, not feeling any fear. 

I am now considering the following changes in my cycling live. Trying to figure out the maximal dosis of caffeine I can get. Riding aggresively from the start of the ride, ala JFW, even contesting town signs sprints. Removing the big chainring, it would have the additional benefit of saving some weight on the bike. Suing Shimano. Maybe I should buy a new bike.

Hopefully sense will come back to me at some point. 

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/4114550502

Take care

Javier Arias González

sábado, 19 de septiembre de 2020

Spanish Cycling Jargon 101 (Part 2) - Rompepiernas


This is so niche Google translate doesn't know how to translate it, proper Spanish Cycling Jargon. I'll give it a go: "Legs Breaker".

Rompepiernas is an easy concept to grasp. A Rompepiernas is a route that is not flat but is not hilly either. A Rompepiernas route is a constant up and down, it doesn't allow you to set a constant pace. Easy. The challenge is in the pronunciation. If you ever want to make my day ask me how it is pronounced and give it a go. As funny as when I pronounce Literature. 

Today's route was 149.81km, that's less than 150km so it was a short route. Today I climbed 1,328m, that's less than 1498m so today's route was officially flat. (If you don't know what I'm talking about see here https://www.unbiciorejon.com/2019/02/javiers-ride-classification-criteria.html btw. there was a bit of a debate at the coffee stop about how sensible these thresholds are. I think I can say I managed to convince everyone they are pretty sensible. As the post says "Don't even try to argue with me about this classification.").

So, can a short and flat route be a Rompepiernas? You bet it can. Alice warned us and she was right. The route is a constant up and down. All short "climbs", making it impossible to set a constant pace. Hell if you are not in form.

Even worst if you are riding with a group where everyone is stronger than you, that power it through all the "climbs" and even sprint for all town signs. You know that group you hate the whole ride despite you know you love riding with them. Oh my, I sat on some wheels today. A practice everyone would agree I don't need (I probably could claim a phd on wheel sucking) but add some nice wind to a Rompepiernas route and you know I really need sitting on everyone's wheel to survive (just about).

The good news is the optimistic in me believes I'm getting fitter. With a week of holidays ahead, a 200km Audax planned for 4th of October, two weeks of holidays at the end of October, with a bit of luck in Asturias, and my plan to start with 8m and 1m interval sessions in the turbo. I reckon by November I'll be in a decent form. Caffeine is such a great drug.

btw. Spanish Cycling Jargon 101 (Part 1) - "Me llevaron todo el día con el ganchu" is here https://www.unbiciorejon.com/2019/10/spanish-cycling-jargon-101.html Keep at it, by part 10 you'll be a proficient Spanish Cycling Jargon speaker.

Today's ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/4082839233

Take care

Javier Arias González

sábado, 12 de septiembre de 2020

We live in extraordinary times

 We live in extraordinary times (here you have a proof of my lack of originality).

I started the ride taking my fair share of turns in the front!!! Granted it was only during the first 50k. After being dropped like a stone in the first two "climbs" I was put in my place in the group. Consistenly at the back, holding there for my dear live.

Ed, the climber, Richard L, the steady man. and Denis, the GC man, sprinting for all the town signs!!! My reputation as a sprinter is now hopelessly damaged. Couldn't even use my default excuse that I didn't know where the sprints where. I actually knew where some of them where, didn't even try to sprint once.

The ride was announced as a ride to Lasham Gliding Club and we didn't even consider stopping there. Apparently it is open to members only these days.

I had a coffee at the stop. First time I had a coffee in six months!!! Caffeine certainly has a positive effect. From km 50 to km 100 I was yo-yoing at the back of the group. Feeling the emptiness in my legs. After the coffee I felt kind of ok staying in the group. From km 50 to km 100 each time I say 300w in my Garmin I panicked. After the coffee I was seeing 300w and thinking "yeah, this is fine"... for three or four seconds. Caffeine doesn't do miracles, it doesn't solve the empty legs problem.

Richard L. did a T-Y and took a shortcut!!! When you live long enough you see these things. We decided to give him a points penalty and that costed him any chance of taking today's green jersey that went to.... wait for it... Ed!!!! Ruben Blades said "La vida te da sorpresas, soorpresas te da la vida ¡Hay Dios!" (Life gives you surprises, suuuuurprises life gives you. Oh God) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hcoNykaI3k)

I took a couple of turns (literally, it was just two turns) in our approach to Hampton Court!!! I know if you weren't there to see it you are going to have a hard time believing this. But it is true. I barely recognise myself.

 Well, you don't celebrate your 52 birthday everyday. It is great that when you do extraordinary things happen.

btw. Got home and saw the the packages with the presents. I inmediately could tell none of them was a bike. I don't think I can consider that extraordinary :-D

The ride in Strava https://www.strava.com/activities/4048857914

Take care

Javier Arias González