sábado, 26 de diciembre de 2020

Sprinting against Ed

Tired legs today. Still managed to ride at a decent, sustainable, endurance pace. Good training I reckon. Very happy that I felt reasonably well at the end. 

Not that happy that I lost the Esher sprint to Ed though. Let me replay it for T-Y's benefit.

Ed was having a sprinter day today. From the very beginning sprinting for every town sign. I think he took at least five sprints. I’d question some of them though. At points it felt to me he was sprinting for any type of sign. I still have to see a clear guideline on what constitutes a sprint sign that goes beyond any line Ed (or JFW or T-Y) crosses first.

By Ripley Ed took one of those questionable sprints and very soon the proper town sign sprint appeared…

We both sprinted… and I took it. First sprint of the day for me. Clearly losing at the points by then but that didn’t matter. Taking that first sprint meant we were game and Esher’s sprint was coming. We all know that no matter how well you did sprinting during the ride, the last sprint is the one that counts (unless I take a considerable amount of intermediate sprints of course). 

Ed pushed the pace every time the road was slightly uphill. Me hanging there. Praying to hold on, to stay there. Just surviving.

Ed still had time to claim another sprint. One of those I wouldn’t doubt to question, but one of those that affects your morale. So much so that he even mentioned out loud now there was only the Esher sprint ahead. Here is where my mind games started.

Last “climb” before Cobham, I just found out its name in Strava is “Mucky Duck Climb”, I was expecting Ed to punish me. Somehow I ended up leading the way on that climb and with a PR even if in my mind I was “saving my legs”.

At Plough Line I was saved by a car that slowed Ed. I thank god, wise in his mercy, and recovered a little bit. Things started to look good. The real deal was coming.

We were lucky out of Cobham, we didn’t have to put the step down. Straight into the first “climb”. Me at the front.

Wait a minute. Me at the front? This is not good I thought. Take it easy in this first “climb”. Let him pass you.

Sure enough by the time we got to the top Ed passed me. I jumped on his wheel and prepared to enjoy the ride through the flat section. This is looking really good.

In my mind I basically had three ways to play it. First option was stay there the whole way and outsprint him in the last few meters, classic Javier. I don’t have any moral conflict with that strategy but for once I thought it wouldn’t look that good in this report so ditched that option. 

The second way I figured I could play it was attacking from a far. It worked very well on my last ride and I was feeling ok(ish) so this was a good option. I figured I should wait for the second “climb”, the longest. Ed surely would try to drop me. Then, near the top, at the very moment he sits back on the saddle I would attack him soloing to the line. Perfect plan.

Except that by the time we were getting to the top of the first climb Ed was playing his best Contador’s impersonation and what was supposed to be an attack was just me moving to the front and Ed sitting on my wheel. Well played Javier, very well played.

Here came my third option. Outsprint Ed from the front. Bold. Yes, a bit of a stupid plan too, but unquestionably bold.

For a second I considered attacking Ed in the third “climb” but my legs didn’t agree and my brain quickly decided that “climb” is too short (great excuse that one) and that resting as much as possible for the last sprint was the wise decision. 

To be clear. Descending the third “climb”, approaching the last “climb” to the line, I was still knowing I was going to win the sprint. That’s how arrogant I am. I knew I was going to win. I never doubted it.

We approached the last “climb” rather slowly. Me looking at the back and seeing Ed there. Me thinking wait for it, wait for it, WAIT.FOR.IT!!!! 

What did I do?

I went too early. My sprint lasted exactly 13 seconds. It would have been perfect if it started 13 seconds from the line but started way too early.

Ed held my wheel without a problem and passed me 100 metres before the line. By the time I crossed it Ed had enough time to have a coffee at the Giro cafe if it were open.

Didn’t cry too much. In fact I stopped crying almost 10 minutes ago. 

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/4519541749/

Take care

Javier Arias González

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