sábado, 24 de abril de 2021

First 100 metres uphill

The first pedal strokes of the day are always very important for me. First thing I have every ride is 100m slightly downhill and then 100m slightly uphill. I always believed that I could accurately predict how I was going to feel during the ride depending on how I feel in those 100m.

Not today. When I rode those 100m I told myself. You should ride conservatively. You are not that fresh.

And that is how I started. First climb of the day and I manage to just hang on there. Could I have sprinted at the end? Probably. Did I sprint despite Dai accelerating in the last part of the climb? No way. I was in “ride conservatively” mode.

Second climb of the day and I was dropped like a stone. Yes, there was a car that got between me and the rest of the group but the gap at the top of the climb was probably more than a minute. In a 4 minutes climb!!! I panicked. A little bit.

But then the rompepiernas (https://www.unbiciorejon.com/2020/09/spanish-cycling-jargon-101-part-2.html) section of the ride came and it felt like the pace dropped a little bit. I started to tell myself this is endurance pace. I can manage this.

Coffee stop came and I was feeling kind of ok but I knew the second half of the ride would be harder. I ordered a latte (apologies to my italian friends).

Caffeine did its magic and as soon as we started to ride I felt great. The pace felt easy and my brain started to have thoughts like “I can sustain this pace for ever”, “I am a super duper endurance machine”, “Should I up the pace to make the ride challenging to everyone or should I wait for the climbs?”. Still, following the first feeling in the morning, I ignored the urge to ride faster and I kept riding conservatively.

Third climb of the day came and I liked it. It is a climb I know well and I generally “enjoy”. I did well. I wasn’t dropped. I survived a few of Denis’ pushes and I still had some energy for the last few meters. Maybe I don’t need to ride that conservatively. Maybe how I feel in those 100 metres is not a reliable way of defining how I should ride. Maybe I can attack in the last climb.

I did everything well. I’m very good at the theoretical game. Got a gel ahead of the climb, in the traffic lights got rid of the arm warmers and the gilet. Ready for the climb.

At least for the first 20 metres. That is how long it took my riding mates to get me dropped and for me to move from I’m so going to smash it to I am so smashed. Not the best feeling when you are going up Ranmore.

From the top of Ranmore it is mostly downhill to home. But we still have the last sprint of the day. My last opportunity to save a little bit of my pride. Just for the record, in my book there is no sprint win that could compensate for not doing well in a climb, but a sprint win is better than a no sprint win.

For some unjustifiable reason for someone that a few lines up claimed to be “very good at the theoretical game” I took the front in the first ramp approaching Esher.

When I was passed I moved onto Dai’s wheel. Not because I chose it but pure chance but that was the right position. Richard led the group in the second climb and then Denis took the front in the approach to the final ramp. Dai following him, me following Dai.

At this moment I knew what was going to happen and how I was going to play it. Denis will do the lead out. At some point Dai will start the sprint. I’ll jump on his wheel and wait, wait and wait (we had head wind) and will pass him in the last 10 metres. Perfect. Beautiful.

Dai started the sprint a bit too early. For a reason no one would be able to explain, I thought that was good news for me. I jumped on his wheel and three seconds later he dropped me. Three seconds more and Richard passed me flying. Moved into the small chainring and dragged myself to Esher.

Maybe I should start paying attention to how I feel in those 100 metres slightly uphill when I start my rides and use that as the way I pace the rides.

Maybe at some point I’ll learn. It wasn’t today.

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/5182969575/

Take care

Javier Arias González

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