sábado, 12 de junio de 2021

A sprinting lesson

 Esher sprint. Six riders. Starting from complete stop. Four ramps, the line at the top of the forth one.

Denis on the front the first ramp. Setting a sustainable pace. 

The Pope, the strongest climber in the group, moving towards the front by the top but it was Richard L. the one that hitted the front. 

Using his aero bars kept the pace sustainable. The Pope on his wheel, myself on The Pope’s wheel. All the group together.

The second ramp approached. The Pope moves to the right, he puts the hammer down. I follow his wheel. It felt easy!!! The Pope was standing on his bike. I was following him still sitting on the saddle. Looked back and saw we had a gap. 

There came the first question. Should I attack The Pope? It was tempting. I was feeling fine, I reckoned if I jumped the moment he sat back on the saddle he wouldn’t be able to follow. Looked back and measured the gap we had. Not that big so I decided attacking was not a clever move.

The Pope sat on his saddle, I knew he was going to look back to see what had happened at his back so I moved to the left hoping he wouldn’t see me on his wheel. He looked over his right shoulder, I think he didn’t see me…

A shame he immediately looked over his left shoulder. I was about to move to the right because I suspected he would do that but he was too fast. He saw me sitting on his wheel, he eased a little bit. The rest of the group caught us.

The Pope took it easy on the descent, me glued to his wheel. By the time we hit the third rap, the smallest one, the pace was very, very slow. The Pope asking me to move to the front me putting my best “no way face”.  We were going so slow that the rest of the group had to break to avoid passing us, so slow that a conversation started. I didn’t pay attention, all my focus was to stay on The Pope’s wheel. Suddenly Denis attacked.

No one followed. Very quickly he got a gap. 

That changed everything. I moved to the front, parallel to The Pope. What should I do? What should I do? 

I jumped hard and closed the gap to Denis. Great effort. Looked back and I saw Jack coming. What should I do? What should I do? 

Attacked again and passed Denis at full speed. Another great effort. The problem was I barely started the last ramp… and Jack was coming… and my legs started to feel those two great efforts. Maybe they were too great. What should I do? What should I do?

I slowed down and “waited” for Jack to catch me. Very cleverly he didn’t pass me, he stayed parallel to me. 

Ok, I thought, this is the plan. Ride “easy” parallel to him trying to recover a little bit. When you get half way up the ramp attack him. Perfect plan.

The problem was that a second after I settled for that perfect plan Richard, Atticus and The Pope passed us. Jack followed them.. I made the intention to jump on their wheels but it took me another second to realise I didn’t have the required energy. 

Beaten, all I could do is to pay attention to see how the sprint was resolved. Richard took it.

Denis still had time to pass me way before we got to the top. 

Last at the Esher sign. 

What was the lesson? 

Well, it certainly was not that I was that I attacked too early in the sprint. That is something I know that happens to me very often. Too optimistic about what I’m capable of in a sprint.

The real lesson is Richard is a man to mark in the Esher sprint. He is always in the game. Something I knew but something that I need to remind myself again and again.

Lesson learnt.

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/5456776070/

Take care 

Javier Arias González

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