sábado, 19 de junio de 2021

It looked like a great idea...

 In theory...

The idea went like this. If caffeine always makes me feel optimistic and stronger, why don’t you try having a coffee before the ride. You’ll feel optimistic and stronger from the start. An appealing idea so I had a coffee before the ride.

Instead of the usal Javier hiding in the group as much as possible by the time we got to Chessington I was already at the front. I think everyone was surprised by that move. What is Javier doing at the front??!! I was surprised as well.

Not that I was riding crazy fast or anything but the fact that I felt that was an adequate move made me feel great about my decision to have that coffee. 

Even more, by the time we passed the first two climbs I didn’t shy away from moving to the front. At points even pushing the pace. It felt so good.

The coffee stop came a bit too early in the ride, way before half of the ride, but it came at the right moment for me. I was starting to feel the effects of the party I was having with my legs. A second coffee (and a great scone) felt like the solution.

It took me a while to warmup after the stop. British summer felt cold and legs were enjoying the coffee stop a bit too much. The road continued going up and down and the pace of the group was anything but relaxed. Eventually I managed to get in the zone. So much so that approaching a roundabout without cars, at speed, I put my head down and kept pushing the pace going straight while the rest of the group turned left. They were right, I was wrong. One more anecdote in that theory that I’m terrible at navigating a route, with a Garmin… pure gossip.

Ed took the sprint at Rusper despite I thought I had it in the legs. I was feeling great, I knew a sprint was coming, I knew I still had the energy to put up a good sprint. The problem was I had no idea where the town sign was and by the time Ed went for it we were so close to it there was no way I could even try to contest it. 

That was the end of it. I started to realise that the idea of two coffees in a ride wasn’t that great after all. To start with I needed a pee stop. I hadn’t paid much attention to the route but I knew a hard climb was coming. When I started to recognise the roads I feared it was going to be Leith Hill. Going up Leith in my need of a confort stop wasn’t going to be fun, I thanked God when we continued straight and missed the turn to Leith Hill.

I probably should have thanked Dai but I knew it wasn’t Leith it was going to be another one. When we stopped for that confort break I asked, he answered and I didn’t like the answer. He said something like: We are climbing the back of Houndhouse. I didn’t like the answer not because I knew the climb, in reality I had no idea what climb he was referring to, but I knew very well there is no easy climb to Houndhouse, let alone from the side we were on. A quick check with how my legs were feeling and I knew I had a problem. Two coffees, feeling optimistic and strong early in the ride meant I was tired at that point. 

I didn’t recognise the climb at all so I took it steady and managed to survive it. Enough to make me think I could still do reasonably well at Coombe. The caffeine still having some effect on my body I guess.

I’m guessing because half way up Coombe I lost Denis’ wheel for good and by the time I got to the top I needed another pee stop. Empty legs in the last part of the ride and a diuretic effect. Me and my great ideas.

From Coombe to home is mostly downhill and I was happy to call it a day. Entered sustainable mode and enjoyed the easy ride. The problem was at Cobham, when we were waiting to turn right on the road to Esher Denis mentioned this was my last Saturday ride for three months (I’m planning to spend the summer in Spain) he mentioned the pressure was on me to finish taking the sprint. 

Why did you do that to me Denis? I was about to say I wouldn’t contest the sprint but now I had to. There was no other way. A shame my legs were empty... and I needed another pee stop.

This was a fairly simple sprint. Dai started at the front, I was second wheel and Denis, the Pope and Richard following me. No idea in what order. Dai opened a small gap in the first ramp but I managed to close it slowly when we got to the flat. In the second ramp he opened a bigger gap, he almost dropped me, but, again, managed to close the gap slowly at the top. By then I knew I was going to be able to hold his wheel until the last ramp. Great news for me. The pace was not insane and that gave me the impression I was going to be able to sprint. Caffeine is amazing.

We started the last ramp and Dai flicked his elbow and I moved to the front. Why did I move to the front in that situation? It is clear I shouldn’t have. It was way too early. I should have stayed on his wheel no matter how much he was slowing down. I blame the caffeine. At that point I believed I was going to be able to sprint and beat everyone from the front. 

What really happened is I sat in the front for a few seconds. Not very long but just enough to allow Ed and Richard to take my wheel and then start the sprint. When I felt them passing me I also started my sprint. It was a decent sprint. One of those sprints that when you are fading you feel the rider ahead of you also fading and you still manage to get another kick. A shame Richard also managed to get another kick and he was in front of me. It was a close one but he clearly took it.Caffeine infused optimism probably cost me the sprint and... I almost peed myself. 

It looked like a great idea… in theory.

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/5494914545

Take care

Javier Arias González

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