jueves, 16 de septiembre de 2021

Girona training camp, day 4. Dreaming of being a climber

And just another short but not flat day (https://www.unbiciorejon.com/2019/02/javiers-ride-classification-criteria.html). 

Do you see that profile?

There is one climb there.  Mare de Deu del Mont, 18.5km average 4.9%.

You won’t believe it but by the time we got to the beginning of that climb I was thinking I was going to take the KOM.

I don’t think it was all wishful thinking. There was a part of wishful thinking, yes, but there was also the feeling that I had strong legs. 

Come the climb and “KOM” Ed took the front. I sat on his wheel and behind me the rest of the group.

The first few kilometers Ed set a fairly easy and steady pace. Easy enough for most of the group to be able to keep up.

But then the profile changed ever so slightly. It went for an easy gradient to a succession of short and steeper ramps followed by sections of flat or almost flat road. 

That was when Ed started to attack. And, still surprisingly, I started to respond to his attacks. 

In each attack Ed would sprint up the ramp, I’d stick to his wheel and the rest of the group would drop a few metres. The group would catch us in the flatish section and the whole game would start again as soon as the next ramp came.

I was amazed. Ed was pushing me very hard but I was holdling there. 

Not only that, at some point I even thought I should attack him as soon as he went back on the saddle after one of his attacks. I was very tempted on a couple of occasions but I was too conscious that we still had a lot to climb (13km at that point is my best guess). I decided waiting and holding to Ed’s wheel was a better strategy.

After some of the attacks Ed was moving left and right trying to force me to move to the front. Well, that was never going to happen (unless I was attacking and that was already ruled out, at least temporary). I was also moving left and right staying always on Ed’s wheel.

My hope was to frustrate him and cast a doubt in his mind. Maybe I would be able to stay on his wheel all the way to the top.

The theory was easy. It was executing that theory what was not being that easy. Ed’s attacks kept coming, they felt harder, the gap to the rest of the group getting bigger in each attack.

At some point it was just Ed and me. “TT” Adam at some distance and then “GC” Denis and “Consisteny” Richard a bit behind.

I saw in the profile that the Garmin was showing me that we were approaching a ramp colored in red. That looked like a longer ramp, 2km I guessed, at a steeper gradient, around 10% I’m guessing now. I knew immediately it was going to be very hard to pass that section and still be on Ed’s wheel.  

Ed attacked once and I stayed on his wheel, very quickly attacked a second time and I still stayed on his wheel but then he attacked a third time and I blew up. We were about 9km from the top.

A gap opened as I was gasping for air. The gap grew quickly but I still was thinking I was going to be able to stop it from growing bigger. 

That only lasted a few seconds, when I blow up it feels immensely hard to keep the pace I was sustaining. Somehow I feel forced to slow down and catch my breath.

As I was slowing down a little “TT” Adam passed me.

The idea of jumping on his wheel crossed my mind but even if he passed me slowly the idea of jumping on his wheel felt impossible. Adam also got a gap that started to grow quickly.

After what I now remember like a couple of minutes I was back to a pace that felt sustainable. That was going to be my pace to the top. 

I think I was a bit optimistic. On one hand as the kilometres were passing, sustaining that pace started to feel harder and harder, on the other the last kilometres of the climb were the hardest. By the time I got those final kilometres I was already losing momentum. The top of the climb couldn’t come fast enough.

Eventually I got there and I have to say it was very rewarding. The views from the top were amazing. Ed had been 5:18 faster than me. That is quite a gap but I was happy with my performance. I was allowed to dream of being a climber and the dream was beautiful while it lasted.

Tomorrow we have a rest day and the day after I’ll have to go back to being a sprinter. What a shame. 

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/5964463354/

Take care

Javier Arias González

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