domingo, 13 de febrero de 2022

Just one more gear change

I didn’t take the Esher sprint.

Yeah, I know this is hardly a surprise to anyone. 

But I was very close.

I just needed one more gear change. 

The Esher sprint starts from a stand still and straight into a small ramp. I usually change into the small chainring for that ramp to be able to spin the legs. That’s what I did today.

Only to find out that as soon as the ramp finished and I wanted to change into the big chainring my di2 had run out of battery. 

I was stuck in the small chainring. I only needed one more gear change to be able to get into the big chainring and take the sprint. 

Sometimes it is just a mechanical that prevents you from taking a sure win.

And it was a sure win even if like 5 kilometers earlier I still didn’t know we were going to finish at Esher. A sign that I was not too diligent checking the route to know how to get ready for the sprint.

It was also a sure win even if The Pope was a bit, only a bit, stronger than everyone else in the ride. I still took encouragement from the fact that he didn’t drop us on the first climb. That was a positive sign for me, wasn’t it? 

He certainly dropped us in all the rest of the climbs. He also gave the impression he could drop us at any time he wanted. He also took more turns on the front than the rest and his turns were longer than everyone else’s.

But that was still positive for me, wasn’t it? For sure he would be tired for the sprint. 

I certainly was. 

I felt tired from km 60, 60 kilometers from the sprint line. That was still positive for my chances at the sprint I thought. Feeling tired that early meant I entered survival mode and tried to save as much energy as possible (Let’s ignore for a second the real difference between feeling tired and actually being tired).

So, you see, with everything looking good for my chances at the sprint, not having checked the battery level of my di2 almost ruined the sprint for me.

And I say almost because when I realized I was stuck in the small chainring I had two reactions. 

The first one was. “Fantastic. I now have the perfect excuse if I don’t take the sprint”. One more proof that I’m all for lying my excuses early.

The second one was “I still can take the sprint”. Honest.

Esher sprint is an uphill sprint so I figured I would be able to sprint in the small chainring. All I had to do was to make sure Ed didn’t know about it and to stay in the group until the last ramp (I was counting on Denis to take us to the line).

It all started very well. I managed to stay at the back of the trio in the flat and in the first downhill section. It only required a couple of short high cadence efforts.

The first ramp came and Denis was on the front, Ed on his wheel and me closing the group (The Barbarian disconnected from the group even before the Esher sprint started) and I’m pretty sure Ed didn’t know about my mechanical issue. That was a great situation. I started to consider celebration options.

Just before the ramp finished I saw Ed jumping on the pedals and attacking. The way he attacked also from where he attacked was a strong sign that Ed was feeling optimistic about his chances. I honestly don’t understand from where some people get their optimism. 

That was it. There was no need to consider celebration options anymore. Another almost win in my curriculum.

The ride in Strava: 

Take care 

Javier Arias González


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