sábado, 14 de mayo de 2022

Convincing myself of the most weird things

The route was announced and the first thought that came to my mind was, “another short and flat ride” (https://www.unbiciorejon.com/2019/02/javiers-ride-classification-criteria.html). Easy on paper.

The catch was the ride was announced as K1.5. For those of you not initiated in the Kingston Wheelers’ classification criteria, the fastest rides are classified K1. K1 rides are “eyes popping out” hard like rides. K1.5 ones are “you keep your eyes in but everything else still hurts” hard like rides. 

8 riders signed up for the ride. And then Bidders showed up unannounced. Just that added 2km/h to the average speed. I smelled danger. By my account everyone was stronger than me. 

That’s what I signed up for. Why do I do this to myself? I tell myself I like riding with this bunch, I tell myself these rides are good training, I tell myself these rides are “fun”. I’m great at convincing myself of the most weird things.

Did a decent effort (by my standards) up Green Dene. Dai decided to bail from his own ride. I moved from being the weakest of 9 riders I was then the weakest of 8 riders. I took it as an improvement. I am definitely great at convincing myself of the most weird things.

Collected a bunch of PRs between Greene Dene and the Devil’s Punchbowl just holding the pace of the group. Very happy with that, I took it as my form has improved lately. 

Another decent effort up the Devil’s Punchbowl helped me to convince myself that my form had effectively improved. Weird, because form doesn’t change from one week to the next but, hey, I didn’t have any problem convincing myself.

The rest of the ride saw me sitting at the back of the group. That is not weird, more than one would say that’s expected. Wheelsucker Javier and all that. But my reasoning was, I’m tired, everyone else is stronger than me, if I want to have any chance at the sprint I need to recover. The best place to recover is towards the end of the group. Flawless reasoning.

The group of 8 became 7 and soon afterwards the group of 7 became 6. That “increase in my racking” increased my confidence towards the sprint. Well, that, and the opportunity to recover for about 20 km. Still couldn’t really tell what contributed more to my self-confidence.

There was only one little problem… I needed a pee stop. But I had so many pee stops I was embarrassed to ask the group for a stop. I was praying for anyone else asking for one. But that didn’t happen.

As soon as we made it to Cobham I knew there was not going to be any pee stop. Time for me to show my skills. I managed to convince myself that when you focus on strenuous effort your sphincters close themself up. I had the vague suspicion that they would release themselves after the strenuous effort finishes but didn’t have time to entertain that idea and its consequences because The Pope attacked in the first “climb” towards the Esher sprint.

I have done such a great job at convincing myself that I had good legs that I felt tempted to follow him and launching a counter attack. Good that I’m a great sprint strategist (I have convinced myself of that a long time ago) and decided to sit in and let someone else close the gap. 

That’s exactly what happened. And that meant I was in the position I wanted. Third wheel of six riders, on the wheel of the rider I wanted to be. My confidence skyrocketed. 

The Pope launched the sprint from the front. A bit too early for my liking but I didn’t hesitate and went for it. Full of confidence…

For about 5 seconds. The time it took me to realize Steve was on my wheel and about to pass me at a speed I was not going to be able to match. 

Second in the sprint. In my mind the sprint looked like this one:

Weird because the reality was that he took the sprint by three or four bike lengths. I had to do something to justify that result. Time to think… quickly.

Before we even got to the traffic lights at Esher I had managed to convince myself that if I had marked the wrong rider but if I had marked Steve I would have taken the sprint. I didn’t miss the opportunity to tell everyone at the traffic lights that was the real reason why I haven’t taken the sprint. 

What is a bit weird is that I managed to convince myself of that without changing my conviction that I’m a great sprint strategist.

Did I mention that I’m very good at convincing myself of the most weird things? It is almost as if my brain lives in a parallel world.

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/7140718694/

Take care

Javier Arias González


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