domingo, 12 de junio de 2022

Wander Wye 2022

I consider myself a very well self-organized person. My wife has a different opinion but who are you going to believe if it is me writing this report?

This ride kind of challenges the view I have of myself.

Let’s start saying that as soon as I arrived at the HQ yesterday morning I realized I had forgotten my phone at home. That meant that as soon as I was given the go shout I headed home to get my phone. I entered the house as quiet as a ninja but unfortunately for me my wife heard me and she is now even less convinced about my self-organization.

So I started way at the back of the field. Pretty much everyone was ahead for at least one hour. That meant that I was riding alone… and very quickly I realized there was a strong head wind. A very strong head wind. The funny thing is on Friday I had considered fitting the aero bars in the bike but discarded the idea out of pure laziness (I’m quick to admit I’m very, very lazy. Something that I sustain is a great skill in my profession). I regretted that decision about a million times, give or take. I also definitely have to reconsider my attitude of not checking the weather forecast ahead of a big ride. I suspect that is what many self-organized people do.

Around km 200 a message appeared in the Garmin saying my heart rate monitor was low in battery. Not a problem I thought. I’m a very well organized person. I have a spare battery in my saddle bag (I also have one of the model needed for the power meter). The problem was I didn’t have a screwdriver small enough to access the battery in the HR strap. Today’s ride doesn’t have HR because the strap ran out of battery. A disaster for a data geek like me, almost as if the ride doesn’t count.

I got to Chepstow half an hour after midnight. Tired. Not a surprise after 300km against a strong head wind without aero bars. Went to sleep around 1:00am. Woke up around 5:00am. Started to ride around 5:30am. Isn’t that a point for me for being very well self-organized?

That’s what I was thinking until the suspicion that I didn’t take a short sleeve jersey with me. I was riding with a long sleeve base layer and a long sleeve Gabba (and leg warmers, and long gloves and shoe covers). It was 5.30, It wasn’t particularly warm.

I’m always easy on myself and happy to accept my own excuses. In this case I told myself that forgetting a short sleeve jersey when you were organizing your kit at 5:00am in the morning after sleeping only four hours is understandable. Isn’t it?

At least I had remembered to change the short gloves. I had left the ones I used the day before in the bag and had taken a pair of clean ones. I knew for sure they were in my saddle bag.

When the temperature rose I removed my base layer and I resigned myself to bear the over 20°C temperatures. The problem was that at the time of changing the long gloves for the short ones I confirmed I had them in the saddle bag but both of them were for the left hand. I have two pairs of the exact same model, it turns out I made a mistake at the time of switching the used ones with the clean ones. Had to do the rest of the ride without gloves. I have to admit that I started to consider the idea that my wife might be right in her judgment about how well organized I am. To not make things worse I didn’t mention to her anything about forgetting the short sleeve jersey or the mistake about the gloves. I don’t think she needs that information.

So, taking aside the inconclusive debate of how well organized I am, today I rode all day with Joe, all day with tail wind. What a great contrast with yesterday!

Joe is a pleasure to ride with. He has great conversation, he is very efficient at the stops, to the point that a few times he had to wait for me and he is a strong rider. He takes fantastic turns in the front. He had aero bars! That meant today we had a fantastic ride. Although a bit too warm for me, especially when Joe hitted the front, fitted himself in the aero bars and put the power down. I’m confident I found the limits of the Gabba breathability. 

Riding with Joe was great but we still had to deal with the Hamton sprint. A situation that always leaves me wondering what is the best way of dealing with it. Should I let Joe lead the approach to the sprint and jump in the last meters, taking advantage of that being completely unexpected for him? Or should I lead the approach and trust that Joe won’t sprint so I take the sprint without him even realizing.

I opted for the latter. But I executed iit wrong. 

I executed it wrong because I kept increasing the pace. That was suspicious behavior, I thought, Joe might conclude a sprint is coming… So I started to look back checking if Joe had any intention to sprint. That made things worse because if he had doubts about a sprint coming he now was getting a confirmation, a sprint was indeed coming. Not wanting to take any risk, I decided to play it inspired by my sprints against Rupert. That is, I started to sprint, when I sensed Joe was also sprinting and was about to pass me I threw the bike forward and claimed I had won. He said something about not knowing where the line was, I gave him a vague indication of where it was and he conceded the sprint. Another great win to my palmarés. 

I consider myself a very fair person, especially when sprinting. I asked my wife and she said she couldn’t say. That she never sprinted against me. I take that as she agrees with my view of myself. Happy with that.

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González

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