sábado, 14 de enero de 2023

Collada de Arniciu. Solo, non-stop

Today the entries for Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) opened at 12:00 (Paris time). Where was Javier at 11:30?

Sitting in front of his computer prepared to fight for an entry.

What happened at 12:00?

An undetermined number of other crazy cyclists also tried to register themselves. PBP’s website went down.

For a whole hour I was reloading the website again and again only to get again and again the same error.

To make things worse every now and then I’d see a message in the different forums and whatsapp groups of someone saying they had confirmed their registration. Some of them even reported the number of entries left.

At that point I was trying with two laptops two different browsers from those laptops and from my mobile. Ah! And every now and then I’d VPN to France in case that made any difference.

I managed to register at 13:14.

13:28 I was out riding.

Decided to go for a route I didn’t know just because I liked the name of the climb (Collada de Arniciu). I had no idea about it, only that it looked like a long climb in the profile. I had “stolen” the gpx from someone else’s ride. Don’t even remember whose ride it was.

No very clever decision if you ask me. Especially considering it gets dark at 18:30 around here. That left me with 5 hours to ride those 130km. I reckoned I had plenty of time.

Now, very quickly I realized my legs were not feeling that great today. Not sure why. I still decided to stick to the plan.

By the time I got to Infiesto I had been riding for 1h45m and only covered 44km. My Garmin told me I had around 20km of climbing in front of me.

I considered the idea of turning back. I insist, I didn’t know the climb and it started to look very likely I’d end up riding in the dark. I had lights on my bike but only those to be seen. Not ideal for night riding.

Being honest, I didn't consider the idea for very long. 

I just kept riding. The next time the idea crossed my mind I rejected it straight away “because I’m already halfway up the climb” (when the reality is I barely had ridden the first couple of kilometers). It’s amazing how easy I can trick myself.

The climb felt longer and harder than I anticipated. It was also hotter (18C) than I was expecting. This is only to add dramatism to the fact that when I got to the top I had ridden for 2h55min. I had 3 hours and 5 minutes to ride 65 kms if I wanted to get home in daylight. 

I knew most of the ride would be downhill, still, at that moment it didn't look possible. Less so when I started to descend and the road surface was as terrible as on the way up. 

But it was possible. 

Favorable terrain meant I only had to accompany the bike, the climb up La Gargantada was half decent (10mins at 291w, after 110km in 4h:15min in the legs), being in known terrain did the rest. I got home at 18:30. Perfect timing.

Not really happy about today’s performance but, hey, guess who is going to be in PBP’s front group?

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/8391686140/ 

Take care

Javier Arias González

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