sábado, 18 de febrero de 2023

The consequences of riding without legs and without a brain

A picture is worth a thousand words…

I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to be today after a couple of inconsistent weeks and it turns out they decided to stay in bed instead of coming with me to the ride. 

Now, why does an extremely conservative rider decide to move to the front without having the legs and riding with four other strong riders?

Because the brain also decided to stay in bed instead of coming with me to the ride.

So this is what happened.

I did my fair bit in the front the first 45 kilometers of the ride (which is highly unusual for me, even when I have the legs) because I didn’t have a brain.

From kilometer 45 to the coffee stop I was just happy surviving at the back of the group because I didn’t have the legs. 

Coffee, scone, cream and jam at the Devil’s Punchbowl because I didn’t have a brain to think properly.

I shouldn’t have had that coffee. 

A coffee meant caffeine made me feel strong and optimistic. So I moved to the front… again!

A few downhill, tailwind powered efforts convinced me I was going to play a good role in the last two hills when that kind of performance is very unusual for me, even when I have my legs and brain.

That conviction lasted until I released which hill was coming first. I didn’t know the name. I didn’t even know we were going to climb it. Which is a lot to say considering it was me the one that proposed the route and the climb was Barhatch, a climb difficult to miss. 

What I knew very well is I didn’t have the legs to “play a good role”. It was more being at risk of having to play Chris Froome up Mt. Ventoux’s role… but walking.

Without legs and with my caffeine inducted conviction vanished I rode Coombe Lane, the last hill, at snail pace. 

From the top of Coombe Lane to home is mostly downhill. You’d imagine I would be in “take me home” mode. 

What happened instead is I moved to the front and helped push the pace all the way to Cobham.

Why? Downhill, tailwind, no brain… You know the drill by now.

At Cobham I started to consider the idea of leading the group to the Esher sprint. I might have been riding without a brain but I wasn’t stupid enough to believe I had a chance at the sprint.

I figured that leading the group to the sprint, something I don’t think ever happened, would, somehow, make my ride honorable.

Unfortunately that only lasted until Ed Van der Poel moved to the front and I saw the opportunity to sit on his wheel all the way to Esher.

I clearly was stupid enough to believe I had a chance at the sprint.

In fact I thought I was going to take the Esher sprint. Honestly. I thought it was almost guaranteed I was going to take an uphill sprint. 

I was third.

Which isn’t as great as it sounds when you know it was only three of us sprinting for the line and there was a considerable gap between the first two and myself.

No legs, no brain, no honor.

Got home, had lunch and fell asleep hoping to reunite with my legs and brain for tomorrow’s ride. 

My honor is lost forever.

The ride in Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/8582779706

Take care

Javier Arias González


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