domingo, 19 de febrero de 2023

The resurrection of the greatest Road Captain

Paula Lively from Zanesville, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For a few weeks, or even months, my skills as Road Captain have been questioned among “the cynics” and “the sceptics”.

Some mentioned the lack of popularity of my rides. Others questioned my navigation skills. A few argued, with little foundation, that I didn’t work for long enough at the front.

Well, “I feel sorry for you. I’m sorry you can’t dream big and I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles”.

Today’s ride was the resurrection of the greatest Road Captain. (This is the “dream big” bit)

I’ll start by mentioning that six signed up for the ride. Including me, that's seven out of the ten slots taken. Isn’t that popular?

True that one rider removed himself the day before the ride, Rupert decided to ride the route in reverse and we never saw him. We also lost Phil in the first few kilometers which is less than ideal. But it is also true that we took two guests to Widnsor, proof of Road Captain friendliness, and four riders finishing the ride is an early sign of Road Captain popularity.

This positive sign came accompanied with the greatness of the route selected. 

In fact this route is now my new favorite for a flat ride. 579m of elevation in 129km. 4.49 meters per kilometer. A flatness that only Saturday Gang’s ambassador in Florida can match.

The route took a few unconventional turns and that created confusion in the group but the Road Captain (me) was not confused in any of those turns. I got them all right. Thanks to Garmin obviously.

I still have to confess I got confused with the route as soon as we got to the top of the “climb” before Henley.

I moved to the front with the idea of leading the descent. In my mind there were only a couple of kilometers to Henley so I set a fairly strong pace at the front to make sure no one passed me and I could take the town sign sprint without sprinting.

The problem was Henley was something like 10 kilometers away. I didn’t know and I kept working at the front expecting the town sign to appear any minute. 

Inevitably at some point I started to slow down and my riding colleagues moved to the front and Vicenzo took the town sign sprint without opposition. 

Coffee stop catered to the preferences of the riders was a sign of logistics quality.

We also had “nice” weather. 12°C, some rays of sun, completely dry. (That's the “believe in miracles” bit when you have in mind that we are in February and in the UK)

To round what was already a perfect ride I took the final sprint. 

Not that the other riders knew where the line was but it was a clear and fair win. 

With such a great way of finishing the ride it is easy to see how justified it is to add the “greatest” to my Road Captain skills (that’s the “dream big” bit).

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González

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