domingo, 22 de octubre de 2023

A conocer la subida a Banduxu


Banduxu is a beautiful climb, but harder than what the profile suggests. Not really the best climb for a day I wanted to ride easy.

In a huge display of self discipline I manage to control myself and take the climb as easy as possible.

A shame that self discipline blew in pieces the moment an unknown rider passed me a few meters behind the top of the Fuejo climb. 

Inexplicably, I jumped on his wheel. Started to whistle to make the point I was riding easy clear and stayed a few meters behind his wheel all the descent. I'm a very bad person.

We passed another rider and that was the sign for me to take the front and start pushing the pace and show them how it is done. I'm a terrible person.

Luckily for me very soon I was turning right and they were going straight. We told each other goodbye as we were friends. 

All in all 10 minutes of not that great self discipline and just another behavior I'm not very proud of.

As penance I punished myself by riding slowly and pledging that I wouldn't flinch if a cyclist passed me.

The fact that I knew that road was not heavily traveled by cyclists detracts a little from my penance. But I can't really count on my self-discipline to get to heaven.

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González

domingo, 8 de octubre de 2023

Don't ask me

I don’t think people understand the amount of risk they are taking when they join one of my rides.

Today seven reckless riders joined my ride to Alice Holt. Judging by the number of questions I got I came to the conclusion that people expected me to know the route. I was even asked how many more kilometers to the coffee stop.

Every time I was asked I had no idea of the answer. Too arrogant to admit my ignorance, I made up my answer every single time. For the space of 30 minutes I gave the answer “about 20 kms more” the three times I was asked about the coffee stop.

I’m sure the group came to the conclusion I was not as reliable as my confident answers looked. It didn’t help that we got out of route a couple of times and the coffee stop was at the 90 km point when I thought it was at km 72. 

So, let me be completely open on how this works in my case.

I select routes based on distance. I normally don’t look at the amount of climbing. 

I always know the name of the place where the coffee stop is. I usually have no idea of what kilometer it is.

In fact, for half of the coffee stops out there, I know the name we give the coffee stop but I only recognise the place when I get there.

Even for routes I’ve ridden many, many times I don’t know where I am 80% of the time. Even when I know where I am, half of the time I’m wrong. 

I consider a successful ride if I made it home and didn’t see a “Welcome to Scotland” sign. 

What I now check in every single route is what is the sprint at the finish (too many sprints missed for not checking this basic fact).

Today was not an exception. 

Knowing exactly what line we were sprinting for contributed to my win.

The fact that none of the others knew where the line was contributed a little bit too.

So you now know. Don’t ask me anything about the route that is not what is the sprint at the end. Don’t expect an accurate answer in either case.

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González

domingo, 1 de octubre de 2023

Evaluating the impact of popcorn in recovery

Yesterday we decided to go to the movies. 

That’s actually a pretty good recovery activity if you ask me. You don’t have to move much, you can always fall asleep and blame the film for it and you get to eat popcorn. 

I didn’t know much about popcorn’s recovery properties but I’m always happy to run a scientific experiment and find out. 

So, when I was asked what bucket size I wanted I went for the biggest one. The only right answer considering I was pretty hungry after yesterday’s ride ( 

Now, when I saw the size of the thing I almost panicked. The thing was quite big, even for a pretty hungry cyclist.

Luckily I managed to control myself and pretend it was ok. I wanted my wife to believe I knew exactly what I had ordered. I think there is still a (small?) chance she doesn't think I’m stupid.

After all, I told myself, the film, Oppenheimer, is three hours long. Plenty of time to finish it.

I started at a very good pace. By the time all the trailers had finished I had gone through a quarter of the bucket.

An hour into the film I had gone through half of it but my pace was slowing down dramatically. That thing of starting a bit too fast and slowing down seems to apply to other things in life beyond cycling.

Not long after that I found myself with my stomach threatening with a big explosion and very, very thirsty.

Yes, it was salty popcorn and I didn’t order water.

Totally on purpose. You don’t want other elements to confound in the effect of popcorn in your recovery. It could ruin the science behind the experiment.

Somehow I survived the rest of the film. I didn’t eat the whole bucket but I’m confident saying I ate all that was humanly possible. 

How did I feel today?

Well, n=1 and all those details scientists insist on mentioning, but I felt pretty good actually. Legs felt fresh.

As soon as we started to ride I found myself at the front of the group. Not only that, I returned to the front of the group a few times. And you know that rarely happens.

The pace felt easy all day, the final sprint felt easy (we had to call it off due to a car though) and legs are not that tired after the ride. 

So, as far as I can tell, eating salty popcorn (without drinking any water) until you feel you are about to puke contributes positively to your recovery.

I would recommend conducting additional research with a smaller popcorn dose and, maybe, combine it with some water as a potentially better recovery strategy.

Follow me for more sports science knowledge.

The ride in Strava:

Take care

Javier Arias González