viernes, 7 de junio de 2024

Javier the coward

In my mind I’m the type of rider that attacks full of confidence, without fear. 

Also the type of rider that knows himself so well that knows exactly how fast he can climb, and for how long. 

Today I was proved wrong in both accounts.

My starting point is always that if I’m climbing a mountain taking turns with GC Denis I’m doing pretty well. 

We are so evenly matched, and we know each other so well, that those are always tricky situations. More so on a 30km climb, on the seventh ride of a training camp. 

At some point I felt like he was struggling ever so slightly to keep on my wheel. The temptation to accelerate and try to drop him crossed my mind. 

Then I looked at my Garmin and realized we still had 18km more to climb. I’m not that full of confidence, nor that fearless as I imagine myself. In fact I settled for a very conservative “wait a little longer, if he is struggling you might drop him without attacking”.

And now I have a question for you. What is better in this situation? To sit on the front and keep your own pace hoping for him to drop eventually, or to “force” him to continue taking turns so he gets more tired and eventually drops?

The advantage of the former is that you choose your own pace. The price you pay is all the work you have to do on the front while you give him a “free” ride. 

The latter makes him work on the front but also allows him to choose his own pace.

None of the options is ideal. Believe me.

I decided to stay at the front and set the pace. All the way to the top if needed. 

That’s where knowing myself so well that I know exactly how fast and for how long I can climb wasn’t as I always imagined myself. 

I was getting tired and my pace was slowing down.

GC Denis moved to the front and suddenly I found myself struggling to hold his wheel. 

I know the drill. He stands up on the bike, pushes the pedals a couple of times and a small gap opens. I panic (let’s talk another day how I consider myself a cool and calmed mind) and try to close the gap quickly. That little extra effort increases my sense of struggle. At that point the idea of attacking is a distant dream. I just hope I can hold his wheel.

Eventually he settles his pace and I feel brave enough to get a gel or drink from my bottle. That takes me out of breath, the sense of struggle comes back. 

So I decide to move to the front and chose the pace that is best for me.  All the way to the top if needed. 

We are back on square one.

Repeat this a dozen times and we get to the top of the climb together. 

100m before the top I sprint. 

Javier the coward, brave for 100 meters amd still miss judged how fast and for how long he can sprint. 

The ride in Strava:

Take care of yourself

Javier Arias González

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