Blog Rot and Binge Biking

Often I do not post because I have previous entries in my head that I really want to write about first and foremost, but I often get caught up ‘everyday’ stuff and never get around to it. A day passes, another day passes,… and on and on… the result is that I don’t post because it would be “out of chronological order”. But you guys (all 2 readers???) probably don’t care… so here I go… “I don’t care either!!!!!!!” [/affirmation]

So I am back from my 1 month hiatus in Mallorca. It was really wonderful and at the end I was looking forward to coming “home” which I’ve heard is the measure of a successful vacation. Riding in Mallorca is fantastic. The scenery in unparalleled and getting out of the tourist infested south and venturing into the mountains is so refreshing. My girlfriend even had some time off so she could spend 10 great days with me. We did an amazing 71 mile ride in the mountains amongst the mountains of Soller and the fresh lemon and orange groves on the village of Fornalutx, often heralded as the most quintessential village in all of Spain. She had a great time and when I saw her struggling a little up the Col de Soller on the way home (as we raced the sunset), I pushed her along as she ‘weeee’-d with the effortless feeling of climbing up the epic pitch. We also spent 2 days traveling the island by car, stopping off at romantic lookouts and mountain restaurants. We also went to a cooking instruction class from a Michelin-starred chef’s restaurant where you not only learn how to cook an amazing Mediterranean meal, but you get to eat each course as you progress. It was taught in simultaneously in Spanish and English which was good for me (as I don’t speak Spainish) and fun for her (being fluent in both). I know that some 35,000 cyclists (mainly from northern Europe) venture to Mallorca to escape the winter and get in solid pre-season training miles. But I have also noticed that a very large percentage of their rides are in the flat regions of Mallorca (roughly 80% of the island from the center to the east coast. Flat rides are great for racer types as the pace can be kept low, the rides can cover massive distances, and the moderate pace is ideal for early season training. Mountainous rides are ok once or twice a week, but a racer with well planned goals for the season will avoid anything over this amount as it may induce the dreaded “Overtraining” syndrome that cyclists fear during the race season like a child afraid of the monster under the bed when it is time for sleep.

Luckily, I once was a racer. I did important races, I sometimes raced above my level and posted surprising results. Now, I simply ride… to ride. So if I am on a tropical island with a mountain range with amazing views, then you can bet that 19 out of the 20 rides I did included signs that said “Col de….. XXXX meters” with wondrous views of the sea and landscape below. I did, however, hook up with some guys from my local bike club for a few rides and logged some flat mileage. It was great fun, but I think I am addicted to scenery with little respect for my “performance” despite what the popular youtube video says.

I had a great time riding day after day in the mountains of Mallorca. I will write a few more blogs about the rides later.. but I am back in the Czech Republic now and successfully avoided the transition from winter to spring. The first hurdle was the fact that I broke my SRAM Force shifter on the last ride in Mallorca. Although I immediately ordered a new shifter the day it occurred, it still had not arrived when I returned.

With the sun shining for several days straight, I could not take it any more and embarked on a 100 mile ride with only 2 gears. I adjusted the rear derailleur cable to be in the 15T gear in the rear, to give me a 53/15 or 39/15 gearing options for the entire 100 mile ride. It wasn’t too bad, but the 39 was good for 16-18mph while the 53 was good for 22-25mph. A bit frustrating since I was always searching for something in between. I still managed to complete the century ride in 5:14.

A few days later, my new SRAM Force shifters arrived and the change from 2 gears to 20 gears allowed me to post a time of 4:58 for the same 100 mile ride. The wind shift in the late afternoon was definitely unfavorable so the 20mph average was very much deserved. The next day, I considered it a miracle that I could even get the energy to throw a leg over the saddle, but with the sun out, I had to go another 101 miles.. albeit at a slower pace (19.1 mph). The next day I joined the local bike club to watch the Czech Spring Classic Race: “Brno – Velka Bites – Brno” (that’s pronounced “Velka Bee-Tesh” for those sounding-it-out at home) … a 99 mile ride with numerous hills, bad road, and cobbles. It was great fun to watch them as we took short cuts along the route that enabled us to see the race pass by 6 times. All of the biggest teams in the country were there, including the National Champion which must mean a lot in a country with rides of the likes of Kreuziger (who Lance Armstrong tweet’ed just a few days ago was ‘very impressive’ in the last time trial, Rabon, and cyclocross World Champion Sybar). Our little group of 6-10 riders did go hard at times and I never got dropped and stayed with the top 2 guys on the big climbs. Both the other 2 had been part of the race in previous years but for one reason or another were sitting this one out. One said that when he did it, he covered the 160km of very hilly terrain in 4 hours… whoa…

I thought about riding another 17 miles so I could have 300 miles in 3 days with 3 back-to-back centuries, but stopping along the way and waiting at the finish for almost 1 hour really depleted my fuel reserves as I had started at 9:30am with only 1 bottle of plain water and it was nearly 4pm.

So, there was no 3 consecutive centuries, but 285 miles in 3 days and 3 centuries in 5 days isn’t too bad I guess. Enjoyed a much needed 2 days off enjoying Easter with my girlfriend’s family.

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One Response to Blog Rot and Binge Biking

  1. WorstShotEver says:

    I’m not sure it’s fair to count your girlfriend in your two-person readership estimate. Ha ha.

    So it sounds like your month of climbing the Mallorcan cols really put your fitness together, or at least didn’t hurt! That’s a lot of miles with a fixed rear cog no less. Maybe you should reconsider your break from racing?

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