Thursday, 8 August 2013

Bonks, bikes and bakeries

I've been getting back in the Gym, there I said it. I've confessed that despite my generally slapdash attitude to training and race prep i do sometimes do things which I find less than entertaining in order to try and be faster at bicycles (and in this case to try not to break like a porcelain vase every year). In an effort to mix it up a bit on my recovery days i went for my first swim since i last crutched away from the beach 12 months ago. I think i'll give it another year before i try that again. Swimming is still slow, boring and painful. As is running but at least it offers something to look at and it makes you better at cyclocross.



Yesterday was a big day, the plan was to hit the gym in the morning, grunt a lot, wear a sleeveless top and generally do gym things for 90 mins. After a hearty breakfast (which, if i'm adhering to the gym stereotype should be composed of 17 egg whites and 5 skinless boneless chicken breasts, right?) and some archive action I was going to jump in on the Wednesday night ride. I got off to a good start and by 9am i had grunted and sweated my way around the weight room, completed my bench presses in the squat rack (joking, i'm not THAT guy) and enjoyed a refreshing communal shower with the retired men who occupy the gym when normal people are at work.

Having satiated myself on pastry i made a trip to the archive,a ll the while holding my trousers up with one hand as i had somehow forgotten to pack a belt that morning havign left in my gym kit and carried my archive gear in my bag. Procrastination on yahoo weather revealed what i suspected, a storm was coming. At first i considered sticking around and not riding but my productivity was low anyway so i hopped on the metro, headed home and hopped on the bike at 2. I wanted to keep up the strength focus of the day so i hit a few 20 min climbs in the big ring. All was going swimmingly until i noticed that my pockets, and stomach were yawningly empty. I'd been noshing carbs at an above average rate, finding myself outside a farm i managed to turn some change into a nectarine and 2 figs which sustained me for about 30 minutes.

 I knew i was a long way from home, i'd like to blame hypoglycaemia for my refusal to stop but in reality i'm just a stubborn git. I pushed on and soon found myself on a 15k climb with entirely empty legs and a yawning stomach. wobbling around like Bambi on ice i caught myself on the verge of tears when i realized there were 10k to go, each kilometer hurt more and, as always happens when i bonk like this i got emotional and angry. At the top i gorged myself on all 7 of the ripe blackberries i could find. it's hard to descirbe just how weak, empty and useless you feel when you really bottom out. There's simply nothing left and the enormity of the ride home is unfathomable. You have to focus on the next pedal stroke, the next meter and just keep doing that. It's not just your legs, all the happiness seems to drain out of your soul. There's no point stopping to play your harmonica or to look for lizards you're just going to cry when you can't find any. In a lot of ways being bonked take syou back to being a baby, you're more or less totally helpless, all you can do is crawl or cry! so i crawled.

I wasn't hypo, i carry dex for that i was just HUNGRY, incredibly, horribly empty. I grovelled into the town at the top of the climb and found, to m inestimable delight, a bakery, it was as if the sun shone from that bakery, as if Jesus, Muhammad and Vishnu had set up shop in a small Catalan Forn de Pa. Unfortunatley all three of the bastards were on holiday for a month and they'd shut up shop, at that moment I took a decisive step towards agnosticism. More muttered swearwords and desperate use of the "aero tuck" at 15 kph to avoid pedalling along with some bambi on ice like wobbling up the last climb and i staggered into my house.

Yesterday this was the highway to hell 

There was barely time to prop up the bike before i found myself in the kitchen with a jar of nutella in one hand and a bag of crisps in the other. Both went down before i began to eat Jamon Serrano OFF THE BONE. A brief break for a shower and some insulin and i returned to the fray, laying waste to the rest of the milk and cereal in my house. I walked down the street to the bakery to reussply and promptly hit a pretty special level of hypoglycameia (40 / 2.2) . Staggering into the bakery I asked for my bread, the lady took one look at me guzzling my emergency haribo and began adding emergency baked goods to my bag. Having regained my motor control i offered to pay and was politely refused. "i saw you coming up the hill on your bike ride, you looked very hungry". I don't know how someone can give the outward impression of hunger (maybe its by weighing 150lbs and having long hair and a beard?)  but apparenlty i was THAT starving that I did so.
coca dolc - the catalan way to say no to hypos
Anyway, Catalonia remains beautiful, its people remain wonderful and its food delicious. Today i rode to the orxateria and stocked up, we had a good chat about the ban on glass in the local fiesta and all agreed the drunk foreigners were to blame. I was about to object when, at 11am a German girl with a litre of lager walked in, belched loudly and left.

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