Training Camp Nerja 4

If you have not read part 3, you can find it here.

Day 9 – Tuesday

After a rest day on my own, I did what I did too many times last year, and I don’t know how I could forget. What I did? I trusted Carlos when he told me about a route I hadn’t done before. I didn’t really look at the file he send, just quickly saw the direction and thought “sure, let’s go”.

Carlos Gallego
Carlos to the left – if in doubt 😉

Maybe it’s because I don’t listen carefully enough, but I believe that Carlos “forgets” to tell me the important parts of the routes he suggests. And, if he does tell me, it is usually when it’s already too late to turn around.

Today was no different. I thought we were going up Canillas de Aceituno, but no. Or yes, we were, but from another road, through Rio Bermuza.

Just before we started the climb, Carlos said “don’t kill”, and I immediately knew trouble was coming. The first part of the climb was okay, no more than 10%, I think.

I had some troubles with going into my lowest gear, so midway we stopped to fix it. A few minutes later I knew why Carlos was insisting on fixing my gear. Several parts of the climb were 15-17-19%.

Carlos Gallego
Fixing the bike before the very steep parts

I constantly went from thinking “how beautiful” to “fuck fuck fuck”. After 7 kilometers the pain was over, and looking back, it was not too bad. It was more mentally hard, because I never knew for how long I had to stand in the pedals, just to be able to keep moving. Now I think, that if I do it again, it will not feel as difficult. But damn, it was a tough one! 😉

Standing on the top of Canillas de Aceituno, we had two options. My ‘FTP-test loop‘ with more hills, or down and almost flat home. I chose down, and went for another Strava QOM.

With almost no traffic and good wind conditions, I flew like a missile and could easily claim the crown. Benefits of being a heavy rider 😉

Canillas de Aceituno
On the top of Canillas de Aceituno

Before the Rio Bermuza climb, we had talked about also climbing Frigiliana. On the Rio Bermuza climb I said “no Frigiliana”. On our way home, having recovered enought, I changed my mind and said “okay, we can do Frigiliana”. Carlos also spoke about buying me chocolate and that I could not resist. Who says no to chocolate?!

I didn’t know about Levi Angelo Chocolatier before, and what a shame. On the other hand, if I had known last year, I would be fat by now, haha. They have soooo much chocolate! Homemade, in all kinds of forms: hot chocolate, chocolate pieces, chocolate mousse, chocolate cake and so on. Chocolate heaven, if you ask me!

Levi Angelo Chocolatier
Happy with my Raspberry hot chocolate

We had a hot chocolate with a hint of raspberry – very good! And right there, Carlos was forgiven for the high gradients earlier in the day. Again, I felt lucky to not only have been shown new roads, but also new places. Exploring on the bike AND with the stomach is win win for me.

Frigiliana

On our way down from Frigiliana I was almost killed. Okay, maybe not, but I didn’t see a scooter blinking to the left, and while I wanted to pass him, he turned. I was JUST able to avoid confrontation, and he was a bit angry with me. I don’t blame him. But, I made it home safely.

Check today’s ride here.

Day 10 – Wednesday

My last ride in Nerja was yet again with the guys from CC Narixa. We headed west in sunny weather and I was hoping for a nice quiet ride. But, we had only just passed the ‘Nerja’-sign, before the speed-devil inside the men appeared, and suddenly I found myself struggling to hang on the string of riders.

CC Narixa

They kept pushing like wild horses, while I was wondering what was going on. I had no time to ask, and as we got further, I started thinking “if we ride like this, I would rather go alone” (of course I wouldn’t, but when I’m tired and don’t feel like racing, I get a little angry).

After an hour with an average speed of 37 kph I told them “enough”. At that point we were close to Málaga, so they agreed, and shortly after we started the climb to Olías.

CC Narixa
Had gladly forgotten about this 15% section

I didn’t feel good today. Yesterday night I felt very tired in my body, and today was no different. My legs were fine, but I felt like I could fall asleep on the bike. My power meter still didn’t work, and my heartrate was higher than normal, so it was a mental struggle to be on the bike, and I was sad that I didn’t enjoy my last ride as much as I would have liked.

CC Narixa
Filling bottles

The climb seemed endless and hard, and I couldn’t keep up with the others. Well, I didn’t even want to try, because of my tiredness, and looking at my pulse while going slowly, I wouldn’t like to see it if I went faster. So, I just found my own rhythm and reminded myself to at least enjoy the view.

Afterwards, I have looked at the Olías segment on Strava, and the last time I did this climb it took me 30:52 minutes with an average of 175 bpm. Today, I did it in 31:05 with an average of 165 bpm – on an off day. That must mean my shape is better now, compared to December 2017. Nice to know 🙂

Comares
Comares

Back to the ride… We filled our bottles in Olías and continued to Comares. There is a nice downhill section, but it was a bit wet and me being so tired, I didn’t trust my descending skills, so I took it easy. Reaching the flat, the devil inside the men took over once again, and I had two options:

  1. Be angry and let them go = ride home alone
  2. Be angry and use it to make them suffer as well = ride faster

I went with option 2. I was so tired of all that testosterone that whenever I took the front in the echelon, I speeded up a notch. I thought I had a little more power left, since I didn’t participate in their speed-competition earlier, but I don’t know if my “plan” worked. Also, kind of stupid, but when in the red zone, you are not always doing the right thing.

The Blue Bakery
Vélez-Málaga

We had coffee stop in Vélez-Málaga on our way home, and immediately I went from “damn you guys” to “I’m happy I went with you today”. Sometimes I forget so easily, haha.

I decided to “celebrate” my last ride in Spain for a while with a chocolate/banana cake while the others had ‘pitufo con tomate’ (remember?). But of course, they were quick to take a bite, when I offered them my cake 😉

The Blue Bakery

I have had a blast the last 10 days, and to be honest, I don’t want to leave tomorrow. But, I do want to get the race season started, so I have to.

I am going directly to the Netherlands for a training weekend with my team, before going back to Denmark shortly, and then finally move to Pijnacker. An exciting period is about to begin, and who knows, maybe I will fall in love with the Netherlands too 🙂

Check today’s ride here.

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