weekend I did DBC 3 Days track race in
Copenhagen, including my first ever UCI Omnium.
The first day, Friday, I was terrified! Shaking, and regretting my participation. Afraid of being dropped in front of the audience and on Eurosport livestream. And, I even got the feared number 13.
the first race, a scratch race, I was more confident. I didn’t get dropped and
I even had a little breakaway. Second race, the tempo race, was all
about survival and my heart rate went as heigh as 194. But again, I wasn’t dropped!
The elimination race is my absolute weakest point, and it was no surprise that I was the first rider to be eliminated. For the 80 lap points race I was low on power after the first races, and because I use most of my energy closing gaps and sitting in the wind. I’m still not comfortable with sitting in the bunch, but I improve little my little.
Day 2 went
a little better, and I was not nervous at all – first win of the day!
We did another scratch race where I attacked in the end, got company, but couldn’t stay on her wheel and half a lap from the finish, I was catched by the others – damn it! I still finished 8th which is a whole lot better than my usual spot as last. Elimination was history repeats itself, and the points race was one more race of survival.
Day 3, and
last race day, was nothing to talk about really. The elimination race went as
usual, and in the points race I wanted to try something, but another rider was
always going before me.
After all, I’m happy I took up the challenge. I’m happy to see how much I have improved on the track. But, I still have a lot to learn. Not only sitting in the bunch, saving energy, but also on the tactical level. It’s a shame that track season is over, but I’ll be back 😉
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”.
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.
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%.
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 😉
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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:
Be angry and let them go = ride home alone
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.
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 😉
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 🙂
If you have not read part 2, you can find it here.
It was my plan to write about the last days in Spain, before I went to live in the Netherlands, but suddenly I had a lot of other things to do, and I ran out of time. But, you know what they say “better late than never” 😉 So, even though this might be a bit out of date, I still want to share it. Last part will be online tomorrow. Enjoy!
Day 6 – Saturday
Saturday, I had to say goodbye to Trine and hello to some days on my own. I had been around people 24/7 for 2-3 weeks, so I was looking forward to a little time by myself. Although, I also enjoyed the company I have had very much!
In the morning I met with some of the guys from CC Narixa. Actually, we were six different nationalities together from Finland, Denmark, England, Hungary, Spain and Canada. How cool is that? 😉 We were heading east to Lújar, and I discovered both new and familiar roads. The scenery was changing a lot from beach views, to mountain rocks and a landscape in start of blossom.
The weather was good, and I was happy – in my right element! That was at least unbtil we went through a village, looking for coffee, but only found ridiculously steep roads around 15-20%, as I recall it. Eventually, we found coffee by the coast, in Almuñecar.
When we returned to Nerja I still needed a little more time on the bike, so two of the guys joined me for another coffee at La Bella Julieta. It’s always nice when you get support for the long rides 🙂
I ended up spending 8,5 hours in lycra (only 6,5 on the bike) but I loved evert minute of it!
Sunday, it was time for a Sunday ride with CC Narixa. I was looking forward to saying hello to people I hadn’t seen since Summer, or some even last Winter. A lot of people showed up! I saw many new faces, and it’s great that Narixa can attract so many riders. I even talked with a fellow Dane.
We met 8:30 for a coast ride to the Macharaviaya climb. As always easy out, full gas up and easy home. I had decided to go for the QOM on the climb, since it fittet my scheduled effort, even though I was a bit tired from yesterday’s ride.
Before we reached the climb, I had to pee. I can’t ride 100% if I feel the need to pee, so when the others were stopping for a red light, I jumped off the bike and inside a café to use their toilet. Being my friend in need, as always, Carlos waited for me, so I didn’t have to chase down the group alone.
It was a little cold in the morning, and I was not wearing gloves, so my hands were too frozen to be able to zip my jersey myself, after visiting the toilet, so I had to ask Carlos to do it (he was smart wearing gloves) and I felt like a helpless child standing there, not able to use my hands (haha).
Anyway, we hit the climb and I started my mission. The guys “race” a little different than I do my pacing, so while I am keeping my wattage no matter if the roads goes up or down, the men go hard up and rest a bit on the flat parts. That meant we were passing each other many times going up, which was a little funny. I reached the top pretty empty, believing I didn’t made it in time for the QOM, but when I uploaded my ride to Strava, I actually got it!
On our way down from Macharaviaya, some of us turned right, before the end, to go on an extra loop. It was a little more climbing, and suddenly I felt very bad. I was dizzy, couldn’t focus and my hands were sweating. I even had to tell Carlos to stop talking to me, because I was feeling sick. I think I was bonking hard, even though I had been eating and drinking as usually, but the QOM attempt was maybe a bit too much for my body.
I ate and drank some more, and started to feel better, but I never felt completely fresh again, so I took it very easy on the climbs afraid of bonking again.
Carlos, Markus and I ended the ride on El Camaradu for brunch. Markus, a guy from Finland, had talked so much about the place, that we had to try. And it was delicious! I was eating a lot, but when Markus took his third gigantic piece of cake (after clearing the brunch buffet), I stopped following. I was impressed!
As the number freak I am, I was so close to reach 30 hours on the bike this week, that I wanted to ride 20 more minutes after the brunch. Again, the men joined me – good friends 🙂 It wasn’t a pleasure with a full stomach, but I did it only to realize I still needed 2 more minutes – damn it! I decided NOT to do the last 2 minutes after all, I’m not that crazy (yet).
A much-needed rest day, and I went out on the bike alone. When my head is a little too filled up and stressed, I like to go for a solo ride to clear my head. I also like to explore a bit, so after a coffee at – guess where? Yup, La Bella Julieta – I “accidently” Googled ‘ice cream’, and was suggested ‘Heladería Zeus’ by the beach. I found it, tasted it, liked it. Time to spin home.
After riding, I went to do some laundering, and I also went to the hairdresser. Same place as last time I cut my hair, in the Summer, and it was about time! I don’t enjoy going to the hairdresser, so I only do it 1-2 a year. Waiting for so long means they must cut a lot off. I think I lost around 10 centimeters, but it looked good and still long enough for a bun (a very small bun), a braid and a ponytail – which I have 90% of the time.
If you have not read part 1, you can find it here.
Day 3 – Wednesday
The guys from CC Narixa had planned a long Wednesday ride which fitted perfectly with my 5-hour schedule. I was excited to be riding with them again after 6 months of absence.
On these rides we are more foreigners than locals and I was happy to see familiar faces when we met early in the morning. I think it’s awesome that we can all be gathered once again. Five different nationalities independent of each other being in Nerja at the same time. We were one Hungarian, one Canadian, one English, two Spanish and two Danish riders. Only nationality missing was the Swedish and then the group would be whole.
Nevertheless, we headed east to Motril where we climbed to La Gorgoracha. It was close to 7 kilometers with only 4% average gradient, so nothing serious, but a new one for me. We continued to Molvizar and Itrabo which was a bit steeper and I especially appreciated the part with double digit gradients (ironi can appear).
I took it easy and let boys be boys. It can be tempting to try and outrace them, but I didn’t want to risk going down on our first ride together. They might be slightly older than me, but they are still strong as hell!
We wanted to find a sunny spot for a coffee, but after trying to conquer one road steeper than the other in a small village I don’t know the name of, we decided to do a stop in Almuñecar by the coast.
Because it is Trines first time here, the guys wanted to show her the view from Cerro Gordo on our way home. We were also lucky to see two mountain goats doing their thing on the vertical rocks. I don’t know how they do it, but it is very cool!
It was a great day on the bike. Good company and even though it was a bit cold in the morning, the sun was warming in the afternoon.
Back home I made risotto for dinner and it might be the best risotto I have ever made. I used wholegrain rice and added broth, white wine, mushroom, fresh spinach, red onion, lots of garlic and even more parmesan cheese. On the side I fried a piece of salmon and steamed some broccoli. Dinner for queens!
Another sunny day and us two women were on a ride on our own. I wanted to show Trine the road to Puerto del Sol. One of my favorites climbs and the tallest nearby. It is a favorite because it’s almost without traffic, has stunning views and several hairpins.
The road to the bottom of the climb is a bit long and can be with a lot of traffic depending of the time a day. Today, we went out a bit earlier than normal and avoided the rush hour.
The first climb was to Periana and I was going after the Strava QOM. There are several segments of the Periana climb and unfortunately, I went after the wrong one – I went after one I already had, doh! I didn’t feel like I had the legs today, but I was “only” 20 seconds from the crown on one of the other segments to Periana, so too bad. Next time! 😉
After enjoying the view from Periana, we continued to Puerto del Sol. I remember the first time going up there. I was some kilos heavier, just getting back in shape after my broken elbow and bone-bruise in my knee, and joining the local club CC Narixa.
It felt SO hard, I was dying and the road to the top seemed endless. Today, I really enjoyed and when I don’t have to go full gas, it feels a lot easier to climb now than one year ago. Amazing what a difference a loss of kilos and added fitness can do.
Reaching the top, we had to go the same way down. It is possible to do a loop, but it would be a bit too long for us today. So, missing the crown up, I decided to try for the QOM down. I got it down from Puerto del Sol and tried down from Periana, but my wheel slipped in a corner, there was a little traffic in my way, and I also think I need a strong tailwind on the long flat section, before I can claim that crown 😉
With no coffee stop along the way, I decided that we had lunch at Burriana Beach. They have a delicious paella on one of the restaurants and another of my favorite coffee places are also based on that beach.
Paella for lunch and pancake with ice cream for dessert. The only downside of going to Burriana Beach on the bike is the 800 meters long hill back up with a maximum gradient of 17% being 7% in average. It’s not easier to climb it when you have just eaten. But all worth it!
Friday is rest day and Friday means breakfast ride with CC Narixa. Leaving town at 8:00 for breakfast in Benajarafe and it was freezing! The sun was only about to rise but the mood was high.
In spain a typical breakfast is “pitufo con tomate” which is bread with smashed-tomato-sauce-ish and olive oil. I don’t understand how anyone can be satisfied with that. I like it, it’s not that, but as a snack, not as breakfast. I ordered coffee, bread with cheese and ham and a fresh orange juice. Still not enough breakfast for me, but enough for the ride.
We were told about a new café in Nerja called El Camaradu with great coffee, so when we came back, we decided for another coffee stop. The café was not that easy to find, but we managed. It was nice to sit on their terrace tanning with a good tasting coffee. The owners of the café are Romanians and they roast the beans themselves.
Today we also had time for a walk in Nerja and I couldn’t resist when we passed Albi. What is a rest day without ice cream anyway?
First ride on Costa del Sol was magical. I feel so much at home here. The ocean, the mountains and roads are so familiar to me, I even remember where the holes in the asphalt are. I know every route by memory, I know the good coffee-stops, the best ice cream shops and the locals remember my face as well as I remember theirs. The weather is good, the culture is relaxed, and I know exactly what to buy from the supermarket. It’s easy for me to come here, it feels like home, and I love it!
A friend from my Danish cycle club (Amager Cykle Ring) has come to join me for the first week, and I took her to Cómpeta on our first ride. An easy spin to feel the legs with a bit of climbing. I love that climb, because it’s relatively low average gradient and breaks in the middle with a few kilometers of downhill, before rising again.
It is a climb everyone can do. A fast climb if you want, but also possible to do easy. On the top you find a beautiful view, a fountain and the possibility to continue to the Cómpeta village, where you can sit on a café at the square next to the church. Hang out with locals and tourist but be ready for feeling like a subject to many looks as cyclists aren’t the most common thing up there. Maybe because of the last very steep hill of 11% in average. There is almost guarantee for sun at the square and you are covered from any wind. The coffee is also cheap and good.
coffee it was back down to the coast and home, trying to relax as much as
possible before tomorrow’s 20 minutes test.
Test day! Always with fear and excitement. Fear of failing. Excitement of maybe doing an all-time best. The fear is rational, I guess, but needless. What happens if the test doesn’t go well? Nothing is what happens. No matter what the test says, I will still be the same, be able to do the same and it’s only a tool for planning my training.
Anyway, I wanted to do the test where I always do my 20 minutes test when I’m here. On Canillas de Aceituno. A climb of 7 kilometers with an average gradient of 7%. It starts very steep with up to 17% (says Strava, I don’t remember if that’s correct, but more than 13%) but it’s briefly and when it flattens the gradient is almost even all the way up, which makes it easier to do the test.
I like this climb a lot, but I almost only do it when testing, so it feels like a very hard climb. But it’s also beautiful. You start on one side of the mountain but end on the other side. I think you start on the west-side and end up east, but I’m not sure. That means that the scenery and views chance a bit along the way, and even though I’m on limit more than 5 kilometers up the climb, I still enjoy the view, because I need to look somewhere else than on my Garmin in between. The last 2 kilometers I can enjoy in an easy pace, spinning the legs after 20 minutes of hard work.
The first 6 minutes of the test I was flying! I feel good and thought “this is easy peasy”. Haha, shortly after I thought “okay, now I feel the pressure”. A few minutes later: “F… me, I hate this”. After 15 minutes I was ready to give up, but I reminded myself that I didn’t have to a test in a long time if I continued. So, I kept pedaling and kept fighting the negative thoughts with motivational self-talking. The last 2 minutes I was completely empty, and it was all about survival and not loosing too many watts. When the timer said 20 minutes, I had to go off my bike and sit on the ground trying to catch me breathe again. My average heartrate was 186 bpm with a maximum of 192 bpm, so that was ALL OUT for me.
I had hoped for a slightly better test, but doing a new all time best this time a year, after a training camp on Mallorca, is pretty good, so I am happy and so is coach PeakPower. We have worked together since the end of the 2018-season and to see improvement already is great! I hope to improve even more the next months.
After the test we could relax and enjoy the loop taking us to Sedella, Sayalonga and then I forgot to turn for Cómpeta (because we wanted to go through torrox to Frigiliana) and we ended in Algarrobo. The weather was cloudy and a bit cold, so since we couldn’t enjoy a sunny lunch in Frigiliana anyway, we decided to go to my favorite coffee place in Torre del Mar, La Bella Julieta. I always order the same: a cappuccino italiano and cereal bread with serrano ham and manchego cheese. They have so many other good-looking things, but I have decision difficulties and I know what I always have is good, so I stick with that. Must try a cake one day though!
after coffee/lunch stop feeling that with the test well over with, the coming
days can be enjoyed with peace in my mind, haha.