My first brevet

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Finally I did the century !!!

(sorry for the crap quality - 101.7kms)

Even though I am about a month late, I finally broke the 100km mark. There it is in all its glory :

(My fist Century - I may print and frame this !!)

Last Sunday I met with my friends (boardman, keoman, mongi, ttoppouzokypraios and zepellin, all Cyclist Friends) that we plan to stick together during the brevet. We begun at a faster than average pace and started the loops. To be honest I did not expect we would go for the full 100 as we started a bit late so I was happy to settle in the faster group pace.

It was the first time I rode that route with others. Riding alone is something I like as I can concentrate on my needs without having a guilty conscience that I am delaying the group. But riding with a group of good friends is a great experience - not only because it is both easier and faster, but because I was having a great time with everybody. We were six, and as we rotated in the 'mini peloton' I was having five different conversations at the same time.

The kilometres went by easily and at a steady pace. We were cruising along at about 30kph and averaging 25kph. I always look on my heart rate monitor to ensure that I stay within my aerobic zone, but now the test was to be able to speak comfortably without panting. We only made a couple of short stops either to fill up or to ehm.... empty and the good spirit and friendly atmosphere made riding easy and time just flew by.

During these long rides I am trying to understand my body better. I like to ‘play’ a bit while on the bike to check my ‘systems’. I may decrease a gear and spin at 95-100 rpm to see how my heart reacts to the higher aerobic load and how it recovers or I may put a higher gear and mash on the pedals to see how my muscles and joints react and recover. It is nothing structured or planned – just little games to make the ride more interesting. For example I may work my heart up to say 165bpm, and then start rolling and try to guess what my heart rate will be when I pass by the next signpost!!! I also imagine that I have two engines, the aerobic and the anaerobic and that I switch between the two when one gets tired – totally crazy but it works for me.

Understanding my body is something that I believe will be fundamental to the completion of the brevet. I am also trying to perfect other ‘on-the-bike’ chores such as stretching, taking out my mobile phone from my back, drinking, eating etc. I am not successful with everything but I am getting there.

And so we gradually reached the 98 kilometre mark. I was feeling very excited and any tiredness suddenly disappeared. 99kilometres....... I asked ..."Hey Savva, I am now on 99.5, how shall I break the century? Shall I do it rolling, pedalling, standing up or what? » You should roll he suggested but I engaged the Warp Engines – I shifted to the large chainring and started sprinting - 99.6, 99.8, 99.9....... I felt that my muscles were giving everything I had and actually felt the lactic acid building up inside me. Eventually I blew and could not go any faster but the computer showed the magic number: 100!!!!!!

I felt as if I had broken the sound barrier - although there was no sonic boom to tear down the houses and the glasses, I think I may have heard something!!!

Another kilometre or so spinning and we arrived at the cars. I am a very happy man indeed. Thank you guys!! Next week we are in for more?


Odometre : 975kms


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