Saturday, September 19, 2009

Si è spenta la luce...

Yep, this is exactly how I felt today.

Heck of a day today. Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride, and as it was a gorgeous day, I took advantage of that opportunity... 95 km worth! I arrived home tired, but very satisfied with the ride. And then Saturday arrives. I figure I would be a bit sore, but decide to ride more or less the same route as yesterday, as it is another glorious day here in Rome. Sounds like a plan, doesn't it?

Well, apparently it was a bad plan. Riding out from home I felt that things were not quite right. No problem, just need a few kms to work the kinks out my legs, right? I could not seem to get comfortable pedaling, but on the outward bound bit of the ride, things were not too bad. I was able to keep a decent speed, pushing a 50 x 16/17 on the flats. Ergo, nothing fantastic, but riding along at a decent clip.

I would eventually understand that this was only due to a very stiff wind that was pushing me along... yes, you can all see where this is going.

As I am not really enjoying the ride (and not that dumb, or so I like to think), I decide to cut things short, and about 34 kms from home I decide to turn around and head home. That is where things went downhill very fast... in short, it sucked. I rode home at maybe 20 kph, struggling on the flats (not able to keep on the wheels of any riders who passed me) and absolutely falling apart on the very short, not very steep climbs on this particular ride. All the while riding into a taut wind which sapped what little my legs had in them. I freewheeled on any downhill (I am talking millimeters here). I was all over the road, zig-zagging on any uphill. Really, really embarrassing. I barely made it home, taking about an extra hour to finish a 68km ride.

In other words, an utter, total bonk. Or, as we say in Italian, si è spenta la luce - which translates as 'the light went out'.

Got home and was barely able to pick up my bike to take into the house. Fortunately a dish of fantastic pasta was waiting for me... followed by a two hour nap (no, I am not kidding). Now I am alive again and will go clean my bike, so that tomorrow's ride can, hopefully, be a bit more positive!

Fusilli with zucchini, parmesan and buttah. Fantastic.*

A few things I learned today:

1. Not even a fantastic bike like my Cervelo is able to make up for bad legs. As a bike equipment geek, I often forget this fact. Days like today exist to point out the obvious in this respect.

2. Corollary to point 1 above: as Alfredo Binda would say... «Per vincere ci vogliono due cose: la testa e i garun» - [to win a bicycle race] you need two things - to think and to have legs. And remember, this is from the only guy ever paid not to race the Giro!

3. Starting a long weekend with a long ride after an entire week of not touching your bike is not always a great idea.

4. Listen to your body and especially your legs. If they are telling you that today is going to be a very bad day, plan accordingly.

5. With reference to point 4, if it is going to be a bad day and you intend on riding anyway, check the wind direction so that you will have it pushing you on the way home. Trust me on this one.

6. My wife and family are lifesavers. I was served a wonderful dish of pasta and allowed to take a nap undisturbed. And then given a coffee with some brownies. What more do you need from life?

Please note, picture borrowed from Rachel Eats, the recipe for the pasta is here. Check it out, other great recipes... just remember to go for a ride when you are done eating!


  1. What a bonk-tastic ride :( I hate it when that happens. The plus side is that at least you made it home without having to call the missus to pick you up. That would've added an extra dose of humiliation to the experience!

  2. Indeed. I completely fell apart, but I drew the line at calling the boss to come and get me. That has never happened... so far.