The 200km Maratoniana – Again! with video

After I rode the 200km Maratoniana route back in April (http://bikeasturias.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/an-epic-ride-my-first-200km/) the first thing I said when I finished was ‘never again’ and I kind of meant it. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, but it was damn tough.

Of course I knew I would do it again, but I was sure I wouldn’t be doing it any time soon. So, when my good friend Mark who was coming over to Asturias suggested we do it, I probably didn’t sound over enthused. Indeed, I’m sure I suggested another route or two, all of which were dismissed with short shrift.

A date was agreed, I was committed, no getting out of it now. Mark is a great rider who had, just a few weeks previously, been in France riding the L’Etap, so I knew he wouldn’t suffer on the ride. Determined to not suffer alone I texted Ian (who I was with me in the Pyrenees) to see if he wanted to do it. To my surprise he said yes.

Now Ian is a good rider but he doesn’t think he is. He didn’t do the Maratoniana with the club back in April as he was worried he wouldn’t manage it. The problem with Ian is that he is a good cyclist and can therefore keep up with the other club members, but in doing so he suffers (lots of them are a little younger and a little leaner). I on the other hand can’t keep up with them so don’t even bother trying. I have a far greater sense of self preservation and Ian a lot more pride (in a good, courageous sense). In this sense he was probably right to not do it with the club, as they didn’t hang around and he would have pushed too hard. This time however, going at my pace and having climbed the Tourmalet the previous Sunday, I think he was feeling a little more confident.

Mara1

Raring to go

So at 8:30 (well just after as I got stopped by the police) in the main car Park at Cangas Onis we prepared our bikes ready for the slog fest to follow. It was nice to set off at a manageable pace without having fast club riders teasing you to go faster and after 3 hours and 15 minutes we arrived at the base of the 26km long San Glorio. My sense of self preservation kicked in and I began to climb at a nice leisurely pace that I knew I could maintain all the way up. Over two hours later I arrived at the top where both Ian and Mark were stretched out on the grass. Mark looking as fresh as a daisy and Ian not quite so fresh (wilting daffodil springs to mind) but looking ok. I was actually feeling fine too, much better than I had done in April.

Mara 6

Me in front as usual

Ian looking confident up San Glorio

Ian looking confident
up San Glorio

 

 

Mark actually looking forward to the climb

Mark actually looking forward to the climb

 

 

The worst over, we set off to Pte El Poton, looking forward to the last 50km which is all downhill or flat. We did stop to eat but despite a large sign saying sandwiches, the barman said they had run out of bread, a thing unheard of in Spain. Personally I think he just couldn’t be arsed to make them and as there was no other bar around for miles we set off again unfed (we did have some snacks left).

Mark looking a little fresher than me and Ian

Mark looking a little fresher
than me and Ian

A slight change in weather

A slight change in weather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember at this point in the ride back in April my legs were like jelly, this time however, they weren’t too bad at all so feeling good (I mean good considering what we had just done), we flew down to Cangas much faster than I had previously. I struggled a little to keep up with them on the flat bites but I still felt OK.

On the way down the weather turned. One minute clear skies and the next thick fog. It made for some fun, if not a little dangerous, riding. I had a back light so stayed at the back as much as possible but it was difficult to see the other two sometimes even though Ian was just 10m in front of me. The fog eventually cleared as we reached the lower section of the climb but was replaced, instead by rain. The last 20km was fast and wet but for some strange reason I enjoyed it. I think it’s because that’s what real cycling is about, pushing on no matter what the conditions.

Fun in the Fog

Fun in the Fog

And then it poured

And then it poured

 

 

 

The biggest problem with the rain was that we had no towels with us so it would be a pretty soggy, commando style (no underpants) drive home. There was a real sense of relief when we arrived at the car park, especially from me and Ian. Mark looked like he could go round again, despite the fact he had paced us all the way round. But for me and for Ian it was a real sense of achievement and one that I do not plan on doing again soon, and I mean it this time. After a quick stop for a much deserved beer we headed home looking forward to a good night’s sleep.

A relieved cyclist

A relieved cyclist

Great ride, Great company and I even think Ian really enjoyed it, I know Mark did and I was really pleased to have done it again.

P.S. Since writing this I have planned a 275km ride along the coast so when I say I’ll never do something again take it with a pinch of salt.

 

I apologise for the typos in the video, it was somewhat rushed.

Couple of Vids and a brief summary

Well not a great week of riding as I rode less than 90 km’s. I did go on a club ride this morning but had to come back early for family reasons but to be honest I probably would have pulled off anyway. It was only fast riders today and being dropped on all the climbs gets a bit demoralising after a while. A tough Sportive coming up in a few weeks so I plan to start doing over 200 km’s every week from now on. Let’s see how it goes.

Here’s a couple of recent Videos, including last weeks Marcha Villa de Gijon:

Video – Ruta del Nalon

Here’s the video of the last social ride of my club, Nava2000. Weather could have been better but the sun did come out eventually. A puncture and several chains coming off meant that several of us were playing catch-up for a lot of the ride but it was fun. Hope you enjoy!

Climbing El Cordal & L’Angliru + Video

Actually it was only half the L’Angliru but that was more than enough for me.

It’s been a good week of riding, topped off with a 103km ride today http://www.strava.com/activities/119043282. Finally the legs are feeling good and some kind of fitness is beginning to return. Having had a few good rides early in the week I decided to push myself a little on Friday and headed off to climb the El Cordal. It was foggy and damp when I left my house but as I arrived in Mieres the clouds cleared and I set off under blue skies.

Looking Back El Cordal

Looking Back El Cordal

 

View to L'Angliru - El Cordal

View to L’Angliru – El Cordal

El Cordal is not an easy climb. The last two kilometers average over 11% so it was a good test of my fitness. The views along the way are stunning, as you can see from the photos, and from the top there are great views over the L’Angliru. After reaching the top I descended down to Riosa and began to climb the L’Angliru. I planned to do about 5km’s but ended doing around 7km. After the first few km’s the clouds rolled in so I couldn’t see much for the rest of the way. Although that meant no views, it created an eary, mysterious atmosphere but was very pleasant in a spooky type of way. It made you feel you were part of the Vuelta peleton struggling up to the top, no matter what the conditions. Quite a haunting experience but one I will always remember. I had no intention of trying to get to the top but hope to do the whole climb before the summer.

The only negative thing about the ride was I cocked up the camera, so only got the video of the Cordal climb. Still, that gives me a good excuse to do it again so I’ll probably head back that way one day this week. Here’s the ride: http://www.strava.com/activities/118418152

Summit El Cordal

Summit El Cordal

The Road to the top El Cordal

The Road to the top El Cordal

Here’s the video of El Cordal. I hope you enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed climbing it.

Happy Cycling.