I'd been planning to take my tri-bike on a nice, long, flat ride for some weeks. I'd done my research on wikiloc and found just about the flattest course in town, starting about 30km from my house. I don't usually like to drive somewhere to go cycling but I'm very bored by now of the route from my house to Brunete, the gateway to all cycle routes to the west of Madrid.
The first challenge was to upload the course to my Garmin 310XT. This proved to be as hard as doing the course itself and almost certainly took longer. In the end I had to roll back the software on my Mac to a "legacy" version and do a hard reset on the watch, wiping out all my user data. These days I hardly use it anyway, as I am not too bothered about my heart rate or indeed how fast I am going. But it is very useful for following a route like this one (if you can get it to work), especially as the route itself was a bit more complicated than it first looks.
After a scorching week of temperatures in the 30s, the weather decided to cool off at the weekend. It was actually a pretty grim day, with winds around 20kph and those "scattered showers" they so like to talk about in the weather reports back in the UK. The route was OK, a bit ugly with lots of traffic calming measures at the beginning which slowed me down a bit. The winds were blowing from west to east but it just felt like I was riding into a headwind all the way down - it was only when I went back up that I realised that I wasn't going to enjoy a tailwind on the way back. It also explained how I was able to zip along the west-east section at the bottom at more than 50kph.
As I came back into town, I found that the road had been closed off for a local cycle race. The participants looked to be between about 10 and 15 years old, in spite of many of them riding bikes that must have cost 2-3,000 euros! As I stopped to watch, two boys skidded off their bikes going round a roundabout (the road was wet and even I had felt the back wheel slip out from under me at one point). It was heartbreaking to see this young kid bawling his eyes out - it wasn't clear whether it was from the sting of road rash or the bitter disappointment of a "Did Not Finish". I caught a young spectator taking a photo of me on my bike - I suppose it must have looked pretty cool. I can remember what it is like to be that age and to desire something - in my case, when I was that age, I would spend hours drooling over computers.
I finished the route in just over 2 and a half hours (31.6 kph average, 141 bpm average - just a tad over "Ironman intensity"). Nothing spectacular but a good, solid, workout. In the end, with all the roundabouts and the gusting sidewinds, I didn't ride as much as I would have liked in the aero position.
Just as well that I went in the morning. The afternoon brightened up to the point that we considered playing some board games in the garden. Only ten minutes later and the garden looked like this:
The weather seems as unpredictable and depressing as the economy right now.