Daily training gets you really focused and can make you a bit one-tracked, so you don’t get to experience anything different. Every day is pretty much the same, in a good way. My time so far in Spain has been really good, and this week is an active recovery week after a 2 week training block on the climbs. So today was a recovery ride, which allowed me to be a bit more casual and explore some roads by the coast. Just keep a steady momentum and enjoy the ride.
The coast road is totally flat, but it can be quite busy, especially on Sunday when it is pretty much totally packed. It was a lovely day with warm sunshine, and after riding almost 15 minutes by the coast I arrived at a dead end where the road turns off to join with the main road into town. So I took a detour on the bike path, which allowed me to continue to ride alongside the coast. It was a great little cycle path that became a bit of an adventure, as I didn’t have a strict training route to follow today, and I didn’t know where it would lead me.
After enjoying some relaxing time riding on the cycle path, I glanced into the distance ahead and it looked like a ramp down to the area next to the river. I was thinking ‘awesome, I’m loving this, nice relaxing ride, spinning the pedals, what a great cycle path…’
Then I immediately slammed the brakes on, and luckily came to a dead stop, suddenly peering over the edge of a rapid descent of concrete steps! A luxury purpose built cycle path with steps. I couldn’t believe it. I looked down the steps and quickly noticed that the cycle path continued along the river after descending the steps. I mean, it’s a proper cycle path, it has a bike symbol on it, and I hadn’t seen any pedestrians walking on it. If you’re not a road rider you most likely won’t understand the dilemma, but concrete steps and 23mm tyres are not a good mix, and after over two weeks of long mountain roads, a set of concrete steps is a bit of a shock to the system.
Well I had to go with it. It might be just one set of steps. So I slung the bike over my shoulder and I clumsily clomped my way down the concrete steps, a little bit risky in cycling shoes.
I made it to the bottom unscathed, quickly remounted, and I was on my way again along the cycle path. The path was slippery, it wasn’t a tarmac, it was more of a smooth concrete, so when I was taking the corners I could feel the back wheel slightly stepping out, so I had to take extra care and concentration, which was a bit stressful for what was supposed to be a relaxing recovery ride.
But the area was nice, and I was really enjoying it riding in the sunshine on the straight cycle path, until I encountered a totally pointless and unnecessary roundabout. I slowed for a moment while I tried to figure out its purpose. It was beyond me. Eventually I turned off to an area in the park where the cycle path ended, so I continued riding through the woods on a really rough surface that became so bad that I had to stop, turn around, go back and find another cycle path that would take me back to the road by the coast.
I needed to get out of there. So there I was again, encountering another flight of steps, a big flight of steps, ‘the cycle path steps.’ So the bike went over my shoulder again, and up the steps I went. This cycle path is more suited to cyclocross, it’s perfect for it! But not for me, as I wanted to stay on the bike all time.
When I eventually got back on the road heading to my apartment, I settled back into an even tempo, a steady pace, and I relaxed again and enjoyed the view of the sea.
The whole of this week is a recovery week which involves some active recovery rides and a couple of rest days which will give me time to catch up on some stuff, then next week it’s back to training.