On the cycle path by the river in Benalmadena

Active Recovery and Cyclocross

posted in: Solyo, Training | 0

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.

Hazard approaching on Benalmadena cycle path

Dismount and remove cleats

The roundabout with no meaning

Time to attack those climbs!

On the cycle path by the river in Benalmadena

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