Recently, I went on a training camp in Spain, with the “Hitty ‘n’ Gritty” gang (see last blog post). It was on a long 6 hr ride of 140km where I discovered how/what a good coffee (and a good lunch) can do wonders.
We had done a good 3 and ½ hours on the bike when we reached a little town called Castells, where we stopped at a café to have some much needed lunch. Josh, one of the guys staying out in Calpe for a lengthy 2 months, was told to sit down and wait by the waitress. Oh how he was pissed about that and kept reminding us for days after. The waitress eventually came through and gave us some menus. After much speculation, asking Josh, Ryan and Liam what was the best coffee to try, I finally came to the scientific (really not) decision of a cappuccino, which had a lot of milk and cream to take away the bitterness of the coffee. I also ordered: sausages, eggs and beans, because I was swinging for a good hour. Josh had ordered a ‘bonbon’ which consisted of an espresso shot and condensed milk, he offered it for me to try. Blurrh, disgusting. Despite the utter bitterness of the bonbon I ate my food and drank my coffee and we set off for the last leg of the ride, which Josh assured me had less climbing in. The next couple of hours I felt revitalised and ready for the trip home (maybe there was more descent).
The next coffee I had that week was on my final day with Dave at the top of Col de Rates (the home of my efforts for the week). After a long hard week on the bike I thought I would treat myself to a tasty chocolate cake. You can never fault a chocolate cake, whilst, Dave, who had been here numerous times before had the café’s speciality, apple strudel. I had yet another cappuccino, I think I am set on the cappuccino, it held me for the fast descents all the way home. Unfortunately I lost the video footage when I was uploading (because my computer is crap), so I cannot show you the beautiful rolling descents that make up Spain’s spectacular landscape.
Finally, I had a coffee before all 3 of my races this season, the Latte, changing it up a bit, held me well for a good Lee Valley race (#3rd). However, when having a coffee hours before a Belgium race is not a fantastic idea, maybe I need to have it a bit closer to the race next time. In both races I felt brilliant for the first hour but after that I started to struggle. This is my story of the first taste of coffee, and I must say it is bloody brilliant.
So, things to take away from this, never drink coffee too far in advance of a race, and go and live in Spain. Yes that is it go and live in Spain. Looking to go back there in the future.