Karim and I heard about this semi-legendary training race that goes off every Tuesday (apparently beginning the first week in April) at 6PM just south of Austin. Although there were no Lance sightings, there were well over 100 people that showed up for this thing. We were told that the “A” group would do 4 laps, while the slower “B” group would do one less. The group formed at the entrance of a new subdivision, and I noticed that the course leading out of this area started up a formidable 1/2-mile climb right off the bat. The backside of the 9-mile loop was pretty much uphill in one way or another.
I jumped toward the front right away and Karim got stuck in the middle, so he had some work to do when the two groups naturally formed themselves. The “race” was fast throughout, as many of these Texas boys have been training throughout the winter here. I was sitting comfortably near the front, taking my share of pulls here and there for most of the race – however, on the third lap going up the big climb I was getting pretty fatigued and found myself the last one up the hill. Karim came by me and said some sort of encouraging words as he went over the top. I recovered and made my way back up through the pack on the generally downhill 2nd half of the course.
It turns out that we were only doing 3 laps instead of 4 — which was a good thing. I’m not sure how well I would have fared up that climb one more time around. I felt very strong, especially considering we had 4 solid days of long rides (and 2 hours this morning), but my legs were starting to fill up with some of that lactic crap.
I flew by Karim a few miles from the finish and gave him another “plip, plip” as I went by – hoping he would hop on my wheel. As the set up to the sprint progressed, I ended up behind him for a bit – I thought I’d ride his wheel on in to a good spot. However a split formed and I jumped across to it. I figured there was less than a mile left so I was pretty stoked to make it across, but the group ended up coming back together anyhow. We rounded the last turn and the housing addition was in sight. I jumped on the left from about 10th spot. Then the head wind hit me hard in the face and I snapped back to reality (and back in the pack – what was I thinking?) At about that same point, Karim jumped hard and was able to hold off these Texas boys and beat them at their own game!
I was happy with my perceived effort throughout the length of this semi-tough course, and Karim’s morale was no-doubt boosted from showing his decent sprinting form a week and a half before our first official race. All in all, a fruitful day of training and racing. One more day of riding here in Texas tomorrow and we’ll be headed home.