Jumped into the car 4pm Friday afternoon to drive the 10 hours down to Texas to do a couple road races I’ve done on and off the last couple years. Got to the hotel at 1am, to bed at 2am for a 8am race start. Not enough sleep for sure. Catherine Walberg and Adam Mills came for the warmth too.
Walburg is a 22 mile loop, usually with pretty “good” winds. It was cold at the start. In the upper 30’s. But, it warmed up pretty quickly. I felt like hell. I’d made a decision not to do a systems check until the finish of the first lap. I made a couple moves, but was killing myself doing them. The Orven Team, from Monterrey Mexico had nearly a million guys in the race. Maybe closer to 12, but it seemed like a million. They had two guys off the front alone after a lap and it stayed that way pretty much the rest of the day.
On the final lap, the field was nearly 3 minutes down on the two Orven guys and another couple minutes back on three more local riders. The pace car officials were giving the field “shit” for not chasing down the lead riders. This is after they had been physically enforcing the center line rule with their vehicle. Go figure.
Finally Brian Jensen, myself and this young guy from Houston, Travis Burandt went to the front with about 8 miles to go and starting riding pretty hard tempo. The wind had finally started to pick up some and gutter riding was starting to work some. Guys started coming off one at a time. After about 3 miles, there were only 10 guys or so left. That is when my teammate, Adam Mills showed up at the front. Both Brian and I were pretty surprised to see Adam and happy to have him rotate. By then there were only 3 Orven guys sitting on the 4 of us that were pulling. We ended up catching the three riders chasing the front group of two. They were still 30 seconds ahead with 1km to go up the final hill to the finish. I was pretty well done. At the bottom of the finish hill, Gonzales Domingo, Orven, jumped us from behind. I didn’t/couldn’t even react. His chain broke a few pedal strokes later, or he would of smeared us by 100 meters at least. Instead he was laying on the ground. His teammate jumped. I tried to follow him, but only made it half way up the hill before I had to sit and pedal slow. A few bike lengths from the finish, Brian and Travis came by, so I ended up 6th. I didn’t really have any expectations for the day, so I was OK with the result. The worst I’ve ever finished at the race was 3rd, but that doesn’t really mean anything. Adam was 9th. He had a good ride.
The best thing about the day/trip was getting to Austin and to Maureen Riopel’s abode. We met her a year ago when Barry Lee from Team San Jose set us up. We came and took over her house. It was one year anniversary officially to take over her house. But, we’ve kept in touch and seen her at Interbike in Las Vegas etc. One of the best things about the sport is the cool people you meet all over the country/world. Friends you have for a lifetime. Her dog Stanley (beautiful golden retriever) and I have a special relationship too. Anyway, we’ve moved in again and are drinking way too much wine again.