Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beginning of the Last

Today marked the last real training session before the end of the season and it was both rewarding and arduous. Rewarding to know that it has been a wonderful first season as a pro cyclist with many new experiences and tons of growth. It was arduous though because it is the end of the season and dragging yourself out the door for 5+ hours in sub 60 degree temperatures with strong winds on primarily open farm fields is not the easiest. Chris and I stuck it out together though and tonight I feel quite whooped! The wind really takes it out of you. Besides the wind though, it was actually beautiful fall type weather. The kind of weather I actually really really like, but preferably without the strong winds. Nonetheless, I continue.

We began the ride with a friend of Chris's from when he was here 13 years ago. I just followed shortly behind them for the first 75 minutes while they were chatting and catching up. I just took in the views and enjoyed the forest we were going through. Somehow during the time we rode with Chris's friend, we were in surprisingly covered and nice territory; whereas, the other days Chris and I rode, we were in kind of open and almost desolate type landscape.

After David (Chris's friend) turned back, we ventured onward trying to fill the rest of our training time for the day. We rode into a bigger city and Chris thought he remembered there was some nice chateau or castle/palace type thing in the center of the city, so we went toward the center. We turned a corner and bam! There it was, a big, French... palace? I don't know for sure how to call it, but it was quite spectacular looking and obviously a tourist attraction. At this time, Chris was also due for a Coke and pastry stop, so we headed to a small restaurant and each ordered a small little quiche cake and some other stuff. The quiche was excellent and left each of us well satisfied. It was time to venture on.

We rolled back out of the city and down the same road we had come on. Taking a different turn out of a roundabout though, we pedaled through a beautiful forested area with rolling hills and a seemingly different atmosphere to it. It felt more like northern Wisconsin/Minnesota than it did France. Unfortunately after 10-15km that ended and we found ourselves on the all too familiar open farmland with strong winds, now unprotected by the trees. It was a long 90ish minutes of seemingly futile, but incredibly tiring riding in the wind before we finally dropped back down into a more protected area and somewhere Chris was actually kind of familiar with. It had been nearly 2 hours of sort of aimless riding just having a general sense of where we might have been, but not really sure. I was using the sun as a compass to judge that we were maybe headed back to where we needed to be!

Being back in familiar territory, Chris thought he remembered a small climb over a ridge that he used to do when Gallopin would motorpace him, so we tried it. Incredibly promising and quite a nice climb for about 2km turned into a dirt road in a farm field, but I was following Chris's lead and he was committed. Unsure the distance, I simply pedaled on and as the road sketched the farm field it was rocky, then dirty, then muddy, then it was Paris-Roubaix: battle Chris and Matthew. In the end of the probably 3km stretch of Paris-Roubaix, I was the winner and Chris had to settle for 2nd (and last!!) Ha. Fun and games over we carried on and it was soon time for another Coke and snack. A quick stop at a mini mart provided a good basking in the sun while consuming a banana and small bottle of chocolate milk. Only 45 minutes left!

Chris was refueled by his Coke and we were stoked. After about 10 minutes, I realized the milk was not such a good choice, but now it was too late. Maybe I'll remember that for next time. We got home after another quick stop in town to pick up some lunch supplies and it was finished. Although it was not that difficult of a ride by the numbers, riding in the wind like that really takes it out of you.

A last, wonderful dinner tonight and we depart tomorrow for Italy. We'll see what the weekend holds, but hopefully good weather and great teamwork can help Team RadioShack end the season on a high note. Stay tuned!

Picture 1: A beautiful forest road, David and Chris.
Picture 2, 3: The French... palace, chateau... whatever spectacle it is.
Picture 4: Just a French city/town picture. Kind of random.

1 comment:

Carson said...

That just looks so amazing! Congrats to you man! Hope to catch up with you sometime!