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.
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.