The one thing that stands out to me the most though, is that my mentality hasn't been worn down at all. I think its the people I train with that I have to thank for this. Being in the saddle for 5 or 6 hours straight by yourself can be pretty wearing on the mind. Having a group or a training partner to ride with can make all the difference in the world when gathering the motivation for those longer hours.
As I said in my last post, I've met up with a few of the Trek Livestrong riders that are living in Austin for some training. Getting 5 hour rides in with Nate, Gavin and Lawson is always a great experience. There's always something to talk about as well, whether its asking for their advice on the sport, listening to Lawson make fun of my Garmin or just talking about what most teenagers talk about, girls and parties, haha. There's never a dull moment, except for the occasional short, 18% grade uphills known as "conversation killers." The point is, being able to train with other people makes the riding less painful, more enjoyable, and so much easier.
This past Sunday was my last ride with the guys before I head back to VA tomorrow morning to finish up winter training and get ready for the 2012 race season. We all met up at a cafe in downtown Austin for some coffee before heading off. The ride consisted of 5 hours with Kristian House, Nate, Lawson, Gavin and Glenn Kasin, Trek Livestrong's sponsorship manager, who only joined us for the first 30 minutes. The weather, besides being a little cold when we first got started, turned out to be nice enough for the gloves and arm-warmers to come off, which is always good.
Although the ride turned out to be great, I was having different thoughts in the beginning when less than 5 minutes into it I flatted...I'll be honest, having only been cycling for a little over a year now, I haven't had much practice when it comes to changing flats. Nevertheless I got to work. The extra stop gave Lawson some time to visit the gas station across the street for some extra snacks. So, in a way I was a hero (not really) and a few minutes later, we were back on the road.
As it turns out I wasn't the only one in store for a flat. Nate flatted right on the finishing stretch, an unlucky day for tubes. It did make me feel a little better about holding everyone up in the morning though.
So, other than the two flats, and also the devastation of finding out that Lawson's favorite pudding caffe is closed on Sundays, it was an awesome day. Oh and one final note, how about Will Clarke's 70k solo victory in yesterday's Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under?! EPIC!