The rush of seeing so many cyclists sharing the road on what is a weekly ride through Austin is always a rush. My ride this morning intersected with theirs and it is always quite a sight to see 150 riders (triathletes and roadies all getting along) challenging one another on the Austin Tri Cyclist ride. It's the biggest weekly ride in Texas and one of the most intense with top-tier riders including the likes of Desiree Ficker, Cat 1,2, 3 and 4 riders and several teams. It is a goal of mine to feel confident enough this season to suit up and join in -- hoping to hang on to the back of the "B" group for at least most of the ride. After the last few rides I am building the speed and confidence to feel like that may be reality this season.
Our ride this morning included Spence and one of his friends who joined us for the first time. JC is getting ready for his first tri and it was great to be out on the road this morning with the two of them. We hit it early because we all had kid commitments later in the day and man I am glad we went when we did. The crisp morning air was perfect. Overcast enough to keep the sun from heating things up, and a perfect morning to challenge ourselves and our fitness. We decided on upping the challenge factor and taking a route that included some pretty good hills.
It is absolutely one of my favorite rides and gets me fired up every time. The first five miles we settled in and before long I realized it was getting quiet. I'd lost the voices and sounds of other bikes around me. I looked back to see something that was foreign -- I had put some distance on Spence. It was validation that the weight loss, honest effort exerted and hard work was paying off in many areas. I was also stoked to feel my jersey flailing in the wind. It may not be the most aerodynamic but it was great to see that there was less of me in it.
Climbing the hills, enjoying the speed of the downhills and, of course, soaking in the morning with friends...it was about as perfect as it could have been. When I pulled in the garage at the end I checked our average speed and was happy to see an 18.1 mph avg (17.3 was a previous best for the route.) It included a few times of pulling up and regrouping and probably could have been faster, but on this morning it couldn't have been any better. I'm looking forward to seeing JC catch the bug and watching Spence and I continue our improvement. These are the mornings that drive us when we wonder why we're doing what we're doing. These are the mornings when honest effort is rewarded -- GREATLY.
Bike SW Pkway/BeeCaves Loop