Kevin survived his boat trip (as well as a day excursion to Louisiana) and was back in the saddle with Lee and me yesterday. We met at my place as always, and as usual were in two (or even three) minds about our ride route. We're all a bit bored with Zube so it came down to a toss-up between Sealy (vicious climbs, shorter ride, tail wind at the end) or Pattison (some tough rollers, longer run, tail wind at the end). I expressed a strong preference for Pattison, and pointed out that after the rain on Friday, the creek crossing on the Sealy run that's normally dry would be a raging torrent (ok, a little exaggeration here but I really didn't fancy Alpe de Sealy so early in the training season). In the end Lee cast the deciding vote for Pattison and that's where we went.
We geared up under cloudy skies with the temperature in the high 40's and a forecast that it wouldn't warm up much by noon. Everyone had their own idea of what to wear and we ended up looking pretty rag-tag. I had leg warmers but bare arms, Kevin had arm warmers but bare legs, and Lee had several layers on top but nothing below (save for cycling shorts of course).
The first 10 miles are more or less due north, which meant into a tough head wind. As ever Kevin lead the charge and I did my best to hang on. We turned west, joining the MS 150 route, and with the wind now on our quarter we made much better speed. Once across the Brazos we're in Sheriff Buford T.Justice's Austin county and he was good enough to throw in some stiff rollers to see what we were made of.
Marshmallow in my case as it turned out. Lee struggled a bit too but Kevin was away. 10 miles of punishment finally got us into Bellville and we took a much-needed (for me anyway) break at a Valero station. A cheerful local got out of his truck and asked us how far we'd been already. I told him we'd come from Pattison but would be glad to throw our bikes into the back of his truck if he was heading that way. Sadly he wasn't.
So off we go again, looking at 15 miles of rollers before making the turn south and getting a tail-wind assist home. This time I struggled on the climbs and the other two had to wait for me at the top of just about every hill. Lee was much stronger on the run back than he had been on the way out, which he attributed to his consumption of fig newtons at the Valero. He speculated that if Lance had gone for those funny little cookies instead of EPO he might still be racing, but we'll never know.
Once on the run south our speed picked up dramatically, at least for a few miles before we hit the last few rollers. But I managed a good spurt up the last climb, finishing strongly (and thankfully not making the other two wait for me!)