This past weekend Bryan and I spent in Austin, Texas for Bryan’s 10th Anniversary of the legendary Texas 4000 ride. The 2006 team had a great turnout and I think a ton of fun this weekend. I’d like Bryan to give his take on the weekend, being that this is his team and this event means a ton to Bryan, his experience with his friends also probably warrants a different experience from my own and a different summary of the weekend. But here is my version of the weekend.
I jinxed myself. Something I was really worried I had done with my last entry about having not gotten sick during all of our training. But I woke up Friday morning to a major sore throat and wasn’t too happy about it. It was sunny and warm in Seattle and after finished packing up our bags Bryan and I departed for the airport via bus and light rail just before nine in the morning. We had plenty of time, given that we were able to use TSA precheck for the first time and we weren’t checking bags. We had awesome views of Rainier, a brunch of Burger King and Starbuck’s, while we waited for our plane. The flight was uneventful and around 5:30 pm Austin-time we were picking up our rental SUV for the weekend and heading to downtown Austin. First stop was Mellow Johnny’s for my luxe rental bike for the ride. Then we headed to Torchy’s Tacos for some amazing taco and burrito amazingness for dinner. Bryan enjoyed his burrito and bites of my three huge and expensive tacos of baja shrimp (favorite), pork chile verde, and barbacoa beef. We surprisingly ran into one of the alumni riders from Bryan’s year at Torchy’s too which was funny. We checked in at our hotel, changed shoes and then made our way to Ky and Sue’s for the welcome/kickoff party. This was my first introduction to most all of the team members. I had only met Paul and Kate, Ky and Sue, and Nate previous to this trip. Lots of faces, many names, some plus ones, snacks, drinks, downpouring rain and thunderstorms pursued. We all stayed until about 11:30 when we realized that we were biking early in the morning the next day and needed to get our rest.
But I didn’t rest too well. My sore throat I think prevented me from sleeping well and I only got about 4 hours of restless sleep. But at 6:15 am Bryan and I were awake and readying ourselves for the ride. I was lucky enough to get to wear one of Bryan’s two bike jerseys from the ride so I actually fit in with the team. I was also donning my very first padded bike shorts which I was happy to have. I was one of the few riders without clip-in shoes but I had a super nice bike to help me feel confident. Bryan and I arrived with time to spare. We picked up our rider packets, got some Dunkin Donuts coffee and munchkins (I miss DD!!!) and waited for the other 06ers to arrive. They finally reached the start line after all the other riders had started out. Our group all started the ride together with tremendous amounts of adrenaline. The first 17 miles to the first checkpoint were super easy. They went by fast and everyone was conversing to make the time pass. First rest stop was a long one as we waited for the whole group to arrive, including some late risers. All rest stops included: bananas, oranges, watermelon, oreos, pb&js, pickle juice, Kind bars, and my new favorite Nuun energy drinks and water.
Second stretch began and this one felt like the longest but was only 12 miles. I think this had some to do with a constant mist messing with my vision and then shortly after the sun finally coming out and the temps rising. The second checkpoint came and went with bathroom breaks and more snacks. The third leg began and I could feel my muscles were starting to feel the distance. This was the best portion of the ride and also the hilliest. For the next 14 miles it was pretty much rolling hills with a few water crossings on the road thanks to the heavy rains that precluded the race. Once we reached the last checkpoint my legs were tired and my butt seat was more or less numb but unfortunately not numb to the pain of the seat. Our last snacks were had quickly before we hopped back on to hurry up and get to the finish line. We had 10 miles left and they were SLOW ones for Bryan and I, because of me. I took my time but made it up every hill and kept close to a 10 mph pace. Crossing the finish line and getting off my bike did not come soon enough. It was now hot out with full sun and little shade but a good amount of headwinds. It was also almost 1 pm so we had been more or less on our bikes for somewhere between 4 and 5 hours, including our rest stops.
The after party treated us to a Texas BBQ with chicken and sausage (no ribs or brisket), potato salad, coleslaw, beans, and pickles. Oh the pickles tasted so good after the ride. I also had a fair amount of iced tea before cashing in my rider vouchers for a free Michelob Ultra. We all hung out eating and talking and listening to the live band for awhile. The team got their photo taken altogether before we headed out on bike three miles to the house the group had rented. There were over 20 people that went in on an Airbnb ranch in Lampasas, Texas, where the ride ended. The house had tons of beds for our group, a great socializing area inside, a deck outside, large fire pit, and a great pool that felt good to rinse ourselves off in after the ride. The pool was naturally where everyone headed. The sun was out, the snacks were out, and the keg was tapped.
Now begins the never-ending stories, memories, photos and whatnot of the trip. From pretty much 3 pm until 9 pm that night the team reminisced. I sat and listened and generally they made me laugh. It was a long night though and after the ride and spending time outside in Central Texas I started to really feeling tired and sick. Apparently I now have allergies in my old years. I was sneezing and stuffed up and had a horrible headache. I managed to last through the group getting takeout of fried chicken, fried okra and more BBQ side dishes and even lasted through the giant Costco sheet cake with Happy Anniversary spelled out on the cake. I managed to swing outside in the hammock for a good while and then decided I needed some good rest. Bryan and many others continued on outside at the fire pit but even with how much I love a campfire I was in bed and not moving.
Sunday morning we woke late, lazy, and slow. The group assembled a breakfast of breakfast tacos, fruit and leftover cake that cured me some and then we moved back to the pool. Everyone was moving in slow motion and we generally just lazed around the pool until about 2 pm when we had to start packing up the house. We packed up and moved out for our drive back to the starting line of the ride. Man, we went a long ways. It took us what felt like an hour to make our way back to the beginning of the ride and in that moment I felt really good about the ground that I covered on the bike. We said our goodbyes to everyone and got back in our rental car. We had two bikes to drop off which we did without trouble. We then parked near UT’s campus for Bryan to show me around a bit on foot. We walked through a few buildings, including the Aerospace building where Bryan spent much of his time. He showed me the tower, the main “malls” and the union before we had to start making our way to the airport. I was glad to see his campus and more parts of Austin. We made it to the airport fine and again had a bunch of time to kill. Bryan stood in line for a Salt Lick sliced brisket sandwich which he really enjoyed but my head was about at its worst and I still didn’t have the appetite for it. We flew from Austin to Dallas with no problem. In Dallas our flight was delayed an hour and so I had plenty of time to get Chinese dinner from Manchu Wok and then split a large Wendy’s chocolate frosty with Bryan at our gate. Our second flight was again without any problems, except for the delay, which delivered us to Seatac after 1:30 am. Fortunately, we split a Nyquil packet and both of us slept well on the plane and again once we got home so fortunately neither of us are hurting too bad our first day back to work, except for paying the $54 taxi ride home. Ouch!
Happy to be home and still letting my head clear of all of the nonsense. It better fast because training presumes Tuesday and right now I can’t imagine running a mile!