The daily updates had to take a hiatus while we were at the Hickory Ridge Campgrounds in the Oklahoma Ouachitas.
When we arrived Tuesday afternoon, we ate a quick lunch then suited up for an “easy” ride. Which, for the most part, it wasn’t bad other than cruising up a 3 mile climb (the guys actually had to practice a rotation/leadout on that one) before turning around and heading back. Along the way, we did a little more paceline work and wrapped it up with a hectic leadout/sprint against the guys on the road leading to the campground. After a shower & some dinner, we gathered around the campfire for a little team bonding time.
Wednesday was one of the hardest training days I’ve ever experienced. We rolled out to the same 3 mile climb that we’d gone to the day before, but this time, for an individual TT effort (timed by Nathan). Once everone topped the hill, we went back down into a valley, where the guys split off, and we started a fast-paced rotation. My radio died, and I had no idea what was happening, so I just kept following everyone. After what seemed like forever (but was probably around 20 miles), we reached a set of three small climbs. On the first climb, I managed to get dropped about halfway up. Apparently, Nathan was screaming at me over the radio until I caught back to the group and he found out that I hadn’t heard a single word he’d said! Somehow I managed the other two climbs without incident. Once we re-grouped at a ranger station, we received instructio for our next TT effort- the 8-mile “radio tower” climb. After the previous efforts, this seemed like a tall order, but somehow we all pulled it off. Afterward, we rolled back into camp- just over 100 miles for the day! New Year’s Eve was not too festive… I think we were all passed out by 9:30 or so!
Today (Thursday) was reletively easier. The guys had to ride from camp while we got a van ride to the town of Talahina to roll out to the same radio tower climb that we’d been to the day before. This time, it was our turn to practice a rotation/leadout for the climbers. I felt pretty good considering the previous day’s effort, and was able to hold a nice tempo before pulling off about halfway up the first part of the climb. We finished the remaining climb and were told to continue back to the town across the “byway” which is a series of 12 ~1k climbs. Those things were STEEP!
Once we were back in town, we piled back into the van while the guys motorpaced behind us part of the way back to the campgrounds. It was pretty fun to watch out the rear window of the van:
All in all, it was a good time. Hard work, but a good time. Tomorrow, we’ll be working on crit skills. It’s going to be another tough day for sure!