Margaret and Dick   

     

    
Atlanta to Austin - Private ride
 

Distance:  13 miles

Rolling speed:  too fast

Total time:  1:05

Calories burned:  762

Weather: spectacular

Other cyclists seen:  150

Muscles:  fine for 22 minutes

Mental state:  high

 

A private ride with Lance is like a private audience with the pope.  150 Peloton Project members who raised at least $10,000 were invited to the "private ride".  The location was changed this year to avoid the party-crashers who have increased over the years.  Amazing that just 30 minutes from city center is a remote training location with hills steep enough to make the buses (and any honest cyclist) groan.  I knew that only the front group was likely to have cycling time with Lance.  Unfortunately the location this year didn't allow for many people riding abreast, so only a lucky few got Lance time.  I struggled valiantly for 22 minutes to climb up through the pack before my muscles gave out.  More importantly, I managed to avoid a pile-up that thinned the front group.  It then occurred to me that old age and cunning often beat youth and inexperience:  I slowed to catch them on the next lap.  I didn't slow enough, however, and the pack turned off toward the buses before catching me.  As I coasted downhill toward the parking area, another cyclist was flying uphill away from the assembled group.  Our relative speed was 40mph or so, but the US Postal jersey and sharp jaw were unmistakeable.  

 

Celebrity, sort of:  One of the local TV stations interviewed me about the ride from Atlanta and then followed me around the bike expo.  I was able to get air time for three companies that helped me greatly on this trip:  Giant Bicycles, PowerBar, and Polar heart rate monitors.  Click here for other helpful recommendations.

 

Lance sings!

The Peloton dinner this year was at the Texas Disposal Systems exotic animal park.  That's right:  a zoo at the dump.  After driving through fields of zebras, gazelles, emu, and bison, we arrived at a lodge as guests of the family that owns TDS.  I stayed away from the mechanical bull and didn't get in too much trouble at the silent auction.  Lance's buddy Lyle Lovett gave us an after-dinner concert, and he insisted that Lance join him in the song "Fat Babies Have No Pride".  A good time was had by all.

 

Yellow jersey