Training and Racing in Saxony

Wehlener Bergrennen
I hooked up with a couple local racers here in Dresden this past weekend - Dirk and Uwe. Saturday they dragged me up and down the Ore Mountains for 135 km. I had told them that I wasn't a climber but they said that's alright - they weren't in a hurry. Big mistake - never be the slowest guy on the team in a team time trial or on a training ride in the mountains. Not wanting to embarrass myself too badly I took the lead on an early climb. I guess they figured I could keep up w/ anything after that, which I did, more or less, but not without substantial gagging, bleeding from my eyeballs, etc.

So afterwards, when we got back into town and stopped in for a coffee and cake, they asked me if I wanted to go to a local training race the next day. "It's only a 50 km race, it's only 35 km away, and it's flat." OK, well I was hammered from the mountains, but what the hell - it would be flat. Well it turned out that they meant the ride to the race and return was flat. The race was in  Stadt Wehlen, which is basically built on the hillside between the Elbe River and the plateau above the river. The race was 7 laps up and down the damn hillside. About 3 km of 8% average grade (varying b/t 3% and 12%) on the way up. Turn around and race back down. Repeat until you've gone blind. There were about 100 starters - all categories starting together. Although it was technically only open to unlicensed riders, licensed riders could race, they just weren't elegible for prizes. I foolishly signed up for the open race, rather than the Senioren II (50+), who only did 4 laps. By the time we reached the top on the first lap there were only 20 of us together. I couldn't see anyone behind me. On the second lap, I was dropped from this group. On the third lap the first chase group caught me. On the 4th and succeeding lap, I was basically racing alone. LOL. My two racing buddies got 6th and 10th. I was glad just not to be going up the damn hill anymore.

Afterwards there were almost as many door prizes as racers. The Burgermeister was on stage calling the numbers of the winners; I couldn't understand a damn thing other than the numbers, and I knew I wasn't hearing mine. Then my buddy Dirk came up to me and told me they were announcing a prize for the person who came the furthest for the race (I'm pretty sure Dirk set this up). That would be me. I couldn't really understand what the Burgermeister was saying, but I gather that (a) there was some concern whether I was related to George Bush, and (b) the helmet that I won was particularly appropriate since everyone in Texas rides a horse.

After all the festivities were done we rode home, which meant going up the hill one last time before crossing the plateau back to Dresden.
Total for the day: 125 km., 4 post-race pieces of cake, 2 post-race coffees, 1 post-ride plate of potato wedges with quark, .128 sore bones and muscles.

When I finally got back to my room, I got to catch the end of the Cyclassics where Allessandro Ballaan made a brilliant, phenomenal last kilometer move to win the race. Later, zaz 


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