Isn’t it interesting that your perception of a place can be completely dictated by the people you know there? I have been to Las Vegas on three occasions to stay with my very good friends, Johnathan and Mai Linh. Immediately I was invited into their community of cyclists that live in Sin City. My perception of Vegas is not the strip, not the casinos and not the gentlemen’s clubs, but to good healthy living, lots of laughs and great enthusiasm for cycling and life.... Isn’t it interesting that your perception of a place can be completely dictated by the people you know there? I have been to Las Vegas on three occasions to stay with my very good friends, Johnathan and Mai Linh. Immediately I was invited into their community of cyclists that live in Sin City. My perception of Vegas is not the strip, not the casinos and not the gentlemen’s clubs, but to good healthy living, lots of laughs and great enthusiasm for cycling and life.
Last Friday I repacked my bag for the umpteenth time since Christmas, the result of 8 weeks living on the road. Not wanting to deal with the stress of packing snugly enough to get on an airplane, I rented a car and drove myself from San Diego, through the desert to Las Vegas. The Callville Bay Classic is a first year race that local Mike Olsen put together this year, all based around a marina on Lake Mead, the home of the Hoover Dam.
I knew these roads from training out here previously and I knew that the terrain was going to be quite challenging to race on. Saturday morning started with an uphill time trial. After not really opening the tank since finishing the Tour of California last week, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel but I did want to put in some big efforts this weekend and I came away with the win in the time trial.
My only Fly V Australia presented by Successful Living teammate at this race, Michael “Grabbo” Grabinger, had healed up after coming down sick in California and was here to do some damage with me. We were heavily outnumbered in the road race, a 140km affair which had everything, except for flat roads! Imagine the desert with rolling dunes and riding up and down them all day…..no rest for the wicked. To come out with the win, we needed to race intelligently but take the bull by the horns when it was required. Grabbo did a great job in following a lot of moves to discourage groups getting up the road, enabling me to conserve my energy for an all-out attack. After 90km the race was starting to get a little stagnant and I felt it was time. I attacked and bridged across to a group of breakaway riders whilst Grabbo discouraged the chasers behind me. As I reached the breakaway they were just starting to come undone and only one of them was able to tack onto my wheel. Tommy Nelson from the Liquid Fitness team had spent a long day up the road and he was coming along for the ride. I definitely wanted the company with 50km to go and 4 of his teammates behind me and Tommy was good enough for the win on the stage, but importantly, I secured my lead on the general classification for the tour. Grabbo behind me soloed in for third and was now sitting 4th on GC. A strong result for the Fly V Australia team!
The final stage of the tour was a criterium overlooking the lake. My goal on this stage was to just stay out of trouble, secure the GC win and try to get Grabbo a few bonus seconds on the finish line to move up to third. We managed to achieve these things except for the bonus seconds. It was a great weekend of racing though and the road race was an awesome 50km TT workout! The best part of the weekend though, were the friends and laughs.