Gui and I just got back to Austin from a whirlwind weekend in California (I'm sifting through 500+ pictures, so much more on that later), but before we left, we participated in the annual Urban Assault Ride through Austin. It's a bike ride with pit-stops all around the city and fun obstacle courses throughout. The whole thing is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing and started 9 years ago in the Live Music Capital. I remember missing out on all the fun last year when we were still 5,000 miles away in lovely Paris, but this year our friend Melynda gifted us the registration to the event for our birthdays and we've been counting down since!
A couple of weeks leading up to the ride, Gui and I started taking a cycle strengthening class in preparation. Even though it took me 4 classes to be on pace with everyone else, it was hands-down the smartest thing we did to prepare for the course. Even as early as 8 a.m., riding for 20-something miles during the summer in Austin is no easy task (well, at least not for a beginning cycler like me).
We managed to keep a good pace, though and with the encouragement of our friends Melynda and Carolina who were a team all their own, we finished the ride 152nd overall out of 540+ teams, and 76th out of nearly 300 coed teams. I've never done a ride like that before, but it was wonderfully organized and the obstacles at each stop were so much fun that I hope we can make it a yearly event. The best part for me was remembering routes that I'd long forgotten and discovering how much more bike-friendly Austin has become since I've been living on the other side of the world. The worst part: remembering how hot it gets in Austin in the summer.