I also discovered a wonderful ‘sanctuary’ in the middle of the city, Arena Monterrey, this was a massive park that contained the old Monterrey power station that has been converted into a tourist attraction; there was a 2-3 mile loop that was twisty curvy with people riding bikes and roller-blading on it; lovers strolling among the numerous trees listening to the music that was being played in the park. It was a very peaceful oasis in the middle of Monterrey’s noisy polluted streets. While riding the bike or walking in the Arena, the mountains that surround the city are prominently featured in the backdrop. I was thinking to myself that this Arena would make for an awesome circuit road race either as part of Tour of Mexico or as a stand-alone race.
On my last day, I managed to join a group ride with the local Mexicans. I first had to ride out to meet them in Enzstanzuela, which was 25km away through a maze of streets. I already knew the general way and it took just over an hour of riding. I was well within time and thought that I would be waiting for them, but a group had already left a couple of minutes prior. I took off in hot pursuit and caught one woman pro rider who had stopped to changed wheels. She drafted off me while I rode hard to catch the group that was up the road. Fortunately it was pretty easy to catch them since they were not going fast. Highway 85 after Enstanzuela was very smooth, the smoothest road in Monterrey! The ride was 45km each way, totaling 90kms. Going out was pretty easy, all downhill/rolling terrain but coming back was a gradual climb the whole way (false flats) and I had chosen to go with the fast group of ten guys after the 40km mark and some of the guys dropped the hammer and we were away. There was one old guy that looked really smooth and looked like one of the old school riders since he had no helmet on and his body positioning on the bike was that his back was almost completely flat. He kept attacking on the short rises and one of the times I jumped onto his wheel, as soon as he saw that I was on his wheel he sat up and I then went into time-trial mode going steady near max effort for the next 20minutes. All he could do was suck my wheel and not pull through. We dropped everyone else and whenever I slowed down enough i.e about 30km/h he would pull through and I would cruise behind him for a little while before I took another pull to increase the pace. One of the big Mexican dudes caught and passed us by drafting a big truck! He lost the truck eventually and about 10 minutes later we caught up with him and several other stragglers from the medium group. We blasted by and he jumped onto us and it was a three man drag back to the car-parking lot. The big Mexican dude wanted to race the last 5-6 miles (he told me so) and kept attacking and I kept jumping with him and the old man too. Eventually the attacks wore down the older man and he was dropped about 3 miles out. The big Mexican guy kept trying to shake me and then about 1mile out I threw in a big attack and he could not respond and I rolled up to the car-park about 500 metres in front! Good training ride with some race pace efforts in it! I hung out with a few of the Mexican riders, some of them could speak English and I drunk a couple of ice cold cokes. When the weather is hot and you have exerted yourself, sometimes the cold coke never tastes so good!! I had to ride another 25km back home, totaling 130km for the day.
My trip back to Texas via the Laredo US border went pretty smoothly and I was given another six month visa, but I won’t be needing the full time period as I will be leaving for Taiwan on September 1st to compete in the Deaf Olynpics!