Last night I took Team ThinkCash to Dallas for dinner and the TX Tough Grand Prix criterium. This was a reward for everyone’s hard work at training and raising money for a great cause. This was also the first real bike race for most of the team. The course looped around Victory Park and made for an awesome venue.
We got to Dallas early and had dinner at Kenichi – easily the best sushi in Dallas ( I recommend the Blake Roll and the Wild Salmon Goat Cheese). We had a great table at the window that overlooked the race course. So we actually watched the first 15 minutes of the race from our table while we had desert.
The energy at the event was awesome. The crowd was crazy, there was music, all of the giant HD screens in AT&T plaza were showing the race from different corners and the racing was hard and fast. We got so into it that we pooled together $300 and gave it to the announcers to do a “Team ThinkCash” prime with about 10 laps to go. I was actually happy that Texas’s own Patrick McCarty of Garmin-Chipotle won our prime.
Health Blackgrove of Toyota-United took the lead at the 75-minute mark, leading with five laps left and winning a $1,000 prize. He increased his lead in the next three laps to about 15 seconds. The field closed the gap to a few seconds, but then Blackgrove opened it up again and won comfortably.
More than 90 professional and elite amateur (Cat 1/2) riders started the event, but only 36 riders finished the race (I clocked a couple laps where the field was doing 36 mph). It was cool to see some of the local “Texas Big Guns” mixing it up with the pros (it makes the rest of us realize that there is always someone faster).
I really hope this becomes a regular event because it has the potential to be huge – it is hard for words to describe what a great setting that was for a bike race.