Wow. The phrase that I used in an earlier post, “be careful what you wish for,” held true again this past week. Last Saturday I was so excited to ride outside. Even though the forecast was for chilly temps and wind, I was set on breaking out of the pain cave no matter what. I changed out my trainer tire for a road tire, attached my trusty Speedfil, put on some warm weather gear, got my nutrition ready, etc… man! I forgot how long it takes to actually get out the door. Where I live, riding isn’t great going east or west… too much traffic and stoplights. The best options are heading south. My plan was to ride 25 miles one way out and back along a nice new road that was finished a few months ago. It’s smooth, has a dedicated bike lane, and some challenging hills. The wind was blowing from the north, so by heading south I immediately had a tailwind. Initially I felt great... I was plenty warm and loving it. I knew I had the wind at my back, but had no idea how strong it was. It’s strange that you seldom realize the extent of a tailwind helping you. It gets quiet, and you feel like you’re moving pretty well, but you don’t fully appreciate the push you’re getting. My objective for this ride was just to get a nice, long outdoor ride in. I had no speed goals, and wasn’t pushing hard at all. I made it to my turnaround point in just over an hour. “Man that went quick,” I thought. I turned around, headed north, and immediately realized I was in for an MMA-style cage match with the wind.
it's a bad sign when these guys get spinning
I got as aero as I could and tried to think of it as a good mental challenge… similar to how it might be again at St. George, I thought, and I focused on not letting myself get frustrated. I made it a mile or so. An onslaught of tiny pebbles bouncing off my face triggered my first complaint, as I spit out some dirt and muttered “are you kidding me??” Last year around this time I rode 80 miles in similar conditions, but that was with a friend who I drafted behind half the time. On this day I was alone and completely exposed to the elements. I hit the first major hill and could barely turn the pedals over... it took all my strength just to stay upright.I finally crested the hill, which would normally send me flying 30-40 mph down the other side. Instead, I topped out at 14 mph! My goal of staying positive deteriorated more and more with time, and I periodically yelled my disapproval into the raucous wind. I couldn’t wait to be done. My goal became simply to keep moving, but as I became more and more exhausted I welcomed red stoplights with open arms. Eventually I had to stop to relieve myself, pulling off the side of the road and making sure to aim south… let’s just say I got incredible distance. What took me around 1:10 out took me ~2:20 back. I finally pulled into my driveway, happy to be home.While I hate riding in conditions like that, hopefully that experience will make me stronger for the next time... both in body and in mind!