Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Everyone Knows It's Windy...

Oh, look at that flag, standing proudly out against the sky.  What a pretty and patriotic display that…

Uh-Oh.  Wait a minute.  Does that mean that I’m about to get hit by a crosswind?

Yes.  Yes, it does.

Except that I don’t think the wind is just cross.  I think it’s flat out ticked off.

No, no.  The wind is my friend.  It’s talking to me.

“Don’t you want to get stronger?”

Yes, I do.”

“I can help you with that.”

Oof.  2 long miles in the crosswind.  Oh, but now I’ve turned and am in a tailwind.  Gear up, and up again, and up again, and now I’m flying effortlessly along at a nice clip, so what do I do?  Click.  Gear up again, of course, so now it’s work, and I’m really flying, but this stretch is not even a mile long, but I’m going to take my speed into this turn and cruise…no…car up, coming toward me.

Anonymous cyclist I heard once:  I’d almost rather get hit by a car than have to stop.

Loony cycling blogger:  No thanks.  I’d rather stop.

So, I hit the brakes, scrub off speed, get ready to unclip…oh, now the car signals and changes lanes and is clearly turning right, and if I’d known that I could have cruised around this turn…oh, well.  Now I’m going about 3 miles an hour when I come to the turn and am into the crosswind again, except now it’s even more cross than it was before.

Oh, wait.  Doesn’t this mean that, when I turn for those last three miles that I’m going to be in a headwind?  Well, not necessarily.  The wind could change direction before then, right?  Right.

Not right.
Well, at least it’s a steady headwind.  All I have to do is settle in and find my rhythm, ride within myself and don’t think about how long it’s going to last.  Oh, look, there are those lines on the road again.  I still don’t know what they’re measuring.

Then a sports car with a VERY loud engine blows past me.  On this particular road, I’m going about 40 mph under the speed limit.  He’s doing at least 10-15 mph above the speed limit, but at least he gave me the whole lane.  I like him for that.  I don’t like that pickup truck, though.  It was probably doing the speed limit, but the driver is clearly thinking something like, “Hey, that’s a skinny bike.  A fifth of the lane is enough for him.”   Please pass the cyclist gently, giving him plenty of room.  Thank you very much.

How much longer does this headwind go on?

When I got home I checked some data.  Let’s see…the wind was blowing 10 mph and more harder today than the last time I rode this route, and it only took half a mile an hour off my pace.  Nice.  I guess it’s time to lengthen the route again.

Fifteen miles, here I come.

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