Monday, February 26, 2007

Just Keep Fighting

Had an interesting experience today. 20-25 mph winds outta the north all day, low 40F temps, and I almost gave up on riding. But at 3 pm I screwed up my courage, and decided to ride into the wind as far as I could stand, knowing the return trip would be fun, fun, fun.

Every half-mile along this exposed and somewhat county-type road, I would approach another intersection and think that this one might be where I turn her about. But no. Just kept on fighting.

Then I approached a 300-yard 3% grade -- halfway to my usual turn-around point -- still with wind blasting directly in my face. I decided that I would climb it and turn around at the top. But then I saw a rider in my mirror, and although I was going 12.5 mph, pretty good for the conditions, he was catching up with me. I couldn't believe it. That didn't happen to me but two or three times last year. So I cranked 'er up to 14.5 mph... but he still kept gaining on me.

Halfway up the hill, when I thought he was going to blow past me, he instead parked in my slipstream and drafted behind me the final 150 yards uphill. At the top, he pulled up next to me, smiled and thanked me for the pull, then turned right at the intersection. Wow, that was kinda neat, I thought.

He was wearing full team kit and wasn't very big (while I am the opposite -- FredGear and a behemoth) so I must have presented a huge and irresistable wind shadow to him -- worth the extra effort to catch up with. After another half-mile past the point where he turned, I was still riding into the wind and I realized I had forgotten all about turning around. So I decided to keep on fighting the rest of the way, another five miles, to the final 10% grades and Bingham Hill -- my usual turn-around point for a 22-mile round-trip ride.

And yes, the return trip was fun, fun, fun. Top speed... 44.0 mph! Yippee!!

3 Comments:

Blogger John said...

That's awesome. Great story Howard. I had a similar experience (forgetting or postponing turning around) about 25 years ago. I was watching the Tigers in game seven of the world series in October of '84 and was getting all stressed out. I decided to go for a short run thinking that it would calm me down. I got out about 3 miles and thought about turning around, but I was terrified that my Tigers would be losing, so I just kept running. Ended up turning around about the 5.5 mile mark and came home after running 11 miles to see my boys celebrating on the field. It was awesome.
Thanks,
J

8:57 AM, February 27, 2007  
Blogger Dave Moulton said...

Great story; I've done similar rides out against the wind only to have the wind drop in intensity, or worse still change direction on the way back. That's when you know the Gods are against you.

11:06 AM, February 27, 2007  
Anonymous Gene said...

I thought you were going to tell us it was the "Ghost Rider of the Plains" ... you know the cyclist that was buried in a dust storm 20 years ago, and the only people who see him now are oxygen-starved solo bike riders.
Great story. Sounds like you're racking up the mileage.

1:02 PM, February 28, 2007  

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