#bikehour – 1/24/2015 and 1/25/2015 – “spring forward to winter”

January 26, 2015

Two more successful days logged in the streak, which now stands at 9.

Last few days have been a rollercoaster series of “highs” for the still-very-young streak:

Friday’s ride was the coldest on the streak to date (around 18-20 degrees).

Saturday’s was the longest on the streak to date (18.3 miles).

Sunday’s was the windiest and also rainiest on the streak to date.

The wind Sunday morning was bananas. Having looked ahead at the forecast, I knew it was going to be windy all day, and that the earlier start I could get, the better. Even at 5 AM, wind was already a sustained 15-20 mph with very strong gusts; and later on it was only heavier. I got rolling around 6:20 AM. The plan was to ride north on 59 to Sand Creek, go west a mile or two, double back, cross over 59 on Sand Creek, then south on Montana/Davis and back. Fundamentally the same rectangle I did on, I think, day 1.

With the wind coming strongly from the WNW, I knew that paradoxically, there wasn’t really going to be ANY part of today’s ride where I wouldn’t battle it, and that turned out true.

Immediately on my way north out of town, I felt the wind. The first half mile or so it didn’t seem that awesome, but it soon imposed itself. After probably 1.5 miles, sheets of cold rain were falling nearly horizontally on me from the west (my left) in the dark as I climbed over the overpass north of town. There was NO traffic out, which was a blessing, because tacking against the wind resulted in a jagged course for me.

At times the wind felt like a physical force pressing against my entire body like a giant hand. But that wasn’t as unpleasant as the huge gusts that would rise up and attempt to push me over. At least half a dozen times on the ride (no exaggeration) I said “good God” out loud in response to these blasts.

I reached Sand Creek, gradually, the rain still coming down, occasionally stinging my leg or face. As planned, I turned west, but this leg of the trip was even harder than the difficulty I knew awaited me. I was going *mostly* directly into the wind, and from time to time huge gusts would attempt to either undercut my bike, taking the tires out from below me, or else push me directly over. It was anything but pleasant and yet still, a spark of joy remained 🙂 I was proud that I was sticking it out in these conditions and going through the streak. One thought ran through my head that on future rando days, I may well have to battle dozens of miles of this. Another thought, very early on in the ride was that if I didn’t have this streak going, no way in HELL would I have gotten out at 6 AM on a morning like this to ride (and later would have been even worse, from a wind perspective, although not rain).

So after only a short distance (maybe a mile, or less) on Sand Creek, I doubled back to take it east to Montana. This was the most “wind-friendly” part of the ride (also the rain had let up around halfway to Montana), but as mentioned above, it wasn’t carefree. Owing to the direction and intensity of wind, even on this portion the wind occasionally tried to push me over or take out my tires. I made it with relatively good time (sometimes simply coasting and concentrating on keeping the bike upright instead of introducing instability with pedaling) to Montana, and turned down.

Realizing I would arrive home with a shade under 10, I turned off of 68 highway about halfway to 59, for another little loop north and then back east. Repeat in microcosm form the earlier part of the ride. Battle hard northward; when finally turn east, get pushed along like a locomotive albeit one that tries to knock you over with the occasional blast from the side; then turn south.

I did make it home without incident, though not without a few jolts of adrenaline, ending with 12 miles and an average speed of 12 mph in these crazy conditions.

What a contrast had been Saturday evening’s ride. I’d set out at 4:30 PM into what literally was like a spring day. Shorts, my red T-shirt (!) and fingerless (!) gloves. It was niiiice – like an early preview of spring. I opted for a straightforward ride to Princeton and back, totaling 18.3 miles. Wind was pretty strong, from the SSW, so I was pushing into a decent headwind at first but then had a decent tailwind to end. Upon reaching my familiar haunt of Subway at ride’s end I found myself wanting to ride a lot more, but a) I’d not brought the headlights, knowing that I would finish before dark, and b) I knew that I had this beastly Sunday morning windy ride to contend with and wanted to keep my legs fresh. Again, I’m in this for the long haul and am not overly concerned about turning in “short” (air quotes because it’s all relative) rides for a little while as I lose weight, gain fitness and the body gets the full message about what it’s in for.

With 9 straight days of 10+ mile rides in the bank, I think I’ve either equalled, beaten or am about to beat 🙂 my all-time best. After another few days I know I’ll be there. For total mileage, the current streak can’t compete with past efforts, not yet. I’ve got 120 miles in 9 days, an average of only 13.3 per day. However, over time, the average will most certainly expand… 🙂

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