Two words: “Brutal” and “Wind”
Last night was the final club ride in a wonderful, if odd, season. We’ve had all of three great Tuesday’s all season long. The norm is 70-80 degrees, bright sunshine and a mild breeze (if any at all). This year it was either rain, cold, or major wind and more often than not, a combination of two or all three. All season long.
Last night was just the wind but it was nasty! The worst we’ve had to battle since maybe April. Carla and I were the last of the “B” riders to fall off and I chose to wait for my buddy Phil while Carla soldiered on (I figured we’d catch her soon enough with two of us). With the group we were 18-20 mph but I was completely redlined. On my own, 14 was hard. It was that bad. Unfortunate too, at 14 I was pulling away from my Phil so I dropped into the little ring and spun along at an easy twelve. I ended up turning around to head back for him.
I pulled for the next mile at 15-16 mph to give the brother a break before we headed south to enjoy a crosswind strong enough to make steering difficult but “cross” enough that I could pull for the next two miles at about 18-19. And that’s how the ride went. Phil jumped up to take a mile or two before I took a monster five-mile-long turn with a cross tailwind at 20-22 mph. Phil took another couple up front including the first mile with the wind at our back and once we made that right to head east it was on. Phil took us up to 22 for a mile and I cranked it up from there. 23-24 for a couple of miles, Phil took the next one at 23 and then I took the final three – at 24 to 26 mph the whole way… We never dipped below 25 on the last mile.
Funny thing is, I can’t maintain that kind of pace for that distance, even with a tailwind and especially after 23 rough miles. I told myself, a few times on that last stretch and a couple of times with the larger group, that this was the last ride of the year, I better make it count…
My legs are absolutely smoked and I couldn’t be happier. I can’t ever remember riding so hard for so long, ever. I was, I believe the term is in the UK, absolutely chuffed.
I got the “domestique” in the label from my brother from another Continent, Christopher Yardin, in a comment on one of my posts… Thanks man.