I wrote the other day that I read a post in which the author stated that the great Eddy Merckx used to ride home with the wind in his face to work harder when he was tired, to build endurance.
“Great”, I thought, and I ran right out and did it.
So when the boys suggested a route yesterday that had a crosswind on the way out and on the way back (wind out of the north, on an east to west to east out and back), I didn’t think anything of it – I certainly didn’t have images of the great one bouncing around my melon.
Long about the 15th mile, after we were pulling at 21 to 23 mph, three or four miles at a turn (four guys, two by two), I realized something just wasn’t right. I could feel the wind hard on my right shoulder but 21 to 23 mph? Could I already be in June’s form already?! I’ve certainly been putting in the miles for it. That was the last I thought about it until we reached the Lainsburg gas station and our turnaround point. 29 miles, and change, from home.
We were standing outside and I was enjoying a Snickers and a Coke. Ah, cycling food. Anyway, I digress… I look up at an American flag stuck at a 90 degree angle from the flag pole… Pointing at an odd angle. Not from the north but the northeast. We were going to eat wind for 29 miles because we actually had a little help on the way out once the wind shifted.
See, I don’t know if the young Eddy Merckx would look at that and smile, heck he’d probably throw in another 50 for good measure… But I’m not Eddy. I’m Jim, I’m a dad and I have a day job. I just want to stay healthy and unfat. I was not enthused, but what are you gonna do?
We clipped in and got to grinding…and within a dozen miles, I realized I have a new problem to work on. When I ride with my friends I have a tendency, when it’s my turn up front, to pick up the speed by as much as 2-3 mph before I burn up and head for the back to recharge. There are worse problems to have but I could be spending a lot more time up front if I’d just stay at the average speed. I start out at the right speed, I just have a tendency to pick up as we go. I know, we should all be this lucky.
Anyway, we turned in a nice 55 miles and change in 2h:56m, a decent average, just short of 19 mph… And I’m still hurting this morning.
No rest for the weary though. I’m out for the 37 miles and change this morning. Fortunately though, I’m leading the slow group so it’s going to be a pretty fun day – and that’s the way I like it… Work hard one day, ride fun the next.