I rode early, with my buds, on Saturday, so with District swim meets over the weekend, that meant I was with my youngest when everyone rode yesterday morning so my wife could ride with the group… This meant I was on my own after the morning session, once Mrs. Bgddy showed up with the eldest just after noon….
I was looking forward to the ride until I was halfway home. I knew I was going to have two hours, leaving enough time for a tire change and then another hour for something unforeseen, so I wouldn’t have to ride in the dark….
The tough part was the wind. It was out of the northeast which really sucks for me. Flint is northeast of my house and the traffic is a little too silly that way, so on a solo ride I’m avoiding that direction… That left southeast, southwest or northwest routes. In other words, I was going to have a lot of wind to cope with no matter which way I went. I chose northwest because, well, it seemed like the lesser of the evils. At least I’d have a few miles towards the end with some tailwind.
I started out great, with a headwind for the first mile, just trying to get the legs up and spinning. I’d decided on a route that should have come out to about 32 miles and I figured if I took two hours to do it, I’d be happy. I rationalized, I’d had a great few weeks with some really hard miles, including a great ride on Saturday, so if I took my time once, hey, it’d be cool.
Well, if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you know I don’t do slow well. For some reason that I’ve yet to figure out, once I get clipped in I just can’t help myself but push it. This is, in part, due to a lack of experience doing long solo miles…
I started out into the headwind (10-12 mph) at about 18 mph for the first mile and when I turned west, with the NNE wind (i.e. a little help, very little), I cranked it up to 20-22. Then came four miles north into the wind again and I tried to tamp down on the enthusiasm and keep it between 17 & 18. I don’t have a computer on my Trek, all I have to go on is the gear I’m in and the feel of my cadence, but over the years I’ve become quite adept at knowing how fast I’m going… Those four miles got a little grueling after a bit and I was wishing for a friend to hide behind for a minute.
Next up came a turn heading west for five miles. I was hoping for a little bit of help from that east wind but it was all but imperceptible, if there was any. It mostly felt like a crosswind but it was a lot better than the headwind I’d just battled. When I pulled into Lennon, the meeting spot for our club ride, my plan had been to do our warmup loop and head home but my enthusiasm was waning. Yes, that’s a good way to put it. I was so tempted to turn around and call it good at 25 miles… I don’t know if you can relate, you get to that point where you know you’ve exerted yourself just a little too much on the way out and you know that last five miles is going to be brutal if you keep heading out. That’s where I was.
I thought to myself, “You sissy… You’re going to do this whole ride and you’re going to finish strong, so just get on with it.” And I did, though “strong” is too strong a word. The miles I spent heading back south were nice but I was struggling just to get to 20 mph.
After stopping to take a few photos, I ended up pulling into the driveway with just under a 17 mph average… So, in other words, I ended up almost a mile an hour faster than I’d planned on, a full ten minutes faster, but I still was a little disappointed. I suppose it’s simply that I struggled a little more than that result should have been worth, even if I had a lousy wind that bucked me most of the way.
Oh well, that’s me.
UPDATE: After telling my wife about my struggles, she let on that everybody struggled on the club ride… It wasn’t just me.