I left the office early yesterday. I’ve finally turned the corner on a couple of jobs so I played hooky with two hours. We had rain in the forecast for the evening so I wanted to shoehorn in a ride at home, before taking the kids to swim practice.
The wind was howling out of the west southwest with gusts better than 20 knots… Still, after Sunday’s hard ride I knew I needed an easy recovery ride anyway. The operative word in that last sentence being easy.
I was up to 21 mph within a half-mile. Hey, it felt easy. It did. Heading west was a bit of an awakening, of course, but 17 was still pretty easy to hold if I got down in the drops (no brainer into a decent breeze). Then another couple miles north. I just stayed in the drops.
Then a mile west. 18 -19 mph. Smooth asphalt. Musta been.
Then down a little hill followed by my favorite turn. 24 mph around a tight 90 degree turn that I have to lean the bike down to hold my lane (there’s no drifting into the wrong lane, while I can partially see around the corner as I approach, there are blind spots where I could miss a car…). I need all of the tricks for that corner too… Right knee out and down to shift my center of gravity, all of my weight on my left foot – so much that I try to push my foot to the pavement, in the drops and look through the turn. It’s one of those rare perfect corners. Over a couple of bumps that always make my heart skip a beat. Straighten up and I’m back on the gas. Into that ridiculous wind.
A left turn heading south now. The south part of the wind isn’t so bad and I’m spinning between 19 and 20. A mile later and I’m into the wind again. The sky is looking ugly and I’ve got seven miles left.
A right turn, the whole mile is slightly uphill till the last tenth. I’m at 21. I didn’t necessarily give up on my “recovery ride”, it’s just not all that tough.
Then the right turn and I’ve got a 25 mph wind at my back. I chuckle. Rain’s comin’. 25 mph is too easy. So is 27. I settle in at the speed limit for the road (30) for two glorious miles. There’s something fun about riding a bike the same speed as cars. If I’d have seen a cop I’d have tried for 40 and a speeding ticket. I will have one. I’ll pay the fine with a smile on my face and frame the ticket. I may even try for a selfie while the cop is writing the ticket.
Then I come to the sloggy part. A right turn into a 20 mph cross headwind and it’s slightly uphill. For a mile. I’m halfway up the steeper part and I look down. 19 mph. I’m a dumbass but I didn’t lay off the gas either.
If the shit fits, wear it. Dumbass.
Another mile east, and an easy 23 mph followed by a cool down mile south at 15.
I’m sitting on the couch before it dawns on me that I was on a 30 pound bike with my wife on the back the day before. Riding the Venge was like clipping into a rocket ship. So much for a recovery ride. If the shit fits…
UPDATE: The fossilcyclist left an important comment below about the importance of “the lean” in cornering. I didn’t put much emphasis on that because I was going for the finer points, but he’s absolutely right. He also offered this “How To” video from GCN. I can’t recommend subscribing to GCN enough.