It wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t 6°, either… and we were set up for some sunshine. My friends showed just before 10am, and we rolled. We’d push the start time back to allow the temperature to climb out of the basement.
The temp had reached a balmy 30°, just a shade below freezing. As is usual for me, I didn’t much care for the first couple of miles, trying to warm up, but with a nice tailwind to start, I wasn’t complaining, either. We caught up as we rolled on as though we’d only missed a week or two riding together.
We were eight miles in before our first turn… and a cross headwind. Oh, my. You know when you turn into a headwind like that, just a cross headwind, that those last eight miles heading home are going to suck.
We ran into trouble just a mile into the crosswind. Mike and Diane started to drop off. We slowed to let them back but it wasn’t long before Mike was off the back again. Phill and Diane decided to shorten the ride with Mike. I stayed with McMike and went longer.
I knew what I was in for, but opted to keep McMike company anyway.
The next three or four miles into Byron weren’t bad, but we were hoofing it pretty hard, side-by-side. We stopped at the gas station to use the restroom and got right back to it.
The ride back north was fantastic with a cross tailwind. Again, we were side-by-side talking about current events related to cycling and the weather… right up until we headed east for home. Then it got serious.
Riding a trainer will never prepare you for that first punch you in the beak headwind. I expected Mike to take a mile or two and settled in for the draft. He was up front for three-quarters of a mile before tapping out. I rolled up to the front and laughed out loud when I got socked in the bean by the headwind.
We were holding 16-17-mph into the headwind and it was enough to get me to the point of hyperventilation in a little more than a half-mile. We switched places at half-mile intervals and pushed for home. It was gnarly.
Three miles north for a bit of a break and back into the headwind. With a mile-and-a-half left I was “stick a fork in me” done. My legs turned to lead. Bad enough I couldn’t latch back on as Mike went by. We took the pace down to about 14 to spin it home.
It was a tough ride, but you know how this ends; it was better than the trainer.