It was a gnarly evening. Strong winds, upwards of 20-mph gusts, and the temperature was unseasonably cold at just 39° (4 C). Still, I was at the church at 5 for the warm-up. I was the only one. I did my seven miles with a smile on my face – actually I was chuckling more than smiling for the first few miles, dead into the wind. 15-mph was fast. And cold.
The mile south, with a crosswind, was fairly simple, but I started to sweat a little bit. It wasn’t till I turned east that I really felt I might be overdressed. I was cruising at 21-mph and sweating. Rather than finish at that pace, I slowed down to stay cool. I decided not to shed a layer because it was going to be a lot colder when we finished the main ride.
My friends started showing up around a quarter to six. Chuck thought it might be too cold, but ended up sticking around. It was just Chuck and I for ten minutes and I figured we might be packing it up and heading home… then my friends started filtering in, one at a time.
We rolled out in the failing light at a few minutes after 6 – and it was nasty. We ended up with seven in our group and there was another with three or four, but they were going slower and shorter.
Thankfully, with headlights blazing, I could barely make out the speed reading on my Garmin. It wasn’t good – the wind was relentless. I was in the left, outer, pace-line and was pummeled by the crosswind as soon as we turned north. I prefer the outside lane on a westerly wind night because I’ll get hammered early and those on the right get it late.
It was dark within three miles.
We ended up, after eleven miles, in a single-file pace-line/echelon because the wind was just too brutal – and we were quite a bit faster single-file. Another couple of miles and we hit tailwind.
I was, without question, overdressed. I was sweating a lot more than would be recommended and it was quite a bit of effort keeping up with the group. Still, I’d rather be a little over-warm than cold.
Folks, I’m just going to say it; I struggled the whole damn ride. It was freaking ugly. But I did it, and it was all laughs and high-fives after. Well, it didn’t last long. It was so freakin’ cold, everyone packed there stuff and split… quick.
It was a nasty ride, but still better than a swift kick in the pants.
So there went the 2019 cycling season. It was an awesome one.
Now onto more important things: My month-long celebration should have started five days ago, but I forgot! 28 years, baby! WOOOO! Rick Flair!