So, as I’ve made painfully clear over the last couple of months, this spring has been terrible in terms of weather. Normally, I’ll have somewhere between 600 and 1,000 miles for the month. I’m sitting on a paltry 375 with barely a week left in the month. Preposterous. It’s been so bad, even the usual guys who ride in the worst weather are straight-up depressed and have refused to ride in the crazy crap we’ve had.
All of that changed yesterday.
I had to schedule the ride a little later than normal to a) give it a chance to warm up and b) give it a chance to dry out. The weather report showed rain ending at 4 or 5am so I set the wheels roll time at 9. We picked up a few worms on our frames, but this turned out to be the right time. It was sunny, 50, and the temp was on the rise with a decent southerly wind. We rolled out a couple of minutes after 9 with a group of six.
We picked a route that was favorable for the wind but that meant eating a lot in the first 30 miles. That meant favorable conditions on the ride home, though. We picked an alternate route to split up some of the considerable headwind. It was bad enough even guys who never ride in the drops were down as low as possible to gain every possible advantage. It was bad enough McMike, once we got to the first stop of the day, asked how much headwind was left.
We struggled on, battling the wind for 28-miles before hitting our first substantial tailwind stretch that lasted for ten glorious miles. We simply flew down the road – five excellently matched veteran cyclists in a glorious single-file pace-line flying down the road north of 25-mph as the sun beat down on us. Battling the headwind was made worth it in that 10-mile stretch. We rotated flawlessly, as though we’d had half the season in our legs, guarding each other from the crosswinds, and pointing out the winter’s potholes… it was perfect.
And our average pace started ticking up with the help.
This was my longest ride of the year, by a lot – fifteen miles – and I was wondering if I would bonk spectacularly. There were a few times, trying to hide in crosswinds, that I questioned how much longer I’d be able to hang on… but the blowup never materialized. I just kept right at it, taking my lumps up front, then falling back for a rest.
With less than six miles left, we turned north and put the hammer down. We passed 19.6-mph for an average (31.5 km/h). We turned right with a crosswind and I expected the pace to slow a little… and it did till McMike got up front for the last mile and decided to stretch it out. The pace went from a calm 20-mph to 23. Jay, who’d just taken the last two miles, tapped out and slipped off the back. I was bound and determined to stay with Mike, though. 19.7-mph average. As we turned the corner for my driveway, I let off the gas and said my goodbyes. Chuck and McMike headed for their respective homes and Jay pulled up 30 seconds after I hit the driveway.
My average pace had dropped to 19.6 in that last couple of tenths, but I didn’t care. I was good and done.
But not quite done enough. After cleaning up and some lunch, I went over to the school tennis courts to hit with my daughter. And that was a bad idea. Mid-season I can pull that off, a long ride followed by some tennis with my kid(s). This early in the season, with nowhere near enough miles on my legs, not so much.
I woke up feeling like I was 70 (or my approximation of what 70 might feel like). Thankfully, it’ll be Sunday Funday on the tandem today, followed by hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range if the rain holds off, then bowling this evening.
As they say, “I’ll rest when I’m dead”. Then I add, so long as not resting doesn’t put me in the grave sooner. I’ll rest enough it doesn’t come to that.