An Easy TNIL; When Riding Easy, Eat Headwind for Dinner
As a part of our marriage renaissance, I’ve been opting to ride with my wife more. Firstly, we simply weren’t as close as we could have been for long time and missed her terribly – I missed loving to spend time with her, and she with me. Secondly, well, see firstly. Thirdly, you get the drill.
And so it was, last night, my wife and I attended our daughter’s tennis meet a half-dozen miles from the start of Tuesday Night in Lennon. When I got home from the office, my wife was on the fence about riding, I was not – wheels were rolling at 6. I asked her if she’d ride with me and after some convincing, she agreed. I quickly prepped both bikes, aired tires, set water bottles, and laid out my clothes to get dressed after packing the bikes and our gear – helmets, shoes and shades.
We headed to my daughter’s meet and watched her win a grand match. It was fun to watch.
After, as the wind started picking up, adding an unsettling chill to the already cool air, we loaded into the car and headed over to the church parking lot where we meet up. We’d missed the warm-up and headed into the church to change into our cycling kit. Once changed, I unpacked and readied the bikes to roll and let my normal riding buddies know my wife and I would be riding together. We also picked up Jonathan and Big Joe. We rolled out shortly after the A/A-Elite mixed group headed out.
I took the lead into the headwind. My original intent was just to set the pace so my wife could hang at the back and catch a decent draft without being too taxed but as the miles ticked by, I decided to stay up there and eat the first four miles of headwind. The pace was lively and just right to be fun and taxing but nothing too difficult.
In fact, it ended up turning into one of the more enjoyable Tuesday nights in recent memory.
On the homestretch, we were in a tight bunch with a decent tailwind and were pushing around 22 to 24-mph (35 to 38 km/h). Jonathan was up front and started pulling away, with me in second. I could see Joe’s and my wife’s shadows start to fade off, so I slowed down to wait for my wife. Jonathan was about ten bikes up and my wife said, “No! Go play. I’m okay”. I said no, that I was staying, but my wife insisted. I went off to chase Jonathan down. He’d slowed down to wait but as I got within earshot, I told him to “go-go-go” and he picked up the pace. He pipped me earlier at the Vernon sign by drafting me till the last minute – I had nothing left to match his challenge. I did the same to him. I rode him like a rented mule at 26-mph (decidedly faster than a mule will run, btw) and as we rounded the corner at the farmhouse I waited till I knew keep full gas on all the way to the City Limits sign. When I hit the spot, I launched from 26-mph to 31-1/2. Like me at the first sprint, all Jonathan could do was watch me go by.
Up the road a short way, I turned around and waited for my wife and Joe to get across the line. We joined up again and had a few laughs as we took it easy for the last mile to the parking lot.
We turned out a little more than 25 miles and we crossed the City Limits sign at 18.5-mph for an average. It was a great night.