My coach and his wife invited my husband, me, and anyone else who wanted to join us to head out a local highway heading south out-of-town. A favored highway for cyclists due to the broad shoulders and relatively fewer vehicles (far fewer trucks) than the one heading east out-of-town.
We got there a few minutes early, but everyone else sat waiting anyway. Coach and his wife had already ridden out a three-mile out and back to test the winds which raged at 18-24 mph out of the south (the direction we headed first), with gusts in the 30s. Well, like someone said on their blog a few months ago, if you don’t have mountains in the Plains states, ride on a really windy day. Except for position, it’s the same effort level.
Let’s just say that the pace line went slow sometimes, but after we broke off (hubby and coach’s wife), me and Cindy, and coach zipping back and forth between us (he’s amazing on a bike!). On the way back, different story!
So, there you have it. There’s really quite a difference riding into such a headwind and struggling. You really don’t even notice the hills–it’s just hard the entire time. On the way back, however, with the wind at a steady 20+mph at your back, there’s no wind to dry your forehead or blow through your helmet to cool your head. In the absolute noiseless environment, you can hear every little sound: your tires on the road, passing over gravel, your breathing, every little sound your bike makes.
I kicked it coming back, leaving my friend in the dust. I actually hit 35.4mph at one point (the above is just two lap readings from my Garmin) and caught up with the others. Then I felt badly about leaving behind my friend, so I stopped at a bridge and watched a Northern Harrier (hawk) gliding in place with some difficulty in the heavy winds.
It had its eyes on something, and periodically let out the eery scream that hawks do. I watched it for several minutes before Cindy caught up. I let her go by, then caught her, then couldn’t stand it and hit it again. I’m a bad friend, but wow, it felt SO incredible to be out on the open road and not have to stop for lights, traffic, pedestrians, and the like!
Today I switched with my off-day tomorrow so I could join my husband at the pool for some coach time. He’s volunteering his time. What a sweet heart, above and beyond. This is someone who loves what he does. I just never ever want to take advantage of him, so we never suggest any activities.
He’s even started a trail ride on Wednesday nights! I wish I could go, but I’m doing the running clinic (which is good for me, I think he would agree). Cannot wait to hit the open road again!!!
NOTE: Next week I will be officially 12 weeks out and will restart the first five weeks of training. I’m entering my relax, take it easy, phase before I redo my base training. It’s all good. My HR Zone training could use some more work. And, surprisingly I have no more knee pain (well, not like before). It’s either the adrenalin rush or just the rest I’d given my knees. Still have forearm issues. Perhaps a trip to the physical therapist is a good idea.