Alien Abduction. The only reasonable explanation for why, after proclaiming last week that I would forego my usual Sunday ride due to road resurfacing, I once again found myself on the traditional 43 mile 360/620 loop. And it wasn't just the route. Regular readers know I hate riding in the wind. Forecast called for 20-25mph with higher gusts. Obviously I am a victim of a Galatian Mind Wipe, because not only wasn't I eschewing the ride, I actually looked forward to it. The third sign came in the form of my right quadriceps beginning to twinge as I hit the farthest point from the car. Apparently that was the injection site of whatever they used to wipe my mind.
But let's start at the beginning. My Sunday ride has a "wheels down" time of ten minutes before official sunrise. This is light enough to see and be seen, especially with my LED taillight. This morning I pushed off at 6:25am. Conventional wisdom is that the wind will pick up as the sun comes up. Unfortunately, the wind blew all night, so was about a "4-gear" strength from the get-go. Let me explain 4-gear: shortly after starting, there is a turn when I usually will move to the big ring, drop into the aero bars, move one or two cogs lower, and increase speed. This morning, when I made the turn, it was straight-on into the wind. I had to stay in the middle ring and move Up a gear. That equates to about a four gear difference.
I had an hour into the wind, up hills, before I could turn and get it coming over my left shoulder. Thirteen miles later I made the turn, ten minutes slower than last week. Experience has proven I can't make up as much time as I lose. Well, this ride isn't all about time. With the wind pushing me along, I had a grand time. It would have been even better if the quad hadn't started complaining. Just a quick twinge, but enough to garner my attention. I drank more electrolyte and backed off slightly, but the speed was still good.
My next check point came at the top of the Steiner Ranch climb. I had made up six of the ten lost minutes, and still had the wind with me, this time over my right shoulder. I'm pretty sure I could have had a better time, but several miles from the end, the "loose gravel" sign gave me more than pause. It was thick enough to be a slip hazard, so I moved to the convenient sidewalk (the one stretch on the route where there is one). It still had gravel, but not bad, especially since I slowed down.
All-in-all, a great Sunday ride, and finished before 9am. I came home and watched the last 20k of the Giro, and as I complete this post, the Amgen Tour of California is coming on the TV.