The weather this spring has really been atrocious in terms of a decent day on the bike. Yesterday was the first day I needed to use sunscreen. We've had a few sunny days, but those were chilly enough that I had tights and arm warmers or jacket. Even so, all was not ideal.
Even before the sun came up, the wind was strong. I planned a 60+ mile out-and-back ride generally north and east. I also waited until 10am, mainly because I couldn't quite get it together earlier. I held no illusions: it would be fun for the first two hours and a slow slog for the next three. the wind was strong and would only get worse as the day wore on.
Sure enough, even on the eastern leg, the south wind just touched the back shoulder, giving a nice push. When the route took a left turn, I clicked into the big ring and easily pedaled in the 25mph range. Occasionally the road turned back west for a short spurt, just to let me know what lay in store for me later. As I approached the intersection which would continue my fun going north, or turn west to Walburg, I noticed the sign indicating the road was closed (bridge being replaced) was down. Going into Walburg would cut about five miles from the route. Knowing what the immediate future held for me, I decided I could do without those five miles. Plus, if the bridge actually had been completed, I could let the Cyclopaths know. Thus far, I had travelled thirty miles in one hour, forty-five minutes, or right at 17mph.
As it turned out, apparently the wind had knocked over the sign, because just before the bridge, the barriers across the road were still in place. Bummer! Truthfully, I had taken that contingency into consideration when making the decision. The alternate route gave me about five miles with trees that would act as a wind-break, and some sections leading back to the east which would put the wind at my back. I averaged almost 12mph on this section, then it was into the open and my speed dropped to 9.6mph. Needless to say, the wind buffeted me the whole two and a half hours (27 miles) it took to get back to the car (parked at Old Settlers Park). The most difficult part was when the wind came from the side, forcing me to lean into it rather than ride in a vertical position.
I could only use the aero bars into the headwind, most of the time having to tightly hold the handlebars to keep from being swept sideways. My thumbs, already arthritic, really took a beating. The rest of the body also knew it had been brutalized. Rest, and aspirin, will heal everything, and today I'll be going to spin class and avoid the great outdoors.