Friday, March 12, 2010

wind, dirt and snow

i rode today in honor of the lady raiders' second round win and in anticipation of victory in this evening's championship game. i hope their game goes better than my ride did.

the wind. what can i say? it was horrendous! the weather channel had it at 19mph sustained. i'd say it was more like 40mph! i exaggerate sometimes, but it was bad.

i rode into that wind for mile after torturous mile. pushing the pedals as hard as i could, i struggled to maintain 11mph. it was awful! about 3.5 miles into the ride i was not so pleasantly surprised by dirt. the road i scouted online before coming to hays was a dirt road. i didn't know any other route to take, so i rode on. for three miles i weaved in and out avoiding pot holes and washboards and puddles. if the temps had been a bit warmer than 36, i probably would've had trouble slipping and sliding, but the dirt was hard and i rode at about the same pace as i had on the paved roads. not very fast!

after the dirt, i got a short one-mile reprieve from the wind. riding south and east was wonderful! then i turned northwest again on old highway 40. the wind and the hills conspired against me. i pushed painfully on, willing myself to stay upright. at times my speed dipped below 9mph.

i finally decided enough was enough. i had planned to ride to elllis, but i was done. since my cyclometer was having trouble, i looked for a marked road that i could turn around at. i wanted to be able to track my miles and knew i couldn't rely on the cateye for accurate info.

a mile or more up the highway, i spotted a small green sign. 160th it read. i flipped around and headed back. best decision i'd made since breakfast in the hotel lobby. i cruised up to 17mph quickly and when the downhill came, i was up over 21mph. train tracks ran along the highway and a long train hauling tons and tons of coal came up alongside me. the draft off of it was amazing. i stopped pedaling and it pulled me along at over 20mph. the rest was great!

a short stint into the wind getting back to the dirt road and the rest of the ride was smooth sailing. i turned on to the 183 bypass and flew down the hill. i leaned into the turn onto 41st street and then the snow began to fall. i spent the last two miles dodging flakes, glad i was almost "home" for the day.

i rolled to a stop in the parking lot, packed up my bike and climbed the stairs to our room. just after i had stripped down to my base layers, my family came back from breakfast. they'd enjoyed waffles and bagels while i suffered happily over broken pavement and rutted hard pack. wouldn't have it any other way. (21.54 miles @ 13.5mph)
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