i got up early this morning and loaded up the van with swim meet stuff - food, drinks, chairs, clothes to change into, etc. i put everything together and then loaded myself on my bike around 5:00. at that time it was 72 degrees with a light south-south-east wind around 6mph.
i turned on my lights and headed out on the highway. i ramped up my effort slowly until i reached my cruising speed after two or three miles. with the wind slightly in my face, i was able to ride at 16-18mph most of the way to the turn at anson road.
i rounded the corner just as the sun was peeking over the horizon and headed north. the wind helped me up and over 20mph. i was able to bring my average speed up to 18.5mph by the time i reached the turn onto parallel road. i saw one car on anson road and one dog in anson. that was the extent of the excitement for that stretch of back road.
on parallel, also called 90th, the wind was back in my face, but i was able to keep my pace up a little higher. maybe i was warmed up more. maybe i was more awake. not sure why i was able to ride faster than the first thirteen miles in the same direction. i saw three more cars and two dogs before hopping onto the short stretch of highway 81 i had to navigate.
when i pulled onto 81, i got nervous. the traffic volume jumped up a bit and the space between me and cars hurtling down the road got smaller. i hugged the white line and hoped everyone could see me.
when 81 curved northward, i kept my front wheel pointed straight ahead and rolled onto highway 55. i was pleased to see a good wide shoulder after the miles on 81 with next to nothing to ride on. i had forgotten that lane-width margin was there. yippee! i was passed by a couple of people on our swim team while i was speeding merrily along. crossing the railroad tracks, i climbed the little hill into belle plaine and rolled the few blocks to the pool. i arrived there about thirty minutes earlier than i had planned, so i had no clean clothes to change into. thankfully, spandex isn't an uncommon sight at a swimming competition. a lady talked with me for a bit about riding. her husband rides from clearwater down to argonia at times. i need to meet him at the next meet. maybe we can find time to ride together.
my wife and kids arrived around 7:00 with our stuff. after unloading the car, i showered quickly (they had no hot water) and got to the coaches meeting a minute or two late. our head coach and the 8 and under coach were there on time, so my brief absence wasn't a big deal.
the meet started around 8:00. our team did well. even with 13 swimmers out for ball tournaments or sickness, we placed our usual second overall. my daughters placed in all their events. my youngest had a first ever first place finish. her smooth strokes and powerful kick put her atop the podium in the 11-12 age group 50m backstroke!
we stopped for a picnic in wellington on the way home. i took a short nap and i'm staying in now. it's 96 degrees! yikes! may go watch some little league softball later this evening. that's always good for a few laughs. (34.82 miles @ 18.9mph)