Warmup and Winter Winds

A nice little warm-up in the weather on Friday found me up on the levee looking for a little down-time.  The levee police must have been thinking the same thing, because they had the bike path closed underneath the Huey P. Long bridge.  I turned around and rode back down the river for a little spin around Audubon Park and an early return to the house. By Saturday morning it was a little cooler, but the more serious stuff was still eight hours away as I made my way out to meet the Giro Ride at KoA nice little warm-up in the weather on Friday found me up on the levee looking for a little down-time.  The levee police must have been thinking the same thing, because they had the bike path closed underneath the Huey P. Long bridge.  I turned around and rode back down the river for a little spin around Audubon Park and an early return to the house. By Saturday morning it was a little cooler, but the more serious stuff was still eight hours away as I made my way out to meet the Giro Ride at Kona Cafe’.  It was going to be a complicated Saturday.  The plan was to ride out to the Giro, do part of the ride (out to Chef Highway), return to Kona (where they had free coffee for Giro riders), catch a ride to the northshore with Mark to help with the Junior Training Clinic, and finally return home to put up a few holiday decorations.  The ride itself had been a little unusual.  Right when we started from Marconi someone apparently had a little mechanical problem that the front of the group, including I, didn’t know about.  We were way out by Leon C. Simon when I finally looked back and said, “Where is everybody?”  So we slowed down even more until the group finally caught up somewhere near the Seabrook bridge.  A few riders went off the front on Hayne and the pace ramped up quickly until the gap was finally closed, but since I never saw the front it wasn’t to hard from my perspective.  Out at Chef I turned back with Mark, Vivian and a few others.  The timing worked out nicely and we arrived at the training clinic right on time where we spent a couple of hours with Bob M. instructing a few of our junior riders on proper cornering technique. The forecast for Sunday morning was a little harsh.  Temperature in the low 40s with an official high-wind advisory.  Regardless, we had about fifteen riders for the start of the northshore ride and we turned out of the parking lot directly into a 20 mph north wind.  I was wearing the clothes I’d normally wear for temperatures in the 30s.  Considering the wind, I thought we would have a fairly easy ride, but within the first few miles I knew it was not to be.  Despite the unrelenting wind the effort level, if not the actual ground speed, remained high, putting a few riders into difficulty almost from the start. By the time we reached Highway 10, a bit less than halfway through the day’s 65 mile ride, a few riders had turned back and a few more had decided to take a shortcut back.  That left us with eight or nine for the remainder of the ride.  We finally got a decent tailwind as we turned east, but that just meant that the speed went from 21 mph to 29 mph, and I could finally take off one pair of gloves and start unzipping things. I guess we were about fifty miles into the ride when I really started feeling my legs.  After an absolutely brutal trip down Hwy. 1072 in a quartering headwind, I’d been hoping for a good tailwind for the return trip down Lee Road, but by then the wind had shifted a bit and the best we got was a crosswind and some protection from the roadside trees. The last stretch, from Enon back to the Lee Road school, felt pretty hard.  I guess that was partly my own fault for refusing to drop back when things started to split up coming over the firetower climb.  So it’s 4:30 pm right now and I’m sitting here with feet that are still cold, watching the Saints game on the TV and the USAC men’s cyclocross championships on the computer.  Tomorrow’s going to have to be an easy day.  Really easy.  Could be worse.  Up in Iowa City right now it’s 10 F with winds gusting to 30 mph and a forecast low for tonight of -4.

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