I had to get out on the bike this morning, because it was a gorgeous day in Austin. Bright and sunny, but breezy, and temps in the low 60s.
My mileage has been off lately, so I figured this would be a good day to go a little farther than usual. I opted for Mopac, and figured I’d take two circuits of the route.
It was terrific. At first. With a north wind at my back, I hit 30 mph on a slight downhill stretch. But when the road turned to the west and became slightly uphill, I started to struggle. Still, I made decent progress. I always look forward to the turnaround to head east, because there are some nice downhill stretches there where you can really let it all out. Not today. The wind had shifted a bit to the northeast, and was hitting me in the face. I also had to pay more attention than usual to broken glass along this part of the route. Luckily, the tires came through intact.
When the route turned back north, the wind really hit me. This is the toughest part of the route for me, because it has more uphills. I can usually take it easy on the downhill parts, but today the downhills were like uphills because of the wind. Pushing the bike downhill at 11 mph into the teeth of a gale is not fun.
The stoplight at the top of the last hill gave me a minute to catch my breath and down some sports drink. I considered heading home, but remembered my quest for more mileage, so I went around again. If anything, the wind had picked up by now. By the time I got to the northbound leg, I was struggling. And to add insult to injury, two small groups of riders sailed by me, pedaling at what appeared to be an easy cadence. They must have been going 20 mph. I was at 13, and slowing. I stopped at the top of a hill to drain the rest of my drink, and just rest awhile. I was at the 17-mile mark, and told myself that if I were in an organized ride, I would have pulled off at a rest stop by this point anyway.
My cell phone rang. It was my wife, reminding me that we had a tee time at noon. She was a little perturbed when I told her I was still 20 minutes away from home, and it was already 11:10 (She had done the double Mopac loop yesterday, when the wind was lighter, and today was thinking not about bikes, but about golf). I hustled home, and we got to the course late, but there weren’t a lot of golfers out today, so we got on the course with no trouble.
My totals: 21.2 miles, time 1:23:47, avg. speed 15.2 mph. Conclusion: As much as I like to think I’m improving, I’m still a biking newbie.