Today’s ride was a brutal battle against the wind. There was a 20mph south wind, and a major part of my route is a 10 mile slow climb south.
I got a hint of what was coming on that first big climb and knew I was in for it as soon as I got over the ridge into the valley that ran north-south along the front range of the Rockies.
That first major descent was harrowing with a brutal crosswind catching my 50mm Reynolds Assult wheels the entire way down. I was forced to ride my brakes, which doesn’t make for a satisfying descent.
But then I hit the botton and headed south and boom. The wind hit me like a wall. It felt like I was climbing that wall, actually. And with gusts coming randomly pushing me into the street, it was a miserable 8 miles where I could barely get the bike to top 10mph.
Not only was it painful, but the constant wind howled in my ears. I wanted to scream back at it. I think I did once.
I wanted to quit. Which means what, stopping and sitting on the side of the road?
So instead, I adjusted my expectations and my attitude. I told myself that this just became twice as hard as it should be, so treat it like the 8 mile, 8% climb that it feels like. Put your head down and keep pedaling.
It was an amazing workout both physically and mentally.
On the return leg, I had to battle south one more time, but I was so looking forward to that north-bound 5 mile stretch. The tail-wind allowed me to average 28mph. I felt like a pro in the middle of a peloton, maintaining over 30mph for long stretches on nearly flat grade.
In the end, I was 15 minutes slower than the exact same route the day before.
My reward for battling through that wind? I placed 213 out of 3500 riders on that northbound segment. I don’t feel bad that it was wind-assisted. All those top spots are surely group riders and/or with tail-winds too. Now I wish I pushed it a little harder.
So next time you find yourself in horrible conditions, don’t quit. Adjust your thinking, hunker down, and turn it into a whole new challenge that you weren’t expecting. And feel good about the accomplishment, even though the numbers don’t reflect it.
Here’s the ride on Strava if you want to check out the brutality in detail.