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.