I just came in from outdoors. Leaves and bits of newspaper are skimming along, pushed by a steady 30 mph wind. I’m not riding outside today. Looks like Turner Classic Movies and a 90 minute spin on the rollers.
I was out yesterday in blustery conditions. After riding indoors all winter, any wind resistance at all is something of a novelty – never mind a headwind. These past three weeks have been about adjusting to wind in it’s various manifestations and permutations: headwinds, crosswinds, tail winds, breezes, gales and grabby winds that let go just as I’m leaning the wrong way.
And so, it dawned on me that a thousand miles on the trainer is a good start…but that’s all it is. Pedaling in the basement lulls me into a false sense of accomplishment. Being strong on the trainer isn’t the same as riding strong outdoors. Every year I re-realize this, and I don’t know why it surprises me. It’s part of the rhythm of the cycling season. My yearly basement biking fantasy is gone [sorry, I can’t help myself] with the wind.
I look down at the Garmin and say to myself, I SHOULD BE GOING FASTER. Only I’m not. These thoughts crossed my mind aboard the Grey Goose as I was flogged by a stiff headwind that repeatedly beat me down to 13 mph. One of the truisms of cycling is that, if you keep at it, you will get stronger. If you intentionally point your bike toward more difficulty, you’ll get stronger faster. Keep it up long enough, and you’ll find those days that are simply effortless. But this brings me comfort only after I’m back home sitting on the couch in compression tights…waxing philosophical…sipping on a malted recovery beverage.
After I turned out of the headwind and began churning up our local CAT 5, the road swung around to the northwest, and I picked up a 25 mph tailwind. I bombed the descent at 46 mph and averaged somewhere around 27 mph through three miles of undulating rollers. Picking up the bike path for the run home, I was rather happily spent, and in possession of another sacred bit of cycling truth:
Whenever possible plan for your tailwind to come at the end of the ride.
Can I get an AMEN on that?