Did the HRTC monthly ride yesterday, which was a "preview" of the Galveston HIM bike course - 56 miles, from Moody Gardens out past San Luis Pass (basically a bridge) and back. Me being me, I was hoping for windy conditions, so I could mentally prepare for worst case. And boy did I get my wishes....
At the start of the ride, it was 39 degrees, 20 mph winds, and a windchill of 20 degrees. At the end of the ride it was 47 degrees with 30 mph winds. And gusts up to 37 mph. Good times! I had a hard time staying in aero the whole time. I tried to anticipate the gusts, looking at the grass ahead of me, looking for gaps in condos, buildings, wind breaks, etc. I stayed upright the whole time, but there were several scary moments where I felt I rode sideways as much as I went forward.
My garmin battery was dead (boo!), so I don't have specific stats, but actually that was probably a good thing. I think knowing my speed would have been depressing. We take a bathroom break after 16 miles and decide to ride to the San Luis Pass bridge and decide how much farther to go. Once we got to the bridge, the land opened up and the wind just got windier. Scary windy. Then we looked at our watches, saw that it took us 2 hrs to go 21 miles. We only had SAG support for 4 hrs, so we decided not to risk it and turned around. That was probably super smart, as I heard reports that the wind just got worse the further out you went. My friend had only been riding 1.5 weeks (amazing!) and none of us were out to set land distance records. Plus, I'm doing a 56 mile MS150 ride next weekend, so I've got more time to get in long rides. So we turned around and it was much better - return trip in 1 hr 10 min. Still a cross wind, but with a tail wind instead of head wind. Traffic was getting worse as it got later in the morning, so it was probably best that we turned early, since the closer you get into town, the smaller the shoulder got. The final suprise of the day was when you turned off the Seawall to head back to Moody, it should have been a nice easy downhill pedal. Instead we got a wall of wind, which made me shift into my second easiest gear downhill. Ugh. Got back to the truck, ran ~35 minutes (approx 3 miles, but hard to tell w/no garmin and high wind). Then finally breakfast at IHOP to replenish all those lost calories.
Overall, it was suprisingly fun. Not having the garmin working this time was probably better, since I couldn't get frustrated with my slow progress. It was more just like a bike ride out to some unknown distance, battling the elements, and hoping you stayed upright. Now if only my arms and neck weren't so sore... right now Aleve is my best friend.