This past weekend was my last big back-to-back weekend before I start my taper for Boise.
Saturday I went up to Boulder for a ride and (hopefully a run). Will went up to Ft Collins with his cousin and I got to ride with my friend :) We decided to go ride to Carter Lake as I needed a total of 3 hours of saddle time. The scenery was obscured by forest fire smoke (from New Mexico!) but we were out the door by 9:30 hoping to avoid the winds. The ride was pretty uneventful, which was good. And it wasn't windy, which was also good. I tried to run afterwards, but my stupid left ankle hurt after 10 steps. So I hung out on the porch as my friend rode for another 30 minutes and the boys returned from Ft Fun.
Sunday I wanted to get in one more ride on the Harvest Moon course. I had posted in a few spots on facebook that I was riding out there but no one replied, so I honestly thought I'd be riding solo. I showed up at 7:55 and was plesantly suprised to see people! As it turned out, the people either a) weren't riding as long as me or b) weren't the same speed as me. So, I ended up riding by myself. And to make things more interesting, I left my cell phone in my truck. That meant no calls for help if it got windy! This course is interesting because the first half isn't so bad but the back half has the larger hills. So you get to climb when you're nice and tired - definitely a good training day.
I knew I was in trouble when I made the turn south that I'd gone 22 miles in 1:10. That's 19 mph and over 1/3 of the miles for a 60 mile / 4 hr ride. The last 3 hours were not going to be pretty.
As I turned south, the winds seemed to be a headwind, with a slight cross-wind. At the turn west to Quincy, I was thinking I needed more quality headwind time, so I opted to go straight. The plan was to pick up an additional 12 miles (6 out and back) before getting back on course and heading home. After an additional 5 miles, I just couldn't take it anymore. I'd gone 13 miles in ONE HOUR and was ready to turn around. I turned around and enjoyed 5 miles of sweet tailwind, soft pedalling and maintaining at least 20 mph.
I thought I'd have mostly cross-wind on my ~20 mile journey back to my truck. I was wrong. It turns out the wind was from the southwest, so that meant I essentially had the same conditions going south as I did heading west. That meant another 20 miles with headwind..... and with the largest hills of the ride. Awesome! And no phone meant that I didn't have the option to call for help. It was all up to me to return to my truck. (It didn't help that I saw people from another club take a SAG ride back as I turned west onto Quincy...)
I ended up taking the approach that taking it easy (and staying upright) was the way to go for getting home. I was working to hit 15 mph on the downhills and I was getting some interesting cross-wind blasts. To make things more fun, this stretch of road has no shoulder. I didn't panic and just kept pedalling. At least the winds kept it interesting. I was acutally doing ok until the last bridge (no shoulder) and a semi silently snuck up on me and passed me. That scared the crapola out of me and I decided to not push my luck and ride add'l miles to get to my assigned 60 miles / 4 hrs. I got to my truck, rode the add'l 2 miles inside the park for a bathroom stop, then 2 miles back to my truck. 3 hrs, 55 minutes.... 58 miles. Close enough.
I don't know how windy it was... I checked some websites, which said sustained of 10 and gusts of 15 mph. I normally don't get blown around in 15 mph winds, so I'm thinking we had higher gusts. I was actually HAPPY to have to climb up the hills, as the hill provided a bit of a wind-break.
Overall, it was a good test for Boise. I was tired but not defeated. And it gave me some good wind training. :) In the future, though, I'll be happy without any near-death dealings with a semi.