Sunday, August 22, 2010

In which I struggle to stay upright

Sunday: Bike 23 miles
Monday: Rest

When I set off on my ride today, it was easily the windiest weather I've ever (voluntarily) ridden in. But you know, when I signed up for a June Ironman, I think I forfeited the right to be choosy about the weather for my workouts. Anything short of snow on the roads is biking weather!

I did get a little concerned about the sky as I set off, though, because it looked like I was going to be riding right into an oncoming storm. But I was thinking rain or maybe hail. What I got was wind, and lots of it.

The ride I was planning is about 10 miles of climbing, some of it pretty difficult, and then about 25 miles of rolling hills and descents on a long loop back home. The climbs are bad enough in calm weather, but I found it incredibly tough with a giant headwind gusting toward me at about a 45 degree angle. The shoulder becomes a cliff in places, and I was very concerned about getting blown off the road. Luckily there's not a lot of traffic, and I rode toward the center so I wouldn't end up in the ditch, or worse.

I finally made it to the top, where the landscape opens up — and the wind basically doubled. So even though it was flat or downhill, I was struggling to get my speed into double digits. I suddenly realized that at that rate I was going to be out there four more hours, OR possibly have to call my husband for a rescue, possibly in the middle of nowhere, possibly someplace out of cell range. But I really hated to go back down the steep hills with that cross wind. So I stopped for a moment to think and decided that the lesser of the two evils was to go back.

Sheer terror! By the time I got down, my legs were shaking and my hands hurt from gripping the brakes, but at least I stayed on the road.

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