Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wrong South Dude! That's North!

I went for a bike ride this morning.  It was going to be a 25 mile (40 km) ride.  When I plan out my rides I always watch the weather on the nightly local news to see which way the wind will be blowing the next morning.  The past few nights there's been a new young weather guy filling in for the regular, experienced guy.  His graphics said that there would be some wind coming from somewhere in the south to westerly direction and that later on it would be breezy.

I have a strategy when it comes to biking.  The main bike paths near my home go north and south.  The direction I take depends on the direction of the wind.  I start into the wind while I'm fresh and then, after turning around, ride home with a tailwind.  Since the weather guy said we were going to have a southerly wind, I planned accordingly choosing a trail that heads south.

The ride started out fine.  It was a crisp late fall day.  I was testing out some new toe warmers that I'd bought last week (Grabber Performance Toe Heaters that you stick on the toe area of your sock - too early to judge them but they need to warm up a little bit more).  There was hardly a breeze at 6:10 AM when I started the ride.

I reached the 12 1/2 mile turn around point, turned around, and ran smack dab into a headwind.  Almost exactly when I turned around the wind started to pick up - much earlier than the weather guy said it would.  It was not from the south, west, or south-west.  The wind was from the north-west and it was blowing around 10 to 12 MPH at least.

I ride a 21 speed bike.  The wind was so hard I had to shift several gears lower than I usually do just to move forward and I barely did that at times.  I had to stop and rest four times.  I've never stopped for a rest on any of the other 33 rides this year.  At one point the wind was so strong I was almost blown off the bike path.  I cursed the wind - actually yelled at the top of my lungs - and I got off and walked for a half mile before it died down a tiny bit so I could ride the rest of the way home.  I ended up averaging about 9.7 MPH, well below my average speed of 11 MPH.

If I'd gone north it would have been a total different story.  I would have ridden home with a nice tailwind.  I managed to ride for 24.5 miles, close to my goal,  but it was one of the most miserable rides I've had in a long time.  Whaaaaa!

Damn weather dude.

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