Headwind Full of Hurt
This morning's Lakemont ride was full of interesting drama. The weather was a cool 60 degrees and I think the group was trying to keep heart rates up to stay warm. I rode in the B group and we gave the A group our typical 5 minute head start, but we caught them by mile 8. That was when the speed and the fun really started.
The wind had been calm up to that point and maybe even a little bit to our tails, but that just meant that we were rolling at 25-30+mph and our hearts were beating out of our chests. This continued with both groups combined until about mile 20, and that's when things started to go awry. One of the local high schools was having a fundraiser 5K and we slowed slightly as we passed groups of runners, and I got distracted watching the crowds instead of focusing on the riders in front of me. Next thing I know the guy in front of me waves me up to pull and to my dismay, the main group was about 50 feet away from us. The rider apologized and just said "Sorry, I thought I could catch them back." I was full of anger and the sinking feeling of having to ride out of the main pack for the last 30 miles.
Luckily the group had been riding so fast that we had shed about half of the starting riders and they had grouped themselves into small packs of 5-10 riders. I decided that it was better to try to work together and finish, than attempt to catch the main group and blow myself up.
This turned out to be a great choice since around the next curve we hit a headwind of 15-20mph that crushed us for the remaining 30 miles. It wasn't a complete loss. I tried to look at it as an opportunity to get more training in, since I was required to do my portion of the pulling and didn't get the luxury of sitting back in the peloton and shield myself from the wind. It's days like today that I envy the smaller riders and I feel like my chest and shoulders are acting like a sail and pulling me back like I have a parachute around my waist.
Like I always say though, any day in the saddle is always better than the alternative, no matter the conditions. Ride on!