|The wind was stiff coming up from the South|
Last year we had some great days leading up to Christmas too, so it's been two years running with extremely warm, (relatively speaking), late Falls/early Winters with great road conditions in the country for riding. I've been totally taking advantage of that, and Sunday was no exception.
The plan was to swap out wheels on the Black Mountain Cycles rig and use the HED Ardennes+ wheels which were set up with the tubeless Clement MSO 36mm tires. With everything pretty much dialed in, I was ready to ride just after noon and as I was about to leave my daughter advised me that it was "really windy out", and that I should be careful. I saw that the computer showed that it was 20mph out of the South, but as I have found, you can easily add 5mph to that when you get out there and are actually dealing with the wind. It seems it is always worse away from the city.
So, I did the table top flat grind on the Sergent Road bike path South till I was well out of town and could jump on Aker Road, which is my usual route South. Since I was out of sorts a few weeks back, and feeling very weak, I assumed that I had contracted some malady or another, and since then I have been building my way back up to longer rides. The wind was amplifying the difficulty, but what was there to do? I either learn to deal with that and get stronger or I don't ride outside, which isn't an option at all for me. More power to you who can ride indoors on a trainer. That isn't for me at all!
|Stopped to pay my respects and remember how blessed I am.|
Interestingly, there are scads of cemeteries in Iowa and they can be found all over the countryside. I often see several on my rides around here. Another commonly seen thing are markers on highways where someone has lost their life. Used to be that insurance companies would put markers out to advertise their business and honor the dead, but that stopped back in the 1970's and now individuals will make their own, home made markers. Again, this is very common on paved roadways, since that's where most accidents occur. However; there is a marker on Aker Road, which is curious, since it isn't where you might expect it to be. I have seen these homemade markers on occasion in the country on rural roads, but they are rare. Anyway, I thought to stop and take a picture of the one and only one I have noticed around here on a gravel road. Maybe I've forgotten others? I should check that out........
So, anyway, I was feeling strong against the wind and at one point I was so optimistic that I was considering a longer ride, but my practical side prevailed. Keep it just a bit longer, build up, and before I know it, the longer rides will be happening. I'd like to get to where I can go down to Traer and use that as a stop, then come back. That will be 60-ish miles or more depending upon the exact route, so not only do I have some work to do to get there, but I need longer days to do it on! With today being the shortest day of the year, I am hoping to start seeing some longer days on the bike in the near future.
|Taking a break on Quarry Road.|
Whenever it comes, Winter will certainly put a different spin on things around here, but until then, I will be riding gravel roads as much as I possibly can. The thing is, when Winter does hit, even if I can ride gravel. it is probably going to have to be on fatter tires to deal with the ice and snow. Which isn't all bad, but you never know what the air temperatures will be and add in wind chill and, well....... Staying in the woods and within the city might be the best option then.
Any way that you slice it, things are going to be looking up. Longer rides, as long as I stay healthy, and longer days are both on the way. It's a great Christmas present, as far as I am concerned, and I am glad that I have the capacity to ride as much as I do at the age that I am. I am pretty blessed, really. So, I'll be taking each warm day as it comes, and keeping in mind that one more warm day now is one less day of "real" Winter. One day closer to Spring.
Sorry if you are a snow lover! I like it just fine, but this is more fun, and I like warmer weather for cycling.